A little bit about Jackson Orchards...
Jackson Orchards is owned by Kevin Jackson, and operated by his son Mark Jackson & daughter Kristin Nolan. Kevin’s original orchard was located in the Cromwell Gorge between 1969 -1989.
Kevin was forced to leave the property when the Clyde Dam was being built and flooding of the orchard was imminent.
The original Jackson Orchards in the Cromwell Gorge:
Kevin was the last to leave the Cromwell Gorge which gave him time to have a good look around before purchasing the 30ha block of land he now operates successfully. He also owns 8ha of orchard on Highway 8B called Freeway Orchard.
Kevin chose this property for the soil conditions, being similar to the soil type around the base of the hills on the Cromwell Gorge property. Location from the township is also important for potential employment of workers. Being on the main highway for a roadside business was another criteria.
The Black Poplar trees up the drive are nearly 150 years old. They were planted by the original owner Mr Jackson Barry an Englishman, who was a butcher in Cromwell and was Mayor from 1866-1868. He brought the seeds with him when he came here in 1863, the trees are known as Canadian Cotton Wool Trees. Dropping lots of fluff early summer.
This property was one of the first to be settled in Cromwell and the old stone cottage was built around the same time as the trees were planted. The cottage still has the original hessian walls in places. It has had some alterations and modernisation done to it. The woolshed opposite was used as workers accommodation in the early days.
Our first Mayor & Mayoress, Jack Barry & Adelia Barry:
Our Orchard Today
Jackson Orchards grow a variety of cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, greengages, apples and pears during their season from November to April.
The fruit is picked and packed in their own Packhouse, graded and packed for local NZ and Overseas markets plus their own well stocked Fruit Stall. Our roadside Fruit Stall is in a prime position, fully laden with fresh fruit, vegetables, dried fruit & nuts, preserves, honey, drinks and fresh fruit ice cream. Plenty of parking, lovely picnic areas and clean toilets.
There can be nothing more enticing to the senses than the sight of a fruit tree whose branches are full of sun kissed fruit, ripe and ready for picking. Once picking is over the Autumn weather turns the leaves to beautiful gold, red and yellow tints a most spectacular time to visit for keen photographers.
The trees shed their leaves and the pruning begins, think of our permanent staff out in the bitterly cold Central Otago winters pruning each and every tree on the Orchard. But soon enough the warmth of Spring makes the buds swell and open into pink and white blossoms creating picture perfect and the promise of good things to come.
A family run Orchard we are proud of our loyal band of employees, totalling 100 at the height of the summer season. Like our home-grown produce, our 10 full time personnel are from the Cromwell district.
Most of our seasonal workers are University students and backpackers from around the world. Everyone gets into the routine. There is only one sure thing when you work with nature, every day is different.
Jackson Orchards, usually claim the first cherries of the season in Central Otago around mid November. By mid December our main crops of rich flavoured Dawson and sweet white fleshed Florence Cherries are available. Later varieties include red and crunchy Bing, the larger Lapins and finally our sweet plump Regal Cherries in the New year.
Royal Rosa apricots and Spring Crest Peaches herald the start of the stonefruit harvest. Our favourite the Clutha Sun Apricot competes well with the Moorpark Apricot, both are excellent for preserving. The apricot season ends late February.
Between December and February fresh Peaches, Nectarines, Greengages and Plums are readily available. Most popular varieties are the white fleshed Bright Pearl Nectarines and White Lady Peach, also the yellow fleshed Elegant Lady Peaches. Some varieties like the Black Doris & Omega Plums and Golden Queen Peaches are not available until March.
At the end of the season apples and pears are picked with some varieties keeping well, right into October/November.
"From the growers, through the pickers, graders and packers, all of us at Jackson Orchards are dedicated to bringing you the best stone and pip fruits New Zealand has to offer."