Scott Base staff propose Marmite swap
Struggling through the Marmite shortage? Antarctica is willing to trade with you for fresh fruit and vegetables.
While New Zealand weathers an earthquake-induced Marmite drought, the 14 staff wintering at Scott Base are basking in an oversupply of the yeast spread.
At last count, they had about 250 jars, or 35 to 40 litres - enough to last a year and more than they will need before post-winter flights to the Ice start on August 20.
Marmite manufacturer Sanitarium has halted operations at its Christchurch factory because of earthquake damage, and production is not expected to resume until the middle of the year.
Scott Base winter leader and ''more of a Vegemite man'' Simon Shelton was not averse to rubbing it in.
''We're not short of Marmite,'' he said.
''Just to put it into context, we've got cheesymite scrolls [toasted rolls of cheese and Marmite] for morning tea.''
Staff were open to bartering, he said, especially for fruit and vegetables.
''We've just finished off all our fresh vegetables and fruit. Oranges, kiwifruit, lettuce, cabbage; that's all finished. You tend to miss that crunch. I saw a picture of strawberries this morning. That had quite an appeal.'' he said.
''We're willing to put a few jars on Trade Me, but it might take some time before we can fly it out.''
The sun set in Antarctica on April 24 and will not be seen again until August 19, making trade difficult in the meantime.
Shelton said Scott Base's chef would make do with canned, dried and frozen food until then, but some products, such as apples and eggs, were coated with wax to prolong their shelf life.
Marmite's traditional rival, Vegemite, was also in abundance, Shelton said, placating both sides of the yeast-spread debate.
''There are a few [Vegemite fans] here. It's always a dividing factor, isn't it?''