Like a walk in the park

Like a walk in the park

Well maybe not a walk in the park, and while it’s not rocket science it is complicated. In the words of Paula Allen from Palmerston North:  Ooooby is being created by New Zealanders aiming to make it easier for consumers to eat healthy food that’s grown and produced close to where they live. It turns out that’s much harder to do than common-sense would suggest. Who would have thought? 31 May, 2016 – It was her tone, as she shared with another packer that the Lettuce had been frozen overnight, that tipped me off. Upstairs Jan and Nicky were frantically trying to source another 100 organic Lettuces. Not a chance! Hurriedly constructed letters for the boxes and out they went with the Beetroot, horror of horrors, in plastic bags. They had also been in the refrigerated container that had been accidentally turned to Freeze, so were pretty juicy – but still edible and tasty, as was confirmed later. The Ooooby crew were all present to the challenge. They quickly took measures to reduce the likelihood of that happening again, and dealt with the issue. I was proud to be part of it, and see them all pull together to make the best of a bad situation and take decisions that were measured and considered. Attempting to circumvent the ”status quo” industrial food system is not an easy thing, but an important one. One of the challenges is finding enough local growers and, with a ”just in time” direct supply chain, we can’t rely on all the buffers that a warehoused food system can fall back on. This week Jan, who organises what will go in the coming week’s...
A delicious and nutritious fruit and vegetable smoothie recipe

A delicious and nutritious fruit and vegetable smoothie recipe

A great way to use fruits and vegetables is in smoothies. Not only are there lots of different recipes available, they are super easy to make, taste great and thanks to the ingredients used, are very nutritious. For your basic smoothie all you need is a cup of vegetables, a cup of fruits and a liquid base. To increase the flavour and nutritional value you can also add in protein powders, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Using Ooooby’s products you can create a wide variety of smoothie recipes. This deep red coloured one makes use of the following ingredients: 1/2 a frozen banana – using frozen fruits helps make smoothies thicker, giving them a milkshake like consistency, and bananas work especially well at achieving this. You probably already know that bananas are an excellent source of potassium; a medium sized one provides you with 12% of your daily requirement. They are also a good source of vitamin B6, a vitamin required for energy production. Bananas are a digestive aid, and are great to have before working out. The natural sugars that they contain help to make this smoothie more palatable. 1/2 a cup of carrots – carrots are very low in calories but are the best food source of vitamin A. In fact one medium carrot provides you with more than 200% of your daily requirement! The only other vegetable that comes close to having this amount is the sweet potato. Vitamin A promotes eye health, gives you glowing skin, provides immune support and fights inflammation. The antioxidant beta-carotene which is found in carrots is thought to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes....
Not your average bean-counter

Not your average bean-counter

OR “What to do with those greens in your Ooooby box” Our calendars had the “Ooooby in the Valley” gathering locked in for a few months. The last one was two years ago and we were overdue. So last week our geographically dispersed crew came together for some much needed face to face time, though our crew video calls must be working because Pete and Susan had to think hard whether they had actually met in the flesh (they hadn’t). As a lead in Thursday was a full day strategy session with Mark Barr, generously hosted by Deloitte’s who gave us a meeting room in their Auckland office. In the context of wanting to actively support rising stars in the enterprise space, Deloitte’s have been helping us better understand investment protocol and organisational structure options that could match our mission driven organisation. Ooooby in the Valley offers the core crew a chance to check-in and allow the space for the magic that comes from being together for a few days.   On Friday I met Susan, Davy and Nick off the ferry and we drove out to the village, and Pete’s home, which he kindly toured us. Rather artfully and without wasting time, Susan soon invited us to pair off and ask each other a few key questions, including: “What do you most appreciate about yourself?” What a fabulous way to get grounded and present, before launching into visions of a transformed food system and Ooooby’s part in it. Pete had listed some top level questions, with the last scraps of chalk in his house.  Ooooby is working to make...
The Accidental Orchardist

The Accidental Orchardist

David Whyte describes himself as an accidental orchardist. It all started four years ago when he and Tiffany were on the hunt for a lifestyle block with the vision of establishing a food forest – a multi-species, multi-layered forest system of mostly perennial plants. Serendipity meant the property found them, and they became the new custodians of a 1/2 hectare citrus orchard. The orchard had been neglected for 15 years and required a massive pruning task, but now in year five they are down to 25% of the trees still needing heavy pruning. David has also, and importantly, put in a concerted effort to learn about the soil, the needs of the citrus trees and the needs of the humans who eat the fruit. This video from September last year, tells the whole story and helps explain why David and Tiffany’s citrus are so sweet and delicious! In addition to ensuring all the trace elements are present in the soil, David has learnt a lot about the colouring variations in citrus. Did you ever notice that oranges you buy in a supermarket, are a uniform orange colour? If you’re curious to know why, David explains it in detail in this video and gives yet another reason to buy from organic growers and those who are spray-free.  In the early days, when they started harvesting, they took the fruit to a Sunday Farmers Market in Clevedon. He said it almost killed them. The orchard wasn’t giving them enough income to live off, and by the time they did a Saturday pick, clean, sort and pack, then got up at the crack of dawn to get to the...
Grow with Ooooby

Grow with Ooooby

Ooooby is an acronym for out of our own back yards. We are a food distribution service, for customers wanting high quality local and natural food, on a mission to make local food easy and fair, and we’re looking for more growers. If you grow food, then read on, and if you know someone who grows food, then please forward this article to them. Introduction Ooooby is building a community of discerning customers who greatly value knowing where their food comes and how it has been grown. They want high-quality, nutrient-dense, locally-sourced produce, and they trust us to find it for them. Ooooby exists to make local food easy and fair for these customers, and many more like them. We’re working to deliver great produce to our customers in towns and cities across New Zealand, Australia, and even California. The relationships each local hub has with its growers is central to how we operate. We want to work with and support smaller growers, and especially those using regenerative, sustainable farming methods. Five steps to becoming an Ooooby grower Is there a values fit How much can we buy Trading with Ooooby Crop planning The formalities   1. Is there a Values fit We are keen to work with growers who share the values of Ooooby and its customers. While we understand that there is a range of possible production methods, we choose to favour produce from growers who pay attention to the well-being of the environment, and the people who eat the food. Natural and Local The horizontal line in this diagram acknowledges that there is a continuum between organic/biologically grown produce and that...
A Challenge Worth Taking On

A Challenge Worth Taking On

When I first reach Frans de Jong at his Matamata orchard Southern Belle, he asks me to call him back in five minutes since he’s busy checking the weather. “A very important part of the job,” Frans tells me through a joyous laugh and a thick Netherlands accent. A family-run business, Southern Belle is the current supplier of delicious Red Sweetpoint capsicums to dozens of Ooooby customers each week. It also produces feijoas. Last April the orchard was announced Supreme winner of the Waikato Farm Environment Awards where it collected the Harvest Award, the Innovation Award, the Integrated Management Award and the Soil Management Award. “It was very humbling,” says Frans who tells me that his arm had to be twisted to even enter the competition. “As a family, we usually work longer hours than most. But I’d like to turn that into a positive.” Frans credits marking oneself out from the crowd as the biggest challenge for smallholders and a factor likely to determine whether or not they will achieve success. “We’ve established ourselves as a quality grower by doing things totally differently,” he tells me. “That’s not to say it’s always easy to do, but you have differentiate yourself to make it work.” So how did he do it? While at first the de Jong’s listened to advice from the previous owners of their farm, it wasn’t until Frans applied his own background in analytical chemistry to processes at Southern Belle that the magic started to happen. “You start to look at things differently and understand the biological system,” Frans explains. “For example, learning to use predator insects to control harmful insects and beneficial soil microbes in the root zone to...