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THE ART OF GROWING QUALITY PRODUCE IS IN OUR DNA

A question we get asked a lot is ‘what does Heirloomacy mean?’  It’s a great question because let's just say it’s not a word that’s destined to win you a game of Scrabble.  But to us it’s less about what it means, and is more about who it represents, because our story is about people.


We haven’t always called ourselves Heirloomacy, but our lineage of growing high quality, nutrient dense produce is long.  Peter Pook, or Poppa as he’s more fondly remembered, became an avid market gardener in his early years and was renowned across Auckland for his high quality spuds.  He then went on to develop a successful kiwifruit orchard right on his back door step in his retiring years and worked on it until his final days.  His son Malcolm Pook left school at the age of 17 to help him in the market garden, and the rest is as they say, history. 

 

If there’s a vegetable, Malcolm’s probably grown it; and if there’s a tomato variety, again Malcolm’s probably grown it.  For over 50 years Malcolm has perfected the art of growing tomatoes with his very green thumb, and was one of the founding members of Beekist tomatoes.  Today, Malcolm is arguably the best tomato grower in the country, although he’d never like to admit it.  He has perfected the craft of growing specialty heirloom tomatoes in delectable colours, shapes, textures and sizes.  Today he continues to grow these idiosyncratic and flavoursome heirlooms alongside his eldest son, Gavin, who is continuing the family legacy of growing the finest of produce using craftsmanship akin to artistry, where each tomato vine is individually nurtured so they weave like ornate tapestry.

Just like any great heirloom, there must be integrity.  Although the word heirloom might conjure old relic objects covered in dust, our produce is far from this.  Vibrant, juicy, uniquely shaped, and packed with flavour is exactly what we strive for in each of our varieties.  The seeds are what makes the heirloom, meaning the varieties are over decades old and naturally pollinated.  Their perfection (or should we say imperfection) lies in the fact their DNA hasn’t been manipulated like the mass produced varieties.  Most tomatoes you find in a grocery store have been bred to be plump, red, round and easy to store, more often than not resulting in watery, flavourless, characterless toms.  But not our toms.  We breed them for their diversity in shape, size, colour, and most of all flavour.  Because life tastes better when we’re all different.  

Just as the integrity of our produce is paramount, so are the techniques of growing them.  Uniquely, our heirlooms are hydroponically grown.  Although we can’t call our produce organic because they’re not grown in soil, we choose to grow our heirlooms in water via a method we call hydro-organic.  This means we use high quality nutrients in our water delivery system to ensure nutrient dense produce that is packed full of flavour.  Unlike soil based methods, which can leach contaminants that are inevitably found in soil these days, we know exactly what is in our produce because it’s exactly what we feed them.  We capture rainwater from the roof of our greenhouse and store it in reservoirs on the property.  The water is then purified, used to feed the plants exactly what they need, and then reticulated back ensuring no waste.  

 

Heirloomacy is also built around community.  The matriarch of our family, Cheryl, has always been passionate about bringing people together through food and cooking.  Over the years she has continued to connect with other growers of fruit and veg, and is known to swap produce from her garden with others to make pickles, chutneys, preserved fruit, and sauces.  These creations are then sent back out into the community, or served at home alongside her divine cuisine.  It is this coming together of people that inspires us everyday to produce restaurant quality produce for leading local chefs and our friends who love to cook.  Our expertly grown produce is designed with them in mind.   

It’s no coincidence that Heirloomacy rhymes with lunacy.  That’s because some may call us crazy in our endeavours to grow one of the most difficult produce varieties on a commercial scale all year round.  But we call it passion.  This is our world.  We are devoted to it.  Our family has brought us here and we work hard to bring your family and friends together, whether at home or your favourite restaurant, over the wildest display of colour and flavour that you’ll come to know and trust.