Owned by the Grant family, Kakanui Tomatoes Ltd is a small family-owned commercial glasshouse operation based in a small coastal town of Kakanui, a few minutes outside of Oamaru, which is ideal for the sea breezes to keep the temperatures down in the glasshouses on the hottest days and protect from the frosts in the coldest days.
As you walk, drive or bike up the lane to the packhouse, you can buy a bag or a box of freshly picked tomatoes. They are sun-ripened and the taste is of a true tomato. In the packhouse, the tomatoes are packed for the trade around Otago.
We seem to be on the tourist trail, our reputation for high quality and taste of tomatoes is of word of mouth and social media. We see a lot of tourists who are visiting from overseas and Kiwi’s who just want a bag or box of Kakanui Tomatoes to take home. We are looking forward to the bike trail through Kakanui. It will be quite special.
Kakanui Tomatoes are the only online tomato shop in New Zealand, shipping Monday and Tuesday so that wherever you live in New Zealand you can always have a taste of Waitaki and despite most of the country’s tomatoes being grown in Auckland, they even get orders from there. Deborah is much too polite to say it’s because theirs are better.
First up is the age-old question, is a tomato a fruit or vegetable, it is a fruit according to Deborah as it has seeds in it, so is a cucumber for that matter, some eat Tomatoes like an apple. We often hear from parents that their children don’t like tomatoes but seem to like Kakanui Tomatoes.
Inside the glasshouse it is 30 degrees, the Bumblebees are hard at work pollinating and the beneficial insects are hard at work protecting the crop. The vines can grow up to 15m long by the end of the season.
You can see Deborah at the Oamaru Farmers Market selling from the back of the utility with crates full of freshly picked tomatoes. ‘The Oamaru Farmers Market has a wonderful atmosphere’, says Deborah. ‘There is live music, people buying fresh produce from the local farmers and a great family vibe.’
Kakanui Tomatoes has a shelf life of two weeks, you should never refrigerate Kakanui Tomatoes. Keep them in the box and place the tomatoes in a cool airy place, that way they will keep the taste.