The rich, volcanic soils of the Waimarino Plains around Ohakune are ideal for winter crops such as carrots, parsnips, Swedes, potatoes and Brussells Sprouts.
The first market gardens in the Ohakune area were established by several Chinese families back in 1925.
Even back then Ohakune had real advantages – railway for fast delivery, a late growing season, inexpensive land and a cold winter climate to discourage pests.
Much of the land was cleared by hand and explosives before the first bulldozer appeared in 1937. More hectares were cleared and crops planted as demand increased to feed local and US military troops.
After the war years, the land was converted to rehabilitation farms for returning servicemen.
In 1984 the ‘Big Carrot’ was unveiled at the entrance to the town, recognising the importance of market gardening to the local economy.
The industry is continuing to diversify and experiment.
New crops, such as strawberry plants and asparagus, have been successful additions to an already comprehensive range of produce.
Today the market garden industry in Ohakune has taken its place as a vital supplier of fresh high-quality produce to the nation.