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By Jannine Rickards of Huntress Wines
Honestly, ‘my why’ project has had me digging deep and internally searching and thinking of how I can make a meaningful contribution to this very important kaupapa, Eat New Zealand.
What I have discovered during this process is that all the experiences and knowledge I have even though I am still journeying and connecting and learning SO VERY much! .…Well -what I have, who I am and where I am at now is enough and I can contribute by sharing my stories, connecting and inspiring others to connect with their food resources and educate them about wine.
Maybe with a little more of down to earth realness. Shedding the layers and image of prestige around wine. Yes, wine is special! or at least it should be! but it doesn’t have to be told in a way that makes it sound like it’s out of reach or snobby.
Wine growing is bloody hard graft! Growing fragile wine grapes on a few islands in the bottom of the south pacific has its challenges. Fortunately, our dramatic and young landscapes express vibrant and energetic styles of wine, unique just like us kiwis. I’d like a less fluffed up and traditional story of winemaking and grape growing be told. We are too young as a country for that.
It’s actually a really unglamourous job with endless paperwork, compliance, audits, cleaning and repetitive monotonous work in the vines coated in sunscreen and sweat and a residue of Sulphur from applications to combat disease pressure (yes, organic or not) or having frozen toes for most of the day in winter while you prune all those rows and rows of vines.
It is not all fancy wine tastings and long lunches, though this is a very fun part of the job at the end of the day really comes back to farming/ harvesting techniques, knowledge and experience like any other food product.
And I will try to keep it simple but in actual fact it is like anything, wine can be incredibly complicated and I can geek out on the technical stuff too. Same as anyone, when you get hooked into something that is your craft and passion.
Wine for me is a living product that reflects a season, a site/region and the people who have guided it to bottle for your enjoyment, its unique and should be enjoyed with good food, family and friends, used to celebrate with or just sipped over a simple meal with your loved one.
Everyone who knows me realises how important food/kai is to me. Knowing where my food comes from has been on my radar since I was a child. A farming upbringing with home-kill pork, mutton and beef connects you with what you put in your gob pretty darn quick. Hand caught fish, eels and collected shellfish with home grown veggies my parents and grandparents grew themselves. Foraging knowledge and later hunting skills really set my deep seeded passion for providing for myself, partner, whanau and friends.
Relying on the system as little as possible.
With the new covid world we live in it upsets me to hear of people queuing for the supermarkets or worse not being able to go to the supermarkets because the disparity of our people here in Aotearoa has grown so wide. For me that is the bottom of the barrel and we have hit it, when families are so reliant on the system, on being in that queue to have food security and then they can’t. It shows a breakdown of community and a disconnect to the whenua. I shed tears driving to work hearing the news some days, there is no way we, here in Aotearoa with our vast landscape and precious rivers and oceans should have people that cannot have access to quality, fresh and local and near to source food supplies.
To tie this all together I am also absolutely loving my journey in connecting to my whakapapa, discovering more about my ancestors and who I am as a result. By trying to learn the reo you connect with the culture and way of thinking that Māori have within te ao Māori (worldview) which is to be interconnected with all living and non-living things. Part of something bigger and if all kiwis in Aotearoa can see how important this is we can change the direction we are headed and re-connect people with the whenua through the food and beverage they consume.
I’m pretty confident I have enough aroha around this kaupapa to get stuck in with this Eat New Zealand Kaitaki whānau and join the mahi in telling a better story that showcases the farmer, fishers, growers and supports more community-based food resilience.
Thank you for this opportunity Eat New Zealand. Let’s do this!
Ehara taku toa i e te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini
My strength is not that of an individual but that of a collective.
Ngā mihi ki a koutou
Jannine also shares her recipe for Venison Tartare with foraged and Garden Greens
VENISON TARTARE WITH FORAGED AND GARDEN GREENS
By Jannine Rickards of Huntress Wines
Knowing where your kai comes from will connect you to the whenua which provides and sustains you. Ask the question of everything you put in your mouth, where is it from? Did it have a happy life? Was it grown organically? Who caught this fish? These questions will take you on a journey that will bring joy and satisfaction to every mouthful of kai you eat.
This dish is one I always make from the back steaks of deer I hunt; we always enjoy this delicate and tender cut of meat raw/tartare rather than cooked. Many of the ingredients change and depend on the time of year and what is available on the day. I have listed alternatives and encourage you to improvise and play around with combinations. You can source wild game meat from several suppliers or alternatively source some beef from a reputable butcher who knows the farmer of his meat.
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as an entrée
Glugs of Olive oil (grapeseed oil/ avocado oil)
Splash of cider vinegar (juice of a lemon/ wine vinegar/ fruit shrub)
½ a finely diced red onion (shallot/ spring onion/ onion weed/chives)
Cornichons diced finely (pickled onions)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco or other hot sauce I used Apostle
Quince jam (or other homemade fruit jam/honey for a hint of sweetness if desired)
Finely chopped fresh herbs like chives and parsley
Salt and Pepper
300-400g of Venison back steak
Sea salt, pepper and garden herbs
Foraged watercress and chickweed
Home grown rocket or other salad greens
Fresh herbs like parsley and chives
Croutons or home-made potato/ kumara fries (not pictured in photo but highly recommended)
Chive flowers (or onion weed/ rocket flower/ radish flower)
1. Prepare the meat. Tidy up and remove any sinew, pat dry and season with salt and pepper and finely chopped thyme or other herbs. Wrap and place in fridge until ready to plate dish.
2. Make the dressing, combine ingredients for dressing and season to your taste.
3. Gather/ harvest salad greens, rinse and dry.
4. Make croutons with some sourdough or prepare some potatoes or kumara for making chips
5. Dice back steaks finely and combine with dressing.
6. Cook your chips if serving with tartare, dress salad and plate up
7. Enjoy with a great glass of wine and friends
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