Winter vegetable mission…


Bluebird day at Grower Direct

The scene was set…. It was a beautiful Sunday morning over the Queen’s birthday weekend.  We decided to load up the rugrats (aka two boys) and head out to Te Puna to Grower Direct a wholesale nursery.  I had only recently heard about this place 6 months ago through a friend.  I think it’s a local hidden gem that I really wanted to share, hence this blog.

The nursery is tucked away on Borell Road, Te Puna, Bay of Plenty (if you happen to be in the area worth a look).  You can either park to the right as soon as you drive in or follow the sweeping driveway to park directly outside the nursery shop.  I’m one for grand entrances and quick getaways plus we always arrive fairly early so no battle for limited parks.  A bonus to having boys who wake at the crack of dawn! 

Funnily enough being the list addict that I am, I had my wish list of things I wanted to get and promptly got amongst it.  We normally tag team this event.  So while I get all excited about choosing our veggies my hubby and the boys check out the aviary.  

I commence poring over the many different varieties of plants available.   Such a great selection and so reasonably priced.  There are quite a few plants in each pottle which allows for the tragic deaths that sometimes occur on my watch. 

I didn’t end up finding any artichokes that day sadly but I did manage to purchase – some baby spinach, snow peas, strawberries, celeriac, beetroot, chives, Cavalo Nero Kale (just had to, namesake and all).  I have actually never grown this type of Kale before so I am keen to see how I can mix it up.  Lastly some baby cos lettuce, I have really been missing going to the garden to grab something green and leafy! 

To encourage my four year old we told him he could pick one plant for himself and when I asked him what he wanted, he said “some flowers”. I was quite surprised to hear flowers and asked him why?  “For the bees,” he said.  How awesome is that ?! Already thinking about our little eco system at four and a half.  Unfortunately, the bee favoured flowers weren’t really in season so he picked a lovely deep red cyclamen instead.  I love getting the boys involved in the experience as well.  A favourite thing to do is load the boys onto the trolley and take them through the whole nursery on it.  My two year old loves to take turns pushing the trolley which can be a bit hectic as there’s always a plant or two that nearly gets taken out!


The vegetables and plants are reasonably priced and of excellent quality.  There are many different varieties of vegetables which is fabulous as I love trying something new.  The staff are lovely, very knowledgeable and helpful. 

So as I come down from my plant bubble to hear my hubby negotiating with the boys, I feel it’s getting to that time to pay and evacuate the scene.  The window is closing.

Under a little shed dusted with golden leaves is the nursery shop, I promptly pay, load the goodies into the car, feed the kiddos with morning tea and vamoose.  It’s like we were never there!

Did you know?

Cavolo nero is known as black cabbage, dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale. It is an iron-rich member of the brassica family and a potent anti-cancer vegetable native to the Mediterranean coast. The climate there — which is sunny and salty but not necessarily warm — results in these vegetables having juicy, waxy leaves.

The whole cabbage family became a European staple owing to its tolerance of cold climates. Cavolo nero has stippled, plume-shaped leaves with thick stalks. It is a dark blue-green colour and gets its name (cavolo nero or black cabbage) because when it is cooked in the traditional Tuscan way, it turns almost black. Long cooking produces a shiny appearance with an almost melted silky texture and a pleasant, slightly bitter flavour.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Lauren says:

    Wow, thanks. Didn’t know there was a shop up there and we are able to replant the patch so will head up there this week and have a look-see.


    1. Curious Kale says:

      Well that was a well timed blog then! Its definitely worth a trip, we always make a morning of it;-) I don’t think a lot of people know about it but I felt it was too great a place not to share 😉 Let us know how you get, would love to see what you plant.


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