About BroadField BerryFruits
Don and Wendy Babe have owned their blueberry orchard at Broadfield
just south of Christchurch, in Central Canterbury, New Zealand since
1992. Over that time they have developed the production and marketing
of the blueberries to the levels seen today.
In 1993 the orchard was opened for Pick Your Own sales. The popularity
of this market has surpassed all expectations with Christchurch and
beyond customers enjoying the tranquility provided by the location
and environment in the orchard. In addition to the PYO market significant
volumes of blueberries are frozen down for distribution to the cafes
and bakeries during the winter season. In 2000 fresh fruit was supplied
to the local market. In 2001 the Babe's entered the export market
using the advantage that their fruit is spray free.
When the Babe's took over the orchard it was in a neglected state,
the weeds were higher than the bushes and pruning was by sheep and
the damage inflicted by the big snow fall of August 1992. The first
seasons production was 150 Kgs of blueberries. The weeds have been
brought under control using a lot of mowing, non-residual sprays and
hand weeding. During winter the pruning programme is undertaken.
The orchard originally had five varieties of bushes, Stanley, Jersey,
Atlanta, Burlington and Dixie. Each variety has its own ripening time
to give a two month season of production. In 1998 fifty blueberry
plants of a variety being developed in New Zealand were planted to
replace some of the bushes lost over the last few years. These bushes
have yet to be named but are coming into good production. Blueberries
are very sweet with a flavour that seems to include some of the other
summer berry tastes of strawberry and raspberry.
The orchard is not sprayed with chemicals except for the use of non-residual
herbicides to control weeds. Chemical fertilizers have not been used
since 1998. Soil tests are used to analyse the availability of the
trace elements necessary for the production of good healthy blueberries.
It is planned to continue with these policies to produce a spray free
Has provided the owners with the opportunity to meet many people from
different regions of the world. Many minority ethnic groups come to
pick their own fruit and on occasion meet fellow patriots.
Pick Your Own
Café owners continue to prefer to purchase their blueberries direct
from the grower. Demand is high during the winter when muffin demand
is high. The owners are interested in supplying fresh blueberries
to cafes and restaurants during the season.
Local market sales are strong with the blueberries being delivered
to the Christchurch market on the day they were picked. The blueberries
are identified as being South Island produced and spray free.