Supporting homegrown, local New Zealand produce is a great way to shop sustainably and to champion family owned businesses.
It can be tempting to pop into a supermarket to pick up whatever meat or fruit we can get our hands on - especially during these uncertain times. However, it’s important to know where the food we’re eating has come from – and knowing that we are making a difference both to the environment and to Kiwi farmers and other producers.
This month why not try making the switch to local producers and Kiwi businesses. Whether it’s by buying bacon that is made from 100% New Zealand pork or vegetables from a nearby farm, there are some straightforward ways that we can all #GetBehindNZ.
1. CHOOSE NEW ZEALAND GROWN MEAT
No one would blame you for assuming that the pack of mince you've just thrown into your trolley is from our own green pastures. But, that is not always the case. The only thing you can be sure of is raw chicken as importing it is not allowed. Turkey can be imported – as can duck. Almost 60 percent of our pork is also imported, from countries such as China, Poland, Estonia, Denmark and Spain. Even beef and lamb can be imported, with Australian product sometimes popping up in supermarkets (which seems nuts, doesn't it?) If you buy locally, it will have racked up fewer air miles, be fresher, meet Kiwi welfare standards and you will be getting behind New Zealand owned farms and businesses. Many of our farmers are now offering delivery, either directly or through third parties, which is a great option. Gourmet Direct, Green Meadows Beef and Moreish Organic Butchery are all providing home delivery across New Zealand, but all it takes is a quick Google to find many, many more.
If you are picking your meat up from a supermarket or butcher, make sure that it is 100% New Zealand grown. Only trust a label if it specifies that the meat was actually farmed in New Zealand. Terms like ‘manufactured in New Zealand’ can be red herrings.
2. BUY FROM LOCAL FLORISTS
If you're looking to brighten up your home with some beautiful arrangements, head to local florists to pick up flowers and plants. These are generally grown locally by the florists themselves, instead of being imported from outside of New Zealand. It's also an excellent way to support local businesses. The New Zealand flower growing industry suffered terribly throughout lockdown with thousands of blooms going to waste, so anything we can do to get behind them would be very much appreciated, I'm sure.
Did you know that around 40 percent of the flowers sold in New Zealand are imported? The benefits of buying New Zealand flowers are numerous. From supporting the local economy and businesses, to enjoying the variety which different seasons bring. Freshly picked flowers also means more time in your vase and less time on the road which means reduced travel miles. When in-season, the quality of the flowers goes up and the price down, plus it also encourages biodiversity and wildlife on farmland.
3. PLAN MENUS AROUND WHAT IS BEING HARVESTED
Keep a look out for seasonal produce that can easily be found in local farm shops, farmers markets (which are all open again - hurray!) or by checking the country of origin information at the supermarket. Do your meal preparation around the time of year and what New Zealand producers have available.
This month, you can expect plentiful supplies of Jerusalem artichokes, cauliflower, broccoli, celeriac, kale, kumara, leeks, pumpkin, spinach and more. As far as fruit goes, you can indulge in apples, kiwifruit, mandarins, lemons and limes. Vegetables.co.nz has a fantastic chart that you can download to check the seasonal availability of your veggies.
4. OPT FOR NEW ZEALAND FISH
New Zealand is surrounded by water and blessed with a wide range of delicious seafood. Buying locally and seasonally, rather than fish that is brought in from overseas, is another excellent way to support our Kiwi farmers and producers. It is also a sustainable choice, which is particularly important with 90% of global fish stocks now being either fully or over-exploited. The Produce Company has an easy to read fresh fish availability chart here. Consider buying directly from a local fishmonger – there are even seafood businesses, such as Harbour Fish in Dunedin and Sanford and Sons in Auckland that can deliver fresh New Zealand fish straight to your door. Supermarkets can be ok, especially the fresh fish counter, but check the label when you’re buying frozen. A lot of product, especially things like fishfingers and frozen prawns, are brought in from overseas.