The Mid Canterbury Herald recently paid a visit to the Ashburton area to check out the 2015 blackcurrant harvest at James Tavendale’s farm. We’re treated to an insider’s view of what’s involved in harvesting 150 hectares of blackcurrants–from a 5 am start for the team of 16, to the sorting and binning, to the drive north to Nelson. The harvest was 10-14 days later than usual this year due to a cooler start to the New Zealand summer.
Tavendale is big proponent of the health benefits of New Zealand’s super-nutritious blackcurrants (our Blackcurrant Benefits page spells out why New Zealand blackcurrants are genuinely a step above the rest). Through the payment of blackcurrant commodity levies he’s also actively contributing to the industry breeding programme that continues to improve New Zealand blackcurrant varieties.
BCNZ and Plant & Food Research teamed up in 1992 to form BlackHort, a breeding programme designed to make a successful industry even better. They’re partly focused on continuing to raise levels of potent health-giving phenolics and antioxidants like anthocyanins, flavonoids, and Vitamin C. Grower and marketer preferences also figure into the mix, with an ongoing emphasis on colour, flavour, yield, winter chill tolerance and pest resistance.
Read the full article for more news from the Tavendale farm.