How did your company begin?
True Earth started growing vegetables in 1992 on our home block, which when we purchased was primarily an extensive sheep farm with a history of low fertiliser and nil DDT use. At the same time we saw an opportunity to grow export squash organically for the Japanese market, so we started to convert 15 hectares to BioGro Certification, achieving this in 1994. Gradually as we could afford to convert the land we progressed to all land under organic management in 1999. This was with the encouragement and technical support of BioGro and many individuals and commercial entities such as Commonsense.
How do the values of your business drive the decisions you make?
The original decision to grow under a certified organic regime was two part, firstly a commercial opportunity and secondly the scepticism of the conventional way of farming, being reactive rather than philosophically being proactive.
On a daily basis, farming decisions we make need to make a compromise between short term gain and long term sustainability and resilience. Food production is inherently a tough game as you need to work with the weather, markets and particularly in organic farming, a high labour input.
Describe a typical day on your farm.
A typical day can easily cover a wide range of tasks from checking in with different supervisors to looking at the field crops, to pack-house operations and logistics, office work, discussions with customers and often finishing with late night work with irrigation when necessary.
Why is what you’re doing important?
True Earth is committed to 100% certified organic production of high quality vegetables and berry fruit. Our philosophy is “ a healthy soil for healthy food for a healthy society”. Building environmental and economic resilience into our farm and business is paramount to our success long term. We purchase recycled and recyclable packaging from NZ as a priority, an example of this is our Blueberry clamshell punnets made of recycled PET which is created in the Wellington factory of Flight Plastics.
Do you contribute to any charities or causes?
As a business with social conscience we choose to financially support various local charities and food banks with our surplus or second grade produce, such as Nourished for Nil and local schools. As a keen sporting family we also support various sport initiatives in Hawkes Bay and across New Zealand such as sponsorship of Hawke’s Bay Sports Events and Education Consortium (youth development) and New Zealand Hockey.
What’s next for True Earth?
True Earth wishes to continue to improve the quality of what we grow and supply, ‘from our family to yours'.