Company director Jay Clarke from Woodhaven Gardens has been growing Shanghai bok choi, pak choi, wombok or chinese cabbage, saigon turnip, and coriander for about 20 years now. However, since demand started growing in the market, the company started ramping up plantings four years ago.
Clarke: "We started with some trials and things have really taken off. We've seen some of our traditional lines, such as green cabbage and iceberg lettuce, coming back in volume and becoming less popular than, for example, the shanghai bok choi, wombok and saigon turnip, which have really grown in popularity. In the last two to three years we've seen a growth of between 300 and 400 percent in those lines."
Clarke believed the growth in demand is being driven by New Zealanders trying new foods and expanding their culinary expertise. "People are going out there experiencing different foods when they're eating out and then they're bringing those culinary choices into their own home,” he told RNZ.
"With access to the internet and online cooking shows and even programs like My Food Bag and HelloFresh, they're putting different recipes into New Zealand households. People are exploring more and finding that there are ways to eat fresh, healthy vegetables and tasty dishes that are a little bit different from what we've traditionally done in New Zealand."