Culinary taonga threatened species

October 13, 2018

Sandwich sliced bread  and therefore  the culinary taonga – cheese and asparagus rolls and club sandwiches made with it – are in peril:

Sandwich bread sales in Dunedin could soon be toast.

A spokeswoman for Foodstuffs, which controls New World, Pak’n Save and Four Square, said its shoppers preferred toast bread to sandwich bread.

Demand for sandwich bread had continued to fall in recent years.

People like a thicker, more generous slice, but we think that another factor is that there are so many other options for sandwiches available today. From ciabatta and seed-studded loaves to flavoured wraps, pita breads and crackers.” . .

Crumbs! Bread makers and retailers must be crackers if they think sandwich sliced bread is toast.

Some people might like a thicker more generous slice but I swapped from Vogel’s to Burgen bread when the former dropped sandwich slices which the latter still produces.

As for fancy breads, wraps and crackers, they have their place, but that is not encasing the cheese roll filling or asparagus, with or without the addition of Whitestone Windsor Blue cheese; or for making club sandwiches.

Cheese rolls are generally only found on the right side of the Waitaki River, asparagus rolls and club sandwiches feature at lunches and teas and suppers further afield.

Wherever they’re found, and feature, they will be lost if thin sliced sandwich bread can no longer be sourced and part of our culinary heritage will go too.

That would be really crumby

 


Rural round-up

December 22, 2017

Diversity in a variable climate – Blair Drysdale:

Surprised and shocked would accurately describe my reaction to being asked to pen a column for a publication I love and have read from front to back for more than 20 years. It’s somewhat daunting given the calibre of the other columnists.

Along with my wife Jody and three children Carly (9), Fletcher (7) and Leah (5) we farm 325 hectares in Balfour, northern Southland with my parents Fiona and Ken still living on farm. Our farming operation consists of arable, beef, dairy grazing, sheep and land leased out to tulip growers annually.

It’s a diverse operation which spreads our risk across both our variable climate and commodity cycles, neither of which we can control or influence. We can have wet winters and very dry summers, with all four seasons turning up the same day occasionally just for a laugh. Like all regions it has its challenges, but if it were easy every man and his dog would want a crack. . . 

Difficult conditions constrain rural market:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (REINZ) shows there were 131 fewer farm sales (-29.3%) for the three months ended November 2017 than for the three months ended November 2016. Overall, there were 316 farm sales in the three months ended November 2017, compared to 261 farm sales for the three months ended October 2017 (+21.1%), and 447 farm sales for the three months ended November 2016. 1,577 farms were sold in the year to November 2017, 12.5% fewer than were sold in the year to November 2016, with 29.8% more finishing farms, 29.2% more dairy farms and 34.6% fewer grazing and 32.5% fewer arable farms sold over the same period. . . 

Westpac NZ offers relief to farmers affected by drought-like conditions:

Westpac is offering to assist its hardest hit customers, as drought-like conditions grip large parts of the country.

Westpac’s Head of Commercial and Agribusiness, Mark Steed said the impact of a severe weather event can be stressful for those affected, particularly in the dairy sector in recovery from the payout slump in 2015/16.

He said the bank is offering financial assistance and is encouraging farmers experiencing hardship to talk to Westpac about how the bank can help them. . . 

Recent graduates doing well in forestry sector:

Recent tertiary graduates are earning good incomes from their employment in the forest industry, according to a recent survey by the New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF).

A survey of 600 NZIF members indicates recent graduates in the forestry sector are attaining a median gross salary of $58,520, which increases to $62,725 for a total remuneration package.

NZIF spokesperson Tim Thorpe says many of the graduates would have a degree from the University of Canterbury Schools of Forestry and Engineering. But he says others would be included in the recent graduate category as holders of New Zealand diplomas in forest management or similar, from Toi Ohomai in Rotorua, NorthTec in Whangarei or EIT in Gisborne. . . 

No reindeer here, but MPI says sleigh vigilant – Kate Pereyra Garcia:

There are currently no reindeer in New Zealand, not even in zoos.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) readiness group manager Melanie Russell said there was an attempt to import a reindeer 10 years ago for the filming of the Narnia movie.

“But the reindeer that had been trained for the role tested positive for an exotic disease, so the importation never happened.”

The reindeer in the movie was computer generated instead. . . 

Synlait Partners with Foodstuffs South Island to supply fresh milk and cream:

Synlait Milk is partnering with Foodstuffs South Island Limited to become the Cooperative’s exclusive supplier of its private label fresh milk and cream from early 2019.

Synlait intends to invest approximately $125 million in an advanced liquid dairy packaging facility to supply Foodstuffs South Island.

The investment establishes a platform for Synlait to pursue a range of dairy-based products for domestic and export markets in the future. . .

Commission releases final report on annual review of Fonterra’s Milk Price Manual:

The Commerce Commission has released its final report on its annual review of Fonterra’s Milk Price Manual for the current dairy season.

The manual sets out Fonterra’s methodology for calculating the price it will pay farmers per kilogram of milk solids for the current dairy season, ending 31 May 2018. Our review is part of the milk price monitoring regime under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA). The regime incentivises Fonterra to operate efficiently while providing for contestability in the market for the purchase of farmers’ milk.

“The Commission’s conclusion is unchanged from its draft report released in October, which finds the manual is largely consistent with the purposes of the milk monitoring regime,” Commission Deputy Chair Sue Begg said. . . 

Three million more chickens added to meet New Zealand’s record levels of consumption in 2017:

Fresh chicken sales are soaring higher than the mercury currently with the highest levels of consumption seen by the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand (PIANZ).

The Poultry Industry has produced 118,000,000 birds this year to meet demand, three million more than 2016.

“We are are eating more fresh chicken than ever before. On average, Kiwis have devoured over 41 kilograms of fresh chicken per person this year, and we’re only just hitting peak poultry season,” says PIANZ Executive Director, Michael Brooks. . . 

Winemaker awarded World Pinot Noir trophy and New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year trophy in first ever wine competition entered:

In what surely must be the biggest upset in any wine competition in 2017, New Zealand winemaker Andy Anderson, on entering his first ever wine competition, has beaten wines from the best in the world at London’s prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) to take out two trophies. Anderson was first awarded the world’s best Pinot Noir trophy for his 2012 Takapoto Bannockburn Single Vineyard Pinot Noir and then secured the 2017 New Zealand Producer of the Year trophy.

These trophies are usually reserved for the powerhouses of the industry at the glamorous award ceremony held in London, not a winemaker entering his first competition.  . . 

Regional growth supporting global success of Kiwi wine industry:

• 2017 wine industry financial benchmarking survey shows profitability and strengthening balance sheets

• Wine industry makes diverse contribution to regional communities across New Zealand

• Opportunities exist for wine businesses of all sizes through new and emerging export markets as well as through tourism and online channels . . 


Rural round-up

November 5, 2017

Rebuilding dairy farmers’ social licence to operate with the public – Pat Deavoll:

A couple of weeks ago I went along to the Forest Growers Research Conference. I was bamboozled by science except for one presentation by the director of Our Land and Water National Science Challenge Ken Taylor who works for AgResearch. He was a good speaker, and his topic piqued my interest.

Taylor praised the farming leaders, headed by Federated Farmers president Katie Milne, who fronted up and said: “water quality is our problem, we’ll own it and fix it.” Taylor told us that they were seizing the initiative and stepping towards rebuilding farming’s social licence to operate (SLO).

I’d never heard of this term before, but have since discovered that everybody else has. . . 

Tararua nurse first in country to get certificate in rural nursing – Georgia Forrester:

A Tararua woman is the first in the country to walk away with a new rural qualification in nursing.

Rowena Panchaud said her passion for her rural area led to her completing a graduate certificate in nursing practice, with a rural nursing speciality.

The Otago-born woman has lived in Dannevirke with her family since 2006. . .

LIC bulls given all clear from M.bovis:

LIC has confirmed its artificial breeding bulls are free from the Mycoplasma bovis cattle disease.

LIC is a farmer-owned co-operative and the largest artificial breeding company in New Zealand. More than three out of four cows grazing on New Zealand dairy farms are sired by an LIC bull.

Although confident the disease was not present in its bulls, the co-op announced in September it would test for the disease to provide its farmers with greater peace of mind through the dairy mating season. . . 

 – Keith Woodford:

Those of us involved with research relating to A1 and A2 beta-casein know all too well the challenges of publishing and disseminating that research.  Given the extent to which beta-casein research challenges established positions, some of which are held by powerful entities, there are lots of speed bumps.

Events of recent weeks have once again illustrated some of those challenges. I lay out one such example below.     

Together with Boyd Swinburn, who is Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at Auckland University, I was attempting to disseminate to a wider audience the results of a science review paper that we and other colleagues co-authored. The scientific paper itselfwas published earlier this year in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes which is part of the Nature Publishing stable of scientific journals. . . 

Dairy stays above churn of plant-based substitutes – Charlie Dreaver:

Spending on dairy-free alternatives is on the rise as more consumers turn to plant-based milks, yoghurts and cheeses.

The country’s two supermarket chains Progressive and Foodstuffs have taken notice and are stocking more of the products than ever, but the dairy industry said it was not worried.

Foodstuffs, which operates the New World and Pak ‘n Save chains, reported that sales of plant-based milks – such as nut, oat, soy and rice milks – in its North Island stores had shot up 11 percent since August last year.

Progressive Enterprises, which own Countdown’s stores, now has more than 60 non-dairy milk, cheese, and yoghurt products on the shelves. . .

Golden rice approval needed to produce a life changing staple food – V. Ravichandran:

 Their eyes tell their sad stories as ghostly white irises give way to vacant stares. We can look at them but they can’t look back at us. They’ve gone blind because of malnutrition.

I see these poor people all over India, where I live, but their suffering knows no borders: The problem of vitamin-A deficiency curses dozens of countries in the developing world. It causes visual impairment in millions of people. As many as half a million children go blind each year. Hundreds of thousands die within months of losing their eyesight.

What a heart-rending tragedy.

The good news is that science teaches us how to prevent this crisis. The bad news is that manmade complications keep getting in the way. . .


Why are Foodstuffs blocking Macleans?

July 3, 2017

The last item on my shopping list was toothpaste.

I wandered down the aisle where it ought to be and saw several different brands and sizes but not the one I wanted.

I walked back up, looking more carefully and still couldn’t see the brand I’ve been buying for years.

I found several others, some I recognised and some I didn’t, but no Macleans .

A staff member was stocking shelves near by. I asked her if she could help me.

She said, sorry, the supermarket no longer stocked that brand. Foodstuffs had decided to replace Macleans with Oral B.

Bother, I thought. I could try the other brand but what if I don’t like the taste?

I had a vague memory someone once told me it tasted like liniment. Did I trust that vague memory or take a chance?

I might be pleasantly surprised by a new flavour. But then again I might not and I didn’t want several weeks feeling like I was cleaning my teeth with something better suited to a rugby changing room than the inside of my mouth.

The tube at home still has two or three weeks of teeth cleaning left in it. There is a Countdown in town and while it’s not as convenient to get to as the Four Square or New World supermarkets, I could make a detour for toothpaste before I ran out.

So I didn’t buy any toothpaste and next time I’m near another supermarket I’ll pop in to make the purchase.

I like the New World and Four Square stores I frequent. The staff are friendly and helpful, the stores are on my direct route in and out of town, and they usually have what I want.

So, Foodstuffs,  you’re not going to lose a customer because of this change but you will lose some custom because if I’m in the other supermarket for toothpaste, odds are I’ll buy something else as well.

You’re also going to worry me – if you drop one of my usual purchases from your range, what’s to stop you dropping more for what appears to be your convenience rather than your customers’ choice?

Your stores are usually pretty good at customer service and in my experience your staff generally act on the principle that the customer is always right.

Why then have you changed to the wrong toothpaste?

Stock the other one as well if you want to, but please bring back the right one for me too.


Pineapple chunks trump lumps

June 3, 2017

Foodstuffs has put an SOS out to lolly makers to save some of New Zealand’s favorite sweet treats:

Like most New Zealanders, we are gutted at the prospect that the days are numbered for our iconic Jaffas, Pineapple Lumps, Buzz Bars, and Pinky Bars. Foodstuffs, the owner of PAK’nSAVE, New World, and Four Square, is a proud New Zealand company, and like the rest of the country we grew up with these Kiwi favourites. Reading today’s news that time is fast running out to save these favourite treats gave us a brilliant idea.

If you think you have what it takes to help us save them for New Zealand, we’ll get right behind you. We’ll work with you to help you get set up to sell to us, cram our shelves with them, and we’ll then help promote them to the millions of New Zealanders and visitors to this fine country who come through our doors each week. We’ll work up a sweat like nothing you’ve ever seen, unless it was on the ABs’ foreheads in an international test match, or the Silver Ferns as they race around the court against the Aussies, or our heroes in Bermuda as they race from side to side on that insanely scary boat.

So, if you’re sitting on the fence. Get off it now. Be a saviour. Give us a call. And let’s work together to rescue these awesome treats. . . 

This concern for these treats results from the closure of  Cadbury’s factory for n Dunedin.

But there’s no need to worry about pineapple lumps. Oamaru’s Rainbow Confectionary still makes pineapple chunks under the original Regina label.

When Charles Diver invented this recipe for Regina well over half a century ago, he didn’t intend to create little chunks of Kiwiana. He was just doing what Kiwis do best – innovating.

In true Kiwiana spirit we still use his original recipe with a wee tinkle to make it free from artificial flavoursand colours. The original –SO GOOD! 

Pineapple chunks preceded pineapple lumps and with confidence born of parochialism I can attest the chunks trump the lumps.

 


Rural round-up

May 22, 2016

Canterbury woman captures drought on camera – Annabelle Tukia:

A north Canterbury woman has created a remarkable record of how tough it’s been farming through a drought.

Claire Inkson has been living through the ordeal and at the same time capturing it through her camera lens.

Frame by frame, Ms Inkson is capturing north Canterbury’s record-breaking drought.

The photographer and farmer’s wife usually snaps portraits, but as the region’s dry spell enters its second year, Ms Inkson shifted her focus to documenting the people and stock affected by it. . . 

US political change may slow efforts to free up agricultural trade, academic Bailey says – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – Political change in the US may slow efforts to free up agricultural trade, impacting New Zealand which had hoped to gain better access to the world’s largest economy through the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, according to a US academic with links to New Zealand.

US lawmakers are expected to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the so-called “lame-duck” session of Congress between the US presidential election in November and the swearing-in of a new US president early next year. . . 

Rare native plant back from the brink:

The white-flowered ngutukākā, a rare variant of the kākābeak, has been welcomed back to Te Reinga Marae in Wairoa.

The native plant has been nurtured back from near extinction by Crown research institute Scion, which took four years to successfully grow the white-flowered ngutukākā after being given seeds from the estate of a collector of wild seed.

There were 100 people at the homecoming and children from the marae planted the shrubs in a specially prepared garden near the marae. . .

Statement from the Director General of the Ministry for Primary Industries in Relation to Operation Achilles:

There has been much comment in recent days in relation to a Ministry for Primary Industries compliance investigation into potentially illegal discarding of fish by some South Island-based fishing vessels in 2012 and early 2013.

The investigation was known as Operation Achilles. Copies of a preliminary investigation report have now been placed in the public arena.

The investigation was known as Operation Achilles. Copies of a preliminary investigation report have now been placed in the public arena. . . 

Ahuwhenua Trophy winners congratulated:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell have tonight congratulated The Proprietors of Rakaia Incorporated, this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy winner.

The Proprietors of Rakaia Incorporated were presented with the 2016 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming award tonight in Hamilton.

“The Incorporation has a long and proud history back to 1886. They have set a fantastic example to other Māori landowners of what can be achieved through ambition and hard work,” says Mr Guy.

“They converted to dairy farming in 1996 and sustainable irrigation has helped them grow and develop wider opportunities for whānau,” says Mr Guy. . . 

Township’s only shop faces closure – Jono Edwards:

The imminent closure of a community-owned Teviot Valley store has residents rallying to save it and a councillor calling a grocery chain’s departure from the building “disgraceful”.

Millers Flat’s only shop, Faigan’s Store, will shut its doors on Sunday next week after operating in different forms for more than 100 years.

The catalyst was Foodstuffs pulling out its Four Square, which has been in the building since the late 1950s.  . .

 

Kiwifruit project excites eastern BoP Māori:

Māori in eastern Bay of Plenty are hailing a plan to create kiwifruit orchards as a solution to high unemployment and low productivity in the region.

The kiwifruit orchards will replace low value maize farming on multiply-owned Māori land in Omaio near Te Kaha as part of a six-year conversion plan.

Te Rau Aroha Charitable Trust devised the strategy for Omaio, Otuwhare and Waiorore whānau and hapū. . . 

Australian agricultural ministers visit:

Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Jo Goodhew have welcomed Australian Ministers of Agriculture to New Zealand for a study tour and forum.

“The primary industries are the engine room of both New Zealand and Australia, and an important goal of both countries is growth in value-added products,” says Mr Guy.

“The study tour has focused on exciting progress being made by the Primary Growth Partnership, which involves industry and Government co-investing in innovation. It is helping develop value-added products and services, through new science and technology,” says Mr Guy. . . 

Zespri Kiwifruit Strives for Growth Across North America

Global leader in premium quality kiwifruit responds to growing consumer demands

In response to the very positive consumer reaction to Zespri Kiwifruit last season, Zespri today announces plans to significantly grow its volume across North America in 2016. In fact, Zespri’s growth extends beyond its distribution: a North American office is opening in Orange County, California to support customers and distributors in the next step in the company’s expansion, which includes hiring more staff within the region.

Zespri SunGold—a natural cross between gold varieties of kiwifruit—is one of the fastest growing new fruits globally, with sales expanding rapidly in the U.S. and Canada. Sweeter than a green kiwifruit, the SunGold variety tastes like a cross between a mango and a strawberry and has a smooth, hairless skin with a juicy, yellow flesh. SunGold’s appeal is also its nutrition benefits: one serving has three times more vitamin C than an orange and provides as much potassium as a banana.1 . .


Let’s all get bolshie about bags

September 4, 2009

First it was Wellington, now it’s Auckland, what about the rest of us?

Foodstuffs dropped the 5c charge on plastic bags in Wellington when supermarket shoppers there got bolshie about them (i.e. went to competitors who didn’t charge them). Now they’ve dropped the charge in Auckland too.

It’s time for the rest of us to bolshie too.

I’ve got nothing against reusable bags, I was using them most of the time.

It’s not the charge per se.

It is being charged more than it cost so the supermarket could then donate the surplus to their choice of environmental charges.

It is also being charged for a bag I reuse when the supermarket wraps things which don’t need it in packaging which gets dumped as soon as I get it home.

And now it’s that they’re not charging people in Auckland and Wellington but they are charging the rest of us.

If I had a convenient alternative I’d be taking my business elsewhere.

I’m not going to drive out of my way for my groceries but if I get any tetchier about it I might get the courage to follow the example of a friend who leaves any unnecessary packaging at the checkout.


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