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Seasoned horticulturalists Ross and Sharon Kirk have established a new entity, Deep Creek Fruits NZ LP, to consolidate two cherry developments underway in Central Otago which are to be managed by New Zealand horticultural consultant Hortinvest.

Deep Creek Fruits director (and marketing and sales manager for Hortinvest), Sharon Kirk said wholesale investors had until July 16 to purchase partnership interest shares in Deep Creek Fruits NZ LP and take advantage of the highly profitable global export market.

“Summerfruit NZ predicts a 40 per cent dollar value growth in New Zealand cherry exports over the next 20 years. New Zealand’s cherry industry has demonstrated strong long-term growth, driven by our key competitive advantages such as the ideal climate and conditions, proximity to, and free trade agreements with markets in Asia. New Zealand’s reputation for producing premium quality cherries, perceived globally as a luxury product, enables it to receive the highest price per tonne in global markets.”

Sharon Kirk said Deep Creek Fruits would use the capital raised to purchase up to 164 hectares of land at Mt Pisa Road and Lindis Peaks Station on Deep Creek Road to develop into cherry orchards.
The investment opportunity came about after the landowners expressed a desire to diversify from sheep and beef into cherry production and take advantage of a surging global demand for New Zealand cherries.

“The landowners have taken a big-picture view to collaborate and consolidate these projects.
Investors will benefit from economies of scale to be achieved through the combined orchard development and the sharing of risk.”

Stage 1 planting last winter resulted in 12 hectares planted at each location. Stage 2, scheduled for this winter, would complete 83 hectares at Mt Pisa and 36 hectares at Lindis River, with potential further planting at Lindis River next year. In total, 58,000 trees would be planted this year.

Deep Creek Fruits will send its first premium quality cherries to the global export market in the summer of 2021-2022. Cherries will be harvested from December to February and take advantage of the growing global seasonal and Chinese New Year market.

The Deep Creek Fruits name was inspired by the historically significant Deep Creek Hut, a local landmark on Mt Pisa Conservation Area (formerly Mt Pisa Station). Lindis River orchard, set about 45km away, is on Deep Creek Road, Tarras.

The development will create 15-20 jobs during Stage 2 planting this winter and a range of full-time positions including orchard and administrative positions over coming months.

The orchards will be developed and managed by a related company of Hortinvest, which is an expert in orchard development and management, packhouse management, marketing, sales and export.

Hortinvest project and orchard development manager Ross Kirk said for the first harvest, 15 to 20 picking staff would be required, with those numbers increasing as progressive plantings matured.

“Up to 500 pickers per 80 hectares will be required at full mature production from 2025 onwards. This is in addition to the seasonal staff required for pruning,” Mr Kirk said.

A leading edge packhouse would be constructed in time for the first harvest. Southern Fruits International LP has also been established to provide all packhouse and export services to Deep Creek Fruits. Deep Creek Fruits holds all the partnership interest shares in this entity.

Ross (pictured) and Sharon Kirk have more than 30 years’ experience in growing and marketing premium New Zealand fruit globally, and Hortinvest has existing and developing markets for its cherries throughout Asia, Europe and the United States.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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