Top-paying orchardist wins Retemeyer Shield
One of the Hastings orchardists who set a new record for orchard land values by paying $12,000 an acre for bare land two weeks ago has won the Retemeyer Shield for export apple packing for the second time.
He is Mr Tom Miller, Norton Rd.
The shield is awarded annually by the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ Association to the grower who best packs his export apples.
Mr Miller, who ﬁrst won the shield in 1972, attributed this year’s win to two main factors. One was having a main core of staff which had worked for him for 10 to 11 years and the same permanent man, Mr John Anderson, for 20-odd years.
“They are a really good team and that’s one of the main reasons for well-packed apples,” he said
The other was the quality-assurance scheme by which he, instead of Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ inspectors, ensured the crop packed for export was of the required standard.
“It (the scheme) is giving us more of an insight into what the apples look like after they have been packed.”
He said any mistakes or lowering of standards could be rectiﬁed more quickly.
During the season, Mr Miller’s packhouse packed an estimated 60,000 cartons of export fruit from his 13-hectare (32-acre) orchard and his brother Norman’s 10 hectare (30 acre) orchard.
Mr Norman Miller was one of three in the partnership which purchased a 12.8-hectare block of bare land in St Georges Rd south for $12,000 an acre. The third partner was the Miller brothers’ brother-in-law, Mr Graeme McPherson.
Mr McPherson is an apple grower on a boundary of the newly-purchased block and Mr Norman Miller’s orchard is on another boundary. This was one of the main attractions for us,” said Mr Tom Miller. “Although people tended to look at us sideways, the price was not as high as it ﬁrst might seem when spread over three families,” he said.
The partners intend planting the bare land in apples.
Mr Tom Miller said: “We have the machinery and equipment for apples.”
In addition, he and his partners have conﬁdence in the future of the industry and experience in growing the crop.
Second in the competition was Mr Van Howard, Napier Rd, and third was Mr Jack Wilson, Irongate Rd, Flaxmere.
Photo caption – Mr Tom Miller (right) and Mr Anderson with the Retemeyer Shield.