11 Mar 2010

Watties celebrates 75 years of Hawkes Bay peaches

10:31 pm on 11 March 2010

Fruit and vegetable processor Watties is celebrating its diamond anniversary of processing golden queen peaches in Hawke's Bay.

The 75-year milestone coincides with a jump of more than 45% in the harvest forecast.

The company's fruit supply agronomist, Bruce Mackay, attributes the spike in production to textbook-perfect growing conditions this year, and a comparison with a depressed season last year.

Mr Mackay says Watties has been striving to increase its peach tonnages for the past five years and the company has increased its plantings in the area.

While there may be more trees, the grower families have not changed much.

Bruce Mackay says of the 48 peach growers on the Heretaunga Plains, some are second and third generation producers.