A Family Business From the Ground Up
Building things that last has long been in the Thorpe DNA, though the road that brought Gisborne’s iconic grower to First Fresh started out in a less than rural setting.
Surprisingly Bill Thorpe, founder and Director of First Fresh, started his career waist deep in pantyhose working in the family business, Columbine Hosiery that has long been a household name.
Fortuitously in the early 70’s Bills father retired from textiles and embarked on a large horticulture development involving three Kiwifruit orchards, a Persimmon orchard and what remains today as Gisborne's largest Navel Orange orchard.
The family also developed Gisborne's first kiwifruit packhouse, packing and exporting their first kiwifruit in 1975.
In 1980 Bill decided to set up his own business establishing Thorpe Horticulture aimed at providing development services for large new plantings of kiwifruit, Persimmons, Satsumas and Nashi. Using experience gained from the family packhouse operation, Bill also supervised the construction of four new packhouses including NZ Fruits, now Gisborne's largest, in which he later became a shareholder.
During the late 80’s the logic of expanding the growing and packing activity into the marketing of Gisborne fruit and produce became obvious and Bill thus established First Fresh in 1989 ensuring the full "tree to trolley" concept was available.
Today, First Fresh works with approximately 150 local horticulturalists. Bill’s trailblazing loyalty to the region has been rewarded by his fellow growers – many of whom are second generation First Fresh clients.
Working with a diverse mix of Ma and Pa growers, lifestyle blockers and large corporate orchards, First Fresh has established a reputation for delivering outstanding support and technical advice, savvy marketing and an uncanny understanding of the wholesale marketing process.
Bill is still an active grower and, from tree to trolley, his decades of knowledge are always on hand. But Bill would be the first to tell you that First Fresh is bigger than one man.
Bill views First Fresh as a family company. That family is one he has built over many years and comprises of long serving staff, growers and customers. The value of a business lies in its people and at First Fresh the grower and client relationship is paramount - both are seen as stakeholders jointly shaping the future of this ground-breaking Gisborne business.
Hunter a highlight of Freshies awards It was almost standing room only on Thursday at Matawhero Winery as Te Karaka citrus growers Murray and Wendy Burgess were crowned supreme winners at the annual First Fresh Freshies grower awards.... read more > 1/15
First Fresh & Bill Thorpe scholar named Dylan Hall, who intends to embark on an agri-business career, is the inaugural recipient of the First Fresh and Bill Thorpe scholarship.... read more > 2/15
First Fresh wins export award The room was filled with excitement and celebration at the Napier Conference Centre as the winners of the 2018 ExportNZ ASB Hawke's Bay Export Awards were announced.... read more > 3/15
First Fresh Ltd finalist in HB Export Awards Three Gisborne companies have been named as finalists in the Export New Zealand ASB Hawke’s Bay Export Awards.... read more > 4/15
Supreme freshie for second time MATAWHERO fruit growers Clive and Amanda Lewis deservedly took out the supreme award at the third annual First Fresh “Freshies” awards recently with four wins out of five categories in which they were nominated.... read more > 5/15
Market Gardeners Limited acquires shareholding in First Fresh NZ Leading New Zealand supplier of fresh fruit and vegetables, Market Gardeners Limited, trading as MG Marketing (MG), and leading New Zealand Citrus Marketing company First Fresh NZ Limited (First Fresh), are pleased to announce that in late December 2017, MG acquired a 30% shareholding in First Fresh.... read more > 6/15
First Fresh Persimmons New Zealand’s first export of persimmons is set to leave for China after a 12 year effort to gain market access concluded successfully this week. Gisborne-based exporter First Fresh will send the trial shipment of Gisborne persimmon next month following approval from China’s quarantine authority AQSIQ.... read more > 7/15
Red carpet flavour at annual Freshies First Fresh held its second "Freshies" grower awards on Thursday 23rd February at the Dome Room and John and Irene Honey of Patutahi won the Supreme Award - The Freshies Trophy.... read more > 8/15
First Fresh take silver award First Fresh and our marketing-communications agency Tracta won a silver award at the New Zealand Direct Marketing Awards for our company's grower loyalty scheme campaign."Our Loyalty Recognition Agreement (LRA) is unique to the citrus industry and was developed to recognise the loyalty shown to us by our suppliers," said general...... read more > 9/15
Law changes for use of Organophosphate insecticides LEMON, LIME, GRAPEFRUIT AND TANGELO GROWERS... read more > 10/15
Recipe of the month Summer and ice cream go together like … well, summer and ice cream. Add Encore Mandarins into the mix and you’ve got the recipe for a delicious hot day treat. This Rippled Mandarin Curd Ice Cream is delicious with a capital D, so give it a go, you don’t even...... read more > 11/15
First Fresh NZGAP Group Scheme A number of our growers have already taken up the opportunity to become members of the First Fresh Group Scheme for NZGAP. ... read more > 12/15
First Fresh Management Calendar and Checklist Access our latest Citrus Fruit Size - Management Calendar and Checklist... read more > 13/15
First Fresh Weather Station You can view the “First Fresh” weather station on line by using the following link:... read more > 14/15
Good persimmon season with increased exports to US One of New Zealand's leading persimmon exporters is expecting a good increase in volumes this season, due to additional plantings and existing growers increasing their acreage.... read more > 15/15