Where the fresh herbs grow
THE VIBRANT GREEN OF SUPERB HERB’S FRESH HERB POTS IS A FAMILIAR SIGHT IN OUR SUPERMARKETS – SO WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THESE FRAGRANT LITTLE PLANTS?
New Zealanders love to cook, and everyone from home cook to top chef knows fresh herbs bring depth and authentic flavour to any dish
It’s nearly two decades since the young Charles Pike returned from Europe with the idea of growing fresh herbs as living seasoning. He’d seen it in supermarkets on his OE and, once home, took the idea to his dad, Jim Pike, an aubergine grower in Henderson Valley, West Auckland.
The rest is not, as they say, history. It’s very much alive; a growing business that now supplies potted and pre-packed herbs to major supermarkets, specialty food stores, green grocers, restaurants, caterers and home delivery businesses. And they’re enjoying Superb Herb in Asia too, as the company operates a weekly export.
New Zealanders love to cook, and everyone from home cook to top chef knows fresh herbs bring depth and authentic flavour to any dish. Sage is super-versatile and loves classic, slow-cooked dishes, while basil has been appearing in very creative ways lately. Think candied basil as a garnish in a cocktail or combined with mint in homemade ice cream. With over 20 different herbs in the Superb Herb range, any mouth-watering meal, from Asian to Mediterranean, can be created using the right fresh herbs – all year round.
Superb Herbs are grown without pesticides too. “Our herbs are grown in greenhouses that are heated in winter, ventilated in summer and completely meshed, which allows us to remain 100 per cent pesticide-free,” says Superb Herb CEO Ken Rogers. “We’re committed to being a sustainable business, completely self-sufficient for water (recirculated and filtered from greenhouse roofs), recycling cardboard and plastic, and also using paper pots for all the product destined for our cut production.”
As part of this commitment, Superb Herb controls its entire production cycle from seeding to dispatch. Mint, basil, thyme, sage, parsley, coriander, rosemary… the list goes on, because it’s Superb Herb’s mission to supply the freshest herbs to your kitchen. The company is always looking for ways to improve the quality of its plants and the lives of its employees. Last year, they moved mint from being grown on beds to mechanised tables, improving not only the quality of the mint but also the staff workload, and health and safety. This year Superb Herb’s new culinary leafy greens will be available too, so keep an eye out for Superb Herb and start creating some superb spring cooking!
Charles Pike and Ken Rogers