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Anne Krebiehl: Seventh blog from New Zealand harvest

Published:  01 May, 2009

For the duration of the harvest I am staying at Jackson's Orchard just outside Cromwell. Before stubborn pioneers like Sue Edwards and Verdun Burgess of Black Ridge, Lois and Rolfe Mills of Rippon and Alan Brady of Gibbston Valley started planting vines in 'Central' in the 1980s (more of their wines in a later instalment), horticulture was and to a degree still is the mainstay of this area: Central Otago cherries and apricots are famous and there are many apple orchards, too.

Now in autumn the roadside stalls are fully stocked. I can stay at the orchard amidst rows and rows of trellised apricot trees since the season is over. Usually the huts, former motel units that were moved here, are occupied by the cherry, peach and apricot pickers and when I arrived, I saw the last fragrant batches of peaches being despatched. Since I moved in, the orchard has turned colour and I can walk ankle-deep through russet-coloured leaves to State Highway No. 6. From Jackson's own fruit stall I can buy milk, apples and tomatoes and one of these days I will have to try the Otago cherries in Kirsch. My neighbours are two Ecuadorean girls harvesting for Mount Edward and three Thai fruit pickers who keep making Tom Yum Soup in our shared kitchen shack. It is very quiet and very beautiful here and having my own little hut is luxurious.

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