A tomato is a tomato, right? Not quite. The folks at Beekist are on the cusp of innovation. Located south of Auckland in Favona, their tomato houses provide a delicate balance of art and science. We’re not sure what to expect on our visit, could it actually be true that they play music to the bees to invigorate and entertain them while they’re working?! It was time to find out.

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The richness of colours, sights and smells in the greenhouse immediately blows us away. Enormously tall, green, leafy vines competitively slither up towards the sun. Dangling from the vines are the sweet little gems we know as vine tomatoes. Coming in varieties of red, yellow, orange and brown (also known as mocha), these dedicated growers have created the most flavoursome tomatoes we’ve ever tried.

So, how do they do it?  Well, it’s all done with a little help from their friends.

Beekist is home to lots of happy workers, in the form of friendly and hard-working bumble bees. Every day, their bees fly freely, zipping around high and low through tomato vines. These cute little workers gently visit every single vine to assist in pollination, the way nature intended. It’s a major part of Beekist’s dedication to sustainable growing, and what sets them apart.

“The bees ensure optimal pollination of the flowers on the vines. Once pollinated, the flowers can grow into the beautiful tomatoes we harvest by hand every week,” says Anthony, our friendly guide for the day.

“There are other methods available, like hand pollination, but bees are the best pollinators around. They’re designed by nature, so by having bees in the glasshouses, we know they produce the best possible results.”

The bees work together with their human friends to finish off the finer details. After the bumble bees have clocked off for the day, the Beekist team nurture and carefully observe each tomato until they’re perfect. There’s no big, expensive machine or technology that can decide once a tomato is ready for picking. It’s down to how well they understand the fruit. This knowledge comes with good old-fashioned expertise, painstaking patience, and an experienced eye. The bees and tomatoes get to do their own thing with minimal interference, but have round-the-clock care to support their growth. It’s a beautiful thing!

When the time comes, each tomato is hand-picked with love and carefully packed to maintain their full, sweet flavour – fresh from the vine. This means our foodies get to taste these flavoursome morsels at the peak of their flavour – you’ve heard of farm to plate, how about vine to plate?  Beekist’s natural growing and hand-harvested process ensures foodies are getting nothing but the best, every time.

Beekist produce a variety of tomatoes in various shapes, sizes, colours and flavours. Sweet, tangy, subtle or savoury, there’s a taste to suit any and all palates. Perfect with any dish and at any time of the day, they burst with lively flavour and rich texture.

In the coming summer months, we’re excited to be showcasing a range of Beekist tomatoes in our bags including red and yellow vine tomatoes and colourful tasty mix cherry tomatoes. Also grown exclusively for My Food Bag are Beekist’s specialty punnets of mixed coloured tomatoes, featuring in all of our Christmas Boxes this year.

Roasted, marinated or eaten fresh off the vine, these beauties will be featured in our delicious summer dinner recipes – and we’re sure you’ll love them as much as we do.

Turns out a tomato isn’t just a tomato, after all!


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