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“They’re popular because they’re healthy, and great for kids’ school lunches and the like.”
Ian Tietjen knows mandarins. In fact, he’s known them inside out for the best part of four decades. “My first mandarin trees I grew from scratch in the mid-1980s,” he says. After a foray into kiwifruit growing, Ian was drawn back to growing mandarins due to their huge popularity.
Ian takes pride in producing a healthy product that provides excellent utility to families. “I get great satisfaction in growing good mandarins and shipping them out to consumers,” he says. And his mandarins sure are good. In fact, Ian’s fruit has occasionally been perceived as too good to be true. “I was once accused of getting the rejects from one batch of my fruit from one packhouse and taking it to another packhouse, because the fruit came off the trees so shiny. It looked so good in the bin they thought it had already been through a washer-waxer!”
Ever-modest Ian puts this premium quality down to that citrus-growing magic present in the soil, sunshine and water in Tairawhiti Gisborne. “I give a lot of credit to where I am, the position where I am, and the great free-draining soil I’ve got – thanks to the microclimate here, we get great results,” says Ian. Ian has been providing his top-quality mandarins exclusively to First Fresh since 1995.
Ian’s been in the biz long enough to have had premium results with numerous different varieties of mandarins. As consumer preferences have shifted over time, Ian has pivoted to grow the mandarins you (and your kids) prefer to eat. “The market now wants seedless, easy peel mandarins, so that’s where we’re heading,” says Ian. “They’re popular because they’re healthy, and great for kids’ school lunches and the like. They’re ideal for little hands, because they’re easy to peel,” says Ian. “In fact, when the school holidays are on, we notice a real downturn in mandarin demand!”
A tasty, portable immune booster: mandarins provide 67% of your daily vitamin C needs.Learn more
From our trees to your kitchen
Always a snack, never a starring role? Not so! These delicious mandarin recipes put sweet and juicy First Fresh mandarins at centre stage. Now that’s a-peelin’!View Recipes