Levin's Tendertips, part of Lewis Farms, has been growing asparagus for 37 years, but now has branched out into growing strawberries in an effort to keep their staff employed all year.
Tendertips sells 500 tonnes of asparagus to the New Zealand and Japanese export markets. Now they have built a hectare of tunnel houses for 100,000 strawberry plants, grown hydroponically.
Managing director Cam Lewis said by adding strawberries they could employ their staff 10 to 12 months of the year, which they couldn't do with just asparagus.
He said with a constrained labour market it was too risky to cut staff loose for a season, and growing strawberries was a good fit.