Known for its long summers, white sandy beaches, starry night skies, and relaxed pace, Northland is now also fast-tracking a reputation for fresh produce, fine wines, and boutique or artisan foods and beverages.
Northland's increasing number of award-winning and highly rated restaurants and cafés are putting the region on the culinary map, with local chefs and winemakers among the many who are showcasing the bounty harvested, grown and produced in the north.
In Northland you can pick your own macadamias, or buy oysters, award-winning cheeses and olive oils direct from the producers. Visit a boutique chocolate factory or a kumara shed or a visit to a farmers market followed by a cooking workshop. Farm gate stalls, artisan producers and food excursions are all part and parcel of the Northland landscape and are spearheading Northland’s growing reputation as a foodie and locavore heaven.
Weekly Farmers and Growers Markets are held in Whangārei, Kerikeri, Paihia, Paparoa where the freshest, local produce are the heroes. Here you will find locally grown fruits and vegetables, along with herbs, flowers, plant seedlings, meat, nuts, eggs, bread, cheeses, gourmet produce, preserves, pickles, jams, honey, baked goods and other products that form part of the food production cycle, including compost and worm farms.These markets have been a growing phenomenon over the past 10 years, promoting the ‘gate to plate’ philosophy.
Special events such as ‘It’ Bay of Islands held in Paihia, the Russell Oyster Festival, The Tutukaka Winery Tour, Savouring the Source, Tastes of the North, and the Ocean & Orchard Festival, are attracting scores of people who seek out good food and wine. If you didn't think Northland was the place to be for great food and beverages, think again - or better yet, come and try it for yourself.