POTATOES NZ INC.
Spring and summer in New Zealand represent all of the best things about our country, including new potatoes.
New season's bounty launched
Camping, picnics, barbeques and socialising always mean great food.
It’s the time of year where our sweetest produce is abundant with new potatoes as popular as strawberries, and with as much nostalgia and tradition surrounding them.
It was with all this in mind that the November Means New Potatoes (NMNP) event was created last year. This time around the idea was to create a festive ambience, similar to that of the Beaujolais festival in France, but on a smaller scale of course. There were special potato-esque canapes, an urban foody location, live music (French accordionist, Tracey Collins), celebrity guest chef, Annabelle White and quite possibly the first ever blind tasting of new potatoes in the world!
The idea was that different varieties would be identified by taste, colour and texture, after those attending met and interviewed growers earlier in the night. Among the prizes were some gorgeous potato-themed art, from Hawke’s Bay artist, Bernard Winkels, a potato enthusiast of Dutch and Irish heritage. There was a relaxed yet celebratory mood all night and it was an opportunity for members of the New Zealand Guild of Food Writers to meet potato growers as well as for those growers to have their moment in the spotlight to describe special characteristics of their particular produce and share stories of their potato farming businesses. Although fresh producers tend to be a humble bunch, their stories are rich and stretch back generations.
The four commercial growers who made the journey to central Auckland to celebrate the new season were; Balle Brothers, Gropak, Oakleys and A S Wilcox. It is hoped next year the festival will grow a little broader and more growers might join in the festivities.
Gemma Carroll is communications and engagement manager with Potatoes New Zealand.