Episode 39 - A Twist of Lemon
On the next episode, screening 12 November 2017 at 7pm on TVNZ 1:
A Twist of Lemon
When English immigrants Simon and Caroline Marriott planted their citrus orchard near Thames, they thought they’d found the ideal New Zealand lifestyle.
But when they started selling their fruit in the farmers’ market and to pack-houses, the economics didn’t stack up.
They felt they were poorly rewarded for the huge effort they’d put in to look after the trees, pick the fruit, clean it, then pack it or take it to the market.
They’ve finally come up with a solution that earns them a better income from their produce, but it’s been a long journey to get there.
The Marriotts were originally from England, but had lived for several years in Kenya, where Simon ran a large wildlife reserve.
By the time it was time to move on, they had fallen in love with living in wide open spaces and didn’t want to return to England, so in 1999 they applied to immigrate to New Zealand.
Caroline’s background as a physiotherapist meant they were able to move straight to Thames, where she started a job at the hospital.
‘To be honest, when we first arrived here, it was a huge shock to our system to be living in this large metropolis of Thames,’ Caroline says.
The couple and their four children yearned for somewhere away from people and eventually they found 12 hectares in the quiet Omahu Valley, tucked away in the hills between Thames and Paeroa.
They kept part of it in pasture, on which they established a Suffolk sheep stud, while they planted the rest in trees, including a citrus orchard.
When the trees fruited and they received lower-than-expected returns, Caroline tried making marmalade from their citrus to add value to the crop.
‘I made the most awful marmalade,’ she says. ‘Thick, dark, some which could almost break your teeth, others which you could sort of pour down the sink.’
But she persisted till eventually she was making preserves that were always in big demand at Thames Market.
They then decided to enter some food awards to see how their products compared to those of other New Zealand artisan producers.
The most appropriate competition was back in their native England, so they entered The World’s Original Marmalade Awards in 2014 and have won a gold or silver that year and every year since.
And in New Zealand, they’ve also won a Cuisine Magazine award for their chutney.
‘It had a great impact,’ Caroline says. ‘Before we were just selling locally, but now we’re selling throughout New Zealand and that’s really satisfying.’
For more about Caroline’s and Simon’s preserves, visit:http://omahuvalleycitrus.co.nz
For more about Thames Market, visit:www.eventfinda.co.nz/2015/thames-market/thames
For more about Suffolk sheep, visit:www.nzsheep.co.nz/index.php?page=suffolk
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