Meet the grower: Allan MacDonald
Taupo Roasted Red Pepper
From the picturesque shores of Lake Taupo, we have created our delicious Roasted Red Pepper soup. This locally grown produce is slowly roasted to release their sweetness and flavour. Combined with other beautiful New Zealand grown ingredients such as onion, tomato and celery and rounded off with crumbled feta and lemon zest gives this soup a delicious flavour.
Allan MacDonald, is Managing Director at Greenmount Foods, supplies the beautiful Red Peppers for our soup.
When did you become involved with the New Zealand produce industry?
I have been involved in the industry for just over 27 years, kicking off my career in April 1990.
What signifies a good quality Red Pepper?
The first thing you do is look for any obvious cosmetic defects. Looks are incredibly important, especially with fruit and veggies. We eat with our eyes after all. Good shape, firm texture, smell and a nice bright colour are also key indicators.
For first timers that might like to start growing their own peppers or other veggies, what would be some of your top tips?
The base for good growth is all in the soil. It is critical to make sure you prepare the ground properly, plenty of compost mixed in with soil and appropriate fertilisers (natural if possible). A warm sunny location and protected from the prevailing weather if possible as peppers grow best in loamy soil.
What would you say are the five pillars for successful crops?
It is hard to give just five, crop farming is notoriously difficult. However, I would say fertile soil, good quality water and a protected sunny location are key. Then ensuring everything is done in moderation, watering, weeding and letting the plants mature naturally.
Why would you recommend buying locally produced produce?
New Zealand soils are generally free of spray, residues and diseases and, depending on where you live, can be very fertile. This is particularly true if you live in an area with volcanic soils.
What do you think it is about Taupo that makes it so perfect for growing the best red peppers?
Taupo has an incredible climate, warm days, cold nights, and renewable geothermal energy make this a wonderful place to grow capsicums. Plus, they are well looked after by a great grower with the latest glass house technology.
Finally, what are your personal favourite and least favourite vegetables?
I actually like the good old three veg, in my case, potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli. And if I’m honest, I am not a fan of marrow.