Meet the grower
Originally from a Western District dairy farming family, John swapped his gumboots for grapes in 1989.
John's first dried fruit property comprised 21 acres, and the year after he bought it, the vines were affected by heat stress. Times were tough, however John now sees that as a blessing because he took jobs to make ends meet, and in the process got to meet other dried fruit farmers and benefit from their experience.
Since then, John and his wife Jenny have added 33 acres their holdings. They grow mostly currants, sunglow, sunmuscats and sultanas and hope to harvest between 150 and 200 tonnes of fruit each season.
To maintain efficiency, John shares a harvester with two other dried fruit growers in the area and he also does some contract work for other growers. Jenny works off farm full time.