Sarah Barlow of Full Circle Farm collecting produce from her flourishing market garden.

A fledgling fruit and vegetable growing business near Methven is focusing on natural, spray-free produce and its customers couldn’t be happier.

Full Circle Farm is a family owned business and based at Highbank.

It is run by partners Sarah Barlow and Moses Lau who grow naturally healthy and nutrient-dense food.

The couple have a five acre property that includes a two acre orchard with a variety of apple and plum trees.

Vegetables are grown in an area of less than one acre and there is also a 30m x 5m tunnel house.

All of the produce is spray free and grown organically in soil that has been untouched by chemicals and harmful spray for over 25 years.

“We bought the block of Moses’ family and for the last four years we’ve been growing and selling locally,” Sarah said.

“For us the goal is to create a sustainable lifestyle at minimal cost. It’s about incorporating more natural and less invasive ways to live using organic and permaculture techniques tweaked in our own personal way to fit the New Zealand climate.”

Growing healthy produce fed her own family and supplied others with the opportunity to eat healthier food, Sarah said.

Prices are reasonable and did not match the premium typically charged in the

Growing food is hard work, Sarah said.

“It’s just me and Moses and we have two young children to look after, so we’re busy, but it’s just so satisfying.”

Selling is done via Facebook and email and buyers are told what produce is available each week.

Produce is picked just a day or two before delivery and washed.

Delivery day is typically a Friday and deliveries are made to Methven and Ashburton township addresses with a fixed charge of $2 per order.

Full Circle hopes to be able to deliver to more rural areas in the future.

The best marketing tool for the business is positive customer feedback, Sarah said.

“The really good feedback we get each week makes the hard work and effort worthwhile.

“We do pride ourselves on the quality we sell and that is appreciated.”

Big sellers at the moment are a range of salad products including radishes, staples like potatoes and carrots, and yellow and green beans.

“Every year has been different since we started growing.

“This year there’s been some unseasonable wet and cold weather, so that’s affected the strawberries. The tomatoes are out late as well,” Sarah said.

Demand for Full Circle produce surged during the first covid lockdown with existing customers scrambling for more.

Also during that lockdown Full Circle got together with Barnes Family Farms, a certified organic grower and neighbour, to put together vegetable donations for families in Methven and Ashburton who lost jobs or were doing it tough due to covid.

-By Mick Jensen