According to Gisborne grower Sam Tietjen, the Rockit™ apple represents an exciting new development for his orchard. For Tietjen, planting apples would break new ground, but he has done it anyway. Sam is part of a group of Gisborne growers who are providing satellite orchards for the Hawke's Bay-based Rockit Global.
Sam returned from overseas travels four years ago to take over Braemark Orchard, the 50-hectare vineyard and citrus operation his father, John, had operated for over 40 years. Just 25 years old at the time, he was mindful that John had recently pulled out nearly 10-ha of grapes so there was bare land to work with.
“Not long after my return we heard that Rockit was looking at diversifying into Gisborne so we went down to check it out.”
Sam created more space by pulling out lemons to open up a nearly ten-hectare block on which to establish his apples, planting five hectares last year (11,500 trees) and with another three-and-a-half-hectares (7000 trees) due to go in this late winter or spring.
As to the future, Sam is looking forward to the ease of Rockit's single-desk structure and to being part of its famously innovative marketing and product placement strategy.