Geraldine farmers Gerald and Judy Pemberton grow Komatsuna radish seeds on their arable farm near Geraldine in South Canterbury.
The radish grows best on the 44th parallel and this fertile area south of Ashburton is one of only a few places on the parallel that has the right conditions to be able to commercially grow the seed of this spicy sprout.
The Pemberton's are contracted to grow the crop for South Pacific Seeds, a specialist hybrid vegetable seed production company based in Methven. Its South Canterbury field manager, Jon Hanrahan, inspects the radishes regularly.
"At the moment it's just going through the maturing stage, actually its due to be sprayed off tonight and we'll desecate it and from then it takes about three weeks to allow the pods to weather and become thrashable so we can get the seeds from the pods," he says.
South Pacific Seeds also donates some of its other seeds to the Rotary Garden Club; a competition to encourage local primary school children to grow vegetables with the help of their parents. It's a project that Gerald, a keen Rotarian, has been involved in for years. "I think it's been going on for at least 30 years and it's a sought after project for a lot of children."
After a rigorous judging process, the top three green-fingered gardeners in the Garden Club win cash prizes for their efforts. Judy Pemberton is one of the judges and clocks up a few miles in the process. "This year we had 160 gardens to visit." Gardens this year were in Geraldine, the Kakahu Valley, Clandeboye, Rangitata South, Temuka and Winchester.