One of the biggest commercial macadamia nut orchards and associated macadamia nut food product processing and manufacturing operations in New Zealand has been placed on the market for sale.
The 9.6-hectare Top Notch Macadamias operation at Patetonga on the Hauraki Plains near the base of the Coromandel produces some 15 tonnes of the high-value hand-harvested nuts annually – all of which are processed on-site and marketed through an established retail network, and directly via on-line sales.
Among Top Notch’s vast product catalogue range is: salted nuts, roasted nuts, chocolate-coated macadamia nuts, honey caramel nuts, macadamia muesli, sweet macadamia brittle, macadamia butter, and macadamia dukkah.
The Top Notch Macadamias freehold land at 40A Top Road, buildings, and macadamia growing/processing and retailing business are being marketed for sale at auction on November 30 through Bayleys Waikato.
Salesperson Josh Smith said that in addition to processing its own crop, Top Notch Macadamias also contracted its husking, drying, grading and packaging services to several smaller private macadamia nut growers throughout New Zealand.
The business’s commercial property infrastructure includes a function centre as part of the nut processing plant, commercial-grade kitchen, and 117 square metres of implement sheds.
In addition, the property’s support buildings encompass a recently renovated and refurbished three-bedroom 216 square metre owner/manager’s home, as well as a self-contained 35 square metre one-bedroom worker’s cottage which is rented out as guest accommodation during the nut off-season – which coincides with the New Zealand summer period.
Mr Smith said Top Notch Macadamias was set up to grow revenues from its function venue operations – which had seating for 50 guests, but had been run as an adjunct to the nut processing plant and operations.
“The open plan vaulted-ceiling space at the front of the processing facility has been used for corporate functions and wedding receptions on an ad-hoc basis while the business owners have focused primarily on the growing and processing the nuts,” Mr Smith said.
“There is considerable opportunitiy for someone with a hospitality operations and marketing background to join Top Notch Macadamias and expand that hospitality functions aspect of the business under lease, contract or as the owner/operator.
“The commercial kitchen used for the added-value processing of the raw nut product is located at the rear of the 377 square metres semi-circular building. The function room amenity is separated by a wall, yet is easily accessible – allowing for the production and service of meals and beverages away from the view of guests. The venue has commercial bathroom facilities and is wheelchair-accessible.
“Additionally, or alternatively, there is a considerable grassed space within the grounds of the Top Road property to plant a further 100 macadamia trees. The resulting crop from those trees could in time increase production volumes by some 10 percent.”
Top Notch Macadamias’ orchard is spread over three landscaped tiers – with the farm employing an organic approach to both pest control and the health maintenance of root stock. The nut orchard is a designated ‘spray free zone’ - instead encouraging birds to perform natural pest control.
The macadamia nut harvesting season runs from July through to September. Top Notch’s nuts are hand-harvested, with trees pruned at the same time to ensures the branches and leaf canopy have an ongoing abundance of sun and air to promote a continuing healthy nut crop each subsequent year.
Macadamia trees are fertilised in autumn and spring. Soil and foliage samples are taken on the farm every second year to ensure nutrients are maintained at optimum levels. Macadamia trees require sufficient nutrition in advance of cropping as the production of oil within the nut has a huge draw on the tree’s nutrition reserves.
Harvested macadamia kernels are de-husked within 24 hours of picking. The resulting nuts are placed directly into drying bins in bulk amounts in the processing factory and are dried with a constantly-running computer-monitored ducted heating system.
When dry, the nuts are then conveyed to the cracker, where the kernel and shell are separated before being graded according to size. A 150 gramme scoop of processed Top Notch Macadamia nuts retails for around $12.
“This ‘tree-to-packet’ vertically integrated business allows for total quality control throughout all phases of the cropping and processing, and gives its owners the freedom to experiment with different consumer products as public tastes change and emerge,” Mr Smith said.