Run your eyes over this lot: elderflowers, rhubarb, gooseberries, rosehips. Get the picture?
If “old-fashioned” popped up, you’d be right – these were the flowers and the fruits your granny put to good use in her kitchen. Now, for Christchurch marketing entrepreneur Mark Dillon, these ingredients represent a business opportunity.
Five years ago Dillon was planning to import a range of ciders. As a brand manager in the liquor industry he had become aware of international interest in what he calls “nostalgic products” – that is, the old way of fruits grown at home and made at home into drinks and cordials.
In today’s celebrity-mad world, “foraging” is the latest must-do for a chef. The story usually plays out with a chef, a basket overflowing with picturesque ingredients (mushrooms, seaweed, weed-weeds), and a photographer.
Dillon has developed a business based on foraging for once well-known garden and wild ingredients, including one still widely regarded as the flower of a weed tree.