A team of 45 office-based staff from T&G – known as the ‘Envy Army’ – have been working part-time shifts at the company’s Hawke’s Bay packhouses to ensure its apples get to key global markets.
The company reports that great weather conditions have brought an earlier harvest than usual for the fruit. T&G Fresh began harvesting the fruit in early April and expects between 12-14 million mandarins to be sold in New Zealand retail outlets throughout the season.
Regional manager in Northland, Tom Chamberlain, says thanks to the long, sunny days over the past few months and some rainfall in early January, the fruit has reached a great size and sweet taste earlier than expected.
"Sun is extremely important for the satsuma trees, as they need between 8-10 hours of sunlight a day to thrive," he says. "We were lucky to have a great summer and some rain, which has resulted in a deliciously juicy and sweet tasting fruit this season."
Chamberlain says satsuma mandarins have grown in popularity over the past five years and are now the largest volume citrus crop grown in NZ.
"Last year T&G Fresh had very strong sales across our mandarings, navel oranges and lemons as consumers gravitated towards citrus products as a natural way to boost their health levels."