16 Oct 2015

Kumara Fusion

From New Zealand Society, 2:10 pm on 16 October 2015

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

Kumara Fusion with chocolate, kiwifruit and mascarpone.

Kumara Fusion with chocolate, kiwifruit and mascarpone. Photo: Courtesy 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.

Olga and Carlos Martinez say they now have a supermarket chain interested…so they’re raising finance through the crowd funding site Pledge Me to produce their Kumara Fusion commercially.

Olga and Carlos Martinez

Olga and Carlos Martinez Photo: RNZ David Steemson

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”.

Long ago and far away at the Farmer's Market, Whangarei

Long ago and far away at the Farmer's Market, Whangarei; Olga selling "Kumara Delight" Photo: Courtesy Kumara Fusion

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.

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Photo: Courtesy Kumara Fusion

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

Lamb with Kumara Fusion honey

Lamb with Kumara Fusion honey Photo: Courtesy Kumara Fusion

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