Locally produced wines, juices and preserves, alpaca or woollen knitwear,
honey, crafts .....
When I really enjoy a holiday I like to take with me some mementos of my
visit. In my last article about
I wrote about exploring its scenic attractions and its history, but
exploring the shops can also be an enjoyable part of visiting a place where
enterprising entrepreneurs have set up interesting retail outlets selling
Barker's, established in 1969 by Anthony and Gillian Barker, has been a
household name for juices and fruit products sold throughout New Zealand.
If you visit the Berry Barn in Talbot Street, the main street of Geraldine,
you are in the heart of the area where the wide variety of fruits Barker's
use are grown.
You can enjoy fruit smoothies and sundaes, and can sample juices, wines,
jams, and spiced fruit sauces. I recommend spiced apricot sauce to
serve with chicken. Their Christmas Fruit Mince is the best I have ever
tasted. What I make at home does not compare. When you want to serve
mulled wine do try Barker's elderberry wine, "Mountain Thunder". Want a
gift to take back home? Barker's also offer attractive gift baskets.
Check out the baskets of factory specials for purchases at reduced prices.
The Alpaca Centre
Next to Barker's in The Berry Barn is the Alpaca Centre, which aims to
provide the largest range of Alpaca products in New Zealand. I talked to
owners Maggie Sewell and Brian Kitson. "We have a small herd of alpacas
which will eventually be included in a farm park on the property we have
purchased on the outskirts of Geraldine. " said Brian.
The Berry Barn
The shop stocks New Zealand made hand and machine knitwear, felted hats,
knitting yarns in natural and dyed colours, kitsets to knit your own, and
carded or raw fleece for spinning.
Although blended yarns are sometimes easier to process, Maggie says that
she and Brian make all their knitwear in 100% Alpaca to maximise its
special qualities of softness, warmth, lightness and strength.
explained to me that Alpaca fibre is 30% warmer than wool for the weight
and three times the tensile strength of wool. Alpacas originate from the
high altiplano of South America, and must withstand vast climate changes.
As a result, their fibre has an amazing ability to adjust to different
"Alpaca fibre is also ideal for people with sensitive skins who may find
other natural fibres too prickly," Maggie said. "Our Toddlers' Alpaca
socks have been a great success with children with eczema.
"As alpaca garments are very hard wearing and last a long time, we
manufacture classic styles under our Adobe Knits label. We can
make garments to measure at no extra cost. We also stock a range of
knitwear, jackets, capes, Alpaca fur teddy bears and woven wall hangings
imported from South America.
A selection of some of the many garments available
"Brian and I would love to tell you about these unique animals and their
fibre, so do call and see us at The Alpaca Centre," Maggie concluded.
The Giant Jersey holds the world record.
To be sure that people noticed "The Giant Jersey"
Michael and Gillian Linton chose a truly attention-catching feature. Their
shop takes its name from the giant jersey it features. The Giant Jersey
was officially recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1999 and
measures 16 ft from wrist to wrist, is 7 feet high, has a chest measurement
of 120 inches and weighs 5.5kg.
I used the phrase, "enterprising entrepreneurs" to describe the business
people of Geraldine.
The business doesn't only knit for giants, however, and has a range of
sweaters, cardigans, hats and scarves, handcrafted from pure New Zealand
wool, in sizes ranging from children's to largest adult sizes. You can buy
from them on the Internet, but it adds interest if you can visit their
knitting workshop, see the knitting in action and make your choice from the
forty colours and fifty designs offered.
You will also be interested to see the map on the wall showing the
different places where their jerseys are being worn - forty six at the
latest count. You may wish to visit their website
Check out the local craft shops especially if you are looking for gifts to
take home. There are four in the main street.
Murch 'n' Dice is on the ground floor of the old Post Office
building. It offers lots of interesting crafts, homewares and giftware.
Upstairs there is a gallery featuring the work of local artists.
Country Rumours is a craft cooperative selling a wide range of
locally produced crafts.
Victorian Wood Works features an interesting variety of wooden home
decor items - both imported and locally made. This small shop is an
interesting place in which to poke around for "gifts with a difference".
Needle 'n' Thread specialises in sewing and patchwork/craft
supplies. You can also find there the locally made Geepers range of trendy
designer children's clothing.
How is your Latin? Good enough to work out that it is therapy based on the
products of bees?
Honey Corner Shop
For your honey and apitherapy products visit Honey Corner Shop, on the
Woodbury Road corner. Valerie and Noel Trezise will offer you a wide range
of pure sweet natural honey free of additives or preservatives. You can
choose among clover, manuka, native bush, rata, kamahi/manuka, and thyme
honeys and select creamed, liquid or comb honey - or you may decide on a
honey healer and tonic, manuka honey with deer velvet.
The apitherapy products include the natural anitbiotic Propolis in a number
of products. I have found that the throat spray and lozenges are excellent
remedies for a sore throat. Royal Jelly, a highly concentrated food helps
the immune system and is good for the skin. The Trezises have a range of
royal jelly products. Bee pollen products are also stocked.
Visit Honey Corner and talk to Valerie and Noel about honey products and
also look at the Working Observation Hive. You and your children will find
the visit really instructive.
For the garden lovers
There are five nurseries or garden centres where you can buy plants, but
first you may like to look at some of the private gardens that welcome
visitors. An excellent pamphlet listing the gardens, the garden centres
and the nurseries is available at the Information Centre in Geraldine. It
gives you the names of the gardens. the addresses, the plants featured, the
hours and the months of opening and the admission costs. Some cater for
morning and afternoon tea.
Tea or coffee break
If you've wandered around the shops and want to sit down and relax with a
cup of tea or coffee you can choose among three options. Plums Cafe
on the main street is open during daytime on weekdays and evenings
only on weekends. Riverside Cafe which is open only in the daytime,
is a new cafe with a lovely garden outlook and very attractive premises set
back off the main street, next to Murch & Dice. The Berry Barn Bakery
(Cafe) is next to Barkers.
Enjoy your leisurely shopping in Geraldine!