As we near the end of another extended lockdown, we are reminded of just how difficult the last couple of years have been on small businesses. And as a proudly Waikato-born company, we’re especially aware of the impact that COVID has had on our local producers. It got us thinking, if ever there has been a time where we should be lifting one-another up, now would be it. So with Level 2 in sight, we took a trip out to Kane’s Strawberry Farm (just off Kaipaki Road) to see if they’d be interested in collaborating on a limited-edition summery treat.
Already famous in the Waikato, the Kane’s team have a reputation that precedes them, but we were still pleasantly surprised by their laid-back and friendly approach when we arrived. Obviously a favourite with locals, there was a constant stream of customers swinging by while we were there. And once you taste the deliciousness of one of their gigantic, chemical-free strawberries, you quickly understand why.
Started by Heather and Grant Kane almost 30 years ago, the farm is a labour of love for the whole family. Demonstrating a clear love for the place, we were shown around by daughter, Emma, who has been returning from Australia year-after-year to help out during the busy season. And it was walking around the fields and talking with her that gave us a true sense of why Kane’s are so well loved – not only do they produce some of the Waikato’s best Strawberries, but the sense of pride that they have in what they do is obvious, and their commitment to community shines through.
Early on in their farming journey, Grant and Heather were working toward a 100,000 plant operation so that they could meet the demands of both the local and export markets. Eventually though, they realised that exporting was compromising the quality of what they were doing at a local level. And with the gradual rise in popularity of Farmers Markets and locally-sourced produce, they decided to turned their focus to quality, over quantity.
And judging by the steady flow of customers streaming through their front gate on the day we visited, it would appear that the decision paid off.
As we learned more about their story, it would seem that Kane’s success can be attributed in equal part to their innovative growing techniques and to their amazing team. With a group of packers that have stuck with them for years, that sense of pride in what they’re doing is obviously felt through the whole process – from farm, to table.
We left that visit feeling completely inspired – by the work at Kane’s Strawberries and in the Waikato in general – and we hope that it’s reflected in our NEW Limited-Edition Strawberry Danish which will be available in-stores for two weeks ONLY (starting today, November 18th). Click here for store hours and locations, don’t miss out!
We’d like to thank Grant, Heather, and Emma for helping us to make this happen and we hope that this inspires some of you (if you’re not already a die-hard fan) to swing by their farm, or stop by their stall at the Farmers Market this summer.