NZ: Fresh Food Collective appealing to smaller food growers

At the Fresh Food Collective, a company which distributes fresh fruit and vegetables across Whangarei -north of Auckland- George Lavich, one of the directors, says he struggles to get local food suppliers to meet the high demand.

According to Lavich, the region's smaller food growers need to become more industrialised to meet a demand for local produce from the region's supermarkets and restaurants. “The soil and climate in Northland is ideal for horticulture. And while we grow avocados, blueberries, apples, oranges and kiwifruit, everything else is grown at a smaller level."

Lavich, who also runs the Midweek Market with Lesley A'Court in Whangarei each Wednesday, said there is an increasing demand for locally grown, spray-free, organic produce.

The New Zealand Herald quoted him as saying: "Growing is not industrial enough here. While we do have large-scale operations, most of the 140 growers in my database don't employ staff and only grow enough to sell at markets. If they grew more, they could supply the demand currently coming from Northland supermarkets and restaurants."

He said he knew of one restaurant chain owner who has decided to grow his own produce due to a lack of local suppliers. "There is a growing frustration in Northland. If we can't get our food from Northland, we get our supplies from Pukekohe and frozen food from Asia."

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