Corinne: I have worked in the food production industry most my working life, established as a Quality assurance manager and food safety auditor & consultant.
I always loved foraging for food. To me it was the most natural thing in the world, to walk into your back yard, the forest or beach and find things for dinner. The treasure hunt. The connection with nature and the appreciation of what it can offer.
Chris: I have a degree in agriculture and microbiology. Starting a business happened almost by accident. I started collecting Tasmanian pepperberry in 2015 from a friends farm in the Tarkine and found more pepper than we knew what to do with!
Now we have both given up very comfortable careers to focus full time on this little business. A 9 to 5 office job was not something that inspired us. It is a huge risk, considering we have a mortgage to pay for, but this is something we are passionate about and love the variety and challenges running a small business offers. This has been a huge learning curve for us.
Our products all feature Tasmanian pepper berry and leaf, from our teas to our pepperberry soy. Because we have a large source of pepper we can cram it into our products for a very distinct unique flavour.
In 2017 we won 10 awards at the Royal Hobart Fine Food Awards which was a huge surprise. Tasmanians are very supportive of small local food producers and are prepared to pay more for it. In my opinion, small business’s produce much higher quality food. They take more pride and invest more of themselves in their product and it always seasonal and fresh with much less food miles.
All of our products use sustainable sourced ingredients from Tasmania with a strong focus on Tasmanian and Australian native foods.
Corinne’s favourite product is the Pepperberry cocktail syrup. Fruity and spicy. It’s fun to serve up these cocktails at a party and watch faces change as the spiciness kicks in!
Chris’s favourite is the Pepperberry soy! It is much more fresh and lively than regular soy and contains nuggets of pepper for spicy bursts of flavour. It has become a staple in our kitchen, not just for Asian style cooking!
Tasmanian pepperberry is our focus. Very different from conventional pepper, it has a fresh Tassie bush aroma, fruity flavour, vibrant red or purple colour and a characteristic building tingling heat. It is a such unique, versatile fruit that we put in all our products, from teas to cocktail syrups.
With anti inflammatory & anti-microbial properties and 6 times the amount of anti-oxidants as blueberries it is only a matter of time before it is recognised as the next superfood!
We harvest our pepper from private land around Tasmania, usually on disused areas of farmland. By paying landowners royalties for what we collect we are encouraging them to value and conserve the native vegetation.
Over the four years we have become very familiar with Tasmania’s natural stands of pepperberry, GPS tracking and taking notes and cuttings from trees posessing qualities of interest, e.g. flavour, yield, spiciness, etc.
This gives us the unique ability to only harvest the ripest, fruitiest, spiciest berries available.
Recently we have noticed a decline in the natural stand of pepper due to clearing or livestock damaging trees.
We plan work with landowners in planting these native pepper trees in areas where we have noticed a decline. In particular the Tarkine area.
Not only will this benefit the local ecology, but it will provide farmers with an additional income stream from the berries we buy off them.
We have a modest aim of planting 1000 pepper trees in 2019 and plan to start our own little pepper orchard in the years to come.
We created Taz Urban Harvest in 2016 for the specific purpose of finding quince for our award winning “Peppy Quince Paste“. Through use of social media, newspaper advertising and market stall promotions we managed to gather a total of 1.35 tonnes of quince! Since then we have expanded our urban harvest search to include lemons, blackberries, rose-hips, crab apples and fennel.
There is just so much fruit available in people back yards that just goes to waste!
We ensure our sources are pesticide free and pay the property owners some cash or trade finished product for what we collect. We have recieved huge support for our little project.
For more information visit our listing: Wild Pepper Isle