Free avocados Auckland's best-kept secret?

  • 16/01/2015

An "isolated" reserve in south Auckland is continuing to offer freebies of the healthy kind this summer.

For around the past 15 years, the council has let the public pick avocados from the orchard at Otuataua Stonefields in Mangere.

While the community orchard approach is not new, visitors are able to go and harvest the avocados for free between November and March each year, with a limit of five per person.

Auckland Council parks ranger Anna Baine says the reserve is not widely known about.

"It's quite isolated, and for that reason you probably don't get as many visitors as you would get otherwise to the orchard itself," she says.

"There's a marae just down the road and they're aware of it, so that's probably the bulk of the people that visit the reserve to pick or harvest avocados."

The Avondale community in Auckland is also working to grow free fruit for the public. A group known as the Avondale Community Gardeners, mostly made up of local residents, is hoping to plant a series of orchards in reserves across the suburb.

Ms Baine says it's a good idea that would bring "huge" health, social, community and cultural benefits.

"I think community ownership is really important – that's probably something that's lacking in terms of the Otuataua avocado orchard," she says.

"It probably would pay to look carefully at what you're planting as well. Some fruit trees would be better than others to plant in a public land situation."

A council spokesperson says a trial Avondale orchard with apple, fig, pear and plums trees has been planted in Orchard Street Reserve, and its success will determine if more community orchards are planted in the future.

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source: newshub archive