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Fine Food Show 2021

Fine Food Show New Zealand is the largest hospitality, food service and food retail event in the country. It was held on the 13th – 15th June this year, at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland.

We had a fantastic 3 days at the Fine Food Show, where we were able to tell our grower story and engage with customers face-to-face. The team really enjoyed the opportunity to hear valuable first-hand feedback and find out more about current trends and insights from like-minded people in the food industry.

At this event, we were all about kumara, aka New Zealand Sweet Potato. We displayed our full range of New Zealand Grown and Made frozen kumara products, giving people the chance to taste-test and get direct feedback from those in the industry.

We had a full range of recipes heroing kumara, which was a big hit! So many delicious and new ways to try kumara – everything from kumara souffles, spring salads to tasty kumara cake.

Winner of the 5-piece Wusthof Knife Set!

Over the course of this 3-day event, we ran a competition for a 5-piece Wusthof Knife Set. Simply enter our 2 question survey and you were in the draw to win! Congratulations to our lucky winner, Julia Behse from Collective Hospitality in Auckland!

A big thank you to all the organizers from EXPO Exhibitions and Fine food. All in all, a very successful event.

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As a grower, how does Fieldco reduce food waste?

Food waste is an interesting topic. The very words themselves suggest the food is…well, waste. Rubbish, product that is unusable and inedible. As an actual fact, often this can simply refer to product that isn’t utilised like it could be. Kumara crops are a labourous crop to harvest, in comparison to other crops – all hand-selected and hand sorted because of its tender skin that is easily damaged. 

Our very small kumara and larger product that has skin-damage often is hard to shift and as a grower, we often see a lot of this product left to rot or thrown out. Smaller produce is often left on the ground at harvest, as it doesn’t return enough for the grower. 

So, enter our frozen division. We have a full range of prepared kumara products that utilise the odd-shaped and otherwise-wasted produce. This saves chefs and kitchen hands time in the kitchen, with all prepping the product already done. A great way to get a healthy dose of New Zealand’s superfood!

Being growers at heart, we are passionate about bringing New Zealanders the very best tasting, most nutritious kumara products in as many ways as we can.

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How to store kumara

Kumara is a root vegetable which means they tend to be an easy vegetable to store. Kumara is an easy veteable to store, longer lasting that other rot vegetables like onions. 

When you buy kumara, look for those that have less scrapes and marking on them as these tend to last for longer. Kumara that are deeper in colour typically are more nutrient rich than the lighter skins. The difference in colour in the kumara skin is usually caused by the soil type or pH in the soils which affects the plant as it grows. 

Look after your kumara as any bumps or rough handling causes bruising and means the kumara rots or decays faster. 

To store kumara properly and keep their quality, store them in a well-ventilated, dark spot. If you have storage paper or newspaper, wrap them before storing as this extends their lifespan in storage. If it is too humid, the exposure to moisture makes them rot. Likewise, when they are stored in the light, they tend to sprout. 

Whatever you do, do not…and we repeat. Do not store kumara in the refrigerator. This changes the taste and flavour of the kumara. The structure of the cell walls of kumara also changes when it’s refrigerated, making them harder to break down. As a result, they remain hard in the middle and can take longer to cook. Often, you’ll find they may also turn brown soon after they’re removed from the fridge due to chill damage.

Kumara can last for about 1 -2 months in a cool dark place. 

If the kumara is soft or mushy, throw it away. If it is only one end of the kumara that is mushy, check the rest of the kumara for mould or dark/soft spots. If it is ok, chop and throw out the mushy end and use what is left. 

Storing cooked kumara:

To store cooked kumara, place them in a airtight container or zip-lock bag. Store in the fridge for about 5 days. 

Frozen:

Freezing vegetables, especially kumara, is a great way to save yourself time when it comes to putting a meal together. It is also a perfect way to use up any extra vegetables you may have. The best way to do this is portion the kumara and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook until par-boiled or slightly soft when poke with a fork. Drain and leave to cool. Package in an airtight ziplock bag and freeze for up to 9 months.

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Varieties of Kumara

There is good reason they say variety is the spice of life. And kumara is no exception. Kumara varieties vary in a lot in texture, flavour profile and of course colour. Experiment with different varieties to showcase New Zealand’s culinary vegetable!

Fieldco has 4 main varieties of kumara:

Owairaka Red:

Traditionally known as an Original Red variety, it is somewhat of a culinary icon of New Zealand kumara. Today, it is still the main commercial crop grown in the Kaipara. It has a deep red skin with a creamy white flesh and veined centre. Owairaka Red are a firm textured variety, making them an ideal salad or roasting kumara.

Recipe Inspiration:

You can’t go wrong with Loaded kumara wedges: https://fieldco.co.nz/recipe/loaded-kumara-wedges/

Beauregard:

These are commonly enjoyed as ‘sweet potato’ in many countries. Its rich orange skin and sweet orange flesh make it a colourful vegetable and a likely candidate for many sweet recipes.

Beauregard is softer in texture compared to the Original Red and has a faster cooking time. Its soft texture means it is best suited to use for a mash or as a potato or pumpkin substitute in any dish.

Recipe Inspiration:

Try spiralised in a Soba Noodle Salad:  https://fieldco.co.nz/recipe/kumara-soba-noodle-salad/

The soft texture of Orange kumara makes a great addition to a delicious Chicken Pie: https://fieldco.co.nz/recipe/chicken-kumara-pie/

Gold:

This is another variety that is a national New Zealand variety. The Tokatoka Gold is indigenous to the Kaipara, named after the iconic TokaToka Peak rising out of the otherwise flat landscape. Tokatoka Gold have a golden skin and a soft golden flesh and similar in texture to the Beauregard variety. TokaToka Golds are best roasted because of their soft flesh.

Recipe Inspiration:

Try in a tasty Walnut & Kumara Tart: https://fieldco.co.nz/recipe/kumara-walnut-tart/

Or an entrée option of kumara subric: https://fieldco.co.nz/recipe/kumara-subric/

Purple Dawn:

Purple dawn is a newer variety of kumara with a purple flesh and purple skin. This variety is more an earthy taste and soft in texture. Purple Dawn is great for roasting and mashing. They also make a great addition to a kumara medley because of their vibrant colour. Part of the purple vegetable family, they are considered superior in nutritional valuecompared to other kumara varieties

Purple fruit and vegetables are known for their rich nutritional value and the purple kumara does not disappoint. This kumara variety is rich in anthocyanins. This means it possesses antidiabetic, anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects as well as prevention of cardiovascular diseases. What’s not to love about purple vegetables?

Recipe Inspiration:

Try a purple dawn puree for a pop of colour: https://fieldco.co.nz/recipe/duck-kumara-crostini-with-apple-slaw/

Great addition to a seasonal salad: https://fieldco.co.nz/recipe/kumara-fattoush-salad/

Cooking tip: Add a dash of vinegar into the water while you boil these to help the kumara retain their vibrant purple colour.

Flavour pairings:

Kumara has a natural sweet taste that lends itself to being a very versatile vegetable, being included in both sweet or savoury dishes.  

Herbs and Spices: Fresh herbs such as coriander, basil and thyme all pair nicely with the sweetness of kumara. Also try spices such as nutmeg, smoked paprika or sumac.  

Pair with zesty flavours like lemon or orange to compliment the sweetness of kumara. 

Other flavours that pair well with kumara include, walnuts, pecans, orange, garlic, chorizo and bacon.

Head to our recipe page for more tasty recipes and inspiration: www.fieldco.co.nz/recipe/

Looking to save time in the kitchen?

Preparing kumara can be hard work.

We are working to make it easy for people to include kumara on their menu. Growing all their produce for the best flavour, our products are naturally packed with goodness and save you prep time.

Orange Dice: Beauregard dice product is a great product to add to any soups, casseroles, or pies.

Red Dice: Add some natural sweetness of the Original Red kumara variety to any dish.

Yummo’s – these are Fieldco’s bite-sized baby kumara portions. These make a tasty side dish with minimal effort and are a convenient choice for a vegetarian or vegan main.

To find out more on where to buy, contact sales@fieldco.co.nz. Or see our full product range here: https://fieldco.co.nz/category/frozen/