From farm to market

04 Apr 2018

Hash browns at McDonald’s was more than just a fuel stop for hungry students at the start of the Year 13 Agribusiness field trip on Tuesday 27 March – because, as teacher Mike Field explained, the spuds used in their snack originated from their destination: Pye Produce Limited at Dorie, Mid Canterbury.

Pye Produce Limited is a 1600ha farm run by Pip and Dean Pye, which produces vegetables and vegetable seed crops. Their main crops are potatoes and onions, with other areas sown in wheat, grass seed, clover and speciality vegetable seed multiplication crops.

Owner Dean Pye showed the students round and explained how the supply chain works, from farm to consumer. Pye Produce Limited ships 12–15 containers of produce every day to clients in New Zealand, Asia and Europe. “You have to stay connected and know what your customer wants,” says Dean. “Each country wants produce of a different size and quality, depending on consumer preferences and how it is to be used.”

From the farm, the group went to see what happens next, at the McCain potato processing plant in Timaru and the Wilcox factory in Rakaia. The students were fascinated to see all the stages the product goes through. As Mike Field says, “The food industry is dynamic and revolutionary. From farm to market, adding value is the most important thing. You have to know who your customer is and meet their needs, otherwise you can’t sell your product.”