The Horowhenua Taste Trail, showcasing ten of Horowhenua’s specialist producers, took place on Saturday 24th November attracting over 2000 foodies from throughout New Zealand.
The Taste Trail began in 2016 as a way to give participants a unique behind the scenes experience through Horowhenua’s specialist food producers, and has grown since inception.
Todd Charteris, Chief Executive of Rabobank, says “We are proud to be involved in an event which showcases some of the district’s leading producers and highlights the diverse range of food grown and produced in the region.
“Producers from the Horowhenua feed New Zealand, 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.”
A popular day out, where food was the hero, helped customers understand the value and origins of their food - and ended with participants enjoying simple but good food.
This year changes to the Trail meant participants were able to taste Horowhenua’s finest produce in dishes prepared by award winning cafés and restaurants, matched with producers, in the ultimate paddock to plate experience.
A highlight for foodie Kira Strongman, who travelled from Tauranga, was being able to see how the food was produced and then enjoying it on site.
“You don’t often get the opportunity to go behind the scenes, meet the producers and hear their stories. I really enjoyed the offering from Capitol Restaurant at Genoese. It was delicious!”
A diverse range of produce was on show from 10 specialist producers, ranging from strawberries being grown in tunnels during their inaugural season to live eels which are shipped off New York and enjoyed in the finest sushi restaurants.
The Ultimate Eggs were open to participants for the first time and had the SPCA on site to talk about the difference between free range and caged eggs.
Nine year old Molly Cunninghame from Manawatu said “I never knew how eggs got into their cartons and to the super market, so it was cool seeing all of the technology used. I loved the little chickens”.
Feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, with locals acknowledging how first class the experience was, how proud they are to live in the Horowhenua – and they are already lining up friends to bring along next year.
For participants from further afield, it uncovered the Horowhenua, a hidden gem.
Raewyn Pegden travelled down from Hamilton to take part with family. “We saw it advertised and thought it was something a bit different. Seeing such a diverse range of food being produced by passionate people definitely makes me think twice about where my food comes and the choices I will make in the future.
“But more importantly I have had a great day out with my children, eating yummy food and now have a market bag filled with local produce to enjoy at home. I will definitely be back again!”