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?

Food - - Food + Superb Herb -

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

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