Hitting the taste trail Once again, the
Once again, the Horowhenua Taste Trail has proven its growing popularity with record numbers attending.
Horowhenua Taste Trail has proven its growing popularity with record numbers attending.
The HorowhenuaTaste Trail offers the public the opportunity to meet local growers, and sample some of their delicious fresh produce.
This year 10 of Horowhenua’s specialist food producers over eight sites, showcased their wares in late November, attracting more than 2000 foodies from throughout New Zealand.
With more people wanting to know how their food is produced, growers are able to provide visitors with an insight into the diverse variety of foods that comes out what is often described as the production food bowl of the lower North Island.
This year Woodhaven Gardens, Lewis Farms, Turk’s, Genoese Pesto (with Thoroughbread Foods on site), Woody’s Free-Range Farm, Levin Eel Trading, The Ultimate Egg and Bagrie Farm (with The Baked Dane on site) all opened their doors to the public.
Now in its third year, the Horowhenua Taste Trail continues to put the area on the map and is gaining real momentum as a showcase of specialist food producers. Foodies or families out for the day were able to see everything from international chefs preparing delicious dishes to the SPCA explaining the difference between free range and caged eggs. For the children a visit to the new strawberry tunnels at Lewis Farms, where they could enjoy fresh strawberry ice cream was a must, as were the tractor rides at Woodhaven Gardens.
The Taste Trail began in 2016, when Geoff Lewis, the managing director of Tendertips Asparagus near Levin and his daughter in- law Catherine formed a committee with other interested parties, and developed the event. The intention was to show off the variety of the local area’s products, as well as their high quality. At the time Geoff said the aim was to share the region’s story with people from outside the area and to ultimately increase tourism and economic development there.
Since then it has grown from a freeto-attend event, the committee has become a charitable trust, and entry is by ticket only. >
Five producers partnered with cafes and restaurants to provide a delicious offering including taster plates and treats, small bites that could be purchased on the day.
This year’s event really began the night before, with the Horowhenua Long Table Dinner held at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-po, Levin. At the cocktail event guests were able to enjoy a dinner that showcased the range and excellence of local produce, prepared by chef Tom Hutchison of Wellington culinary institution, Capitol Restaurant. It was a rare opportunity to enjoy a true ‘paddock to plate’ experience.
At the weekend event the food offering was enhanced by visitors being able to see not only how food was produced but they could sample it all in gourmet form. Five producers partnered with cafes and restaurants to provide a delicious offering including taster plates and treats, small bites that could be purchased on the day.
Executive officer, Catherine Lewis, said they wouldn’t be able to put the event on without the generous support of event partners, Rabobank, PGG Wrightson, Countdown, MG Marketing, Horowhenua District Council, Oji Fire Solutions, BNZ, Horizons Regional Council, Electra, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, HMC Levin, Horticulture NZ, CS Law and Fluker Denton. Todd Charteris, chief executive of Rabobank, now principal partner of the Horowhenua Taste Trail, said producers from the Horowhenua area fed NZ, Australia, Japan, Belgium and the United States with high quality produce – “an incredible feat for a district with a population of just over 33,000”.
Feedback from visitors was overwhelmingly positive, and and organisers are already working on next year’s event, something Catherine said is only going to be “bigger and better”.