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David Holwerda: Setting Up Orchard Poles

Fortress Farms Ltd

Building premium horticultural and viticultural developments is something that David Holwerda has been doing for the past five years.

Growing up on a kiwifruit orchard in Katikati, Bay of Plenty, David has a vast amount of knowledge about the industry. After four years of working for his family’s business, Sabre Construction, David decided to go out on his own.

Fortress Farms Ltd was created in August 2023 after a stint in Northland working on kiwifruit, avocado and blueberry farms. David has also spent time in Gisborne, Auckland and the Bay of Plenty installing kiwifruit and apple orchards, and completing a variety of jobs across the North Island. Having relocated to the South Island, David mentioned that this was the first time that he’s worked on a cherry orchard. “I love it down here; it was the best move ever, and I’m not going back. Hopefully things continue to grow down here and we can keep expanding,” David said.

David highlighted that every orchard is different, depending on the size, what you want to plant, what varieties etc. “I get a blank canvas, then get told what the clients want, design it, spec it up, price it up, and then it’s up to the client what they want to do. Once they accept it, we get to work,” he said. At Lowburn Cherries, Fortress Farms is implementing strong anchor points, triple tie-backs, and strong raker poles in the cherry block due to the high wind zone and the possibility of facing snow and hail. The project is intended to be completed in two years from start to finish, including site mark-out, post installation, cables, and nets fixed.

“We’re always looking to expand and explore different crops in different locations. We’ve had enquiries from large corporations in the States and Australia, so that could be on the horizon, but I’d like to stay down in Central Otago. We’re just trying to come down here and build the strongest, best blocks that we can. Seeing progress is the coolest thing ever. Every day you come and you’ve made a big dent, covering a huge amount of area in a short time.”