Our goal is to grow and produce large volumes of cherries using entirely renewable energy sources for both export and local New Zealand markets.Forest Lodge is a 6 hectare cherry orchard using the upright fruiting offshoots (UFO) growing strategy that uses a combination of solar and battery arrays and electrified technology to grow cherries from 100% renewable energy.
We established in 2019 and will have our first production crop ready for harvest in Jan/Feb 2022.
UFO is a high density growing system where trees are trained on a wire trellis. This allows us to plant 1650 trees per hectare and create a 2D wall of cherries that are easy to grow, take care of, and harvest.
We are big on solar and battery technology as well as interactions with New Zealand's largely renewable national grid.
We are striving not to burn any fossil fuels during the food production process and that means being on the bleeding edge of electric technology as it enters the market.
Forest Lodge was founded in 2019 by Mike and Rebecca Casey and its growing operations are managed by Euan White. We have a great crew working to realise the renewable food production dream.
We can do a lot to reduce our individual carbon foot print, but we can't stop eating. We believe sustainable, low carbon practices need to be seeded in the ground of our farms and orchards.
We are documenting our journey from the moment we broke ground and for as long as we think it will be useful to other horticulturists and renewable energy enthusiasts.
Our dream would not be a reality without the help from some amazing suppliers in Central Otago, that we will blog regularly in our stories.
Special thanks to Earnscy Weaver from Weaver Horticulture, Ben Van Gool from Lake Terrace Cherries and Tim Hope from Centralpac for their growing advice.
We appreciate the support for our renewables vision from Contact Energy, BNZ, The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), the Otago Regional Council and the Central Otago District Council. This is only made possible with the enthusiastic support from these great organisations.