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.”