After almost three years, the Horowhenua Taste Trail team is all set to hold another event - on November 26. Apart from the diehard taste trailers who have been part of the plan to promote Horowhenua food since the very beginning in 2016, quite a few new entrants are anticipated.
Genoese Foods hosted the relaunch with a display of some of the producers to be sampled during the event.
Chairwoman Erica Guy said the trail has already developed into an iconic event, with the Horowhenua District Council as a principal sponsor. It showcases what Horowhenua produces and takes pride in being a rural district. The sector also has plenty of opportunities for employment.
Of course the past few years have been tough and then there were floods, a tornado, more floods, closed borders and supply problems, and yet more floods. "It is tough being a farmer or a food producer," Guy said.
Driven by a few local producers like Lewis Farms, Woodhaven Gardens, Turks Poultry, and Genoese Foods, the Taste Trail had gone from strength to strength, attracting 3000 visitors during the previous event in 2019. "At least 60 per cent of those visitors were from outside the district," said Mayor Bernie Wanden, who called it a salivating event.
"The Taste Trail celebrates what is good about Horowhenua and there is a lot some of us do not know about."
Andrew Parkin, of Genoese Foods, shared a bit of his firm's story since the previous event. "In March 2020, our basil supply from Fiji dried up and we started to cancel orders." Soon, they discovered the food and retail biz was a good one to be in then, as orders started piling in a few weeks into the lockdown.
"We already had some basil growing here and managed to find other local spots where we could grow."
The Taste Trail also offers an opportunity to peek behind the production lines and understand what goes into making any product.
The Taste Trail has now added Rabobank, Fruitfed Supplies, Fonterra, and Horizons Regional Council as key partners to the event.
Other sponsors include New World Levin, Pak'nSave Mini, New World Foxton, Ravensdown, Electra Group, Oji Fibre Solutions, CS Law, Fluker Denton, and HMC Holden Levin.
Sustainability is a key component for all Taste Trail producers and will be showcased on the trail in November. Tickets for the event are expected to go on sale in September.