It's a business built with love and pride over more than 20 years.
Living Foods began on a half-acre of land in Mangere, around which has grown the cool stores and offices needed for the bustling business it is today.
Director Mark Goodwin, 56, used to drive the tractor. His partner and fellow director Vicky Thompson says it all began with sprouts and then, well, everything grew.
She says it's taken 20 years to build Living Foods up to what it is now - producer of "the most popular packaged salad in New Zealand".
Popularity has its price, possibly in brand recognition among those sick with food poisoning.
The salads, sold through Foodstuffs supermarkets, were referred to in interviews with 23 of the 96 people who fell sick over the six-week period of the outbreak.
Ms Thompson: "In that time frame, we've done 1.3 million salads which serve four people each. That's an enormous amount of salad to put down to 23 people who have eaten a Pams salad."
The quiet Mangere food producer has watched journalists charging up its driveway, cameras swung about and TV3's John Campbell in its reception area with good wishes and sincere concern. The company's good name is on a news website under the headline: "Bug linked to one farm."
But it hasn't been - at least, not really.
Living Foods emerged because of two controversial reports which were said to hold the answer to the food poisoning puzzle. After a week of saying the reports proved nothing, the Ministry of Primary Industries bowed to media and public pressure to release them.
The reports list a range of food eaten by those who had fallen sick. A high number - 91 per cent - reported eating lettuce in the weeks before becoming ill.
Of the 96 people surveyed, 23 said they had eaten Pams salad. Others named competitors' salads, although not in the same numbers. On Thursday, Foodstuffs announced its sole salad supplier Living Foods had quarantined a paddock in case it turned out to be part of the outbreak.
There was still nothing to say where the contamination had come from - but after 10 days of no clear answers, an identifiable culprit was eagerly grasped.
Mr Goodwin welcomed the Weekend Herald to the company's offices with the warning: "There are a lot of sensitivities at the moment. You might see some smiles - but they're not deep.
"We're starting to understand. Everyone wants a scapegoat."
The outbreak would have begun back in August, with the first victims showing up in ESR's early warning system on September 22. There were fewer than four cases of yersinia pseudotuberculosis a year between 2010 and 2013. There would be 138 confirmed cases in this year's outbreak.
The alerts come through a system used by medicos to record illness with statistics revealing aberrations. ESR's expert Graham Mackereth said the alert was raised after yersinia pseudotuberculosis cases came from three different regions. He said the cases revealed an "indistinguishable strain" - an evolution of the bug with an identical and unmistakable signature. "Then we knew we had a common source out there."
The Ministry of Health was alerted on September 23 and MPI told a day later.
But it was between October 3 and 5 that the ESR team tried to get a handle on the source of the infection through quizzing 96 of the estimated 138 cases. The data led to the two controversial reports - October 6 and October 8.
You ask Dr Mackereth and he'll explain "there's a softness to the data". "The reports showed a number of foods people had eaten that made us want to check them. Most of them are foods that are commonly eaten".
Lettuce and carrots were reported as being eaten more often than expected among those who were ill. The ESR team tried to establish a baseline by quizzing its own staff and DHB staff over eating habits as a "control".
The reports were never intended to identify one supermarket chain - and don't. "You can imagine scenarios where more than one line of supply becomes contaminated."
The report, with all its caveats, was a tool to give the investigation direction. "There's no suggestion this report was to ever try and solve the outbreak. We haven't nailed it in the study but studies don't usually do that. It's part of the process. It's not an end point.
"It's supposed to be a lead and it's not supposed to be an answer."
Refusal to release report
In Canterbury, which had 48 of the 96 reported cases, the outspoken medical officer of health Alistair Humphrey seized on the report as an answer.
There was enough information in it, he said, to show carrots and salad were to blame. He also claimed the reports identified one supermarket chain and a particular product as responsible for the illness.
The last case reported to ESR was on October 9 - over a week ago - about the time MPI refused to release the report, saying it was concerned it would unfairly stigmatise producers.
The refusal drove a huge increase in the coverage even as Dr Humphrey insisted it offered answers.
The clamour over the outbreak grew, with the Prime Minister asked why the reports would not be released, as was Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew. At the Ministry of Primary Industries, the press team was trying to manage a situation which was out of control. Initial inquiries by the Weekend Herald took more than a day to respond to, and when someone did get on the phone, the press adviser disconnected the call, saying he was too busy to talk. Look how much there is to do, he said later, pointing at a long string of interviews.
The person who fronted for the outbreak was MPI's second in command, deputy director of general regulation and assurance Scott Gallacher.
The day the reports were released - after consultation with Ms Goodhew - he was saying the debate around them had "overplayed the significance" they had. There were "disclaimers and limitations scattered through".
"We felt we couldn't come out [with them] because we would scare so many horses."
The information in the reports was "blown out of proportion". "They had developed a status. We needed to front. Here are the reports - please see them for what they are.
"It was a piece of the puzzle. We were trying to diligently work on the whole puzzle. We're in the midst of an investigation. I know we live in a world of CSI and we need it in 60 minutes. That's not the case in real life.
He said he was asked if it was possible to identify the source - or the farm. He said he couldn't. "As soon as we have information that is strong and credible, we will move with it."
Doubts and questions
So, what do the reports say?
"There was an association with lettuce. It was far from clear it was a true association. People were eating the same products, the same types, and were not getting sick.
"Something out of the ordinary appears to have occurred. We just don't know what that is."
One of the problems is the incubation period of 3-21 days. "We're dealing with people being asked questions about what they ate three or four weeks earlier.
"When you look at the time lag you've got here, it does raise questions in our minds if we will ever get to the definitive source."
Those doubts also occur to Massey University's food safety Professor Steve Flint.
He said yersinia pseudotuberculosis was found almost everywhere but was not a common form of food poisoning. As a psychotrophic bacteria, it continued to function at refrigeration temperatures when other organisms died. If the temperature rose above 4-7C, then the bacteria would grow at a faster rate. The emergence of bacteria in great numbers created severe adverse reactions, he said.
He said it was highly unlikely the problem would have come from a specific field unless it was a paddock where a lot of cattle had been kept or "had been intensively fertilised with animal manure".
"Most food poisoning incidents don't get tracked down to a particular source. I hope they find it but they probably won't."