“Do one thing, and do it well.” It’s something Grandpa might have said. With technology disrupting the world right left and centre, it might seem a bit old fashioned to just do one thing at a time. But when you’re pursuing excellence, it’s excellent advice. At Enzed Exotics, growing Kiwano is all we do. We like to think we do it pretty darn well. 2018 is our 10th season of making the leap to just growing a single fruit.
But when it comes to produce growing, doing just one thing is also a risk. Extreme weather events, climate change, pests and plant diseases, crop failure. Pardon my French, but even with the best planning, “**it happens”.
Recently we were interviewed by the Fresh Plaza news website and asked why we have decided to buck the industry trend to diversify into different crops to protect our business. Risk is a scary word when you’re in business, so I thought it might be something you’d be interested to hear. Here’s five reasons why we’re committed to only growing Kiwano:
1.Because we can focus on growing Kiwano
Heard of the phrase “running around like headless chickens?”. Well, that used to be a pretty good description of us come this time of year! We also used to grow watermelons, but found it quite stressful as that season coincided with the start of the Kiwano season.
We love what we do – and put 110% into it. However, this can also be a bit of a downfall. The produce game can be all-consuming. Focusing on one product means we have more of that precious headspace to think clearly about our business – to be working on it, as well as in it. As Alan said in the Fresh Plaza article: “Sometimes it is better to do one thing really well than to do a few things half-heartedly. You could do it all but there are only so many hours in the day.”
Only growing Kiwano helps our work-life balance, something we’ve worked hard to achieve (and I’ll freely admit is often still a work in progress!). Just one season means we get a decent break in the middle of the year to recharge after the intensity of harvest time.
2.Because we want to deliver premium quality
This is the biggie. Growing Kiwano means we have the time, resources and focus to grow and deliver only a premium product. At Enzed Exotics, we’ve positioned our brand as a “the best Kiwano on earth”. It’s a big promise and one we must deliver on to be taken seriously. Our focus on Kiwano means we can put time into perfecting our growing process, and training our team to deeply understand the optimum picking, sorting, handling, and packing process to get only premium grade fruit to our customers.
3. Because we’re perfectionists
Alan has been growing Kiwano for over 30 years now. Each year, his seed selection process has aimed to continuously improve the quality, longevity and flavour of our fruit. When it comes to Kiwano, anything less than perfect is quickly shown the door.
4. Because of our love for growing Kiwano
The Kiwano is no ordinary fruit. Neither is the way we, and particularly Alan, feels about it.
As he said to Fresh Plaza, “As soon as I saw the Kiwano, I though this is something special. Just looking at it, it is so different from anything else.” In an earlier blog, I wrote about how he believes its what he was put on this earth to do. Some people might not understand, but for Alan, growing Kiwano is his happy place. Between us we’ve got 5 kids, and the Kiwano really is our 6th child! We’ve put time and love into growing it, and we know it better than any other fruit on earth.
5. Because we’ve got momentum
We want to continue to build on the hard work we’ve put into building our brand, our team and our product. We’ve had exciting growth – in the last two years, our sales to the US have grown by 50%. We want to build on that momentum.
We think the Kiwano is on the cusp of going beyond the exotic, and becoming a regular visitor to the fruit bowls, smoothies and meals of food lovers around the world. The Kiwano has a totally unique flavour profile (think a subtle and refreshing mix of banana, passionfruit and lime) and texture (tiny soft seeds encased in a bright green jelly sack). All of which makes it an amazingly versatile ingredient. It’s low in sugar compared to other fruits, and has great health benefits – in particular, it’s a good source of magnesium and beta-carotene.
In saying all the above…let this blog not come back to bite me! “Never say never” is another excellent and very true Grandpa saying. Circumstances may mean we grow something else in the future, or we may expand to a point we’re were able to achieve the quality we aspire to with another product.
But for now, we’re happy to take the risk and see how far we can take our passion for Kiwano.