The Julian family is well known in the Eastern Bay of Plenty for producing berries and now they are also part of the local kiwifruit industry.
Craig and Lani Julian’s company Quick Pick Ltd continues the family legacy with a 9 hectare boysenberry block just outside of Whakatane. In 2001 a kiwifruit block was purchased at Poroporo.
Over time they have acquired more kiwifruit blocks either by purchasing orchards outright or leasing the properties. In 2018 Quick Pick Ltd produced 129,000 trays of SunGold and 163,000 trays of Hayward. Conversion from Hayward to SunGold is an ongoing project.
Once the summer boysenberries have been picked, Craig and Lani are committed to developing a further two hectares of SunGold on their home boysenberry block. “We’re doing some trial work pumping water from drainage, storing it and then using it for irrigation, we’re quite excited to see if this recycling will work,” says Craig.
The ‘KiwiGreen’ pest management programme, combined with regular soil and leaf testing, ensures that agrichemicals and fertilisers are only applied when there is a demonstrated need.
Most of the kiwifruit blocks sit on well-drained Paroa loam soil. One orchard prone to flooding has had a recent makeover. A wetland area was developed through the construction of a pond and new native plantings. Craig is also looking into trialling Bounty71 root stock which is more tolerant of wet feet.
Craig prefers using natural shelter belt trees over artificial screens. “Natural shelter still protects the vines while maintaining a semi-natural ecosystem. It also assists with pollination and helps minimise our carbon footprint. We’re always looking for ways to reduce our use of plastic.”
Quick Pick employ seven permanent staff and around 100 seasonal staff across both kiwifruit and boysenberry crops. While the work may be hard, there is a strong social aspect. “We definitely see ourselves in the business of growing people as well as fruit. We have the same families coming back to work for us year after year.”
A $2000 sports fund has been set up to help employees with sports fees or equipment for their children. “We’ve also set up an annual horticultural scholarship with Whakatane High School offering a student financial support for three years towards their tertiary study. Our next challenge with be nurturing healthy employees and encouraging better lifestyle choices.”
Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award
ZESPRI® Kiwifruit Orchard Award
Enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards