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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Public can’t wait to pick their own

Hundreds of people of all ages are lining up every weekend to pick their own fruit at a local orchard, and it’s still early days.

Owners estimate more than a thousand have already visited the local orchard in just the past four weeks, as what started as a business punt turns into a runaway success.

The family behind local business Molewood Orchard, on the edge of Greytown, decided to let people pick their own apples this year after the impact of covid-19 caused them to rethink their distribution model.

In a first for the orchard, the Cooke family – owner-operators Ed, Juliet, Merran and Wendell – decided to throw open the farm gates and let their customers in. People have been able to wander through the extensive orchard every weekend since 11 March, and choose their own apples. The price point for apples and pre-picked pears is just $2 a kg.

Their decision has hit the spot.

“It’s been really good. Beyond our expectations,” Merran said.

“It’s been super popular. We’ve had so many family groups in. Lots of kids – the kids love it. They’ve never done anything like it before. Little kids would say ‘did we have to come?’ on the way in, and on the way out they’re saying, ‘we want to come again,’ “ Juliet added.

Visitors were mainly from Wellington and Wairarapa, but people had come from Taupo, Hamilton, and even Auckland.

Groups were making a proper outing of the fruit-shopping opportunity. “Some people have even brought picnics, and sometimes they are in here for hours,” Merran said.

“The weather has been good every other weekend until today, so that’s been really helpful. People just really enjoy being in the orchard. There have been too many people for us to keep track of how long anyone spends here. Sometimes they come out, and you remember they went in two or three hours earlier.”

The approximately 25–acre farm is home to a wide variety of apples, which ripen at different stages. A helpful guide to ripening times is published at the farm gate for apple aficionados.

Pick your own opportunities will be available till the end of May every weekend. The farm gate will also be open over the Easter weekend on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Currently, galaxy and sunglow red delicious apples are ready to pick, together with four varieties of pre-plucked pears.

Molewood Orchard reputedly has some of the most productive agricultural lands in NZ. The farm is at 17 Mole St, Greytown.

    More information is at https://www.molewoodorchard.com, with the farm’s Facebook page ‘Molewood Orchard’ regularly updated with picking times and fruit availibility.

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