29 October 2014

Philip Greer - Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

"We brought six kids up on our orchard. We certainly aren’t going to spray our trees with chemicals.”

“We live along the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand in a semi-arid region protected from extremes by the mountains to the west. It’s a wonderful environment to raise your children. It’s a healthy, strong community of growers that support each other like a family. I was introduced to Envy 6 years ago. So we were pretty much the first to have a taste of these things. One bite and you’re hooked. It’s amazing, so crunchy and full of flavor. Straight away we thought, 'Wow' this is completely different from anything we’d ever had. We have a big family. We spread the apples around to their homes. Suddenly that’s all there was. You know, 'Where’s the Envy?' Getting that sort of feedback was amazing. Now, every grower in Hawkes Bay wants to grow Envy. It’s certainly nice to get a head start on an apple like that.

It’s a bit of a phenomenon.

If you’ve ever been to a supermarket it’s the same thing. I’ve been up to Canada and the U.S. We did some tastings and, people, all they wanted was Envy. It was great for me to get that experience. To go into the back room at a supermarket on the other side of the world — and they had one box left and it was one of mine. I was in Portland, Oregon and people walked into the store and they asked for Envy. The apples never actually got to the shelf… They took the whole box. It’s crazy. I’d never seen anything like it. It’s a change from the early days when I first scraped together enough money to buy land in Taradale and plant 10 acres of apples by hand. That was hard work, but I really wanted to give it a go so I just worked hard to make it happen.

My wife works as part of the team throughout the harvest. With a blended family of six children, there has always been plenty of helpers during the season. We’ve all worked in the orchard at some point, picking, thinning, tractor driving. We encouraged our children to follow their own passions. At the moment no one is showing signs of making a career off the land, but who knows, now that apples are starting to pay their way someone may decide it’s an exciting option!”

North America