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Blueberry orchard operation offers sweet opportunity for new owners

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A vertically-integrated blueberry orchard featuring an associated pack-house plant and retail foodservice business have been placed on the market for sale.

The 4.49 hectare property at Ohaupo in the Waikato features some three hectares of blueberry plantings, along with buildings, equipment, and plant used for picking, processing and manufacturing blueberries.

Cropped between December and March, some 80 percent of New Zealand’s blueberry crop is grown in the Waikato region. Over the 2017/2018 harvest, the orchard picked approximately 17,000 kilogrammes of blueberries - delivering a profit of more than $200,000 for its current owner/operators.

In addition to selling freshly-picked blueberries during the short growing season, the business also sells frozen blueberries throughout the remainder of the year, subject to availability.

Now the freehold blueberry plantation, supporting building infrastructure, crop maintenance equipment and processing plant at 446 O’Regan Road in Ohaupo is being marketed for sale as a going concern at auction at 11am on September 20 through Bayleys Hamilton. Salespeople Josh Smith and Scott Macdonald said the orchard was planted in a mix of young and mature blueberry shrubs.

"Looking ahead, the current harvest volume should increase for a number of years to come as the ‘younger’ plants mature and produce an ever-growing number of berries," Mr Smith said.

"The current cropping and processing is undertaken by seasonal pickers employed under the supervision of the owners, who then focus on the processing and retailing of the end product.

"The orchard crops multiple varieties of blueberries to ensure a ‘conveyor belt’ of ripening periods throughout the growing season - rather than having all stock peak at the same time."

Mr Macdonald said that in addition to higher blueberry volumes forecast over the coming seasons from O’Regan Road plantings, there was also the opportunity to expand the orchard size by planting land at the front of the property.

The business’s retail operations are run out of the orchard’s on-site pack-house and production plant - underpinning the ‘authenticity’ experience for customers buying directly from the grower.

"From a retail perspective, the current shop lay-out and product range also offers an entrepreneurial agriculturalist opportunities to increase the diversity of consumer offerings," he said

The property also includes a substantial 204 square metre four-bedroom owner/manager’s residence on a flat site.

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