At Balle Bros we want every potato, carrot, onion, cauliflower and cabbage to feel like Lucky Sods. Just like the soil in which they were grown, they’ve had just the right amount of sunshine, rain and good old grower know-how to nurture them and make them the best they can be.
Now this is what we call a good idea - a shallot that's as easy to peel as an onion! Sometimes heard of as an echalion, but more often known as a Banana or Torpedo shallot, they are a great alternative to brown onions or shallots.
They have golden red outer skins, the flesh is white and juicy with a mild, sweet onion flavour. They are now available across the country exclusively in Countdown stores. Look out for the crate of loose banana shallots and our paper storage bags.
Freshly harvested while still young, Little Diggers are small, tender and perfect for summer!
They are a waxy potato beautiful in summery potato salads or simply tossed with things like a little extra virgin olive oil or butter, garlic and mint.
Available in 1kg packs. We start harvesting them from Early December – so look out for them at your local Countdown store.
Fluffy and dry in texture when cooked, golden yellow fleshed Agria potatoes are a New Zealand favourite. There is nothing quite as good as Agrias’ that have been boiled until tender in salted water, well drained and mashed with butter and hot milk.
Not only are our Agria scrummy but we’ve taken the load off by washing them for you too. So all you need to do to these beauties is rinse and cook away!
Available in 2kg packs from December at your nearest Countdown store.
Finally, a couple of nice sized Red onions in a convenient, clean pack! We love red onions and our farm soils do too. The soils have helped to bring out their beautiful deep red flesh, and sweet, crisp taste for you to enjoy.
Red onions are generally milder, sweeter in flavour and juicier than brown onions. Because of their mildness they can be used raw, thinly sliced in salads and are also good in stir-fried dishes where the cooking is minimal.
Available now at your local Countdown store.
There probably is not a cook who could imagine cooking without the familiar brown onion. These are the most commonly available onions and are firm, and strongly flavoured. They form part of the holy trinity of slow fried onions, carrots and celery that is the basis of many Mediterranean and European soups, stews and sauces.
Enjoying the sunshine while they grow over the summer months, our 3 Large brown onions do just the trick when “stapling” your pantry. We grow tried and tested Pukekohe varieties, giving you the taste and the storability you expect from onions – don’t get caught without them!
Available now at your local Countdown store.
The orange carrot is a vegetable that is always available and often taken for granted. We are growing and harvesting our carrots all year round. Over spring and summer we are in Pukekohe – the carrots work well in the temperate climate, and their proximity to the big smoke means they get into store asap after harvesting.
That said, carrots really do love winter too. A cold climate discourages pests and helps the carrots stay fresh and juicy while being harvested. Our winter crop is grown in Ohakune and the surrounding Waimarino Plains, nestled amongst the snowy peaks of Tongariro National Park.
Without getting too technical, banana shallots are a cross between a brown onion and a shallot. They have golden red outer skins, the flesh is white and juicy with a mild, sweet onion flavour. There are possibly a tonne or two of different uses. Raw, thinly sliced in salads. Braised with meat or in stews. Roasted whole with other veg’, under a fine bird or a leg of sorts. Preserved in chutneys or pickled for sammies. Think stir fries, soups, tarts, quiches, frittatas. Yum. Perfect flavour matches include garlic, thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, fresh sage, potatoes, cheese and tomatoes.
Put the prawns, garlic, chilli flakes, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice and a large pinch of salt into a bowl and mix well. Reserve.
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Place the banana shallots in a dry roasting pan and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until tender and bursting.
Remove from the oven and cool.
Peel the shallots, slice 2cm thick and reserve.
Put the remaining lime juice, the fish sauce and sugar into a bowl and mix well.
Add the shallots and mix well. Reserve. This is the dressing.
Put the lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes in a wide salad bowl.
Heat a frying pan over high heat and add the prawns and marinade.
Stir fry very quickly for 4-5 minutes or until the prawns are just cooked through and browned.
Place the prawns on top of the vegetables in the bowl.
Spoon the dressing over the top.
Sprinkle the coconut and coriander on top and serve.
Serves 6. Good with steamed rice on the side
Like all waxy potatoes, they are high in moisture and low in starch and have a creamy, firm texture when cooked. They won’t collapse after cooking making them perfect to boil, steam, and use in casseroles and gratins. Little Diggers are smaller sized potatoes which have been scrubbed of dirt so are ready to use. Use well salted water when boiling them because just like pasta, potatoes like plenty of seasoning to bring out their delicious flavour. A sprig of mint in the cooking water is always a good addition when boiling potatoes.
Put the potatoes into a saucepan with plenty of water. season with salt and bring to the boil.
Simmer until the potatoes are tender, drain well and place in a salad bowl.
Crush the potatoes slightly with a fork.
Add the smoked fish, orange zest and segments, the onion, olives, and parsley.
Put the oil, lemon and orange juices and honey in another small bowl and mix well.
Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour this over the salad. Toss gently and serve.
Agrias’ are low in moisture and sugar but high in starch which means when they are boiled and drained they will collapse into a dry fluffy mass, perfect for mashing. When these potatoes are roasted or fried, the outside becomes crisp and the inside is dry and fluffy, just as roasted and fried potatoes should be.
For perfect roasted potatoes, Agrias’ only need to be peeled, cut into chunks or wedges, tossed in olive oil and a little salt, spread over a large roasting dish and roasted at 200°C for about an hour or until crisp and golden.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Put the potatoes, drumsticks, oil, garlic, oregano, lemon and olives into a large roasting dish.
Mix well and spread out into an even layer.
Place in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken cooked.
Remove from the oven and serve on rocket leaves with a spoonful of yoghurt on top.
An obvious characteristic of red onions is their attractive burgundy colouring. Sometimes red onions will turn an unappetising grey when cooked but many cooks know that a little lemon juice or vinegar mixed into the dish at the early stages of using red onions will preserve this onion’s bright red colour.
Preheat the oven to 20°C.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over moderate heat and add the onions, lemon juice, oregano and olives. Mix well.
Fry gently for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Do not brown them. Remove from the heat and cool.
Place in a bowl. Add the feta and eggs. Mix well.
Roll the pastry out on a floured surface and line a 28cm diameter tart tin.
Spread the onion mixture evenly over the pastry.
Place in the oven and bake 25 minutes or until set, puffed up and golden.
Remove from the oven and cool a little.
Serve in wedges. Good with a green salad.
Brown onions are an aggressively flavoured ingredient, so are rarely used raw. However slow frying will tame their strong flavour transforming it into something sweet, mild and aromatic. Onions in a dish contribute a savouriness that nothing else will give. Once cut, onions will soon develop a sour flavour. It is wise to use onions as soon as they are cut to prevent adding a sour flavour to your cooking.
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Put the half onions side by side in a deep wide saucepan.
Cover well with water and bring to the boil. Boil 5 minutes then remove from the heat and drain well. Cool the half onions.
Snip out some of the inside of each onion half with scissors to have 12 empty onion “cups”.
Chop the onion removed from the half onions and mix with the lamb, currants, cinnamon, garlic and parsley.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Stuff plenty of this mixture inside each onion cup.
Place the onions side by side in a roasting dish.
Pour the chopped tomatoes and oil evenly over the top.
Place in the oven and bake, basting occasionally, for 40 minutes or until well cooked.
Serve sprinkled with pinenuts and chopped parsley.
Carrots are another of the “behind the scenes” vegetables which cooks would be hard pressed to find a substitute for. Carrots often form the part of the flavour base for many dishes and give a sweetness and aroma essential to stocks, soups, stir-fries and stews and are a building block of European cooking. Lucky Sod Carrots are pre-washed so are ready to use not just as a part of other dishes but also as a delicious vegetable in their own right.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Place the carrots on a large baking tray.
Add 3 tablespoons of the oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well.
Spread the carrots out in an even layer and place in the oven for about 15 minutes until browned and slightly shrivelled.
Remove from the oven and place in a wide salad bowl.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderate heat in a large frying pan and fry the sausages until cooked and browned.
Remove from the pan, slice on the diagonal and add to the carrots.
Add the rocket, parsley, coriander and capsicum and mix well so the rocket wilts.
Mix the remaining oil, the vinegar and mustard together, taste and season.
Pour this over the salad, toss gently and serve.
I just wanted to tell you I purchased some onions “3 large Brown Onions” with the label “lucky sod”, on them from Countdown in Blenheim the other day. These are the best onions I have purchased in Marlborough in over a year. Don’t know why we have such bad onions here, but seriously, they are brown inside, soft etc etc. It was a pleasure to cut into one of these [onions] last night and see how a real onion should be.
Thanks guys, thought you deserved a pat on the back. Love the label too it’s great, first time I have ever seen this brand in Blenheim. Penny
I just wanted to say how much we loved eating the Little Diggers potatoes over the holidays – we were away on our launch – I took 4 bags with me – I opened the bags totally at the top and rolled the bag slightly down so they had air and stored them in a compartment that was under the waterline to keep them cool and out of the sun.
Not one went rotten and as you can imagine veg can do this on boats.
So thank you – my husband was a very happy chappie asking every night if we can have little diggers with our meal! Louise
Congratulations on your delicious potatoes, they are by far the best we have ever had! I have recently come across your “Little Diggers” in a super, ventilated plastic/paper bag – dark on one side & I can also see the product on the other side. [I am often disappointed with growers who hide small, old or green potatoes in boxes or coloured bags]. Cath
The hills of Pukekohe and surrounds are the natural southern limit of Auckland, believed by some city dwellers to be the edge of earth itself. The tasty morsels produced in this region enjoy soaking up the nutrient rich volcanic soil and warm moist climate.
Here once lay the mighty Waikato River 20,000 years ago, or so, before gradually re-routing itself west where it now flows out through Port Waikato. Left behind are naturally fertile sandy sedimentary soils high in organic matter and great for our crops.
Ohakune and the surrounding Waimarino Plains is the ideal place for winter veg’. Here these alpine dwellers can soak up the free draining, mineral rich volcanic soil of this alpine plateau while eyeing up the magnificent scenery of the region.
Below the Southern Alps, natural soil erosion and wind bring extra nutrients off the mountains to render the soil below ideal for growing crops. This is where our very own seed potatoes incubate, ensuring premium quality of our produce right from the get go.
A Balle Bros farm is one that future generations will come to enjoy, just as we have. Custodianship means looking after and respecting the land so that it can be a safe, healthy and sustainable source of food for the future.
Tried and tested methods are followed on each and every farm to ensure optimal growing conditions. Each farm has its own crop rotation system designed to fit with the local climate and soil conditions. We also plant “cover crops” such as mustard or oats as these help retain valuable nutrients in the soil between plantings and help avoid soil erosion.