‘For the Love of Tams’ – tamarillo relish makers TAMCO are “proud” as punch to be named as Northland’s sole finalist in the 2016 NZ Food Awards in just their second year of production.
The unique relish producer has been listed as one of 20 finalists in the popular Artisan Food Producer Award category with the winner to be announced at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Thursday, October 13.
Regardless of the outcome on the Awards night Robin Nitschke, manager of Whangarei-based TAMCO (NZ Tamarillo Co-operative Ltd) says they are delighted to be representing the region.
“This is just our second year of operation we are very proud of being named as a finalist and to be flying the Northland flag,” says Robin.
It all began when he and wife Heather first tasted tamarillo relish on a Panini at a café in Silverdale ten years ago. It inspired them to buy a 10 acre lifestyle block in Whangarei, plant tamarillo trees then go on to make relish, jams, jellies, sauces, and later vinegar dressing.
“Our experience from selling these products confirmed that they are keenly sought after and when Auckland retailers wanted to stock our products we realised that we needed to upscale and commercialise our business,” says Robin. “So we formed the NZ Tamarillo Cooperative Ltd which now buys 90% of the national tamarillo crop and by adding value to the fruit in this way, we have substantially increased growers’ returns.”
What makes their tamarillo relish special is that they have developed a technique to extract only the sweetest pulp from the tamarillo fruit, leaving the more bitter pith with the skin.
“TAMCO are an active member of Northland Food and Wine and are we are very pleased they have been named as a finalist,” says collective facilitator and Northland Inc Business Growth Manager David Templeton. “We were pleased to support them at the Auckland Food Show earlier this year and now they are reaping the benefits of that exposure.
Another finalist at the awards will be Kumara Fusion who, although now in Auckland, started their journey in Ruakaka, and were a member of Northland Food and Wine. They have been named as a finalist in the FoodBowl Novel Ingredients Award.