II. Founder and Owner
Howard Hansen is the 4th generation owner of Hansen Orchards. Howard and his father Carl work side by side to each other each day and together they ensure Hansen Orchards continue the tradition of growing and supplying high quality apples and cherries to their valued customers.
“GROWING UP ON THE ORCHARD I NEVER CONTEMPLATED ANY OTHER CAREER.”– HOWARD HANSEN
It’s no surprise Howard loved the farm ‐ after all, growing has been the Hansen family business for four generations.
Howard Hansen’s great grandfather Carl began growing apples in Tasmania in the 1890’s at Nubeena on the Tasman Peninsula. In 1944, Howard’s grandfather Rupert relocated his family to the Huon Valley with the purchase of an existing apple orchard at Grove. Six decades later, the Huon Valley property is still the heart of the family business, home to the cool stores, packing facilities and offices, not to mention Howard and his family.
While there is a great tradition to the family business, the Hansen’s refuse to stand still. In 1994, Howard studied late season sweet cherry production, and in the years since has turned Hansen Orchards into one of the biggest cherry growers in Australia, exporting to more than twelve countries.
III. Mission and Visions
A Shared Passion of Perfection with Proud Heritage and Perfect Climate.
“The Thing I enjoy most about being a grower is producing healthy fruit out of nothing more than sunligh, water and love”.–Howard Hansen
The vision at Hansen Orchards is to strengthen the growing global demand and recognition for premium Tasmanian cherries and apples. They invest heavily into all aspects of their business to ensure they consistently provide valued customers with the premium product they so proudly produce.
Capitalised on Tasmania’s unique growing environment:
Tasmania has a rich history in the apple industry, so much so that it is commonly known throughout the world as the ‘Apple Isle.’ The temperate to cool maritime climate of Tasmania and the long growing season of the Huon Valley allows Hansen Orchards to grow firm, highly coloured, sweet apples with a long shelf life. It also allows them to have the latest maturing cherries in the southern hemisphere. Their cherries are bigger, sweeter and firmer than those from warmer growing regions around the world.
Planting a new orchard takes two years of planning, allowing the nursery time to produce the trees, prepare the land and install the irrigation. “It’s a long process,” says Howard, “usually it takes 2‐4 years for the tree to grow before we can begin harvesting.”
During winter the trees are bare, but by early spring they burst into beautiful blossoms that are pollinated by bees and turned from flowers into fruit. Throughout the growing season the trees are cared for with water and nutrition, and kept free of pests and diseases. They use only approved sprays to their Quality Assurance standard. The cherries are ripe to harvest in January and February, then soon after in March, the apples are ready to be picked.
Continuously innovate and improve farming practices to maximize fruit quality:
Growing delicious apples and cherries is an art that the Hansen family has perfected over the generations.
Hansen Orchards have invested in new varieties and new strains of existing varieties and coupled this with the world’s best growing practices. Also, their commitment and investment in quality control and their ability to distribute to the consumer within a day or two of the fruit being picked through innovative approaches is impressive.
Howard Hansen is using cutting edge technology to manage the frost risk at his Derwent Valley property. Howard uses this system to not only protect his crop from frost but to gather live information regarding the farms soil moisture levels, wind temperature and leaf wetness. This information is key in making informed decisions across the entire property.
Recently, they added world-class quality control machinery to the packing process – The first of its kind in the world! Together with their brand new state-of-the-art packing facility situated on their farm, they have capitalised on their unique growing environment to provide their customers with the premium products that they produce.
During the peak picking season, Hansen Orchards employs around 450 people for the production, storage and packing and of its award-winning apples and cherries. Since the introduction of cherries into the business in 1997, Hansen Orchards’ cherries have gained a reputation for excellence. They are now sought-after in the Asian markets, with exports to China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and also to USA.
The core varieties of apples they supply into Asia are:
• Royal Gala
• Pink Lady
• Tiger Fuji
They are available 12 months of the year with harvest from March to May.
They grow a range of cherry variety and timing is as follows:
w/c 1/1: Van, Stella, Sylvia, Kordia
w/c 8/1: Sylvia, Lapin, Kordia
w/c 15/1: Sylvia, Lapin, Kordia, Regina, Sweet Georgia
w/c 22/1: Lapin, Regina, Sweet Georgia, Sweetheart
w/c 29/1: Lapin, Regina, Sweet Georgia, Sweetheart, Staccato
w/c 5/2: Lapin, Regina, Sweetheart, Staccato
w/c 12/2: Sweetheart, Staccato