NZ: Small business feeling the pinch of higher running costs

Bali and Jasse Sahota are the owners of UV Sahota, a tomato and cucumber growing operation in Karaka, South Auckland. Their growing journey began in 1994 when Bali worked as a tomato grower in Kumeu, West Auckland. They moved to South Auckland in 1996 to work for KPH. Jasse became a team leader in one of the greenhouses, and Bali drove a forklift.

In 2000 an opportunity came up to lease their first greenhouse in Drury. It had always been their aim to run their own business. It just so happens they owned a green grocers shop for several years, so it made sense to grow their own produce. Over the following ten years, they leased up to four greenhouses, growing tomatoes and cucumbers. They also grew capsicums at times.

After years of arduous work, they were able to purchase a property where their growing operation is to this day. They have five growing areas, totaling a little under 4000m2. Two of the greenhouses double up for cropping large loose tomatoes, and the other areas telegraph cucumbers. They have also been able to propagate their own plants in the summer but use a nursery, with better heating, in the winter.

Since they took ownership of the property, they have re-skinned the greenhouses. They have installed air heating systems, which run on a mix of recycled (waste) oil and diesel. On a chilly night, they can hold 12 degrees, which is a vast improvement from years gone by before they owned the property.               

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