“Parsnip, Pear and Blue Cheese Soup, followed by Minted Merino Lamb Rack (with seasonal vegetables), and a Lemon Citrus Tart,” – that’s what Adrienne McNatty is cooking for dinner tonight. It’s her favourite, and it’s not hard to imagine why.
What’s surprising is that, for Adrienne, preparing such a meal simply means taking a short stroll down to what she casually refers to as to as the “vegie garden”. This “garden” is similar in size to an Olympic-size swimming pool, and is brimming with vegetables – potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, yams, brussel sprouts, beetroot, a broccoli and cauliflower hybrid – brocciflower? cauloccoli? – to name but a few.
Adrienne and partner, Bruce Collins, manage Mt Nicholas Lodge, a guest house on the merino sheep station of the same name. The station, which supplies Icebreaker much of its merino wool, sits at the foot of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, and is separated from the nearest township of Queenstown by Lake Wakatipu. Its remoteness is the perfect excuse for Adrienne and Bruce, along with the station’s owners and managers, to provide for themselves.
To accompany the home grown meat, dairy products and vegetables, Adrienne creates her own selection of chutneys and sauces, tomato relish, apply jelly and preserved fruit, as well as plum, raspberry, apricot, strawberry, blackberry and black current jams.
“Everything is fresh and chemical free,” Adrienne says. “There’s a great deal of satisfaction in being able to wander around the garden, selecting all of the produce you want to use for a particular meal.”
For the occasional thing they can’t dig up or whip up, Adrienne and Bruce drive to Invercargill and bulk buy, storing their supplies in a giant walk-in freezer. A few essentials, like wine and salmon, are delivered via boat and picked up from Walter Peak, the station next door to theirs (if you can refer to a property over 30 kilometres away as ‘next door’).
“The best thing about being self-sufficient is knowing where your food comes from,” Adrienne says. “Our guests are not only staying in an amazing location, but are able to experience the best the land has to offer.”