Fieldays, the biggest agricultural event in the Southern Hemisphere, is not the usual destination for foodies, but it is on a mission to showcase the whole food journey from farm to plate.
Fieldays' strategy to be an educational platform within the primary sector to inform and provide transparency around where our food comes from, has brought an unusual first-time exhibitor to the event this year: McDonald's New Zealand.
Over the past few years, McDonald's has been sharing their local supplier, sustainable beef, and quality produce stories and busting a few myths along the way. With their 2020 shopping list teeing up to $150 million spent among local suppliers, McDonald's holds a vital component of New Zealand's food and fibre story.
McDonald's New Zealand communications manager Simon Kenny says he is looking forward to having conversations with the public, hearing what they have to say, and reporting back to McDonald's franchisees.
"Almost all the food we serve is manufactured in New Zealand from local and imported ingredients. We want to show that behind the golden arches, there are a bunch of local franchisees and suppliers working hard to deliver a quality product and making the New Zealand primary sector even stronger in the process."
Other exhibitors are showcasing New Zealand food and beverage with a delicious street- food scene in the food courts, as well as the latest food-related innovations and demonstrations.
The Pantry will showcase an abundance of New Zealand-made food, beverage, and related products and equipment. From deli meats, cheeses, and chutneys to sweet treats such as chocolates, fudge, and liquorice.
Listen to The Country's Jamie Mackay interview Fieldays chief executive Peter Nation on the food available at the big event below:
Fieldays Bar and Eatery, by Montana's Village and Good George, will be in a bigger and more-dynamic space, below The Pavilion in F Street. Fieldays also provides the unique opportunity to chat to the people behind the organisations that grow, process, and produce the food and beverage.
Fieldays TV, accessible via Fieldays online, allows people from all over the world to tune in and get a feel for New Zealand's food and fibre story. During Fieldays Online last year, 75 countries tuned in.
On Fieldays TV this year, New Zealand's favourite chefs like Simon Gault and Karena and Kasey Te Awa Bird, cook and share their top tips and tricks in Fieldays Kitchen. New Zealand celebrity chef Simon Gault will be cooking a special Kiwi roast chicken.
"I think the cool thing about these Fieldays video recipes is that they are records people can keep forever rather than going to a cooking class one time. They can have a quick refresher if they feel like cooking the recipes again."
Karena and Kasey Te Awa Bird are the winners of MasterChef New Zealand 2014. Kasey says: "What is truly unique about New Zealand food is the influence of Māori culture, which can't be seen anywhere else in the world and has a growing presence in the New Zealand food scene which is really exciting to see."
Tickets for Fieldays are available here. Fieldays TV can be accessed via fieldaysonline.co.nz.