A Whanganui family has been learning on the job after deciding to get into lettuce growing.
Karleen and Dougal Hamilton, along with their extended family, bought a section of land in Wikitoria Rd in October and, with tunnel houses already in place, they set about growing lettuces hydroponically.
"I've been a fulltime mum, which is a 24/7 job, so it's really been a case of learning as I go," Karleen Hamilton said.
"There are four generations of our family living on this block of land, and everyone helps out where they can.
"We always get there in the end."
Hydroponic Lettuce Supply now provides produce to local eateries such as The Grand Hotel, Caroline's Boatshed, The Rutland Arms and George's Fisheries, and Hamilton said members of the public were welcome to buy lettuces directly from them too.
"I think a lot of people didn't know we existed, to be honest.
"Because of our hydroponic set-up, we're able to keep costs low all year round, so no matter the time of year, all our lettuces are only $2 a pop.
"You can literally pick one of our lettuces straight from the patch and put it onto your plate."
Hamilton said she had been forced to dump 700 lettuces because of the Covid-19 lockdown, as many of her buyers were forced to close.
"We were still able to offer contactless pick-ups, and we still had to keep growing lettuces to prepare for when everything opened back up again.
"Anyone is welcome to come to take a look at our lettuces, just give us a call and, because we live on-site, we'll be there to greet you.
"We have a 'pick to order' system, so it's not a case of desperately trying to sell a bunch of lettuces we have sitting around."
Hydroponic Lettuce Supply grows six different varieties, Hamilton said, from "spiky to frilly".
"Our spiky ones almost look like gorse, but luckily they taste a whole lot better."
Hamilton said she'd also started growing watercress, which will see "big bags chocka-block" on sale for $10 each.
"Up until now people have had to get it from out of town, so it's great that we can provide locally grown, completely organic watercress, right here in Whanganui.
"I think our slogan for that will be 'from our patch to your pot' because that's exactly what we're able to offer."
Hydroponic Lettuce Supply also offers deliveries, with Hamilton "shooting around" in her "little chilled van".
"The people who have discovered us always say our lettuces are much bigger than the ones in the supermarket, so hopefully we can get the word out and keep growing and growing."
To contact Hydroponic Lettuce Supply, call 027 675 3887 or email email@example.com