Q & A with Bruce Rollinson
Subject: Proud of improved parsnip presentation
Family Status: Married to Stephanie with two teenage daughters
Business: Snow Country Gardens
Location: Ohakune, Central North Island, New Zealand
Hobbies: Trying to keep up with the children’s snow skiing, water skiing and rowing regattas. We also run a small number of breeding ewes that allows time away from commercial growing.
Q: Could you describe your business?
A: We grow, pack and market 40ha of parsnips and the most loved vegetable, brussels sprouts! Our parsnips are gently handpicked from the ground after being mechanically lifted by a harvester. This process reduces the reject count in the pack-house, speeds up the washing process and reduces bruising. The parsnips are then transported in bulk half-tonne bins from the field to the pack-house, and tipped into a one-tonne Wyma Wet Hopper. This provides a soft landing and a pre-soak, loosening soil before entry into the Wyma Vege- Polisher™. Wyma have specifically supplied a gentle brush for parsnip skins. From this point, the parsnips are graded and sized.
Q: What is your business objective?
A: Our objective is to build selective and strong customer relationships that allow us to consistently provide the best parsnips and brussels sprouts.
Q: What have been the key benefits since your investment in a Wyma Wet Hopper and Vege-Polisher™?
A: We have increased capacity and reduced time spent in the pack-house. Our customers have commented on a significantly improved parsnip appearance, complementing the high-quality produce we grow. It has given us a real sense of pride in what we do.
Q: How did you find Wyma to deal with?
A: Our 35-year-old washing system had served us well, but maintenance costs became too high. We simply could not expect another season out of it. I was worrying daily about breakdowns and not being able to provide premium parsnips to our customers. Having other growers close by using Wyma wash systems made my choice easier. Wyma scaled the project to our capacity while allowing for any future growth. Much of the project consultation was done via emails, with detailed plans to be discussed immediately. This detailed planning allowed for a mid-season installation which my fellow growers raised their eyebrows at. Precise measurements allowed for the old system to be removed from the line and for the Wyma Wet Hopper and Vege-Polisher™ to be installed on the same day which was a Friday. Saturday, electrical control systems were completed. Sunday was testing, and everything was ready by Monday. There were simply no interruptions to customer deliveries.
Q: Is there a little tip you can share with Wyma customers?
A: After the installation, I realized we could not oversee the Wet Hopper operation since the tank was above eye level. I wanted to know when to turn on the air agitation or the paddle wheel to assist parsnip forward movement onto the elevator. I found the answer in a NZD$200 camera and monitor placed above the out-feed elevator on the Wet Hopper. I can now view everything from bin tipping onwards. My forklift driver loves it. With just a quick glance, he can see when to tip his next bin without having to move.