We love to eat local and the mild Northland climate delivers some delicious produce unique to this region as well as some of the first crops of the season. As each year rolls around we're also enjoying harvests from our own small orchard. Often more than we can consume at the time, we love finding new ways to preserve the flavours creating jams, relishes, pickles and condiments.
You can now purchase our seasonal small batch preserves from our ONLINE SHOP.
Some of these home made goodies also feature in the provisions baskets which can be ordered when you book an ESCAPE at the Orchard Cottage.
Aside from what we grow, our hunt for delicious products from local producers never stops. Here we share our favourite finds, as well as places to eat around the region.
MAX Coffee - We're stoked to have multi-award winning coffee producers here in Northland. You'll find their punchy Morning Blend provided with compliments at the Orchard Cottage and you can also get your hands on some through www.maxcoffee.co.nz
Ikarus Coffee - Pioneering coffee growers in Doubtless Bay, established in 2008 and now supplying a number of local cafes, Ikarus Coffee is the only producer offering a full seed to cup experience. Definitely worth checking out this fantastic story and product... www.ikaruscoffee.co.nz
PRESERVES, RELISHES & SAUCES
With so many produce farmers in Northland, we're enjoying delicious local condiments.
Due North - Small batch recipes showcasing flavourful Northland produce, a wonderful range of jams, sauces and vinegars. You can buy online at www.duenorthfoods.co.nz
Ludbrook House Fine Foods - Steeped in history this Bay of Islands orchard produces delicious original recipe jams, preserves, condiments and cakes. You can visit their shop or buy online at www.finefoods.co.nz
Fruit Fusion - A celebration of delicious tamarillos with a range of vinegar, chutney and jam bursting with tamarillo goodness. You'll often find these products at local markets or buy online www.fruitfusionnz.net
Wild West Worcester - Producing a unique and award-winning west coast Northland black sauce. Their Worcester Black Sauce is really gutsy in flavour and easily addictive! Other products include relishes and chilli sauce, buy online at www.wildwestworcester.co.nz.
Hukerenui Gardens - A small but mighty producer of some of the most delicious preserves and condiments around. Focusing on sustainable practices, their range reflects the best of the seasons. You can buy online here or you'll find them every Saturday at the Whangarei Growers Market.
Kaitaia Fire Chili Pepper Sauce - An awesome hot sauce with a great reputation. Made with chili peppers and capsicums grown in the beautiful Far North. You'll find this sauce at most supermarkets and you can learn more at www.kaitaiafire.com.
Fire Dragon Chillies - It's been a huge few of years for Clint Meyer and his multi-award winning hot chili sauces. Coming out on top in a number of international competitions, Fire Dragon Chillies specializes in organically grown, preservative free hot sauces where chillies are the hero. Definitely worth checking out and not for the faint hearted www.firedragonchillies.co.nz
There's an abundance of Manuka trees in the Northland region with some very passionate and experienced bee farmers.
Tahi Honey - Ethical and sustainable bee farmers producing very high quality Manuka honey and other honey blends. Located close to the Orchard Cottage on the road out to Pataua North. Their delicious Manuka and Forest honey regularly features in our provisions baskets. Read more about the Tahi story here: www.tahihoney.co.nz
New Zealand Honey Traders - Premium honey producers based in the Hokianga. Their range includes high quality Manuka, Kanuka and clover honey as well as offering tools and advice for budding beekeepers. They also have a great online shop for with honey-related gifts, find out more here www.newzealandhoneytraders.co.nz.
Mana Kai Honey - A family owned business with a huge passion for all aspects of ethical beekeeping and honey making. Producers of premium Manuka Honey from the rich lands of the Far North. Find out more and purchase online here: www.manakai.co.nz
Kare Honey - producers of high quality Manuka honey including 10+, 15+ and 20+ UMF activity levels. This rich and beneficial honey will often be found in our provision baskets at the Orchard Cottage. Find out more about Kare Honey here: www.kare.co.nz
MILK & CHEESE
Grinning Gecko Cheese Company is a true artisan producer dedicated to reflecting the unique taste of Northland through traditional cheese methods with certified organic milk. Yum! These cheeses are delicious and definitely worth sampling. Check them out at www.grinninggecko.co.nz
Belle Chevre Creamery - A boutique pedigree goat farm in Waipu specialising in the most wonderful goat milk cheeses. Award-winning with their first products entered in the 2020 NZ Cheese Awards, their Chevre, Feta and Haloumi are worth hunting down. Available April - August.
Mahoe Cheese is a boutique cheesery located in the Bay of Islands. They make a range of fresh and aged cheese. They're award winning, with their latest accolade being for the Very Old Edam. You can find out more at www.mahoecheese.co.nz.
Bella Vacca Jerseys is a sustainable dairy farm bottling award-winning full cream pasteurised jersey milk. Their delicious milk is provided in reusable glass bottles and supplied in many stores around Northland (including our local Four Square and Huanui Fresh).
MEAT & SMALL GOODS
Omak Meats - not just any old butcher but a passionate team sourcing and preparing some of the finest cuts of meat around. A lot of their product is sourced locally, there's plenty of gourmet cuts and free range options. Very much worth a visit if you're planning to cook or they also deliver around Northland - www.omak.co.nz
The Black Garlic Man - what an awesome discovery this has been! If you haven't tasted it, we definitely recommend it. Black garlic is naturally fermented and the result is a rich, sweet, caramalised addition to many dishes. Check out this treasure of the North at www.blackgarlicman.co.nz
Taihoa Tides - Literally just 'down the road', Taihoa Tides in Parua Bay produce a delicious boutique range of olive oils. They press onsite treating the fruit with absolute care to get the best result. You can purchase direct from them at www.taihoatidesoliveoil.co.nz
Olives on the Hill - Beautiful extra virgin olive oil harvested, pressed and bottled with the care and attention by this small family-owned business in Mangawghai. Their high quality olive oils; Frantoio, Ascolano and Leccino are a beautiful taste of the North.
Echo Valley Olives - based in Mangawhai, Don and Teresa produce a delicious range of single estate, extra virgin olive oils. The cold centrifuge pressing ensures premium olive oils that taste fantastic. They also produce a honey infused balsamic reduction and wonderfully zesty vinaigrette. Check them out here www.echovalleyolives.co.nz
Evergreen Olives - this boutique olive grove produces organic, single estate extra virgin olive oil and it is delicious! We particularly love their lemon infused oil which we use a lot in salad dressings. You can get their products at www.evergreenolives.co.nz
Apatu Aqua - A great range of smoked and fresh seafood products using only the freshest fish which is sustainably sourced. Based at Coopers Beach in Doubtless Bay you can visit the shop and smokehouse or you can purchase online.
Fish to Fish - Based in Whangarei using ethical fishing practices you will find an excellent range of the freshest fish and shellfish. Check them out on Facebook to see regular updates about their daily catch.
AND TO DRINK
The lovely Northland climate produces some truly unique wine, interesting flavours that you won't find anywhere else in New Zealand. Absolutely worth planning a road trip around, as these producers are often found in some of the regions most picturesque locations.
Omata Estate - A boutique vineyard in Russel, Omata produces a beautiful range of wines from this gorgeous region. Also, our personal favourite is their Omata Brut, a light sparking white wine that sings summer and celebration! Check them out here www.omata.co.nz
144 Islands - Dedicated to the production of quality single-vineyard wines from their home estate in the Bay of Islands, as well as specially selected sites throughout the Far North of New Zealand. These wines truly express the delicious characteristics of the North. Buy online at www.144islands.co.nz
Te Whai Bay Wines - From boutique vineyard at on a hillside terrace in the Mangawhai wine region, the selection of Te Whai Bay wines are produced. During summer we particularly like their Pinot Gris and Rose. You can find out more about their range, cellar door hours and live music events on their website www.tewhaibaywines.co.nz.
Marsden Estate - Located in Kerikeri, Marsden Estate is 10 acre winery producing a diverse range of excellent wines. Winemaker Rod MacIver also makes wine for a number of smaller vineyards in the area and Marsden wines regularly receive awards and their lovely restaurant is a great way to enjoy their offering. See more here www.marsdenestate.co.nz.
The Landing - Set amongst a sprawling 1000 acre property in the sundrenched Bay of Islands, The Landing wines are sophisticated and often award-winning. Sustainable practices and care for the environment are guiding principals that result in truly delicious wines. See more and purchase at www.thelandingwine.co.nz
McLeods Brewery - Award-winning character-filled beers from the awesome team at McLeods. There's a great range of favourites and a an ever-changing range of seasonal brews. You can find McLeods throughout the country or visit the source at the McLeods Pizza Barn in Waipu.
Sovrano Limoncello - These producers have taken the world by storm with their internationally multi-award winning Limoncello. They truly make a divine drop! Drink chilled on it's own or use in cooking and desserts.
Black Collar Distillery - Handcrafted rum, gin and vodka from their boutique distillery in the Bay of Islands, these products are making waves in the industry, picking up awards year on year. Definitely worth tracking down at liquor stores through NZ or buy online at www.blackcollardistillery.com
Papaka Road Gin - Newcomers to the boutique gin market, Papaka Road is triple distilled with expertise and care on the Tutukaka coast. It's a celebration of the coast with a light and fresh essence. Buy online or at many local liquor stores.
EATING OUT - OUR FAVOURITE SPOTS
JUST DOWN THE ROAD
Owhiwa Road Pizza - While we're in a rural setting we are lucky to have great wood fired pizza available just a short walk from the cottage. Only open on Friday nights between 4 - 8pm.
COASTAL - 10 MINUTE DRIVE
Parua Bay Tavern - An historic pub right on the water. Good fare, friendly staff and a favourite for locals all over Whangarei, children welcome.
Smith & Local - A great little licensed cafe in the Parua Bay village shops. Specialising in local food and coffee, fresh baked bread, salads and treats. Cooked breakfast menu available and gourmet pizza and burgers from midday, open 7 days.
McLeods Bay Fish & Chips - In a fantastic location overlooking McLeods Bay, this is a great takeaway option, offering a selection of local fresh fish options, all the staples you would expect and Chinese menu items to order.
Huanui Fresh / Black Stump Cafe - A fresh market store with lots of great local produce, free range eggs and a selection of artisan products. Complimented by the Black Stump Café, home made food and good coffee with a country backdrop.
IN TOWN - 15 MINUTE DRIVE
Quail Café - Set amongst the lovely Subtropical Quarry Gardens. Great food, coffee and delicious sweet treats made fresh each day.
Biggie Bagels - Whangarei's own handmade bagel co. A cool little spot offering a great range of filled bagels and delicious MAX coffee. Open Tuesday to Sunday for breakfast and lunch, well worth a visit.
Fat Camel - Israeli café, delicious traditional Israeli food, great prices and good coffee. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7 days.
Aqua Restaurant & Bar - Located in the new Hundertwasser building, Aqua offers a great menu for all day dining, great service and an awesome setting. Open 7 days.
Tide Restaurant - A beautiful modern restaurant offering all day dining on the water at Port Nikau. Open 7 days, great service and delicious food.
Power Plant - Wholefoods and organics store offering ready to eat items as well, specialising in DF, GF, RSF, raw and organic food. Local kombucha on tap and serving organic Kokako Coffee.
The Quay Kitchen - A beautiful restaurant in an awesome location right on the water in the Town Basin. A great seasonal menu with local ingredients to complement the surroundings. Fully licensed, open 7 days.
No.8 Restaurant & Bar - Asian fusion with a rich, moody interior. Also on the water at the Town Basin, an excellent menu with small plates and sharing options. Fully licensed, open 7 days.
Palate Wholesome Collective - A cool vegan cafe offering a good selection of mostly organic, hearty plant-based options. Fresh juices, delicious coffee and very friendly staff. Mon - Fri 9am - 3pm.
Milk & Honey Cafe - A nice cafe in Kamo with blackboard menu and cabinet options, Allpress coffee and plenty of sweet treats. GF, DF and raw options available.
Suk Jai Thai - Excellent authentic Thai food with pleasant and efficient service. Dine in or take out, open for lunch from Tuesday to Saturday and dinner 7 days.
UP THE COAST - 30 - 45 MINUTE DRIVE
Schnapper Rock - Tutukaka Marina, lovely fresh seafood and yummy local produce. Open 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Wahi Restaurant - At Oceans Resort in Tutukaka, a quality restaurant in a great setting, open 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Helena Bay Cafe - Located at the Helena Bay Art Gallery on Helena Bay Hill, a fantastic cafe in a beautiful setting. Worth a visit any time, open 7 days.
A BIT FURTHER NORTH - 1 HOUR + DRIVE
The Old Packhouse Cafe - Located in Kerikeri and open everyday, the Old Packhouse Cafe is a must-visit for a consistently great experience. Using local ingredients wherever possible, their handmade cafe selection is always packed with fresh flavours, and the coffee is excellent.
If you want to get your hands on the freshest seasonal produce, artisan products, seafood and meats, you'll want to get a long to one of the many markets in the region, here are our top picks:
Whangarei Growers Market - the longest running growers market in the country and without doubt a mecca for all things fresh and delicious from around the region. Early risers will be rewarded! Every Saturday at the Water St Carpark, Whangarei, 6am - 10am.
Ngunguru Craft & Produce Market - a local market with a mix of crafts, seasonal produce and artisan products. Held on the 4th Saturday of each month, 9am - 1pm.
Waipu Boutique Sunday Market - in the lovely centre of Waipu, each Sunday a great selection of food, craft and artisan products. Held on the 2nd Sunday of each month, 9am - 1pm.
Mangawhai Tavern Market - Held on teh water's edge at teh legendary Magawhai Tavern. You'll find fantastic fruit and vege produce, art, crafts, clothing, food and music, every Saturday 8.30am - 1pm.
The Old Packhouse Market Kerikeri - A bustling market showcasing the best of the North, fresh produce, craft, seafood, coffee, delicious gourmet food and live music. Every Saturday 8am - 1.30pm. Also now hosting a relaxed car boot style food, vintage and variety market on Sundays 9am - 1.30pm.