Avo brew gets the thumbs up
They had 15kg of guacamole, delicious avocado ice creams and 300 of the industry’s famous Bliss Balls to give away at last month’s Katikati Avocado Expo – but it wasn’t enough to satisfy demand!
Not only that – craft brewer Stu Marshall from Rocky Knob Brewing Company (Mount Maunganui) came up with probably New Zealand’s only avocado beer for the occasion.
“It was a bit of fun really and good advertising,” Stu said. “We started off with a Saison (Belgian-style) beer base and used guacamole instead of hops as the fermenter to flavour it when the beer was nearly finished fermenting – the whole process took about 10 days. There’s 40 grams of avocado flesh per litre of beer and the guacamole contained the usual additives such as fresh coriander, lime juice, garlic and onion. Generally the brew has been given the thumbs up!”
Linda Flegg, a member of the organising committee, said that the Expo, launched in 2016, had 15 supporting displays this year – all relating to avocados. But it was not just about promoting the industry or advancing Katikati’s bid to become the Avocado Capital of New Zealand.
PART OF KATIKATI’S HISTORY
“It was also about making horticulture a significant part of the historic Katikati A&P Show in its 95th year. As a major industry in the district we wanted to do our bit for the longevity of the show. The Expo was sparked off last year by long time avocado grower Sheryl Palmer, and with Avoco/Avanza sponsoring the return of the traditional wood chopping and tug-of-war events, we are doing our bit.”
People thronged through the display tent all day, having a crack at the avocado shy and sampling the goodies, but also getting technical advice on actually growing the crop from wellknown industry stalwarts Colin Partridge and Hugh Moore.
INTEREST IN BUYING ORCHARDS
“One positive spin-off was having them available to talk with people from outside the area who were considering buying an orchard and looking for practical advice. From the number of people who raved about the guacamole I also got the impression that they did not eat avocados on a regular basis, so it was all good promotion for the industry.”
Chopping and sawing events drew keen support and the newly re-introduced tug-of-war saw a team from the Waikato Wrestling Club take the prize. Birchwood kiwifruit packhouse was a popular contender and with more promotion next year, organisers hope to get many more teams competing.
STEPPING UP A LEVEL
“We would like to take the Expo to a higher level, but the reality is that people involved in the avocado industry are still very busy in early February when the show is held,” Linda said. “To make it happen we would probably need to take on a paid organiser/promoter.”
As for making the bold move to officially proclaim Katikati as the Avocado Capital of New Zealand, that also requires money and effort.
“Not only that, our town is already known as New Zealand’s Mural Town and residents would have to be happy about adding another title.”
While the industry as such didn’t contribute financially to the Expo, Linda said it did give valuable help by providing banners and hundreds of the very popular Amazing Anytime recipe
Linda Flegg handed out hundreds of guacamole tasters.
From left: Stu Marshall proudly displays his avocado beer. Eileen Pomeroy (Katikati) was not a beer drinker but said she could definitely “manage that brew.” A stilt walker gets alongside the message. Andrew Darling, managing director of Just Avocados, found plenty of keen buyers for his $1 avocados.