Nathan and Mulan (she’s Cantonese, and named after the original Chinese heroine, not the Disney character) were growing veges in Whenuapai eight years ago but decided they needed a product they could add value to. They had three young children at the time (now four) who were part of their decision to create fun, wholesome organic products, free from artificial ingredients and colourings.
By 2012 they’d begun to create a range of mostly plant-based gelatos, sorbets and ‘Popolato’ vegan ice-blocks using local fruit: plums, feijoas and even avocados. Innovative flavours include herbs such as tarragon and rosemary, and there’s even a native kawakawa sorbet.
“As many of our fresh or frozen organic ingredients as possible are grown here,” says Nathan. “We use sugar and chocolate from TradeAid, as well as their coconut cream, which is absolutely the best.”
The family moved to Hobsonville Point so the kids could safely walk to school. Their eldest daughter, now 15, works at the Catalina Bay stall. The pair have no plans to hit the supermarkets, Nathan admits.
“We love doing the markets because it’s manageable and we get that all-important customer feedback.” The Lalele range has expanded to include juices (in takeaway-and-return glass bottles) and smoothies – there’s a very topical, immune-boosting smoothie recipe for you to try below.
They’re always at the Catalina Bay Farmers Markets on the waterfront at Hobsonville Point, and you’ll also find them in Ponsonby Central. They’ll come to you too, taking to the road with the cutest little vintage caravan to provide delicious treats for any event you can dream up. Side note: the caravan also does waffles.
Immunity Booster Smoothie
100ml coconut water
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 small piece of ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup lemon juice
1 clove garlic (optional but great for immunity!)
½ tsp Kakadu plum powder (or other vitamin C powder of your choice)
Blitz in a blender for a minute or two and enjoy!