NZ Kelp began with food grade kelp which is now under the Valére brand. Once their access to harvesting (using the Quota Management System) increased, they branched into kelp for agricultural and horticultural use, sold under the brand Zelp.
Valére Kelp Pepper began when the Beattie family used it dried and flaked onto fish at BBQs on the beach. They discovered it was really tasty and enhanced the flavour of the fish.
They then cracked it into smaller pieces and used it at home, where it sat on the family dining table and was shaken onto meals. One morning their 4 year old son said a simple phrase and a new name was coined.
"can you pass the 'kelp pepper' please"
The Beatties unique method of drying the kelp to retain its colour, goodness and flavour has changed little since that time. Kelp has been eaten by man for centuries and forms a major part of many people's diet. It is also taken as a health product.
As a medical doctor Nicki Beattie recommended, where appropriate, the use of live foods in the diet in preference to pharmaceuticals.
Valére Kelp looks like pepper but tastes like kelp. As a natural flavour enhancer, Valére teases the senses with the aroma and taste of the sea. It wasn’t long before Roger Beattie realised the horticultural applications of Giant Kelp (the species they harvest). They knew it must have some growth stimulating compounds in it because it grows up to 50cm a day. That’s 20mm an hour - imagine if you could get your grass to grow that quick!
They started running trials in their home garden and were absolutely baffled by the results: Carrots that were 2 x larger, radishes that were 4 x larger, grapes with botrytis improved, bok choi & radishes resistant to insect attack, enhanced cutting propagation… the list goes on. The trials became more comprehensive and the rates were refined but the results remained. They were finding more uses and building their database of knowledge about which species are best and which rates are optimal.
They started feeding it to their animals too. The Beatties farm organic sheep & Murray Grey cattle. The cattle loved it and would keep coming back for more. They had a lot in the first few weeks but their consumption reduced after their Iodine levels rose. Roger found they could self-regulate their intake of kelp, much like salt or other mineral supplements. "We have never lost an animal to Iodine deficiency." Roger Beattie