Microgreens grown in central city locations and delivered daily to nearby consumers for their culinary delight and good health. That’s the vision of agronomist and entrepreneur Matt Keltie, and his ShootsNZ business.
Microgreens? Young green vegetables and herbs harvested just after their first leaves emerge from a germinating seed. Nutrient rich and with intense flavours, mircogreens are a speciality genre of greens for salads and meal garnishing. They include varieties of basil, broccoli sprouts, coriander, rocket, watercress and an array of other small leafy plants.
Central city locations? Hydroponic growing operations in building basements with LED lighting and expertly controlled growing conditions. They are locations close to restaurants and food stores for speed and lower cost in the growing-harvesting-marketing cycle. The first of them is a former basement nightclub metres from a busy Wellington city thoroughfare.
Since Matt Keltie and his co-founder launched ShootsNZ last year, demand for their 22 microgreens has grown fast and mainly by word-of-mouth. Two employees are out on the ShootsNZ e-bike bicycle most days, delivering trays of super fresh produce to 110 restaurants around the capital. The business has joined GS1 in preparation for launch into gourmet food stores and supermarkets.
“Business is growing so fast that we are now looking at other sites around Wellington, and also in Auckland and Christchurch, and at other channels to market,” says Mr Keltie. “Ultimately we have an ambition to be the leader in this type of growing across New Zealand and Australia, and to be number 1 in supplying our food to the consumer market.”