VEG AID: Baby Brussel Sprouts

Introducing... Gropak

Alan and Andrea Buchanan are the owners of Gropak and the backbone of the 25 year old business operating outside of Palmerston North.
Using the slogan 'Dirt to Dish', Gropak are mostly known for distributing DELICIOUS potatoes across the country.  More recently however, they saw a gap in the brussel sprout market and jumped at the opportunity after seeing other growers pulling out. This year has been their first season growing these miniature cabbages and they seem to have been a hit.
Brussel sprouts are harvested throughout February and the last pick tends to be towards the end of August. We reached out to Gropak to learn a little bit more about how they're grown...


At the start of August, brussel sprouts are propagated from seed into seedlings - this process is outsourced within Ōtaki. Before planting, they get to about 8cm high.



Around late November through to mid-December the seedlings are planted. The process is staggered but around 32,000 plants per planting. For this the team use a transplanter.


Plant Guardianship

From November to February it's a continuous process of plant monitoring, weeding and fertiliser.


Machine harvest

During harvest, there are 3-4 people in the paddock. The harvester cuts the Brussel Sprouts from the stalk at the ground. The machine operators process them through the cutters and altogether the team collects about 6 bins or 300kg per day.


Brussel Sprouts are washed, graded, and sorted to customer specifications. This is where the 'too small' sprouts get put to one side before being delivered to Wonky HQ. 
We asked the Gropak team what their biggest challenge was during their first brussel sprout harvest - "Weather events! The very dry period during late January to February 2022 affected the Brussel Sprout crop quite a bit". 
The Gropak team will to continue to grow brussel sprouts next year when they plan to try out a few new varieties. With new varieties coming, the team will be upgrading their packing line to meet customer specifications too....sounds very familiar to the Wonky HQ team.

Georgia and Alan Buchanan with the Brussel Sprout harvester. Georgia is the Gropak Brussel Sprout agronomist and runs day to day operations in the paddock.