Local man Mike King recently became Kapiti’s first official forager for hire.
Mr King has been registered with the Kapiti Coast District Council for just over a month, he can now legally source unusual ingredients for local restaurants.
An arborist by trade, Mr King branched out into the fledging foraging industry by growing oyster mushrooms and selling them at the Paraparaumu Beach market.
He was approached by Paraparaumu Beach restaurant 50-50 to source green walnuts for pickling, then expanded the relationship by providing a stock of interesting and unusual edible goods.
Mr King says lifestyle blocks are a goldmine for foraging edibles, and that even things like barks, seeds and roots are useful for their unique flavours.
His business has expanded to include sourcing native botanicals for a local florist and finding unusual infusers for Kapiti’s National Distillery Company - which creates traditional spirits with a unique New Zealand twist.