A family run farm in Otaki on the Kapiti Coast grows premium rhubarb for Anathoth to make their newest flavour, Rhubarb & Red Berry Jam. The Otaki grown rhubarb has a special story…. it all started with humble beginnings in Waiuku, South of Auckland, where the late Burt Bose selected, planted and nurtured his Rhubarb plants. 20 years on this unique rhubarb varietal is called “Burt’s” and it is said to have “the best growing characteristics and flavour profile of any variety the Otaki farmer has seen”. The climate in Otaki is perfect for Rhubarb, with its consistent coastal rain and the rich soil type helps to create great yields and outstanding quality every season.
One of the great things about rhubarb is there’s no need to use pesticides as the natural acids of the plant inhibit bacteria and pests. Burt’s Rhubarb is harvested by hand and trimmed in the field before being washed and sliced in their factory. The rhubarb is then prepared for transportation to Anathoth in the South Island....and this all happens within an impressive 24 hours after harvesting. Anathoth’s Rhubarb & Red Berry Jam is so popular that the farm supplies Anathoth with 50 tons each year. In making the jam, the rhubarb is mixed with strawberries, raspberries and sugar to create a wholesome jam. No additives, preservatives, colours or flavours and naturally gluten free. Just made simply to a time-honoured recipe and cooked in small batches, in the same way that home-style preservers have done for years.
A family run farm lies on the rich, intensively cropped river soils of the Waimea Plains south of Nelson. It is here that you will find the antioxidant-rich boysenberries Anathoth uses to make its Boysenberry and Three Berry Jams.
Due to the balmy summers, the Waimea Plains are well known to produce a large yield of sun-sweetened succulent boysenberries. These berries have wonderful health benefits-high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and they taste delicious!
The Sutton family have made the most of this climate and have been planting and harvesting berries in this area for three generations. What started out as a popular “pick your own” berry patch in the 1980’s has transformed into a 21ha farm filled with luscious boysenberries.
To help Anathoth keep up with their customers love of Boysenberry Jam, this family farm supplies over a few hundred tonnes of boysenberries a year.
Like Anathoth, Steve Sutton loves Boysenberry Jam! Made with just boysenberries and sugar to create a wholesome jam. No additives, preservatives, colours or flavours and naturally gluten free. Just made simply to a time-honoured recipe and cooked in small batches, in the same way that home-style preservers have done for years.
At Anathoth we proudly support local growers and purchase New Zealand fruit first and foremost. We use apricots and plums from Central Otago; raspberries from the original Anathoth farm in Nelson; blackcurrants from Canterbury, citrus fruits from Poverty Bay and strawberries from even further North.
If there is a shortage and we have supplemented with fruit from other countries, we always tell you. Just check our jam labels to find out where our fruit has come from. When we purchase international fruit we do so in a global marketplace under strict quality assurance criteria and only through approved, reputable trading houses.
Given our local growers are so important to our jam, we thought you might like to learn a little more about them. We chatted to Stephen Jeffery from Fairview Orchard, where we purchase the premium apricots that we use for Anathoth jams and chutneys.
Springtime sees the arrival of thyme-covered slopes, with mountain daisies and wildflowers finding their way up through the snow. In Summer, alpine flowers blossom over the mountain ranges and herbs, daisies and grasses appear in the valleys and hills. All this from the hot, dry, Continental style climate that is Central Otago.
Further from the sea than any other part of our country, this harsh climate with its extreme daily temperature variation and high sunshine hours is renowned for the production of quality summerfruit – succulent apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines and plums.
“Cool nights followed by temperatures that have been up to 30C and higher, produce high quality fruit with good sugars, great flavour and good keeping quality ” says Stephen Jeffery of Fairview Orchard in Coal Creek near Roxburgh. “We receive such positive feedback from customers about the flavour and the ripeness of the apricots”.
Once the site of the gold mining boom of the 1800’s, Central Otago today sees many growers irrigating their orchards with the water races originally constructed by miners to carry water to their claims.
After seeing flourishing fruit trees and gardens planted in this fertile land, Stephen Jeffery’s Great Great Grandfather became a pioneer of the fruit growing industry in the district. He had emigrated to Australia from Cornwall and later joined the steady stream of miners crossing the Tasman to seek new goldfields in Otago. In 1891 when he purchased Fairview he was unlikely to have known that it would still be in the family in 2010.
A local boy, Stephen went to Waitaki Boys College in Oamaru and then studied horticulture at Lincoln University. After spending 7 years working as a Plantation Manager in New Guinea, Stephen travelled further ashore and eventually returned home and bought the 37 hectare Fairview Orchard from his family.
Fairview Orchard provides jobs for many locals and during harvest time they supplement their numbers with casual pickers – most commonly they are backpackers travelling from Eastern European countries such as Germany and the Czech Republic. Many of them stay in the self-sufficient accommodation provided at Fairview, where they can sleep up to 14. Their proximity to the orchards makes getting to work on time a walk in the park.
Stephen’s wife Rowena manages the Orchard’sroadside shop which is open daily betweenNovember – April so that locals and visitors passing by can purchase their fruit at its absolute best, shortly after it has been picked.
The team at Fairview works closely with the MAF’s Summerfruit NZ Compliance Programme and the orchard is an approved site. The aim of the programme is to control insect pests while using the least amount of insecticides and they aim to produce summer fruit with almost nil residues. The harsh Central Otago climate also helps to control many of the pests and diseases.
All fruit produced at Fairview meets the MAF’s very high export standards. All fruit supplied to Anathoth meets the same stringent standards and reaches us in the best very condition. Stephen`s apricots are used to make Anathoth Apricot Jam and Apricot Chutney.