Spring Collective has grown from a market stall to supplying fresh produce to supermarkets and wholesalers. With over 40 varieties of vegetables, the market garden in Leeston are committed to supplying high quality produce. The owners say that growing great organic vegetables is all about the soil.
The Spring Collective team harvesting carrots
Spring Collective is a joint effort by a couple and friend. In 2017, Dominique Schacherer and Logan Kerr joined up with Penny Sewell, another organic farmer who they met through Lyttelton Farmers Market. They joined forces to share the workload and setting up costs for the 21 hectare property. “We chose Leeston because of the soil. It’s really good soil and that is what we need,” Logan said.
Dominique and Logan have been farming for almost 10 years. Dominique grew to love gardening from volunteering on organic farms around New Zealand. Logan trained to be a chef. “It wasn’t really for me. I got stuck into gardening. One of the chefs I worked for asked me to grow different varieties of vegetables and he still buys from us now,” Logan said.
Dom & Logan pictured next to their sunflower crops
Dominique and Logan say their biggest challenge has been securing good land. “In the past, we have had to move around so much that it has disrupted what we do. Land is so expensive these days and it’s hard to secure a good long-term lease. Then it takes about a year to get the crops set up.”
The friends share a goal of ethical and sustainable practices on the farm. Over 40 varieties of vegetables are grown, including snow peas, turnips, pak choi and purple heart potatoes. Spring Collective are a Living Wage Accredited Organization which means they value fair pay for their staff.
Dom picks fresh celery from the fields
As a certified organic farm, no synthetic pesticides or fertilisers are allowed. “We used to be organic but not certified. We have to adhere to certain principles and document everything we do and use the best practice available. Soil health is one of the biggest priorities. Rather than just having bare land drying out while not in use, we have actually got legumes and sunflowers growing which have lots of carbon and good root structure. We want to be able to farm the same way in 50 years,” Dominique said.
The fresh produce is sold to the local community through farmers markets, veggie boxes, restaurants, and organic wholesalers. In Selwyn, you can usually find their produce at Lincoln New World or by joining the Selwyn Organics Co-op. Alternatively, order a veggie box direct to your door. Visit their website for more information.