AN INTERVIEW WITH CAMELOT INSIDERS!!
... Stewart and Pamela Burns... (The brains behind the business)
Who are the people behind the company and what do you do?
Stewart and Pamela Burns are current the shareholders of Camelot Fresh Fruit Company joined in 2012 by son Richard and in 2013 by Margot, (Richards wife). A team of 10 staff manage a large summerfruit and pipfruit growing and packing business located in the Twyford fruit growing area west of Hastings. Camelot began as a 12 hectare property operated by Stewart’s parents, Neale and Janice Burns. Along with other family members (Lew, Terry and Margaret Burns) they each developed individual orchards on the family land of their grandparents Charles and Joyce Burns.
Much history and experience has been poured into the development and redevelopment of the land that has been home to five generations of the Burns family. Stewart and Pamela fell in love while both were solo parents in 2002 and in between the Royal Gala and Braeburn harvest were married in 2003. This began a big blended family with three children each. Family life was therefore never dull, and by 2013 all the family had grown and two sons had married..
Stewart has been involved in all aspects of fruit growing and over the last 25 years, and has been in the current role of managing director since the company’s inception in 2003.. He is passionate about Healthy and Fresh fruit production.
Pamela has been an active support in Stewart’s leadership role at Camelot and also successfully navigated the teenage years with their six children. She has also studied extensively during the last few years and brings her counselling skills to developing a pastoral care role, encouraging and training communication skills with staff.
The business currently employs 50 seasonal staff for Harvesting and Packaging of our summer fruit and apple crops, These people are integral to the quality process and are a combination of experienced returning staff and casual workers who are looking for seasonal employment. Camelot is a member of Pick Hawkes Bay a 'not for profit' group who recruit and support workers from the pacific islands. Camelot employs 12 staff from Vanuatu who have become part of our family at Camelot through a NZ Government program called Recognised Seasonal Employer. The Ne Van provide excellent skills and a stable team of reliable and long term staff and we are able to see significant income return to Vanuatu to help fund community and family projects there.
Why you do what you do?
Camelot Fresh Fruit Company is in business to be a fruit growing blessing to our local community, nation and world.
What kind of people are we?
Happy, positive, spiritual and pragmatic, we love what we do.
What are we most proud of as an organization?
Camelot Fresh Fruit Company has a focus on bringing the best possible fruit to customers. We grow, support, package and deliver real quality fruit.
Why should customers care and get to know Camelot better?
We believe in biological fruit growing. We are adding value every day into the production of high nutrient, high flavour, healthy fruit. That’s why we exist and why we add extra costs to our production process, because we believe food production is important. We have a production system that does not accept the standards of our industry but is looking to improve quality and safety of our fruit while improving the nutritional value and reducing chemical use.
What does the company stand for?
Fresh food production, we believe Fresh foods are best healthy, nutritional and flavour foods. We believe in Natural and biological farming as an innovative way to produce great fruit.
What does the company stand against? Camelot is 100% opposed to GMO food production. We are usually about the science and support research but not the testing of Genetically Modified foods on the public! This is unacceptable and the consequences are unpredictable. We support a GM free NZ and Country of origin labelling. We are unable to support Organic fruit growing as the issues are to complex and Organic certification is not right for our environment and fruit currently.
What emotion do you feel towards the industry?
We are both positive and involved in our Industry and love it
Is there a moment that would sum up the company? Every day, especially ever day in Spring, when we start again to produce our year’s wonderful crop.
Common words used in the company?
Team, Best practice, Love, Honour, Environmental sustainability, getting it right, Customer focus, R&D, above the line, Awesome
What words do our customers use?
Flexible, consistent, innovative
A few random things about Camelot? The company has two cats, we pick fresh fruit for 6 months of the year, about half our food production is for New Zealand customers. We believe in the good God (as opposed to the bad one) ;)
What is our Camelot's passion?
Our passion is all about great fruit, but we are also passionate about a great working environment and culture
What is Camelot's personality? Our company culture is captured in these three words, Teamwork, honour and growth, we believe our enterprise is a living place that produces healthy fruit from healthy soils with the teamwork of healthy relational people.
Achievements to date -
- In 2013 Stewart Burns was awarded the Mack Nichol award for Excellence in Summerfruit.
- The company has been Global Good agriculture practice participants since the organisations inception and have consistently developed best practice as a business