New Zealand’s first-ever commercial pineapple crop is almost ready to harvest in Northland.

When Linda and Owen Schafli announced their plans to grow tropical fruit in Whangārei, specifically bananas and pineapples, their vision was met with scepticism as it had never been done before.

But now, with 22,000 pineapples in the ground and 10,000 ready to harvest, the proof is in the pineapple pudding.

The pair plan to scale up their spray-free operation to 30,000 by the end of the year and then to 50,000 and 60,000 over the next few years.

The main crop is a particularly sweet gourmet variety called the Queen which has an edible core.

The Schafli’s are also growing bananas, papayas, passionfruit, sugarcane, dragon fruit and coffee on their land. The pineapples will initially be available at the Whangārei grower’s market with hopes to send them to Auckland and the South Island in the future.