NZ: Public Park offering home-grown gourmet delights

Visitors to Hamilton Gardens can now take home a taste of the city’s most popular visitor attraction.

Hamilton Gardens is producing a bespoke range of products sourced from its fruit trees, bees and free-range chickens. 



Located on the banks of the Waikato River, the Gardens was once the site of fertile Maaori gardens, and associated with sacred rituals surrounding the harvesting of food crops.

Today, this tradition continues for visitors to the 54-hectare site who can purchase products from the Gardens including lemon curd, Seville orange marmalade, honey and quince paste.

Margareta and Chickpea — the Sustainable Gardens two resident chickens — contribute free-range eggs to the Gardens’ creamy lemon curd, while quince paste from the Tudor Garden has been blended using an old-fashioned recipe. The Tudor Garden Pavilion is based on England’s Montecute House which was used by wealthy Tudor families to enjoy a third-course of fruits, quince, marzipan and sweet spiced wine after their main meal. 

Tree-ripened Seville oranges from the Italian Renaissance Garden are hand-picked by staff to produce classic chunky marmalade, and there are plans to use the recently-planted, hundreds of years old tomato variety Marmande in the Kitchen Garden to produce chutney.

Bee hives installed alongside the river are part of a city-wide initiative to bolster the number of hives in public parks. In July, the golden-hued treat received national recognition after it won silver in the Beekeepers Special Reserve section of the National Beekeepers Association honey competition.

Gardeners also harvest rare kumara annually in New Zealand’s only productive pre-European Maaori garden. This includes taputini, believed to be only one of four remaining pre-European varieties. Kumara from Te Parapara Garden is distributed annually to local iwi and food banks. 

Hamilton Gardens Operations Manager Gus Flower says it’s rewarding his team are contributing to the unique products.

“Not only are we maintaining a world-class garden, we are growing food in our gardens for visitors to enjoy,” he says. “It’s special that some of our produce is donated to local community groups.”

The Gardens work in partnership with Te Kowhai producer Wild Country Fine Foods, which manufactures and packages the gourmet products that are sold in the Hamilton Gardens Information Centre.

For more information
Hamilton Gardens
T: 07 838 6782

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