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Primary Produce Investors Set To Crack Into Nut-Producing Orchard Up For Sale

A40 Top Road, Patetonga

One of New Zealand’s biggest commercial macadamia nut orchards and associated macadamia nut processing and manufacturing operations have been placed on the market for sale.

The 8.1-hectare Top Notch Macadamias operation at Patetonga on the Hauraki Plains near the base of the Coromandel produces more than 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 are salted nuts, roasted nuts, chocolate-coated macadamia nuts, honey caramel nuts, macadamia muesli, sweet macadamia brittle, macadamia butter, and macadamia dukkha.

A40 Top Road, Patetonga

Top Notch Macadamias’ orchard plantation 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 October. Top Notch’s nuts are hand-harvested, with trees pruned at the same time to ensure 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 on-site 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.

With this season’s harvest complete, the Top Notch Macadamias freehold land at 40A Top Road, buildings, and macadamia growing/processing and retailing going concern business are being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Waikato, with tender offers closing on December 3.

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 two-storey 337-squarre metre nut processing plant with climate-controlled drying room, along with the nut cracking, sorting, and packaging processing points. The plant structure doubles up as function centre – serviced by a commercial-grade kitchen and capable of hosting up to 60 guests
  • A 117-square metre four bay implement and equipment storage shed
  • Three climate-controlled shipping containers – used for storage of the processed crop
  • A self-contained 35.5 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

and

  • A 216-square metre owner/manager’s residence comprising a modern and well maintained three-bedroom dwelling with views over the Hauraki Plains.

Smith said the efficiently-run Top Notch Macadamias primary production business was in a good position to develop parallel revenues from its function venue operations - which ran as a non-competing 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,” Smith said.

“With the production target now achieved, there is considerable opportunity 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 a joint 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.”

Smith said that a considerable grassed space within the grounds of the Top Road property delivered the potential to plant a further 100 macadamia trees should any new owner wish to increase crop yields from the orchard.

“The land could also be used to sustain further accommodation amenities catering for the domestic tourism market, or as an adjunct to the function centre.”

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