8 Aug 2014

Kaipara Kumara

From Country Life, 9:29 pm on 8 August 2014

Harvesting kumara for Kaipara KumaraHarvesting kumara for Kaipara Kumara.

Kumara are fifth off the block when it comes to how much New Zealanders spend on vegetables. Potatoes are well on top, followed by tomatoes, lettuce and mushrooms, and in 2013 kumara was next, ahead of carrots.

Ruawai kumara grower Anthony Blundell says he is thrilled about that, and points it out to his carrot growing colleagues a lot. He's managing director of the family owned business, Kaipara Kumara, which was set up by his  father in 1970. Anthony says he well remembers how he and brother Peter used to spend their holidays weeding, planting or harvesting kumara and pumpkin.

"But it taught us to work hard. Dad always said a fair day's work for a fair day's pay." And it's certainly something he's instilling in his three children as they too spend some of their holiday time working in the kumara sheds or offices.

At present the main issue facing kumara growers is finding ways to increase demand for fresh or processed product, both here and internationally. A trial shipment of 250 kilogrammes of fresh kumara's recently gone to Malaysia and Mr Blundell says it was well received so they're looking at sending more later this year.

Owairaka Red kumara                                                   Owairaka Red kumara.