Across the decades the Springbrook brand has been associated with one family and their fresh approach to quality foods.
For the Johnsons these years have required equal amounts of inspiration and determination as they’ve overcome challenges and undertaken new paths.The family business was traditionally associated with growing cherries and garlic in New Zealand’s Marlborough region, and current Springbrook General Manager Mark Johnson grew up with evenings spent in the family kitchen. In 1984 tragedy struck when a horrific car crash took the lives of both Mark’s parents and his only brother. Mark vowed to continue on. In 1986, inspired by the spring-fed waterway that meandered through the farm, he made a fresh start with a different name and renewed energy. The same challenges still existed however – any poor weather during harvest could result in crop failure and incredible amounts of wasted produce. Other things were budding at this time however – particularly the ideas Mark had for adding value to produce that, while cosmetically blemished, still provided the basis for delicious taste. As these ideas continued to grow, and wet harvest followed wet harvest, Mark flew to Australia and purchased an innovative cherry pitting machine.
The Springbrook team then developed and built a small food grade facility on the orchard and rolled up their sleeves. Work began both pitting cherries and processing other fruits for companies such as Air New Zealand and Pizza Hut. While Mark sought to add further value and create greater efficiencies the day-to-day running of the company often left little time to develop these thoughts. Then a debilitating back injury occurred… laid up and unable to do much but dream of what could be, Mark envisioned a new machine that could quickly and efficiently peel garlic cloves. Returning to the factory on crutches he set to work on the dream and in 1996 Springbrook introduced the first automatic garlic peeler to the market. This success provided the springboard for an exciting new direction. Processing natural products into exciting new forms is now the cornerstone of our capability and the initial inspiration, passion and innovation propels the company forward.