Spring and summer in New Zealand represent all of the best things about the country; camping, picnics, BBQs, socialising and, of course, new potatoes. It’s the time of year where New Zealand’s sweetest produce is abundant: new potatoes are as popular as strawberries and with as much nostalgia and tradition surrounding them.
With this in mind, the November Means New Potatoes event was created and 2018 was its second incarnation. This year, the idea was to create a festive ambience, similar to that of the Beaujolais festival in France, but on a smaller scale.
November Means New Potatoes featured special potato-esque canapes, an urban foody location, live music, celebrity guest Annabelle White and quite possibly the first ever blind tasting of new potatoes in the world – the idea being that varieties would be identified by taste, colour and texture, after meeting and interviewing growers earlier in the night.
Among the prizes some gorgeous potato-themed art, from Hawkes Bay artist Bernard Winkels, a potato enthusiast of Dutch and Irish heritage.
Although fresh producers tend to be a humble bunch, their stories are rich and stretch back generations. The four commercial growers who made the journey to central Auckland to celebrate the new season were, Balle Brothers, Gropak, Oakleys and Wilcox.