Down on the Farm



NZ Lifestyle Magazine Group


Once upon a time, a Maungaturoto couple grew far, far, far too much garlic; so much garlic they didn't know what to do with it. Not wanting their crop to go to waste, they had a go at smoking it and discovered that smoked garlic and sea salt were quite the combination. And so began Down on the Farm, a small Paparoa business selling mānuka-smoked sea salts. Tarney and Doug Watson bought the business three years ago after making a move from Whāngārei to Paparoa. They were on the hunt for a simpler life, and smoking salts in a 20ft (6.6m) container seemed up their alley. “Smoking the salts is a three-day process,” says Tarney. “The mānuka smoke flavours the sea salt, which we source from the South Island. Then we pair it with herbs and spices like horopito and kawakawa, chilli and lemon kelp.” As for what to use the salts on, the couple says anything and everything. “The horopito and lime salt is great with seafood, as is the kelp. Kawakawa is peppery and has health benefits, while Doug uses the herb salt —made with our bay leaves — daily. Add the salt at the end of the cooking process to make the most of the flavours.” The couple sources almost all of the ingredients from local and nationwide suppliers. They hadn't spent much time in Kaipara before moving here, but since have fallen for its charms. “The locals are so supportive, and Paparoa feels like time has stood still. I'm so in love with Kaipara.” Available online, or in select retailers (including stores in national airports).