31 Jul 2020

Finger limes: A new venture for Gisborne growers

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:50 pm on 31 July 2020

We've all heard of limes, but what about finger limes? They're known as 'citrus caviar'. 

Gisborne growers Ian and Louise Dodgshun decided to start growing them almost a decade ago, and they are finally ready to take their product to the market. 

A finger lime from Ian and Louise Dodgshun's crop in Gisborne.

A finger lime from Ian and Louise Dodgshun's crop in Gisborne. Photo: Ian and Louise Dodgshun

Jesse Mulligan spoke to Ian about this unusual crop and found out how they differ to the usual lime.

They go very well in a G and T but are not the easiest tree to grow.

“They’ve just only started to fruit, we had a go grafting them, but the majority of the tree is all thorns with a few leaves … the buds on them are so small to try and grow them into new trees so it’s proven to be quite a tricky business.”

Each tree takes five or six years for to mature and fruit.

“We’ve got about ten trees five producing good amounts of fruit and they’ll do between three and five kilos a year.”

Dodgshun says the fruit can fetch around $120 a kilo between $1 and $2 a fruit.

And getting the fruit from this Australian native is no easy matter either, he says.

“When I pick them I wear leather gloves, as long as I can find, and my heavy duty raincoat and I push my way into the trees to find the fruit.

“It’s like being nestled in the middle of a gorse bush so it’s pretty hard to get in there and get a hold of them.”

Dodgshun says he plans to plant out more in the coming years.