Pine Tree Treasures
Back on the road, celebrity chef Mark McEwan continues in his discovery of New Zealand artisan food producers. Known for its vineyards and wineries, the temperate climate of Marlborough is also the ideal environment for pine nut orchards. Today, Mark meets Lee from Pinoli Pine Nuts to discover the unique natural processes that allow this premium product to thrive.
Located 30 minutes west of Blenheim, deep in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley, Lee’s pine nuts are grown and harvested from European Stone Pines. These thrive in the area’s rocky, river-based soils, similar to those found in the Stoneleigh Vineyard. Here, nature rewards patience. Planted in winter, it takes three years for a seedling to flourish and produce a harvestable pine cone. After 20 years, the tree will usually produce between 10 and 50 pine cones per season, each one containing up to 120 kernels. Continuing in this fashion for generations, the hardy trees of the Pinoli orchard are expected to live up to 300 years, thanks to the soil’s nutrients, the right balance of rainfall and sunshine, in addition to regular tendering.