More than 12 million sweet tasting satsuma mandarins will soon be available across New Zealand, as the season gets underway in Northland.

T&G, the largest citrus grower in New Zealand, is forecast to produce around 80,000 crates of satsuma mandarins from Northland – one of New Zealand’s largest mandarin growing regions.

Tom Chamberlain, T&G’s Regional Manager – Northland, says due to a warmer, drier summer, this season’s mandarins taste great.

“Satsuma mandarins have grown in popularity over the past five years due to their great taste, and seedless and easy to peel properties. They’re now the largest volume citrus crop in the country. This year the crop is fantastic – sweet tasting and larger in size – making them perfect for the whole family.

“As we head into autumn and winter, fresh satsumas are a convenient and delicious way to access Vitamin C and all of the health boosting properties that citrus provides,” says Tom.

While the majority of the nutritious, new season fruit will be sold in New Zealand retail outlets, satsuma mandarins are also popular in Japan with some of T&G’s New Zealand crop being exported to the market over the coming months.

“There’s no doubt, we have a top-quality crop. To ensure our satsuma mandarins are the best quality, they’re carefully picked by hand to minimise any bruising. Given current seasonal labour shortages, the challenge for us has been having enough hands to harvest the fruit.

“As an essential business, we’ve worked with many Northland employment agencies to provide opportunities to locals, alongside our seasonal workers, providing them with the required training on safe work practices.

“We were also grateful to have a group of women from the island of Kiribati here for the blueberry season, who decided to stay to help with our mandarin harvest, as our pickers weren’t able to travel from another Pacific Island to New Zealand,” says Tom.