Wilson & Cotfield Orchards – Des & Lesley Wilson

Desmond and Lesley Wilson own and operate  Wilson and Cotfield orchards. They have been owner-growers since 1987, when they purchased the Wilson home block from Des's parents, in 2005 they added Cotfield to their operation. The Wilson three children grew up on the properties and are integral to the operation. In 2016, Des and Lesley's son, Alex, started the New Zealand Fruitgrowing Apprenticeship and is now a full-time employee tasked with undertaking day-to-day operations, staff management and logistics. Des and Lesley's two daughters maintain a keen interest in the orchard, with Stephanie undertaking a career in agribusiness, and Anna assists in managing internships at the University of Canterbury.

  • Orchard Name: Wilson & Cotfield Orchards
  • Owners & Operators: Des & Lesley Wilson
  • Location: Dartmoor Valley, Puketapu, Hawke's Bay
  • Size: 24ha
  • Varieties: Pacific Beauty, Royal Gala, Pacific Queen, Braeburn, Pacific Rose

A Family Affair

Last year the Wilsons' son Alex returned home to work on the two orchards. Alex is the sixth generation of the Wilson family to enter into the horticulture / agriculture industries in New Zealand and is currently undertaking an apprenticeship in fruit growing.
The Wilsons maintain a philosophy of working, as a team, to their strengths. They  aim to grow the best apples in the world making best use of the wonderful Hawke’s Bay climate.

Being a hands-on family operation they're able to focus on the finer details in order to grow exceptional apples for export markets.

Wilson & Cotfield Apples

The varieties grown by the Wilsons are, in order of availability, Pacific Beauty, Royal Gala, Pacific Queen, Braeburn and Pacific Rose. They begin harvesting their orchard in early February and continue through to early May.
The Wilsons grow their apple crops in the gorgeous Dartmoor Valley in Puketapu, Hawke's Bay, where the fertile soils have been laid down over hundreds and thousands of years by the Tutaekuri River. The valley's climate is perfect for producing high-coloured, crisp, sweet, and juicy New Zealand apples. The valley has cool night-time temperatures and temperate days with plenty of sun – the perfect environment to produce the perfect apple.

The Future With The Wilsons

The Wilsons are always looking for ways to improve production with regards to both sustainability and quality. They were among the first growers in New Zealand to take up the world-class New Zealand Integrated Fruit Production system back in the late 1980s. There are some exciting developments in the near future with new and innovative growing systems in Hawke's Bay and they're keen to integrate new ideas in apple growing with their own growing philosophy.

The Wilsons work to their strengths, as a team, striving to grow the best apples in the world under the wonderful Hawke’s Bay climate, the fresh clear water and fertile soils.

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