Jeanette Ida and Dom Ferretti of Ferretti Growers which has been named Organic Farmer of the Year. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Local organic farmer best in New Zealand

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When Dom Ferretti moved with his family from the Coromandel five years ago, they were taking a risk.

They leased a small piece of land off Dom’s cousin and went to work creating a new organic patch of paradise.

Since then they expanded into Brightwater but are familiar faces at the Nelson markets – both of Saturday and the Wednesday Farmers Market. Ferretti Growers grew in profile and in customers and now that risk has paid off after being recently awarded the title of Organic Farmer of the Year.

“We are stoked,” says Dom. “Just thrilled.”

The award is through New Zealand Organic Week which started to promote organics in New Zealand and has since become one of the country’s go to events.

Ferretti Growers were nominated by the Nelson Farmers Market and from there it was up to the public to vote for them.

“We couldn’t have done it without our customers,” says Dom. “They are amazing.”

Dom and his family moved to Nelson from the Coromandel where they were also market gardeners. But the profession is in the blood.

“Our dad and uncle were market gardeners who came over from Italy and did the same thing.”

Because the farm only sells their goods at markets, they grow a lot of variety to ensure they can be a one-stop-shop for people.

“That is challenging but on the other hand it is good not to have all the eggs in one basket.”

Dom says the reason why he is so passionate about organics is simple.

“Why would you want to put poison on your food and eat it? It’s that simple.”

He says it’s about growing and eating food in a healthy way and looking after the soil.

“If you are constantly reaming the soil it’s not going to work long term for you. You have to protect it.”

The family’s 4.5 ha Wai-iti River Farm has proven to be the place the Ferrettis have chosen to protect.

After five years Dom says the land is actually recovering and their produce is better than ever.

“It’s amazing to see that happen. We are really proud of what we do and it’s great that the results are what our customers can taste every week.”

That’s a legacy that the third generation market gardeners hope will continue long in the future.