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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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