By working so hard to develop Kumara Fusion we have shown our kids that they can do whatever they want to do in life. That's the beautiful thing". Olga Martinez Co-founder Kumara Fusion
A Basque couple comes up with a new way to eat Kumara.
They came from the old world to New Zealand for a better life. They’ve stayed and invented a new kumara dessert.
This is a story then of an innovative couple, discovered at a farmers’ market in Whangarei selling their home-made kumara product, then called “Kumara Delight”.
The pair was told to apply to the government backed organisation “Callaghan Innovation”. Soon they had access to high tech facilities for research and product development at the Auckland based “Food Bowl”, a hub for food innovation.
Olga and Carlos come from the Basque region of Spain, population three million, and for centuries a hot bed of nationalism. Olga’s first language is Basque not Spanish. Her family comes from the market town of Guernica which was infamously bombed by the Germans during the Spanish Civil War, and now immortalised in a vast mural by Pablo Picasso.
That’s a bit by the way of a background. Anyway, five years ago, Olga and Carlos were looking for some place new to call home; somewhere where they could spend more time with their children.
But after settling in Northland, accountant Carlos developed gluten intolerance, so the couple then cast around for ideas of alternative foods he could eat. They tried making quince paste a Basque favourite, but couldn’t source enough fruit. An internet search pointed them to what they’ve dubbed the ‘root of goodness’… the golden kumara.
After boiling the kumara down and mixing it with seaweed extract agar for thickening , they developed a product much like the quince paste. They’ve also now combined it with honey or chocolate.
Olga says they have an offer from Foodstuffs to stock Kumara Fusion in its North Island stores. They hope to raise a minimum of seventy thousand dollars through Pledge Me, to begin proper commercial production.
Olga says the yellow kumara in particular has a lot of good minerals and vitamins. The New Zealand Herald reports that Jamie Oliver has declared the sweet potato one of fourteen “hero” foods everyone must eat if they are to reach 100!
People who invest in Olga’s and Carlos’ dream gets shares in the company… a picture of themselves in a super hero costume ... and an invitation to a big thank you party, where they’ll be one of the first try Kumara Fusion before it goes out on the shelves.
Its been an amazing journey". Olga Martinez