Moutere co-op to pool efforts of all members

TASTEFUL CLUSTER:  Moutere Artisans chairman Andrew Sutherland with members’ produce
TASTEFUL CLUSTER: Moutere Artisans chairman Andrew Sutherland with members’ produce

It began with a business visit and blossomed into a marketing collective based around the talents of potters, brewers, winemakers, cheesemakers and artists from Upper Moutere.

Later this month this region’s first geographic cluster will formally launch itself to the world, and the community.

Moutere Artisans grew from a business visit by Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dot Kettle to Neudorf Vineyards.

Judy Finn, of Neudorf Vineyards, who now covers the collective’s marketing, said she decided at the time that Dot’s visit was not just about the winery.

‘‘We brought some friends in and the day was fantastic. It was like a mini farmers’ market.’’

The concept has grown into reality. Twenty-one creators and producers have joined the group which plans to market their produce to markets globally and locally.

Judy said the collective might be seen at NZ Fashion Week in Auckland next year where beer, wine and food would be offered on locally-made platters. Or cheeses, which paired beautifully with specific wines, could be sent to global buyers to expand their understanding of what was on the regional palate.

The collective’s catchment is based on the Upper Moutere area and features people who grow or create the products they sell.

‘‘It’s not exclusive but the members are all very much hands-on.

‘‘And there is something very special about the Upper Moutere area – it’s a bit like an old English village,’’ Judy said.

On the Saturday and Sunday of Labour Weekend, Moutere Artisans signs will go out on members’ gates for the first time and their doors will collectively open to the public.

Chairman Andrew Sutherland of Harakeke Farm said people would be able to see sheep being milked at Neudorf Dairy; experience the art of Neudorf olive oil production; celebrate the opening of the Icon, a sculpture park; and taste the wines from the Moutere’s newest wine producer, Harakeke Farm at the Old Post Office.

Moutere Gold will be serving Devonshire teas in the heart of Upper Moutere village and offering their conserves made using local berries and fruits.

Kahurangi Winery will produce wood-fired pizzas using local produce and Neudorf Vineyards will release their rose.

People can sing along with the Yoots, and Neudorf Mushrooms will serve wild mushroom soup and tarts.
Himmelsfeld, Woollaston and Sunset Valley Vineyards will all be open with new wines, along with Peckham’s cider produced from traditional cider apples.

Other venues open include Michael McMillan Sculpture, Mark Perry Woodworks and Blackbird Valley Horse Treks.

Dot said that when the group first approached her she knew it would be a huge success.

‘‘They have such a collection of skills and enthusiasms. I think this cluster will make its mark very soon.

‘‘They are aware the key to success is ‘telling your story’ and letting people see into their lifestyles.’’