Food can bring us so much joy, nourishment and connection. Seasonal, fresh and regenerative veg even more so!

At Kelmarna we strive to work in harmony with nature, creating optimal conditions for growing an abundance of fresh, organic and nutritious veg to enable an equally nourished community – better connected to the land, and what it can produce for us. 

One of the tenets of our first strategic goal (to foster and champion a resilient, regenerative local food system) is to educate and advocate for seasonal, mainly plant-based diets.

We love the quote from author James Rebanks, who said “Our diets should be shaped by what works for the land.” Indeed, this is what we’re trying to do at Kelmarna. Our approach to growing seasonally supports what can be naturally grown in our Auckland climate. 

In a better food system we would all be looking at what our land and soils can produce and basing the offer to customers around that. But currently, for most of the general population this will be rather unfamiliar, as supermarkets and other similar retailers give a false impression about our food seasons through their perpetual summer, year round range, regardless of the season. 

Within the seasonal approach we also want to champion a diet that is mainly plant-based, and which puts vegetables at the centre of the plate. It is widely agreed upon that a shift to a plant-rich diet (especially in developed countries) is an important aspect of reducing our food-related greenhouse gas emissions. 

We want eating more veg, according to the seasons – to feel enjoyable and manageable.  Therefore we’ve prepared this guide to help a bit with the journey, so that ultimately you can feel good about what you are feeding yourself and your whānau. 

Get food from farmers and growers directly

Buying direct from farms/farmers via methods such as CSA’s & subscription veg boxes, farmers markets & farm stores are a great way to support small, local growers. As they will likely be growing according to what the seasons can provide by default, you don’t need to worry about navigating any seasonality choices, the work is done for you. 

Then once you’ve got a few seasons under your belt, knowledge of the local harvest calendar will become more like second nature. 

Another great thing about buying direct from these growers, is that the produce will be fresher, as well as more nutritious and flavoursome. It’s a win-win.

Cook more from scratch

Finding the time to cook from scratch a few times a week will almost inevitably bring more fresh ingredients into your orbit. Embrace the vibrant colours and diverse flavours each season offers. For example, spring may bring an abundance of leafy greens, while autumn offers a variety of squashes and root vegetables.

We’ve heard from customers time and time again how impactful a seasonal veg supply can be on improving your skills and creativity in the kitchen, increasing how much fresh veg you eat, and generally diversifying your diet. And of course practice helps, the more you cook the more comfortable you will become with the trimming, peeling and prep; you may even come to enjoy it. Some tasks, such as podding beans or peas, can even have a nice meditative quality to them. 

Swap meat out for a plant based protein

Switching gradually to a more plant-based diet doesn’t need to be difficult. Meat and dairy are rich sources of important nutrients, but with a little planning, a diet with more vegetarian or vegan options can also include all the nutrients you need. Pulses, tofu, beans, grains, peas, mushrooms, broccoli, kale, tempeh, sweetcorn, nuts and seeds are all great sources of plant-based protein. If going full veggie or vegan isn’t quite your thing, think about reducing the meat quantity in recipes and doubling the vegetables or pulses. 

Veg as a support act

Try adding the veg as a side to your meals, some wilted or stir-fried greens for example. Or incorporating some veg into classic dishes: a mac and cheese with cauliflower folded through, a curry or stew finished with some spinach or finely shredded kale, or a risotto completed with sweet chunks of squash. 

Enhance the natural flavours of seasonal produce by incorporating a variety of herbs and spices into your dishes. Experiment with fresh basil in the summer, warming cinnamon in autumn, or fragrant rosemary in the winter. Herbs and spices not only add depth to your meals but also offer additional health benefits.

Batch cooking & flexible recipe ideas

Another way to feature more veg in your meals is by adopting batch cooking techniques. Prepare large quantities of plant-based staples like grains, beans, and roasted vegetables that can be used in various dishes throughout the week. This not only saves time but also ensures that you always have nutritious options readily available. We also suggest utilising recipes that are somewhat flexible. Ie. play around with meals that can incorporate many veggies and are adaptable, like quiche, frittata, pizza, pasta, chilli, tacos, risotto, veggie fritters, wraps, stews etc. Lots of different types of veg work well with these!

Eat meat of better quality, less frequently

Mixed farming systems such as that demonstrated at Kelmarna, where plant crops (grown using regenerative methods) are the primary output, and animals play a secondary and complementary role, could play an important role in shifting our diets to include more plants, and significantly less meat (and when we do eat meat, ensuring it’s of better quality and produced sustainably). Read more about our farming approaches and the philosophy behind it here.

Connect with some seasonal recipe ideas

By harmonising your plate with the seasons, you tap into the abundance of nature and discover a delicious way to support your well-being.  

So don’t just stick to your stock-standard, familiar recipes when there’s a whole world of cooking to explore. Stay inspired throughout the seasons by looking outside your own ideas or the cookbooks you’ve used for years. We suggest you find a couple of favourite blogs who use a lot of fresh, seasonal produce and regularly head there for inspiration.

Here’s some suggestions from us: 


One Pot, Pan, Planet, by Anna Jones 

The Homemade Table, by Nicola Galloway 

Be Good, by Buffy Ellen Gill 

Veg Everyday, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Blogs / Recipe sites: