Meet the grower

Meet the grower: Luke Franklin

Franklin Hearty Vegetable Soup

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From the fertile fields of Franklin comes a chunky home-style vegetable soup with onion, potato, courgette and celery. All slowly simmered with cannellini beans, wholesome barley, winter vegetables and complemented with kale & basil. This soup is the perfect, tasty way to get your veggie quota!

Luke Franklin is the manager at the Franklin Partnership, where we source the delicious celery for this soup. Let’s see what Luke has to say when it comes to growing tasty, nutritious vegetables.

Where did your love for farming begin?
I started helping in the packing shed on the weekends when I was 10. My family has been growing celery in Auckland for 111 years – starting in 1906. I’m the 5th generation.

What signifies a good quality celery?
The colour tells you a lot – bright, dark green celery is the best and most flavoursome. You want to avoid any with signs of yellowing or browning in the leaf and stem. A celery will keep longer if it has been harvested before any signs of deterioration in the field.

For first timers that might like to start growing their own veggies, what are some top tips on getting started?
A good location, such as a sunny position. Pick a vegetable that grows fast – this reduces the risk of failure. For example, a radish takes 4 weeks, where as a leek takes 24 weeks. And make sure you are planting veggies suited for the right time of year.

What are the pillars of farming for successful crops?
Location – good climate and good soil. Good people who care for the crops and are skilled. Looking after the land, making sure the plants are watered and the soil is looked after.

For people that haven’t visited Franklin, can you tell us why it’s so special?
For us, it’s special because four generations live and work on the same farm together. Franklin in general is just very pretty and it’s nice to have a quiet region still relatively close to the city.

Why would you recommend buying local produce?
To help the New Zealand economy, and to support the local growers, rather than send our money overseas. Plus, local produce is always fresher.

Favourite and least favourite vegetable?
I love kumara and celery! My least favourite is probably cucumber.