There's a bit of a buzz when you see a locally made product on the supermarket shelves.
The buzz gets a bit bigger when you know it's an authentic healthy product that hasn't been victim to efficiencies.
One such product is CoralTree apple cider vinegar, which is created in a humble Ōtaki warehouse.
The CoralTree Organic Products story started many years ago when Kim Baker, originally from Lower Hutt, developed a special interest in holistic natural wellbeing, which led to the purchase of an orchard in Waihou Rd, Levin, in 1988.
He converted it into an organic orchard producing apples, pears and plums.
With so many surplus apples going to waste Kim decided to create apple cider vinegar.
He sold it to a local organic health store whose owners told him it was the best they had tasted and to carry on creating it.
The name CoralTree came easy as the orchard had two large coral trees at the front of the property.
During a trade show in Christchurch, with 6-month-old daughter Zhana in tow, Kim showcased the premium drinking vinegar.
A show attendee marvelled at the product and suggested exporting it to Hong Kong, which soon happened.
The company has grown from strength to strength and about 10 years ago the production headquarters was moved from the orchard to a warehouse in Riverbank Rd, Ōtaki, which offered a larger space.
Some years ago the family sold the orchard because it was in line with the proposed Ōtaki to Levin Expressway.
There was a certain sadness as it was where Kim had built the family home and where Zhana was born and raised.
But sometimes you have to let go of the past and look to the future, which is what the family did.
Organic apples are brought from various orchards around the country, especially Hawke's Bay, to the warehouse before the magic starts.
"We will basically take any apples as long as they're organic," said Zhana, now aged 27, who took over the company reins recently.
"Our preferred apple is Granny Smith but with the number of organic growers around we take what we can get."
Buying organic apples from others is more costly but it's not all about money.
"It's a good way that we can support organic growers in the community, which is something we're big on.
"As long as it's sweet and ripe we'll take it."
CoralTree produces between 200,000 and 300,000 litres of apple cider vinegar a year.
The product is in stores throughout New Zealand as well as overseas predominantly, Asia and Australia.
A few years ago CoralTree got its 25+ years BioGrow certification.
"I haven't seen that on many other products so it's pretty exciting.
"We were also the first organically certified apple cider vinegar producer in New Zealand."
Like any company, there have been various challenges faced along the way.
"Making the company well-known has taken a while especially because the business is small, only has one product, and isn't willing to cut corners.
"We keep things very original, like only locally sourced organic apples, which are matured in wooden oak barrels so there's no water added.
"The price stays high but the quality stays high as well.
"Trying to get people to recognise what is a good quality product is a challenge for sure."
Lots of people use it in different ways from something they can drink, on their skin, in their hair, as a dressing or marinade.
"There's huge anecdotal evidence of people having really fantastic results of using it.
"The active ingredient is the acetic acid, which is the living mother, which we keep alive."
The taste for those unaccustomed can be a bit of an eye-opener not to mention eye-watering.
"If you're used to drinking vinegar already, people who start drinking CoralTree find it much easier to consume because it is a lot smoother and more fruity than other vinegars.
"But if you're not used to vinegar I would suggest a teaspoon or a tablespoon of honey and a big glass of water to top it up.
"And never drink it straight – always dilute it."
The aim is for Kim to retire, and for Zhana to keep building the business nationally and internationally especially in Australia where the product is becoming increasingly popular.
"I really enjoy being able to carry on something that my father has put so much effort and love into.
"He's really ingrained in me why it's important to be organic, to support those local growers, encourage people to read the labels when you go to the supermarket and think about every dollar you spend and where it goes."
- This article features in the latest Celebrating Kāpiti autumn/winter magazine