Fresh produce grower, Allan Fong opens his Pukekohe paddocks to chat homegrown produce.
Driving along the winding roads of Pukekohe, overlooking the rolling Pukekohe hills is where Allan Fong and his family have perched themselves. Dark, rich soil covered in various hues of green and purple coat the fields as far as the eye can see.
The Fresh Grower stems back for generations, with the business being established by Allan Fong’s grandfather and father. This truly is a family business, with everyone from brothers, cousins, nephews and daughters being involved. His ancestors began growing and selling produce at the market gardens in Parnell and Panmure in the late ’40s and early ’50s. The Fong’s then decided to plant their roots out in the fertile soil of Pukekohe. What started as roughly 10-12 Fong families growing fresh produce, is now down to just three, but boy, are they outdoing themselves!
With 500 acres of land in Pukekohe, The Fresh Growers consider themselves as niche farmers, bringing unique and interesting crops to the mainstream New Zealand market.
They’re always one stem ahead, thinking about new takes on old things and planting new varieties that aren’t so common. They’re all about reinventing fresh produce for better customer experience, a mindset we share here at My Food Bag.
Allan and his team are passionate about keeping up with the times and consistently making their produce more modern and convenient. “People don’t have as much time to cook and want quick food these days, so we’re keeping that in mind,” explains Allan.
Fresh Asian produce is how the Fong’s are changing the greens game. With a keen focus on increasing the popularity of Asian produce here in New Zealand, we can see their potential. “Kiwis tend to be a bit intimidated by Asian produce and we want to change that.
We want to increase the popularity of these greens by introducing more varieties and showcasing them in places like My Food Bag, so people can learn how easy they are to cook with.”
Produce like gai laan (Chinese broccoli), pak choi (bok choy variety), wong bok (Chinese cabbage) and choy sum – (Chinese cabbage variety) are just some of the products they hope will change the game.
The Fresh Grower’s produce is available throughout New Zealand and appears regularly in our range of Food Bags. Keep an eye out for a refreshing new range of produce to enjoy around the dinner table. We’ve got our eyes on mini crunchitas (mini cos lettuce that’s perfect for simple lettuce cups). Allan is the only grower in the country, as people generally find them too difficult and fiddley to grow, but he’s up for the challenge!
He also recently launched a new product at The Food Show – cauliflower stems! This produce is a beautiful blend of cauliflower and broccolini, and you may have heard them go by the name of caulilini.
So who do they look like more? Well, they’re an interesting blend believe it or not. With long edible lime green stems shooting small creamy florets, these beautiful gems look similar to a bunch of flowers. This new member to the brassica family prove to be hard to grow, hence why they’re not on the market in New Zealand, but yet again, Allan’s keen to push the produce boundaries. We can’t wait for our foodies to try this new and interesting local produce!
The next time you go to take a bite out of your baby cos, broccolini, baby spinach, or Asian greens featured in your My Food Bag delivery, just know that you’re munching on pure, homegrown goodness. Produce that has been grown, picked and packed with an abundance of family love, all the way from the local landscape of Pukekohe.