Apple Puree in Kāpiti Spicy Apple Crumble Ice cream

Jason Mclean, Orchard Manager at Freshco.
(The Fresh Fruit Company of New Zealand Ltd)

Who are you and what do you do?

I come from a farming family, moved to Hawke's Bay in 1990 and started working in the horticultural industry, I completed a cadetship and worked for several orchards learning to grow different crops, everything from peaches/nectarines to apples and asparagus working my way up to orchard manager. For the last 9 years I have been working for Freshco running several orchards and developing new blocks as we expand.

Jason Mclean with rows of apple trees.

Tell us about the produce you harvest and grow?

I'm currently growing a range of apple varieties to the highest standard for export and local market, also supplying fruit to our Frupak Process Factory when required. The Granny Smiths I harvested this year were of excellent quality as they were grown and harvested especially for our process factory.

‍What makes these produce and ingredients so special to the region and in New Zealand?      

Hawkes's Bay has the perfect climate for growing quality apples with exceptional flavour, and the horticulture industry in Hawke's Bay employs a large number of locals in both harvesting fruit to packing for export, contributing to the region and New Zealand's economic growth.  


Spiced apple ice cream with crunchy cinnamon crumble pieces flowing through a creamy ice cream base. Our take on the classic dessert.

‍How are these ingredients used in our Kāpiti Apple Crumble Ice cream?

This year I had the opportunity to supply Granny Smith apples to our Freshco Frupak process factory to make Granny Smith apple puree. This was supplied by Freshco Frupak to Kāpiti ice creams to be used in their premium Apple crumble ice cream.

‍What is the journey from harvesting/growing these ingredients to getting it into our Kāpiti Ice Cream?

Harvesting Granny's begins in early April, bins are trucked from the orchard each day to our cool stores to maintain the cool chain, keeping the fruit in the best possible condition, allowing the process factory to optimize the fruit at its best for their specific needs. Once processed into a whole fruit apple puree (pure fruit, no sugar added) it is then sent on to Kāpiti ice creams.

What's the one thing you love about your job? / What keeps you optimistic?

The challenge of getting the best quality fruit of each block/orchard. Working with my orchard team who are just as passionate about producing a quality product as I am. More recently seeing an empty paddock I was given to develop into an orchard (2013) coming into full production.

I think what keeps me optimistic is that even after 32yrs in this industry you still keep learning and with new technology coming out, with new growing systems changing how we grow our trees, needing a whole new way of looking at how to get that tree into full production and producing quality fruit. This industry is expanding in both size and new variety’s coming on line and that’s exciting.