De­vour­ing the globe

Ohaene Or­gan­ics and their globe ar­ti­chokes

Taste - - Contents - STORY AND RECIPES Tracey Sun­der­land PHO­TOGRAPHS Vanessa Lewis

Taste vis­its Ohaene Or­gan­ics in the Kauaeranga Val­ley on the trail of the de­li­cious, ex­otic globe ar­ti­choke

Peter and An­ge­lika left their home near Stuttgart and im­mi­grated to New Zealand with their four chil­dren in the mid 1990s. Their dream was to de­velop an or­ganic farm and, af­ter an ear­lier visit, they were con­vinced New Zealand was the place to do it. In 1997, Peter built the fam­ily home on a bare block in the Kauaeranga Val­ley and planted 2000 trees as shel­ter belts and for fire­wood. The fam­ily have been living sus­tain­ably on the land ever since.

Along with their el­dest son, Korbinian, Peter and An­ge­lika grow a range of or­ganic fruit and veg­eta­bles, spe­cial­is­ing in pota­toes (they con­cen­trate on two va­ri­eties which are suited to or­ganic gar­den­ing: Rocket, which is a bit like Agria, and Red Ras­cal). They also grow a range of her­itage ap­ples. They are cer­ti­fied with the Or­gan­ic­farmnz or­gan­i­sa­tion, which uses in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised cer­ti­fier Biogro’s or­ganic stan­dards but is a lower-cost op­tion for farm­ers who don’t in­tend to ex­port their crops.

Em­ploy­ing the age-old prac­tice of com­pan­ion plant­ing, the Poschls grow groups of crops to de­ter pests and nour­ish the soil. When Taste vis­ited we spot­ted patches of new-sea­son Rocket pota­toes, gar­lic, com­frey, Smyrna quince trees, pump­kins, her­itage toma­toes, grapes, ap­ples and, of course, ar­ti­chokes.

Peter and An­ge­lika be­gan grow­ing ar­ti­chokes 12 years ago. Peter ini­tially tried plant­ing on var­i­ous parts of the prop­erty and found the plants pre­ferred fer­tile, free-drain­ing soil and ‘dry feet’. Ar­ti­chokes love sun­shine and grow best in parts of New Zealand that have hot, dry sum­mers and fairly cold win­ters – their sil­ver fo­liage is per­fectly adapted to re­flect the heat. The flower heads ap­pear in early spring and are har­vested in late September and Oc­to­ber for avail­abil­ity in stores for about four to six weeks or un­til the heat of sum­mer hits and the pur­ple flow­ers bloom.

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Peter Sch­muck­poschl with dog Cicek (Turk­ish for ‘flower’). Peter, An­ge­lika and son Korbinian en­joy a cuppa in the gar­den.

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