Darren Chinnery, ZESPRI® Kiwifruit grower - Katikati (Bay of Plenty, New Zealand)
"Not only do we want to operate our business in a sustainable way but we want to put more back than what we take. This incorporates our tree plantings and increasing the bird life."
Riverstone Orchard, a 6.1 ha property bounded by a stream on two sides, was established in 1982. When it was purchased in 1997 by Darren and Tracey Chinnery, the orchard was entirely Hayward green variety, with plants heavily affected by the soil pathogen armalaria.
Since then, the Chinnerys have created a very profitable orchard enterprise in an area that was once considered unsuitable for early kiwifruit production.
The Chinnerys have a genuine love for, and connection with, the natural environment in which they live.
My focus is on continually improving the yield, taste and quality of our kiwifruit, in the context of creating environments that will have great significance in the future," says Darren.
Sustainability Initiatives on Riverstone Orchard include:
- Native plantings for land and wildlife benefit. Approximately 1,500 native plants have already been planted, with more to come. The trees and flaxes planted provide food encouraging and increasing the number of native birds.
- Effective water supply management. Detailed electronic records are kept of manual rainfall readings as well as the use of frost protection and irrigation systems. Native grass plantings are helping to manage a river bank prone to flooding at certain times of the year.
- Minimising fertiliser. Because the orchard is so close to the river, fertiliser is applied little and often.
- Producing fruit with greater nutritional and environmental benefit. A higher percentage of dry matter in each fruit provides improved nutrition and taste of the fruit. To deliver this, no nitrogen is applied after flowering, slowing fruit growth, focusing the plant on the accumulation of dry matter and minimising competing vegetative growth.
To meet the Chinnery's click here