Awanui orchard near Sweetwater represents 20 years of commitment from its original owner and founder, American-Kiwi Jerry Trussler.
Jerry’s far-sighted vision for the sector had him establish the 36-canopy hectare orchard at a time when the fledgling industry was distinguished by significantly smaller orchards. The entire land area comprises 79ha across an attractive, rolling block.
Bayleys Bay of Islands rural salesperson Alan Kerr says Jerry’s passion for avocadoes and the deep sandy soils he chose to plant them on made its establishment as much an act of love as it was an astute business decision.
“Today you are looking at an orchard that has been planted along the contour of the land, in contrast to most modern orchards where the hills tend to be bulldozed away, and trees planted on the flat land.”
Keeping the plantings along the land’s contours has ensured the soil’s excellent drainage is used to full effect, reducing the risk of root rot from excessive moisture levels.
“As one of the first large-scale avocado plantings in Northland, it is now a well established, high quality producer with minimal bi-annual cropping,” says Kerr.
Long-time orchard manager Bill Wiessing brings a high level of passion and commitment to the orchard, and a keenness to remain on as orchard manager under a new owner. With quality management a key part of any orchard’s success, Wiessing’s expertise provides incoming investors with peace of mind the orchard’s potential is being optimised.
“The orchard offering is very much a package, and not only including Bill’s management skill. A full complement of plant and machinery are included, making any transition to ownership very transparent and without any other significant costs to incur,” says Kerr.
That plant and machinery is extensive, including three tractors, three orchard utes, hydra-ladders, trailers and mowers.
With its 8,250 established trees, the orchard is reliably generating good crop levels, with a forecast for this season of 90,000 trays.
Wiessing works closely with the orchard’s marketers ensuring supply accesses peak market demand periods. One of these is the New Zealand domestic market late season where grower returns are high due to industry shortage.
This active market approach is reflected in the Awanui orchard’s healthy returns, with a forecast profit for this year of about $1.2 million.
“This is a very appealing rate of return, particularly when you put it alongside the high value kiwifruit orchards we are now seeing in Northland,” says Kerr.
The scale is matched by its appealing aesthetics which include four lake and wetland systems across the entire 79ha. In its entirety, the property has an appealing rolling contour with a landscape that makes it an attractive orchard to live and work in.
The property also includes a tidy three-bedroom managers’ house in addition to a sizable four-bay machinery shed.
“The Northland region is rapidly becoming the new avocado centre and this opportunity offers investors an opening to tap straight into the returns already being generated, and only likely to rise in coming years as appetite for avocadoes grows in Asia,” says Kerr.
The property is for sale by negotiation.