This year industry experts are predicting the kiwifruit harvest could be its biggest ever and set another record.
That milestone will have serious economic spinoffs for the region as the Bay of Plenty continues to navigate its way through the turmoil of Covid-19.
More than 80 per cent of New Zealand's kiwifruit orchards are in the Bay and last season growers received returns of $1.5 billion.
Demand for Zespri gold kiwifruit licences has also continued to outstrip supply.
Last year, Gold 3 licences commanded a median average of $400,000 a hectare compared to $290,000 in 2019.
Meanwhile, prices for quality gold and green orchards have also skyrocketed, which has put them out of reach for many young growers, according to New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc.
So no one can deny the sector is booming and has arguably been one New Zealand's best export success stories throughout the pandemic.
But it has not been without challenges or criticism.
There have been labour shortages because of border restrictions and fewer migrant workers. There have been campaigns to attract more Kiwis into seasonal and fulltime jobs.
And there have been calls to increase wages and let some of those packhouse workers and pickers skim a bit of cream off the top.
Industry data shows in 2020 the average picking rates were in excess of $23/hour while packhouse rates were lower and varied between employers.
It's estimated this season 20,000 seasonal workers will be needed to fill roles and while a lot of those workers are already doing summer work on orchards - thousands more will be needed.
I have done seasonal work myself in the past and was rewarded for it. I was paid well for working in the shearing sheds and I think those in the kiwifruit industry deserve a fair shake.
But here is the rub. Traditionally, Kiwis have not been attracted to seasonal work in the orchards so an alternative workforce has been sourced from overseas.
That workforce in my view is cheap labour because they can make a fortune in New Zealand - compared to wages in their own countries - so hence the catch 22.
I noticed last season rates had started to move upwards and I hope that trend continues.