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New Zealand: Herb grower continues to expand

In October 1995, Tasman Bay Herbs co-owner Don Grant and his late wife Yoka arrived in the Nelson region, decided to settle and start a business together. Yoka was a lawyer from Belgium and Don was a tour driver/guide from Mataura. They discovered by chance a demand for fresh cut herbs as chefs couldn't get any at that time in Nelson.

They threw themselves into the challenge – bought a two hectare block of kiwifruit in Riwaka, found a book on hydroponics in Blackmore's bookshop and learned how to build a commercial hydroponic system for growing plants. They built a 375sqm greenhouse and sold their first herbs in September 1996.

Initially it was just Don and Yoka for the first year. In 1997 they added an extension and took on their first employee. They expanded again in 1998, then in 2000 a new packhouse and chiller were added.

During the early days they received business advice from good friend Bryce Gilchrist, who has a finance and corporate background. Later Bryce joined the business becoming a 50 per cent owner and now runs the business with Don.

A new state of the art 1400sqm greenhouse was completed in 2017. This will keep them busy for another year or so, then they'll be looking to further expand.

Read more at Nelson Mail

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