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!

The Orchardist - - Avocados - By Les­ley Board

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

books.

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.

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