Southern Fresh Foods Ltd is a family owned and operated business, based in Hautapu, right in the heart of the Waikato.

For more than 16 years the company has been growing and expanding and is now one of New Zealand’s leading producers of premium salad mixes, herbs, and gourmet baby vegetables.

Among their specialty items is the Chioggia Beetroot, a beautiful pink and red striped beet which is becoming popular among discerning chefs in top restaurants.

Andrew Clark, head chef at Hamilton’s Victoria Street Bistro, is a fan of the Chioggia beetroot, which is supplied to his restaurant by Southern Fresh Foods.

“It’s really nice,” says Andrew. “You can slice it up raw and it’s got that candy stripe effect, which is good for presentation.

“The other thing you can do is boil it in white balsamic and sugar, sort of pickle it and flick the skins off afterwards. It’s a really bright, bright pink little beetroot, great for preserving.

“It’s got a nice, sweet flavour a little bit milder than your regular beetroot, really great for presentation, adding a bit of colour to a dish,” says Andrew, adding, “sometimes if there are a few nice little leaves attached we’ll use them as well.”

The Chioggia beetroot is an Italian beet, named after the town of Chioggia in Northern Italy, where the vegetable originated.

Popular in Italy since the 19th century, this beetroot is still unfamiliar to many New Zealanders but is starting to gain a foothold thanks to specialty growers such as Southern Fresh Foods.

Nutritionally, beets have a lot to offer such as fibre, potassium, iron and folic acid. The pigment which gives beets their color, Betacyanin, is a potent antioxidant.

Southern Fresh Foods pride themselves in supplying products of the highest quality to the New Zealand food industry. With a team of highly trained personnel and stringent hygiene and grading procedures, Southern Fresh Foods will “ensure you receive 100% product satisfaction – every time!”