The largest citrus grower in New Zealand, T&G Fresh, is underway with harvesting the first of this season’s satsuma mandarins with great weather conditions bringing an earlier harvest than usual for the fruit.

T&G Fresh began harvesting the fruit late last week and is expecting between 12-14 million mandarins to be sold in New Zealand retail outlets throughout the season.

Tom Chamberlain, T&G’s Regional Manager in Northland says thanks to the long, sunny days over the past few months and some rainfall in early January, the fruit has grown to a great size and sweet taste earlier than expected.

“Sun is extremely important for the satsuma trees, as they need between 8-10 hours of sunlight a day to thrive. We were lucky to have a great summer and some rain which has resulted in a deliciously juicy and sweet tasting fruit this season.”

Satsuma mandarins have grown in popularity over the past five years and are now the largest volume citrus crop grown in Aotearoa.

“Our consumers love the fruit as it’s seedless and their loose skin makes it easy to peel. Mandarins are also renowned over the winter months for their high vitamin C content.”

“Last year T&G Fresh had very strong sales across our mandarins, navel oranges and lemons as consumers gravitated towards citrus products as a natural way to boost their health levels.”

T&G Fresh will also export some of their satsuma mandarin crop to Japan, where it has also gained popularity for its health benefits.