It’s time for the second instalment of our Fresh Choice Nelson ‘Local Food Heroes’ articles. In this feature, we look to the coastline for inspiration. From Farewell Spit in the west through to Stephens Island in the east, Tasman Bay offers breath-taking views, an adventure playground like no other, and most importantly of all sustenance! Slap bang in the middle of the bay is our little slice of the paradise pie. Nelson and just down the road Mapua. A glorious destination for locals and visitors alike, Mapua Wharf is also home to The Smokehouse. In this post, we catch up with Peter Pattullo, the man behind your favourite local hot smoked fish products.
The Smokehouse story started long before Peter took the helm in 2014. And like many of our favourite regional food products, it all began with a local doing something they loved.
Almost four decades ago, a local fisherman with a love for the sea and fishing began smoking his catch in his Mapua shed for tasty teas and perfect picnics. He was a generous soul, and when his friends wanted a bite, he was happy to oblige. After that, the restaurant next door decided that the smoked fish would sit perfectly on their locally-sourced menu. Then, as is so often the case with the delicacies of Nelson, the Saturday Market called… After which we began stocking The Smokehouse products at Fresh Choice, Nelson.
Fresh Choice Nelson and The Smokehouse – A Match made in Heaven:
At Fresh Choice Nelson there’s nothing we love more than introducing our customers to brands who have values that ally with our own. And just as we like to keep Nelson, New Zealand and the entire planet plastic-free and happy, The Smokehouse likes to make a difference to the world we live in. They only use fish caught in New Zealand waters under the Quota management system. This system effectively manages supply to ensure a sustainable fishing industry in our beautiful Aotearoa.
From Humble Beginnings:
Over the years, and particularly since Peter bought the Mapua-based business, The Smokehouse brand has continued to grow and mature. The product range has diversified from smoked fish that’s the perfect addition to your salad and antipasto platters with the introduction of new product lines. First, came a smoking hot range of handmade fish patés. Then more recently, the hearty fish pies and chowders to warm the cockles of your heart when you need a little comfort food.
Our buyers regularly report that you no longer see your Smokehouse delights simply as a solution to entertaining at home or an occasional treat. But that, in fact, The Smokehouse is added to your shopping carts as a daily staple… And we can’t say we blame you!
An Interview with Peter Pattullo:
We caught up with Peter to find out a bit more about what makes him tick. Read on to discover more.
What’s the best thing about living and working in Mapua, Nelson?
We are part of a great community encompassing first-class food and beverage producers, hospitality, dedicated suppliers and a very aware and proactive customer base who understand the value in locally-made high-quality goods. There is amazing work happening all the time in our tourism and destination management to attract visitors to our region. These visitors are a vital customer source for all our local food producers.
How hands-on are you in your business?
I’d say I am fairly hands-on. I love helping our fantastic team when needed, and then I spend the rest of my time growing the business to keep us all busy.
What is your personal favourite Smokehouse product, and how do you enjoy eating it?
A fresh piece of White Warehou, hot smoked in Manuka (our normal brew) tossed through a green salad. The simple pleasures!
Why do you think local collaboration is important in Nelson business?
We are only a small region, and we haven’t got the financial grunt of some other parts of New Zealand. But we have many great producers doing so many good things and an ideal environment to operate. To continue to punch above our weight, we must work together. That’s what Mark at Fresh Choice facilitates so well. He keeps those local wheels turning.
Why do you think ‘eating local’ is important?
It supports local business which is the lifeblood of our region. These same businesses provide employment opportunities in their own business and associated businesses from suppliers to customers. By doing this, we encourage all our local producers to keep doing what they are so good at, and the customer gets a top-notch product that they know is made locally with all the goodness the region has to offer
What would your #1 piece of advice be for any foodie entrepreneurs starting in business?
Sound out ideas and theories; there are a million of them floating around at any one point. Narrow it down, then ask yourself if it has credibility. After you’ve decided it does, back yourself – be bold, confident, and determined. And then progress and refine. If you try and reach perfection instantly, it won’t happen. Everything in business is a learning curve.
The Smokehouse Smoked Fish Deals:
A very moist white flesh with a delicate texture and low oil content, harbouring a slightly sweet but mild smokey flavour.
Ideal in many applications from curries to casseroles and chowder.
Part of the Warehou family, a great option for something with bolder flavours than the white, but still a lovely white and oily flesh that flakes well.
Ideal with fettuccine or on your favourite pizza.
Smoked Salmon Paté – 190g
Handmade from the finest selection of smoked King Salmon, smoked fish and smoked green lipped mussels. Preservative-free and 100% natural.
Ideal when served slightly chilled with crusty bread or your favourite crackers.