Is the produce washed before it goes into the bag?
Depends on the product – some things are washed e.g Baby cos lettuce, Mini crunchita, Shanghai bok choy and Baby white pak choy to name a few.
As the leaves are not separated, it is not possible to do a thorough wash, so it’s important customers always wash product before use. We avoid washing the spinach as the additional handling can bruise the leaves and also the added moisture can reduce the shelf life.
What chemicals do you use?
We follow a strict integrated pest management IPM programme to prevent and monitor the levels and the control of pest and diseases to reduce the use of pesticides. We take regular residue testing on our crops to make sure no residues are detected and are safe for the consumer to consume.
We intergrate biological chemistry into our programmes to help reduce and combat pests and diseases as they can out number the beneficial insects. Again biological chemistry cannot eliminate certain bugs during the year, therefore having the need to adapt to convention chemistry use when needed.
Example fungicide. Serenade, triplex, Insecticide: Xentari, pyrethrum.
The produce is damaged, why does this happen?
We grow outdoors so the growing environment is impacted by the changing weather conditions e.g. Climate Change
excess rain, and humidity creates ideal conditions for disease which affects the quality of the product.
excess high temperatures can put stress on the product causing it to go to seed – this can affect the texture of the baby cos or the stems will start to flower
excess rain can leave dew on the spinach and coriander leaves which can cause it to break down unlike the spinach harvested in summer which is dry and can last a few weeks.
Excess heat can cause the coriander to have yellow tinges on the leaves.
Why do you still use plastic packaging?
Recently we’ve been getting a few messages about our current packaging. We have been working on it for several years now, and we are well aware of our impact on the environment.
Hopefully this information will put some of you at ease, and also answer some tricky questions that have arisen.
As always we are a small family business that supports the environment and the local farming community, and we want to ensure the sustainability of our planet. We are doing everything we can within the government limits.
All our packaging is LDPE: Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a thermoplastic made from the monomer ethylene.
The reasons why we use this type of packaging:
The current NZ infrastructure of recycling cannot handle biodegrading and composting different types of plastic, their focus is on recyclable plastics. However, they are looking into this, but we are unsure of their progress on this.
The emphasis in NZ right now is recycling. This is the most sustainable way of achieving less waste.
The NZ infrastructure can’t recycle biodegradable or compostable bags at this stage.
But why don’t you have a biodegradable bag? For a bag to biodegrade, you need 60C heat, air and water for it to melt down, if you put it in the landfill it won’t achieve that, it's just like plastic it won’t biodegrade. You need a highly equipped factory that will biodegrade it for you so it breaks down. This is expensive and most NZ companies do not have the finance or government support to achieve this yet, including us.
At this stage we are being guided by experts in the environmental industry how to best address this problem, and right now the best way is using plastics that are recyclable. It is a complicated process that many NZ companies are currently still finding their way through. However we try to be transparent with our customers as much as we can, and so we hope this information helps you understand where we are at currently.
The positive alternatives we are currently looking at are:
Trialling bunching together vegetables without the LDPE packaging, but still with the Fresh Grower brand attached so you know its from us :)
Looking into using paper tags that are compostable :)
Looking into using rubber bands that are compostable :)
Fresh greens are perishable so the packaging is necessary to protect and maintain the freshness of the product. It also helps to extends the shelf life which is important to our customers. Most of our ziplock bags are reusable, we’ve had feedback from our customers saying they use it to store their cheese and it stays fresher! Also all our packaging is recyclable.
Where do you supply?
We supply many supermarkets and wholesale chains around the North Island. Mainly Countdown, New World, Farro and some smaller independent Fruit and Vegetable stores. If you're a wholesaler and wanting to sell some of our produce please head to our contact page for more information.
Due to COVID19 regulations, The Fresh Grower is deemed an essential service and we’re operating under strict guidelines from MPI.
We are still delivering to supermarkets around Auckland to ensure the nation gets their fresh produce. We thank you for all your support during these challenging times. Our new online store is also CONTACTLESS, and pickups are only allowed in the Franklin district at this time. No-one is allowed on site unless you are approved prior by calling ahead, have been in self-isolation for 2 weeks and not travelled overseas recently.