(UPDATED COVERAGE, May 22) Pepin Heights Orchards is importing HoneyCrunch brand Honeycrisp apples from New Zealand this season, the first time the company has brought in Honeycrisps from the Southern Hemisphere.

Lake City, Minn.-based Pepin Heights, the first grower and distributor of Honeycrisps, is partnering with Timaru, New Zealand-based Waipopo Orchards on the deal, said Chris Sandwick, Pepin Heights’ director of sales and marketing.

The variety will be marketed as HoneyCrunch to differentiate it from other Honeycrisp apples that may be on the market at the same time.

Product began shipping the week of May 21, and was expected to continue to about mid-June, Sandwick said.

“Volume is limited this year,” he said. “We expect a swift ramp-up to higher volumes over the next two years.”

HoneyCrunch apples are on a par, quality-wise, with the best Honeycrisps grown in the U.S. Sandwick said.

“For the past twenty years, Pepin Heights has been seeking out growing regions and climates that produce great Honeycrisp apples,” he said. “This is the first opportunity to bring great Honeycrisp up from the Southern Hemisphere.”