There are around 150 strawberry growers in NZ, growing over 8000 tonnes of strawberries each season predominately for the local market. Approximately 65% of strawberry plantings are in the greater Auckland region, followed by about 15% in Waikato, and the balance in Hawkes Bay, Manawatu/Horowhenua, Northland, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury and Southland.
Strawberries are usually grown as an annual crop in raised beds enclosed with plastic, however growing strawberries hydroponically is increasing in popularity in New Zealand with some growers putting their crops up on “table tops” (off the ground) with some under cover.
The key harvest period is October – December with growers currently employing approximately 2400 seasonal workers, with some of our covered crop growers continuing harvest through to April-May. Staff are a key component of a successful operation and are strongly valued by growers. Many growers are owner/operators with high levels of experience who work alongside their staff and family members in the field and packhouse.