Expect the unexpected is what the tourists are told when coming to New Zealand and that is just what I got when visiting my brother in the Far North this summer. The talk had turned to a couple growing pineapple just a couple of kilometres down their dusty inland road.
With a quick phone call and a short drive, I was shown around the home of Jan Tagart and Steve Cottis, and close to one thousand pineapple plants.
After spending a sweltering hour and a half in two large tunnel houses photographing Jan, Steve, plants and the pineapple I was invited to taste a piece of the exotic fruit.
As the tropical flavours enveloped my taste buds I realised I had never really tasted pineapple before. The underwhelming supermarket supply in New Zealand had put me off what was a taste sensation.
Sold only at the Bay of Islands Farmers Market in Kerikeri at prices between five and twelve dollars the Tagart & Cottis stand gets plenty of repeat customers including one who was reminded of “pineapple grown in the Islands”.
It all started with two plants given to Jan by her chiropractor in Mangonui (home of the famous fish and chip shop) and another nine from a greenhouse in Kerikeri. Jan and Steve now have enough plants to supply their local market with fruit most of the year.
Back in Wellington Pina colada will never be the same.