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Welcome to Piopio, A Thriving Village Nestled Between The
World Famous Waitomo Caves and The Rugged Taranaki Coast


Piopio Fruit & Vege Stand

Birdtalk Magazine Dec 2023 & Jan 2024

WELL, we got through Heirloom Tomatoes 2023!

I love growing and distributing tomato plants each year to encourage everyone to learn to grow their own. As with most things, people find there’s no comparison between what you can grow vs buy.

This year I encountered two additional challenges. I’d decided to grow zucchini, pumpkins and butternut squash plants to share as well, and those took over the glasshouse as they grew and grew. It was a jungle. Reference was made to a novel and movie called “The Day of the Triffids,” of which I was unaware, where plants take over the world. I had to move them on to make room for potting all the tomato seedlings. If I do them again, I’ll pot them up after the tomatoes.

My second challenge was pots. I know I’ve been banging on about the need to return those pots to the stand for reuse, but if I don’t get them back, we can’t do what we do. By my count we distributed over 800 seedling tomatoes this year. I recently read that the Heritage Food Crops Trust gave away 1400 tomato plants one day this season; indeed, the bar has been raised. I will need pots. And by now, everyone knows that they’re the square ones (not six packs) that are usually grey, black, blue or red, and the taller square ones that are orange, red, or blue. Not picky, are we?

It’s looking to be a good season for both the veggie garden and the orchard. After having no plums last year at all, our trees are dripping green fruit. We are already enjoying zucchini and have some green tomatoes, pumpkins and butternut are flowering. I’ve planted the seed potatoes and am about to tackle the kumara.

Due to the weather damage in Hawkes Bay and resulting shortage of tinned fruit you might want to take a stab at bottling some fruit this year, especially if people are sharing lots of surplus. I’ve found Golden Queen peaches and pears to be the easiest and can share some tips when we get to that point in the season. While I’d made jams and fruit paste, I hadn’t really bottled fruit until about a year ago. Now we use it all winter.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions/issues. Contributions of surplus to the stand would be welcome and appreciated. Updates are posted pretty much daily on our FB page. We’ll decorate the stand for the Christmas parade and come up with some goodies
Ho ho ho!