This weekend, I was in luck to be invited to join the Horowhenua Taste Trail; an event that showcased the variety of fresh produce and food products this district has to offer.
I’ve always appreciated how we’re able to always enjoy fresh and seasonal produce, it just never occurred to me that some of the staples in my kitchen are sourced and grown so near to where I lived!
For such a small region, Horowhenua has a lot of thriving food producers that take pride in their range of products which are supplied both to the local and international community. I was aware that this is the 2nd year of making this event happen, and the organisers arranged it as a self-driven tour across several locations, each of them offering their own site tours, music, entertainment and of course, great food to taste!
With easy to read Taste Trail maps, we spent the day driving around Levin to check out what each place had to offer.
We kickstarted the Taste Trail with a visit to the Tendertips Asparagus Packhouse, where we tucked into a pre-booked champagne breakfast prepared by the Foxton’s Little White Rabbit. The meal was beautifully presented and tasted as good as it looked!
The packhouse was in full production that morning to meet their export demands from Japanese clients and we had close-up tour and explanation from how asparagus are grown, all the way to being graded and packaged for sale. Needless to say, I also bought some to take home after such a hearty meal that morning.
It was great to know that this event attracted droves of locals and people from out of town who brought their families along with them; it shows a collective effort to support homegrown products and to spread awareness that good things could sometimes be at your doorstep. Everywhere we went, we were spoiled with food-tastings and had a wide selection of meat and vegetables sold at very reasonable prices.
Turk’s had a full-on barbecue going on that attracted a line of hungry crowds and the collaboration of Genoese & Thoroughbread Foods had prepared a wonderful selection of breads and pesto flavours that were so good, we couldn’t resist buying some to have at home!
You could tell that the organisers put in huge efforts to make it fun and family-friendly event; a personal favourite of mine was hopping on a tractor tour around the Woodhaven Gardens that grow a wide array of vegetables. This location attracted crowds with cooking competitions in the morning and food trucks by Saigon Corner and The Evil Stepson.
We also made sure to pay a visit to Levin’s Eel Trading Co, North Island’s one and only Eel farm, where I
reluctantly had a go at walking through a tub of live (and slimy) eels.
I liked how children certainly weren’t left out in this fun-filled event; GJ Bagrie Dairy Farm did farm tours where you could watch the cows being milked and pet some animals if you wished. There were cupcake decorating sessions at RJ’s Licorice store that the young ones clearly enjoyed doing and eating, heh.
Us adults were only interested in tasting all the different lollies and bringing back as much as we can!
At the end of the day, the Horowhenua Taste Trail definitely had me feeling not just very full from delicious food, but also an appreciation for the efforts our local farmers and producers put into the accessibility of good quality produce. I look forward to this event becoming an annual occurrence for us to enjoy!
A special mention to Kristy McGregor – Thank you, for giving me this opportunity.