An orchard in the small Central Otago town of Clyde is giving away free fruit as a thank you for everyone doing the hard yards during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Trevor and Lyn Newton, originally sheep and beef farmers from Mataura, are using their “retirement patch” for a good cause.
Two weeks into the Covid-19 lockdown, the leaseholders of 17 years left and the Newtons didn’t know what to do with the 10 tonnes of fruit due to ripen soon.
The pair soon discovered it was easier to give away the fruit away than to pick, pack and sell it – so they hatched a plan to donate it to “those who did the hard yards during Covid”, Trevor said.
Truckloads of free fruit were then sent on its way to the meat and dairy factory workers, schools, medical centres and hospitals all over Southland.
“They work hard, they fronted up to work every day,” Lyn said. “We wanted to do it for them.”
Ag Proud NZ, which helped coordinate the dispersal of the bountiful gift, said close to 5000 Southland locals have benefited from the delivery.
“We’re going around all the processing plants in South Otago and Southland at this stage, just a big thank you from the farmers for all the employees of these processing plants getting on with things during Covid lockdown,” AG Proud NZ chair Jon Pemberton told Seven Sharp.
“We all know it was a pretty tense time for people and the social distancing and all the uncertainties made working conditions pretty tough for these people.”