7 Sep 2018

Honeycrisp: the large, sweet South Canterbury apple Americans love

From Country Life, 9:18 pm on 7 September 2018
Honeycrisp apples

Honeycrisp apples Photo: 123RF

South Canterbury isn't famous for its premium apples, but one unfamiliar variety loves Timaru's cool climate and thrives there - the Honeycrisp.

But you won't though see it in a supermarket near you anytime soon.

Sweet, firm Honeycrisp apples are grown exclusively for export - the entire crop goes to the US.

Red Martin

 MA Orchards operations manager Red Martin Photo: RNZ/Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

MA Orchards has 80 hectares near Timaru, which is owned predominantly by a group of American apple growers.

It does have a New Zealand investor, as well, says operations manager Red Martin.

"The owners of these properties in Timaru have got orchards in Washington, USA and they're just filling an out of season market, basically."

This year 7,000 bins of Honeycrisp apples - which are known as baby heads because of their large size - were harvested.

One bin of Honeycrisps is worth up to five times more in the US than it would be worth here.