Food - Natural Resources
Organic food has become a primary industry in New Zealand. Bio-Gro New Zealand is the trading name of the New Zealand Biological Producers and Consumers Council Inc, formed in 1983. It is the registered owner of the Bio-Gro organic trademark and has developed a set of standards for organic production. Bio-Gro New Zealand is a member of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), based in Germany. All certified suppliers of organic product use the Bio-Gro trademark. The initial stage of the organic certification process allows for producers to be given a transition status after two years, and to progress to full certification after a period of three consecutive years of approved organic production.
The clean pure waters of New Zealand comprise the world's fourth largest coastal fishing zone. The sea area surrounding New Zealand supplies top-quality seafood ranging from crayfish (rock lobster) to squid, and orange roughy to hoki. Temperate waters also allow aquaculture, farmed New Zealand green-lipped mussels, Pacific oysters, paua (abalone), scallops and salmon. Other delicacies are Bluff oysters, tuna, marlin, snapper, tarakihi, tuatua and whitebait. New Zealand's restaurants always serve a fish of the day, with fresh fish being easily obtained.
New Zealand produces a bountiful basket of fruit, vegetables, cereals, cut flowers and seeds, which contribute NZ$1.3 billion to the country's income each year. Kiwifruit (also known by its export name Zespri) is the country's icon, but the fruit and vegetable range spans pip fruit, summer fruit, berry fruit, citrus fruit, avocadoes, persimmons, feijoa, tamarillos, macadamia nuts and vegetables including potatoes, onions, carrots, squash and asparagus. Zespri kiwifruit are green on the inside and hairy on the outside, but a recent development is that of Zespri gold, a hairless yellow variety - a tropical tasting fruit with hints of melon, peach, pineapple and mango.
The Marlborough Sounds is the green-lipped mussel capital of the world. As well as mussel farms, there are Pacific oyster and salmon farms. It is also possible to dive for scallops and paua. Marlborough is a famous wine region with more than 35 wineries. The area successfully combines aquaculture and viticulture. Green-lipped mussels are said to have health benefits as well as being delicious fresh, cooked or marinated.
The Bluff oyster, a local delicacy, is eagerly anticipated by New Zealanders each year. Bluff is at the southern-most tip of the South Island, a region not known for its temperate climes, but where many a tourist braves the temperatures to catch the view across the wild seas of Foveaux Strait to Stewart Island. The Bluff oyster season runs from March to August and there is a quota system that prevents over-harvesting of this valuable shellfish. The Bluff oyster can be eaten raw or cooked. It is unique to New Zealand and not exported as the local market takes the full quota.
New Zealand has the world's largest farmed deer industry, comprising slightly more than half the total farmed deer population globally. Venison is growing in popularity on the local market, largely due to its extremely low fat content, making it a healthy choice in red meat. Sophisticated New Zealand farming techniques mean deer roam and graze naturally in the open air, free from stresses that can toughen muscles and develop the strong, gamey flavour associated with venison of days gone by. In New Zealand there is no use of steroids, hormones or artificial growth stimulants in deer. The feeding of meat and bone meal feeds to deer is also illegal.
New Zealand-farmed venison - marketed as cervena - is very tender and mild in flavour, but because of its low-fat content needs to be cooked correctly to ensure it doesn't dry out. An innovative specialist venison operation is Venmark, run by Jacqui and Piers Hunt, pioneer New Zealand deer farmers who began their business in 1977. The Hunts operate a restaurant specialising in the preparation of venison cuisine at 65B Hautapu Street, Taihape.
A specialty mushroom industry in New Zealand supplies varieties like shitake, enokitake, oyster and woodear. New Zealand is also successfully cultivating the exotic black truffle with prices wholesaling at NZ$3000 a kg. Meadow Mushrooms is one of the two largest producers of fresh mushrooms and mushroom products in Australasia. The company specialises in brown buttons (Swiss browns), brown flats (Portabellos) and white buttons.
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