Mt Pisa Orchard
In a lifetime of farming sheep and beef cattle in the heartland of Central Otago, Mt Pisa Station landowners Murray, Jacqui and Shane Macmillan had long seen cherry orchards spring up around the region.
As agriculturalists with eyes on the future, the family was familiar with the hearty returns fetched by New Zealand cherries so when the opportunity arose to develop a parcel of land on the station for cherry production, it inspired Murray and Jacqui, son Shane and daughters Nicki and Kendra to take up the unique opportunity to invest in its diversification.
This well-documented New Zealand station (pronounced “py-sa”) is steeped in history, with farming by the same family dating from 1924. As cherry orchard locations go, historic Mt Pisa Station, set at the foot of the iconic and picturesque Pisa Range, ticks all the boxes for producing a premium product.
A snow-capped mountain backdrop in winter makes way in summer for the rugged landscape that is characteristically Central Otago.
The orchard’s natural attributes include gently sloping land with free-draining soils and little susceptibility to frosts due to its terraced position. Water here is also drawn from the Clutha River, via the Pisa Irrigation Scheme.
Until the first cherry trees were planted, this land was used to graze sheep, fatten lambs and grow supplementary winter feed. Once fully planted, the orchard will span 80 hectares.