Valuing family health from Waihi Bush Organic Farm

With over 30 years in the industry, the creation of the long-established brand “Waihi Bush Organic Farm” came from humble beginnings: the business was born from a desire to find solution to a family health problem rather than from desire to get rich.

The owner & founder David Musgrave’s youngest son Oliver developed eczema, which first appeared in the creases on the insides of his elbows and became so itchy that he would scratch himself day and night to the point of bleeding. Most nights he would spend lying on David’s stomach while he gently scratched the itches to help him get to sleep. They tried unsuccessfully to stop the itch using various medications and natural creams.

An acquaintance of David’s who was importing Canadian flax seed oil gave him a bottle of oil and suggested giving it to Oliver. Within days of first taking the flax oil, there was an improvement. An itch-free week went by and suddenly, life had become hugely different for all the family. David then set out to research the science behind the effects of flax seed oil on health and how to produce and maintain the quality of the delicate oil. David started pressing flax seed oil at Waihi Bush Organic Farm in 1994, using a tiny press that made about 30 litres a day, with imported technology to protect the delicate oil from damage during manufacture.  David went on to feature on the Country Calendar programme in 2006. Oliver is now 30+ and there can be no doubt about the role flax seed oil has played in restoring and preserving his quality of life.

Waihi Bush was originally settled by David Musgrave’s family in the 1870s when the Woodbury area was a significant source of native timber. Fortunately, 15 ha of virgin native bush were retained on the property and this is now the only remaining example left on the Canterbury Plains. It includes many magnificent totara, matai and kahikatea over 1000 years old, several over 8 metres in girth. With help from their Jack Russell terrier – Pippin, they have managed to get pests like possums, feral cats, rats and ferrets down to very low levels, which are reflected in high levels of native birds like kereru (native pigeon) bellbirds, fantails and grey warblers.

The bush has been permanently protected by a Queen Elizabeth II Trust covenant since

Waihi Bush Organic Farm became Bio-Gro Certified Organic in 1988 and the first flaxseed crop was grown there in 1994. Seed-eating birds love flaxseed, so with all the trees on Waihi Bush, bird predation has always been a problem. This first crop should have produced about 100 tonnes of seed, but a long spell of bad weather when the harvest was about to start, meant that the birds ate all but five tonnes.

By 2002 the 100-year-old stable building on the farm, which housed the operation was bulging at the seams. The whole operation was moved into larger premises in Kennedy Street, Geraldine and the company name was changed to Functional  Whole Foods New Zealand Ltd.  Maintaining the Waihi Bush Organic Farm brand for all of its organic health food products.

Skip forward 21 years and the company still has a strong culture of research and development, with emphasis on developing customised blends, based on a sound understanding of the current nutritional science.  Constantly bringing innovation to the it’s ranges driven by passion and integrity.

Waihi Bush Organic Farm still prides itself on producing great tasting flaxseed oil and loves the chance to prove to people that taking healthy oils is very easy if they know how.

in 2016 In line with the current thought that you are what you eat, Waihi bush organic farm introduced their gourmet range for people who are looking for healthy whole food and oils.  Products that are easy to use in anyone’s pantry but will offer a source of nutrition and nourishment.  This saw the introduction of Pumpkin & Chia seed oils and them souring an ethically harvested organic Coconut oil.

The introduction of new products didn’t stop there, With the rules around hemp changing, Waihi Bush Organic Farm now contract growers to grow organic hemp seed.  Before that they had been importing from Canada but now NZ grown hemp seed oil sits proudly in the Kiwi made organic product range.

The by-product of the oil pressing process is pressed cake which is milled into the Flour. High in protein and nutrients its versatile to use in both cooking and baking.  From making crackers, cakes to thickening a winter stew the flours replace traditional flours and add taste and goodness to a diet. The are bake stable to high temperatures. It is used in many manufacturing processes throughout New Zealand.

It doesn’t stop there.  The organic animal range “For the Love of Animals” ensures out pets and animals also get the benefits of flaxseed oil and it’s by-product.  Many tonnes of organic pellets go into the organic farming sector each year.

How Waihi Bush Organic Farm conducts business is as import to them as the products. Their procurement protocol requires all ingredients to be sourced with NZ where possible from reputable and approved suppliers.  Contracts are given to NZ organic farmers for growing flax seed and premiums paid to them over and above prices that can be paid for imported seed.  They stand by the following philosophy.

Our business philosophy is a set of beliefs and principles that we as a company strive towards. It is essentially our truth, and drives our attitude and behaviour and drives our company’s’ blueprint and purpose.

From humble beginnings, our business was born from a desire to find a solution to a family health problem rather than from a desire to get rich.

We believe that everyone deserves good health – that you are in charge of your own health and that most people could feel healthy and happy if they choose to change the way they live.

We make our products with health in mind, and we subscribe to the following values: –

  • We support local growers and businesses
  • We believe in organic food production systems and natural products, and that chemical toxins foreign to our body are not conducive to good health
  • We support fair trade, sustainability and ethical practices
  • Our customers are at the heart of every decision we make. We strive to exceed their expectations, and we make no compromise when it comes to producing the best product we are capable of for our customer. We won’t consider compromises such as fillers, flavours, trends or price. However, we do try and create affordable result-driven health food options, without big-ticket price tags
  • In this busy, fast-paced world, we focus on building long-term relationships both within our team and with our suppliers and customers. These relationships are built on honesty, authenticity, transparency and genuine intent. Our aspiration is that every interaction we make is a win-win for both parties
  • We are an open-minded business, always willing to consider new ideas and continually embrace new science and research, to focus on innovation and create functional products to enhance our customers’ health

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