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Summer of Cherries

Please consider pre-ordering our cherries for this summer through our retail brand New Zealand Zero. Intercept them before they get exported, and support zero fossil fuel farming.

The World's First 100% Electric, Zero Fossil Fuel Orchard.

Forest Lodge Orchard is a 6-hectare, high-density cherry orchard in Central Otago, New Zealand that operates without burning fossil fuels. We believe we are the first commercial food grower in the world to achieve this goal. Everything from irrigation, frost fighting, vehicles and even NZ's first electric tractor are powered through New Zealand's highly renewable grid and through our own power that we generate and store using our extensive solar and battery array. 

Electrification of our farm was essentially the replacement of 20 fossil fuel machines with an electric version. This has led to some incredible operational savings, which ultimately increases our bottom line and the climate being a key focus, and we believe New Zealand's future as a food-producing nation will excel with our ability to optimise costs and bring down our carbon footprint.

In January 2022, we completed our first harvest which was sold through Farro Fresh supermarkets in Auckland. This small harvest proved that consumers were willing to pay a 15% premium for fresh produce they saw as a systematic behavioural change in the name of the climate.

In January 2023 our first export shipments landed in Taiwan where we were rewarded for our quality and climate focus. 2024 will see us grow our production by 400% as our trees have reached maturity and we look forward to sharing the books on our first fully profitable year.

Growing the World's Best

Forest Lodge is a six-hectare cherry orchard with just over 9300 cherry trees that uses close to 100MWh of power a year to run everything from our electric tractor to our electric chainsaws, our irrigation and our frost fighting systems.

New Zealand grows the best cherries in the world; hands down. But in a global commodity market, we need to be as efficient as we can in order to compete. Lowering our energy costs through electrification has been one way to help achieve this to help maintain profitability.

We have a 45kW solar array (max roof space available) which covers about 40% of our energy use. The rest of the energy we get from New Zealand's highly renewable energy grid but we do it in a smart way. We are on a wholesale spot price market contract meaning we try to buy power when it's really cheap (and highly renewable) and sell power back to the grid when it's expensive and probably involves coal power generation at Huntly. Infinite Energy installed our system and together we won an award for the best grid-connected renewable system in 2019.

It's not perfect, but it's pretty good. We have reduced our entire energy bill including all line charges, levies, GST and consumption down to $5000 a year, and are on a mission to get to a net zero energy bill for our house and farm.

Farms could be the future of the electrification of all of New Zealand. We have the space to house solar arrays and batteries and could be little micro power stations with a diversity of revenue streams. The future is bright in electric farming!



Upright Fruit Offshoots

UFO is a high-density growing system where trees are trained on a 2D wire trellis with upright offshoots that produce the cherries.


This allows us to plant 1650 trees per hectare over the traditional 666 per hectare. We can irrigate, train and maintain our trees using less land, water and effort while allowing greater growth with higher levels of light inception.

An extra 15% light inception and a more intensive growing system allows for a 50% to 100% increase in yield per hectare.

Our Monarch Tractor can drive our rows without a driver and this was made much easier with a 2D system. We can also 3D model and collect data on our trees into an app called FruitMinder so that we can perform crop and harvest analysis and pioneer the future of automatic harvesting.

UFO also provides rain resistance because the leaves on our spurs naturally fall down over the cherries on the upright branches providing a natural canopy of protection. This leads to quality firm fruit with fewer blemishes, splits and cracks brought on by unpredictable weather.

A UFO is much more capital-intensive to establish and we look forward to sharing the payback on this capital expenditure as we become a full production orchard in 2027 (when our trees have grown up!).

Electric Technology

No fossil fuels means the latest in electrification technology, sourced from around the world and some fine kiwi-ingenuity to fill the remaining gaps. In total, we have electrified 20 machines across our house and farm.


  • 2 Frost Fighting Fans

  • 2 Irrigation Pumps

  • Solar (23kW)

  • Batteries (105kWh)

  • Golf Carts x2

  • Lawnmower

  • Tractor

  • Forklift

  • Ute conversion

  • Car (x1)

  • Power Tools


  • Hot Water Heat Pump

  • Heat Pump

  • Induction Cooktop

  • Car (x1)

  • Solar (22kW)

  • Batteries (15kWh)




Scroll to learn more about Forest Lodges recent activities and timelines



Founding of Forest Lodge Orchard

A 6 hectare cherry orchard using the upright fruiting offshoots (UFO)  growing strategy



Ground broken & bore drilled

Consent to drill granted and struck water on first drilling attempt



Founding of Forest Lodge Orchard

A 6 hectare cherry orchard using the upright fruiting offshoots (UFO)  growing strategy



Ground broken & bore drilled

Consent to drill granted and struck water on first drilling attempt


Our Blog

Our Thanks

Our dream would not be a reality without the help of some amazing suppliers in Central Otago.

Special thanks to Earnscy Weaver from Weaver Horticulture, Ben Van Gool, Greg Shepard, Tom Golden and Tim Hope from Centralpac for their strong horticulture advice.

Regan and Craig from Infinite Energy, Geoff from Irrigation Services and Jason from Sangsters Electrical who are part of the furniture here at Forest Lodge. Our skilled service providers who think outside the box when it comes to farming with 100% electricity.

Thanks to Stihl, TRS Wholesale, and Loxley Innovation for being awesome NZ companies who have helped us problem-solve and achieve 100% electric farming.

We appreciate the support for our renewable vision from Simply Energy, Aurora Energy, BNZ, The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), the Ministry of Primary Industries, the Otago Regional Council and the Central Otago District Council. This is only possible with the enthusiastic support of leading visionaries within these organisations.

SEANZ, for being the first organisation to give us a platform to share our message and to the many other conference organisers who have helped us share our vision.

And finally to our international suppliers, Monarch Tractor (California), AGI Frost Fans (South Africa), and FMR Sprayers (Germany) for believing in these crazy cherry farmers from the middle of nowhere in a country that is often missed out on world maps!

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