In 2005, John Fordham started a kava processing company called Forney Enterprises with the product line, Klin Kava. From humble beginnings, John Started the business from his residential kitchen which involved many failed experiments and the destruction of home appliances. Through countless experiments, John created one of the first Instant kava products commercially sold in the industry, which has now become one of the best-selling Instant kava products on the market today. Over the years John also created a series of traditional Vanuatu kava powder products. These products were quickly accepted and became highly demanded worldwide.
In 2015 John’s Son Josh moved to Vanuatu to assist in the running of the business. Over the following years, combining experience and knowledge with fresh perspective and passion for the industry, John and Josh transformed the processing facility and attained a new direction for the company.
This new direction was focused on two main areas. The first area was concentrated around setting new industry food safety standards by utilising modern technology in our processing facility to remove bacteria that are naturally present in kava without compromising on the natural freshness and unique chemical composition to each of Vanuatu’s Kava cultivars.
The second area of focus was to revisit the origins of Vanuatu kava; learning about the history of Vanuatu kava drinking and what made each of their cultivars unique to their regions, environments, and culture. During 2019, & 2020, their research team spent over eighteen months traveling throughout the remote islands of Vanuatu. The team engaged with growers from different regions and islands; sampling and learning about the individual kava cultivars and what makes these cultivars exceptional in their own way.
Over 400 samples were collected during this research assignment. The samples were analyzed through their laboratory using Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography (UHPLC) to establish kavalactone profiles then sent to collaborators at Australian University for ongoing research. During the time of this research, they partnered with The Kava Society in New Zealand amongst other kava connoisseurs around the globe to take part in sampling and surveying each of the single cultivar powders.
They then went on to develop the largest single cultivar range available in the world today through their retail brand, Root & Pestle Premium Kava’s, which has become renowned across the globe for impressive potency and superior quality.
Root & Pestle prides itself in supplying kava products of unmatched quality.
Our products provide an experience that is comparable to that of freshly squeezed kava, valued and consumed by its traditional founders for over three thousand years.
This has been achieved through years spent in research and through the development of our custom-made machines and unique processing methods.
Our processing facility is HACCP certified. HACCP is an independent organisation that provides a program for identifying and managing food safety-related risks and is recognised globally. HACCP analyses the control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material through production, handling, distribution, and consumption of the finished product.
Root & Pestle employs a full-time team, managing and maintaining our Food Safety Program. This provides our customers and regulatory agencies assurance that our products are of the highest standard and our food safety program is up to date and well managed.
Our commitment to quality
Root & Pestle boasts a state-of-the-art onsite laboratory Including, a modern microbial testing facility that enables our processing team the ability to identify potential processing issues and continually improve our processing techniques and methods. Also, our laboratory includes automated sample extraction machines and a UHPLC (Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography) which assists us in measuring the kavalactone profiles of every sample. This method is an extremely accurate way of identifying the chemotype as well as the purity and strength of our kava cultivars.
Commitment to our growers
For centuries, Kava has been the symbol of Vanuatu custom and national identity.
Therefore, we partner in business with the local farmers; we do not compete and grow our own kava. At Root & Pestle, we are passionate about the people of Vanuatu and always looking for opportunities to support our local community. Our single cultivar range has afforded local growers to value-add to their raw products based on the quality of their harvest and their cultivation skills as well as the opportunity to showcase cultivars that have been unique to their region and local customs.
Through years of investment, research and further collaboration with new partners, we have the ability to make kava products of unmatched quality, safety, purity and freshness.
Australia and New Zealand
In order to gain better recognition for our efforts and products we decided to launch Root & Pestle as a retail arm and distinct brand representing our offer in New Zealand and Australian markets. As our first venture we’ve partnered up with The Kava Society in New Zealand to sell our co branded range of excellent single cultivar kava powders. Launching soon in Australia.