The 2023 passionfruit crop has survived the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle in areas such as Northland, the Bay of Plenty and Taranaki and is beginnnig to arrive in stores across the country.
Passionfruit are a labour-intensive crop that require careful management throughout the growing season.
Debbie Baxter, President of the New Zealand Passionfruit Growers Association, says this season has been a particularly challenging one for growers. “Like many other growers, we faced difficult weather conditions throughout the season. Many of our growers were affected by the severe frost in October and the vines have taken some time to bounce back from that,” she says.
“While we haven’t lost a large amount of fruit, the lack of sunshine hours this summer has delayed production by as much as four weeks in certain areas.”
Baxter notes that getting passionfruit to shoppers is a delicate balance that requires a lot of care and expense.
“Growing passionfruit is a real labour of love. High costs are incurred from pruning and daily picking for months. Passionfruit vines are prone to disease, and, despite careful management, we have a high rate of replacement for plants that have died. In the past year alone, some of our growers lost 100 percent of their vines, while others left the industry altogether,” says Baxter.
Plant & Food Research Principal Scientist and 5+ A Day Charitable Trust spokesperson, Dr Carolyn Lister says that passionfruit provide significant nutritional value for their size.
“The cost of two passionfruit equates to a cup of coffee – but at the same price, passionfruit delivers the nutritional benefits of dietary fibre to keep your gut healthy, and powerful antioxidants such as vitamins C and E to support your immune system. Plus, their intense sweet and tangy flavour is unbeatable,” she says.
About 5+ A Day
The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust was established in 2007 for the benefit of all Kiwis, especially children. The Trust is committed to increasing the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables for better health in all New Zealanders. We encourage all Kiwis to eat five or more servings of colourful, fresh vegetables and two servings of fruit every day for health and vitality. Our key messages are in line with our Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation’s recommendations. The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust is funded by voluntary contributions from New Zealand’s pan produce industry.
Find more ideas, tips and recipes on the 5+ A Day website, www.5aday.co.nz, or follow @5adaynz on social media.