Thinning out peach trees on Ron & Jessie Curtis’ orchard in the Hawke's Bay.
We reckon less is more when it comes to growing the ideal peach. ‘Thinning’ is our grower’s opportunity to maximise the potential of their peach crop in December each year. It may seem counter intuitive to remove fruit from the trees but Mother nature will most seasons, produce more than enough fruit on each tree. If we leave them on there we would have a mass of smaller fruit, complete with any defects that may have developed on the fruit since they were pollinated ten weeks ago.
Years of experience has taught us just how many fruit a tree can grow to the size that will give the growers the best yields, and Wattie’s the best fruit to process, culminating in the best eating experience out of the can later on. Teams of people go over every tree looking to remove defective fruitlets, and space remaining fruit to allow them to grow to be cricket ball size. Every tree is different, which is why we trust in our team to undertake this important task. By the time we have finished over eighteen thousand trees will have been checked and eight million fruit will have been selected to carry through to maturity. It takes a whole lot of time and patience but perfection is what we are after so we do the hard yards to get the best peaches for all Kiwis to enjoy.
Once thinning is finished it’s about sunshine, heat, and water until harvesting in March the following year. We reckon it is all about harvesting sunshine, and that’s why Hawke’s Bay is so good at growing the sweetest most delicious peaches.
Bruce Mackay, Wattie’s Senior Crop Supply Agronomist (aka ‘the science and plant man’).