May 2023

Heirloomacy and Rescued Kitchen

Heirloomacy and Rescued Kitchen
A relationship seeking 100% flavour and 0% waste

The blood in Gavin Pook’s veins runs tomato red. A third-generation horticulture farmer, his connection to Heirloom tomatoes runs in the family. Gavin loves the diversity of shape and size, juiciness, vibrant colour and of course fantastic flavour, that are the trademarks of Heirloom tomatoes.

The team at Heirloomacy grow their tomatoes hydroponically, and their perfect produce is showcased by chefs on the menus of some of our top restaurants.

But what happens when Heirloom tomatoes aren’t perfect? Are they still full of flavour? Yes. Are they still good to eat? Yes. Do growers want to waste them? No. Are they likely to be wasted anyway? Yes.

And that’s at the heart of an issue faced by horticulture growers nationwide …if it’s not sold, what do we do with it?

Despite the love, care and extremely hard work put into creating the perfect Heirloom tomato, some just don’t make the cut. Tonnes of tomatoes, and virtually all other edible produce grown in Aotearoa, are sent to compost bins, fed to live stock or simply dumped in a field every month of every year. Gavin says that before meeting Diane Stanbra and Royce Bold from Rescued Kitchen, the bulk of his non-saleable tomatoes went from the vine to the compost bin.

“Wasting even one Heirloom tomato is not the outcome we ever want,” says Gavin. “It’s kind of heart breaking to put in so much time and effort into our tomatoes, and then for some not to be sold and having to be disposed of. I thought that food waste was something our industry just had to suck-up and deal with, but it’s not, there is a solution.”

It was an easy call for Gavin to make Heirloomacy part of the food waste solution; contributing to their own philosophy of a zero-waste horticulture farm.

“When Diane and Royce approached us to discuss using our surplus stock, it made all the sense in the world to have our non-saleable tomatoes used as the basis for a Rescued Kitchen tomato product.”

Rescued Kitchen estimates they have rescued around four tonnes of Heriloomacy tomatoes so far. That’s four tonnes of edible food that would otherwise have been wasted, and Gavin shudders to think what the total amount of wasted food would equal to every year.

Yeah – we’ve been saved!

“I don’t think we even know how much food is wasted,” says Gavin. “It’s something that we need to know more about and then start to address. Rescuing surplus food that would otherwise have gone to waste and turning it into a great new product is the way forward. We should be questioning why more growers aren’t joining with companies like Rescued Kitchen to reduce food waste. It’s a simple and sustainable solution that just makes good sense.”

He says the process of becoming a Rescued supplier has been straightforward. “Diane and Royce could not have made it easier for us. To see our surplus Heirloom tomatoes be the star ingredient in wonderful products like chutney rather than ending up in the compost bin…it’s an absolute no-brainer for us!”

Gavin says one of his favourite Rescued products is their Kasundi Chutney (which is now a guest amenity at Auckland’s Pullman Hotel), and he’s also excited about their ‘tomato jerky’ which he thinks vegans are going to go crazy for.

“They’re delicious products,” says Gavin. “Which makes sense, because the tomatoes they are using are the best!”

From zero to hero.

For more information on Heirloomacy visit their https://heirloomacy.co.nz
To read more about Rescued Kitchen and the work they are doing to reduce food waste by creating new products from surplus food, visit https://www.rescued.co.nz/ or call Diane or Royce on ph 0508 742 642.


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