La Ronde Orchard
Orcharding is in the Neal family blood, dating back to a great-grandfather who started his own orchard in Marlborough, three generations ago. Today, Monte Neal and his wife own La Ronde Orchards in Kumeu, which he took over from his father. It’s named after the milk bar his grandfather opened in Mission Bay in 1961 but sold to start the Kumeu orchard in 1969. A small operation of just four which swells to 10 in season, the Neal family is totally hands-on in all aspects of picking, pruning, packing and selling.
La Ronde returns to Farro this month with their apples and 1-litre juice – look for them both in the produce area. As you can imagine, after nearly five decades, the established orchard is producing some pretty exceptional fruit. They grow a diverse range of apples: Royal Gala, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Jazz, Splendor, Pink Lady, Cox’s Orange, Golden Delicious. As well as that, they also grow plums (from 100-year-old trees), citrus (tangelos, grapefruit, navels) and grapes (grown for Kumeu River Chardonnay).