Bullcreek – Ross & Judy Derbridge

Bullcreek Orchard is situated in Longlands, Hastings, Hawke's Bay. The orchard is made up of a home block of 4 hectares and another 16 hectare leased block nearby. Bullcreek's home block has only had three owners in the past 100 years and MEG growers,the Derbidges, have owned the property for the past 20 years.

Apart from some of the pear trees on Bullcreek's home block, which are now over 100 years old, many of the apple trees have been replaced several times over in the past century. Since owning the block the Derbridge's  have been replaced most of the original apples with higher coloured varieties at closer spacings.

  • Orchard Name: Bullcreek Orchard
  • Owners & Operators: Ross & Judy Derbridge
  • Location: 1036 Riverslea Rd Sth Longlands Hastings, Hawke's Bay
  • Size: 20ha
  • Varieties: Royal Gala, Galaxy, Brookfield, Pacific Beauty, Pacific Rose, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Pink Lady, Fuji

The Derbridges

Ross and Judy Derbidge are the current owners of Bullcreek Orchard. Ross manages the orchard on a day-to-day basis and also handles administration. Bullcreek has four permanent staff and employ another 20-plus workers during thinning and harvesting periods.
After having previous careers, Ross & Judy became orchardists 20 years ago so they could enjoy the natural seasonal lifestyle that living and working on an orchard offers. The Derbridge's are at-home with their small boutique operation and they love growing apples in what they truly believe is the best apple growing region in the world.

Bullcreek Apple Varieties

Bullcreek's main variety is Royal Gala (60% of their crop) with secondary varieties being Galaxy and Brookfield. These three varieties are the most popular apples in the world and most people are familiar with their sweet flavour. Other than these three apple types, Bullcreek also grow Pacific Beauty and Pacific Rose, which are both sweet, large apples. The Derbridges  also produce Granny Smith, Braeburn and Pink Lady along with Fuji.
In any given year Bullcreek pack approximatey 45,000 cartons of export fruit, which is equivalent to 45 container loads. Pacific Beauty and Royal Gala are the first picked in February before harvesting through the varieties to Pink Lady, which is the last picked in April-May.

Great Apples Grow In Fertile Soils

Bullcreek's two orchard blocks are planted in Hawke's Bay's typical soil type of silty loam. This soil is a very fertile sand-like substrate over a heavier clay that  retains water very well, minimising the need for irrigation. However Bullcreek does experience a few into spring frosts, so Bullcreek's apple trees are almost entirely covered by overhead sprinklers to remove the damaging effects of 'Jack Frost'.
All Bullcreek's fruit is GlobalGap approved with the orchard's standards audited annually. Looking forward, Bullcreek will continue to replace outdated apple varieties with new varieties relative to future demand. The new variety Dazzle is an exciting prospect for Bullcreek, so watch this space.

The Derbridge's are at-home with their small boutique operation and they love growing apples in what they truly believe is the best apple growing region in the world.

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