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