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Timaru fruit and vegetables wholesaler retires after 52 years

Gavin Charteris has decided to leave the world of auctioning wholesale fruit and vegetables behind, after a 52-year career in the fruit and vegetable industry. On Friday, the 66-year-old will hang up his apron at his business Timaru Produce Wholesalers for the last time.

When he first entered the industry he knew nothing about fruit and vegetables being sold wholesale, but he was keen to learn. “I hopped off my bike when I got to Morton’s [opposite the Timaru Railway Station] on my way to going fishing in the school holidays. I heard a hell of a racket coming from the building. I was fascinated with this guy talking fast. I spent all morning there and went back the next day.’’

With his parents’ approval he left school and began as a fruit and vegetable storeman. “I started and that was that, and 52 years later here I am.’’

He ended up working as an auctioneer, but after 27 years with the company he was made redundant so he created his own business. Over the years he learnt a lot from growers, but said it was ‘amazing’ how much the industry had changed in his time.


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