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Country Calendar couple develop perfect avocados

DAVID and Judi Grey's avocado orchard in Bushmere Road at Waerenga-a-Hika will feature on Hyundai Country Calendar on Sunday, August 29 at 7pm on TVNZ1.

The couple have pioneered development of a new variety that they believe will be a breakthrough for orchardists and consumers alike.

David grew up in a family of orchardists.

A hundred years ago his grandfather was the first in New Zealand to grow avocado trees from seed and his father, Len, continued that pioneering spirit by growing the country's first commercial crop and importing the first of the Hass variety, which now dominates the market.

David and Judi moved from Auckland to their existing orchard in 1968 when it was a rundown small farm and gradually planted it in tree crops as their finances allowed.

Over the last 10 years the couple have been developing a new type of green-skin avocado they have called Eclipse.

It's one of three different new varieties that they've registered and one of its main features is that the fruit stays green till it's ready to eat.

The normal fruit is at least 500 grams, David says — “It's been so good having quality fruit . . . we eat green-skin avocados every day of the year.”

Although his father introduced the Hass avocado to New Zealand, David says his new variety is better eating.

“I'm sorry to say Hass doesn't rate at all in our household.”

The programme also talks to Gisborne nursery orchardist Geoff Thorpe, who is growing the new variety for release to orchardists.

He says David and Judi have hit the jackpot.

“It's like you have pulled together the best qualities of all the different avocado varieties, the Hass, the Reed, the Fuerte, and combined them into one,” he says.

“You've got the colour, the texture, the flavour, the nuttiness — it's avocado heaven.”

ON TELEVISION: The avocado operation run by David and Judi Grey on their ‘Hika' property will feature on TV One's Country Calendar the weekend after this, August 29. Picture by Kerryanne Evans
David Grey works in his orchard
David and Judi Grey's new avocado variety called Eclipse
Late Pick - Tamarillos in the packhouse

  1. Shelley Woodham, Hastings says:

    What is the minimum number of trees you would class as profitable?

  2. Gary Smith, Marlborough Sounds says:

    Would they grow down here and can I buy a few plants? They are for our own use.

  3. Ashley Thomas, Whakatane says:

    Hi
    Is it possible to buy some trees – just a couple for home?

  4. Bob Elliston, Cambridge says:

    Can these green avocados be ordered online and how much are they?

    1. Maureen Joblin, Tasman, South Island says:

      Hi,
      Is there any way we are able to buy these new delicious-looking Green Skin Eclipse avocado online please?

      1. Faye Ryan, Christchurch says:

        Where can I purchase these amazing avocados and are they available online? Loved the TV show.

  5. Maria Cherry, Dargaville says:

    Would love to buy a few for our own personal use in Northland

  6. Jillian Mitchell says:

    Loved the programme.
    Do you sell your green skin avocadoes online?
    Is it possible to buy a tree to grow in our home garden? We live in Auckland.

  7. Denise Duane, Titirangi, Auckland says:

    Hi
    We loved seeing your fabulous place on Country Calender last night.
    Are you selling your avacados online at all?
    Kind regards
    Denise

  8. Val Woodward, New Plymouth says:

    How do I buy these lovely avos as seen on Country Calendar last night?

  9. Mandy says:

    Would love to grow some of your amazing avocado trees for personal use. I’m down in Christchurch – would they grow down here?

  10. Peta says:

    We live in the Waikato and would also love to try and grow these. Great episode on Country Calendar.

  11. Whatu King says:

    Just let us know dollar cost for six trees – we’ll go from there . . . Looks beautiful.
    We live north of Whangarei.
    Cheers and happy growing.

    You really can’t say much to people who got it right. Well done you guys

  12. Barrie Wilkie, Glendowie, Auckland says:

    Can we purchase these avocado 🥑 online?

    1. Carol Sirota, Lower Hutt says:

      How can I buy some of these?

  13. Cathy Hall, Napier says:

    I would like to get on the bandwagon too and have a tree for home if it is possible.

  14. Karen Carson, Murupara says:

    Following is the website for the Grey’s orchard: http://www.avogrey.co.nz
    I think they are only selling avo plants to commercial growers.