In 1983 Kevin Jackson saw a commercial opportunity with the 20 acre Freeway Orchard site on State Highway 8B. The new Cromwell bridge was under construction and a new State Highway planned so Kevin and 2 partners purchased some land which now borders part of State Highway 8B. An orchard was planted and a fruit stall built. The idea for ‘Freeway’ as a name for the site came about as this is also the name of state highways in the U.S.
Kevin predicted a roadside fruit stall would reap its own rewards from tourism. He was right and today Freeway’s fruit stall is popular with locals, travelling New Zealanders and international tourists. These days, the Freeway site is home to a further 4 businesses. They are Benjer Drinks, The Stoaker Room bistro, Misha’s Vineyard Cellar Door and Matt Connell Wines. You can even swap or purchase a book at the Cromwell Rotary Club’s book container, also located at Freeway.
Freeway grow and stock apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, greengages, apples and pears in season. They also have an extensive range of dried fruit, honey, nuts, preserves and fresh vegetables. There is a huge selection of bottled fruit juices which are produced on site, as well as a juice bar making freshly squeezed juices, smoothies and wheatgrass. Tea and coffee are also available. Last but not least are Freeway’s famous real fruit ice-creams, for which a visit to Cromwell is not complete without one!
In 2010 the fruit stall changed ownership from Kevin Jackson and Family to daughter Kristin. She manages the fruit stall and until recently her father Kevin and brother Mark managed the orchard as well as the ‘home’ orchard, Jackson Orchards at 73 Luggate-Cromwell Road. Very sadly, Mark passed away suddenly of a heart attack in March 2021 which has devastated his family. Kevin and Kristin are continuing what would have been Mark’s legacy.
Freeway Orchard are open 7 days a week between September and April. You can also find Freeway at the Remarkables Market in Frankton, Queenstown every Saturday between October and April, where you can see their fresh produce and best deals.
Surrounding the fruit stall is our 20 acre orchard. In spring the blossoms put on an attractive display opposite the quiet waters of Lake Dunstan.
Our fruit season gets underway in November with the first of our cherries ripe and ready to eat. The cherry season continues until early March. Cherries are especially popular at Christmas time and demand is high NZ wide for our popular cherry gift packs.
Apricots and peaches come on stream before Christmas, joined by nectarines, plums and greengages in the new year. The stone fruit season continues until April, by which time apples and pears are in full harvest. Complimenting our fruit is a huge range of fresh produce which is sourced locally and includes salads, vegetables, herbs, berries and freshly laid farm eggs. Locally produced preserves and Benjer Juices which are made on site at Freeway are also available.
COME AND SEE US
Our orchard and fruit stall are located on State Highway 8b, on the west side of the bridge at Cromwell. A large retail complex offers visitors the opportunity to browse and purchase fresh and dried fruits (including our own locally dried apricots), juices, nuts, honey, locally made preserves and regional food products as well as basic grocery items. Freeway is renowned for its real fruit ice creams, wheatgrass shots, fresh fruit juices and smoothies, made while you wait.
Make sure you have a good look at the amazing glass beehive in store. See if you can spot the Queen and watch the worker bees as they bring pollen into the hive and as they produce honey. The hive is absolutely mesmerising and hugely popular with everyone, especially families, young and old.
Customer toilets and a picnic and rest area are available for your convenience. There is ample space for car parking and vehicles with trailers, trucks, coaches etc can turn easily without needing reverse. Across the road, the local bike trail follows Lake Dunstan and from there you can cycle all the way to Clyde, going onto Alexandra and towards Roxburgh, or alternatively access the Otago Central Rail Trail at Clyde.