Meet Hayden - our local Beetroot Expert
Meet Hayden, he is our local Wattie’s Beetroot expert! Not only does Hayden work in our agronomist team but he also works alongside the Wattie’s Beetroot growers to ensure that only the best beetroot is canned. Watties’s has a total of six beetroot growers and they have grown for us for a number of years, only getting better and better!
Wattie’s Quality Hawke’s Bay Beetroot
Millions of Wattie’s beetroot seeds are planted during spring. Hayden has to manage hundreds of hectares but staggers planting so that the beetroot will be ready at different times to support harvesting and factory capability. To ensure that our beetroot is the best quality Hayden visits the crops daily leading up to harvest. Hayden checks to ensure the beetroot is of optimum quality. Beetroot is planted in neat rows that are precisely measured by GPS. This means that when it comes to harvest time (90-100 days after planting) the harvester can travel down those exact rows and scoop up our delicious beetroot – too easy!
Wattie’s Harvesting Technology
The beetroot that Hayden and his grower’s produce is used to make Wattie’s sliced, chunky, wedge, baby, diced and crinkle cut beetroot. Amazing new technology means that Hayden has the best tools on hand to help him determine whether the beetroot is ready for harvesting. Hayden monitors the size of the beetroot by measuring them every day and recording each measurement on his phone through bluetooth callipers. Another example of leading edge technology is the beetroot harvester. It pulls the beetroot out of the ground by the leaves, the dirt gets knocked off and the beetroot travels through the harvester to the transporting bins.
Grading Facility – for only the best Wattie’s Beetroot
Maintaining freshness is so important to the taste and quality of the end product so trucks go directly from the paddocks to Wattie’s new grading facility. This facility is a significant investment by Wattie’s for the beetroot industry in Hawke’s Bay. Sitting just down the road from the factory means our beetroot is harvested, graded and processed all within a 20km radius. All beetroot is inspected for quality and is then graded. Grading means separating all the beetroot into various sizes; baby beetroot, medium beetroot, large beetroot and any extra-large beetroot is sold off for cattle food. The smallest beetroot are kept as baby beets for canning, whereas the medium and large beetroot are predominately used in sliced or diced beetroot. For maximum efficiency Hayden has live cameras in the factory so he can see when they require more beetroot for processing. If the factory is working quickly then Hayden knows he can keep harvesting and grading his beetroot.