Wattle seed-flavoured ice cream latest field days treat

19 Feb 2018

A clever co-operative culinary coup; that’s how the Northland Regional Council and NorthTec are hoping the visitors to the upcoming Northland Field Days will view their wattle seed-flavoured ice cream.

Over the past few years the regional council has used a variety of wild food treats made from pest animals, plants and even insects as a fun way of attracting visitors to its marquee at the popular Kaipara event.

Penny Smart, the regional council’s Kaipara constituency representative, says previous wild food treats have included venison mini pies flavoured with herbs and onion (last year’s offering) as well as rabbit rissoles, possum burgers, pies and pate, wild pork and goat meat pies, rabbit sausages and even wasp larvae ice cream.

This year an extract made from wattle seeds is being used to flavour ice cream created especially for the Thursday 01 to Saturday 03 March event by young culinary students from NorthTec’s Raumanga campus.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to partner with the regional council, giving our hospitality students a chance to work on something truly unique for field days,” says Phil Alexander-Crawford, NorthTec’s Director Development.

Councillor Smart says the council expects to give away about 1500 individual 35-gram servings of ice cream over the three days of field days from the council’s usual location, site 251 on ‘Fonterra Road’.

“We’re hoping the ice cream will be a slightly quirky, but effective, way to boost visitor numbers to view our displays, highlight one of the many plant pests affecting our region and of course showcase the culinary skills of the poytechnic students.”

“It’s also a great opportunity for people to catch up with regional councillors and staff about the more serious side of our work, especially this year as we’re developing a new Long Term Plan (LTP).”

Councillor Smart says that means the council will be focussing predominantly on freshwater and pest management matters at its marquee, as well as highlighting some of the other key issues outlined in its upcoming LTP 2018-2028.  (The council will begin seeking public feedback on LTP proposals from early March.)

“Field day displays will include pests and weeds, maritime, Enviroschools, land management, biodiversity and an interactive water quality display.”

“Representatives from some of our partner organisations, including Dargaville Intermediate School and Ruawai College will also join us to showcase our joint work in the Kaipara.”

She says specialist council staff across a range of fields will be on hand to offer advice or chat about land and other issues people may have and a number of councillors also plan to attend.