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NZ oil market for Tongan vanilla pods

vava'u vanilaAn Indian woman from the small North Island New Zealand town of Martinborough chose the pre-Christmas 2013 retail rush to promote a blend of olive oil and vanilla pods, crushed together to make “aromatic oil”.

The vanilla pods, although not promoted in “Taste notes” as from Tonga, were sourced through Heilala Vanilla.

Colin and Nalini Baruch, the founder owner of the Martinborough “Lot Eight” distributed their Taste notes during a tasting session at the Wellington food retailer and wholesaler Moore Wilsons.

Nalini Baruch says she developed the “aromatic oil” blend with vanilla from suggestions made by chefs known to her, and by drawing on her knowledge of Indian oils.

She approached what her Taste notes describe as “NZ’s own Heilala vanilla pods”. Heilala sources pods from a number of Tongan growers. Tongan vanilla growers also contract with the Australian Queens company, and other markets.

Nelini Baruch told this inquiring writer she thought she had access to growth markets for vanilla, and would be interested in selling more pods from Tonga. Vanilla pods, packed by Heilala, retailed in 2013 at Friends Cafe in Tonga for more than $ToP20. Pangaimoto Island’s Mama Emberson, near Nuku’alofa, also grows and sells vanilla pods to her markets.

Lot Eight’s Taste notes say young, sweet, tempting and irresistible Aromatic olive oil is a sweet smelling, delicate blend created with all things sweet in mind.

Chefs use it in sweet and savoury dishes, and Lot Eight use it in dishes like paella, rice pudding, cakes and crème caramel.

“Using our fresh olives and only the finest ingredients like NZ’s own Heilala vanilla pods, cinnamon and our very own saffron and edible rose buds, the “Aromatic Oil” deserves its place as a premium condiment and a perfect treat” says the Indian New Zealander with interests that could help Tongan women in agriculture.

This series collects and disseminates market, production and management information that can assist the economic and political empowerment of Tongan women in agriculture; this report, written by Asia Pacific Economic News Bureau’s Anthony Haas, is supported by AusAID’s PACMAS, the Commonwealth Foundation, the Centre for Citizenship Education, www.tonganz.net and other Tongan and New Zealand institutions

Updated 1 Dec 2013

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