Mapua Country Store
Hodgson meets Kirsten Ammann, owner of the Mapua Country Store.
The Mapua Country Store is exactly what the name says, they have a wide range of products that are grown and produced in the region and local producers support them with in-store tastings every second week on Friday or Saturday depending on the producer. I have written about many of the outstanding producers in this region and you will find lots of their products on the shelves and in the chillers at Mapua Country Store, producers like Neudorf Olives, Neudorf Mushrooms, Chia drinks, Yum granola, Gather Girl (local lady Hayley who makes beautiful coconut yogurt), Milk Drop, Wangapeka Dairy, Coulters Cider Vinegar and Moutere Fruits who grow the wonderful strawberries and make outstanding berry fruit jams are just some who have had in-store tastings since they opened in early April.
A big focus for the business is fresh produce, “Tim goes to the markets every morning and we buy direct from local growers where possible”, again I asked why? “Just being selfish really, not wanting to drive so far to buy fresh produce and also being able to offer the locals great variety on their doorstep.” “Support local, by local, eat fresh, this community is fantastic for that and we saw an opportunity and a need and just went for it. We have only been open four months and already locals are becoming regulars, dropping in to buy fresh produce as they need it rather than doing the traditional once-a-week shop outside of Mapua.”
While the focus may be on fresh produce Mapua Country Store is gradually being expanded as demand is identified, but the focus will always be on wonderful fresh produce and products. They have the award winning local pies made by Ginger Dynamite in Riwaka with flavours like satay pumpkin, steak & brown ale, chilli beef and chicken & bacon all made fresh and delivered regularly. Sweet treats and Villy’s famous Spanakopita, their own homemade soup with flavours that change daily, salads to take away are all made in house fresh every day and with love, “our staff are all foodies and they create many of the dishes we have”.
The Mapua Country Store may still be a work in progress but I think it is already a high quality, exciting addition to a community. Mapua has developed a reputation as a great local destination, and based on how warmly Mapua Country Store has been welcomed to the area their ideal of becoming a community hub is well on the way to being realised.
Thanks to Neil Hodgson for permission to use this article, first published 2/8/16