The Hirst Family grow apples for export and with challenging times in the industry, started experimenting with blueberry plants in our soil and climate in 2005. We love blueberries! Each season we have an enthusiastic and hard-working team made up of our foreman, two cadets, our key orchard people and seasonal thinning and harvest staff. At Hirst we have a strong culture based around having fun on the job.
Hirst Partnership has achieved Department of Labour approved Recognised Seasonal Employer status and been granted an ‘Agreement to Recruit’ allowing us to employ seasonal orchard staff from Vanuatu. We have valued having the men work with us on the orchard, and know that their earnings will help support their families on their return.
Blueberries are a delicious summer fruit with a sweet-tart taste and are renowned for their health and nutritional benefits. Blueberries really are a ‘super-food’, filled with anti-oxidants and vitamins that help with reducing the risk of cancer, as well as preventing heart-disease and stress related illnesses. Blueberries also contain anti-aging properties.
The bloom on a blueberry is the white film that appears on the skin, it protects the blueberry from the sun but also offers health benefits. A common mis-conception is that the natural white film is residue from spray, however this is actually what is known as ‘the bloom’ and is in fact a sign of freshness and can be used as an indicator of good quality. The bloom should not be washed and should remain on blueberries until they are ready to be eaten.
The Blueberry season in New Zealand typically starts in early November and goes right through until the end of April but blueberries can be used all year round frozen, canned and even dried. They can be used in all types of cooking and baking as well as preserves.
Blueberries are the easiest fruit to pick and use in your cooking, as there is no peeling, pitting, coring, or cutting needed to use them in your recipes.