The Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce, supporting the local business community

Food, Beverage & Growers

Untill a few years ago, the fertile plains & rolling hills of the Wairarapa Valley were almost exclusively used for pastoral farming – the main expectation being the growing of apples and berryfruit, mainly in the Greytown area.

However, spearheaded in Martinborough, more and more land is now being devoted to horticulture.

A benign climate (with regular seasonal rainfall & good temperatures in the late summer and autumn) has encouraged growers to recognise the sustainability of the land for horticulture. And a proposed irrigation project will provide a huge boost to the whole of the Wairarapa Valley by reducing the risk associated with the hot, dry summers.

Presently only about 1,000 hectares of the estimated 17,000 hectares suitable for horticulture are in this form of production. New Types of pipfruit varieties have already been planted and will soon come on stream.

Emphasis is on quality products as evidenced by the preferred-supplier status being awarded to Wairarapa apples by the British food giant Tesco.

Also on the increase are plantings of vegetables for domestic consumption and export, including such niche varieties as witloof.

Olive groves are being established in many areas of the Wairarapa, and the arrival of an five million (NZ) dollar olive press in Masterton was a major development for growers.

New Zealand’s increasing recognition of the value of organically-grown produce is reflected by a surge of interest by Wairarapa growers and the establishment of local training courses for organic growers.

Wairarapa horticulturalists are fortunate to have the world-renowned research and development facilities of Plant and Food Research located not far away in Palmerston North. Latest advances in products and growing techniques can be quickly put to practical use for the benefits of growers and consumers.

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