Tony and Asfaneh Howey are the couple behind the Viberi range of organic blackcurrant powder, freeze-dried, soft and chocolate-covered blackcurrant treats. Their farm, which they have been working since 2005, is in Pleasant Point, two hours South of Christchurch and just inland from Timaru in New Zealand's South Island. The region is ideal for growing blackcurrants which need a cold winters, mild summers, moist free draining soil and good water from the Southern Alps. The high sunlight hours, fertile soil and high rainfall is credited for New Zealand blackcurrants being particularly high in anthocyanins, an antioxidant.
Both Tony and Asfaneh are from farming backgrounds. Tony grew up cropping in South Canterbury not far from where their blackcurrants are grown now, and Asfaneh's dad ran a pistachio farm in Iran. The farm was conventional when they first purchased it in 2005, but they felt the choice to go to the effort of changing to organic was an obvious one despite the challenges as since its a health product passionate about being as healthy and possible and sustainable environment. are the only commercial organic blackcurrant farmers in New Zealand where weeds are controlled by a flock of 600 sheep.
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