Ellerslie exhibit “good enough to eat”

Visitors to this year’s Ellerslie International Flower Show will find a cauliflower pavlova, kumara prawns and an almond turkey at the entrance to the Countdown Lifestyle Marquee to tempt their tastebuds.

Fresh Cuisine is the Countdown exhibit by Julena Moors, Dave Farley and Lee-Anne Clarke of The Vege People, who have been creating award-winning horticultural exhibits made entirely from vegetables at the Ellerslie International Flower Show since 1995. They have won five gold medals, the Supreme Award and two People’s Choice Awards. (Their 2007 gold award-winning exhibit is pictured above).

This year the trio have created an exhibit for Countdown which Julena says will be “good enough to eat”.

Fresh Cuisine will use more than 32 varieties of vegetables to depict a typical supermarket scene. “The 12-metre long by two-metre wide exhibit will feature an enthusiastic shopper with a trolley in the fresh food section of a Countdown supermarket completing their weekly shop.”

Julena says the vegetables will be presented in the five colour way –reds, oranges, creams, greens and purples – reflecting the extensive selection of vegetables stocked by Countdown supermarkets and cleverly woven into the pattern will be Countdown’s three strong brands: Home Brand, Wind Back and Onecard.

For Julena, who has been a market gardener for 43 years, vegetables have been her life’s passion.

“I’m passionate about fruit and vegetables. It is important to me that we are promoting fruit and vegetables in a fun way. With our exhibits we get people to think about vegetables beyond the healthy eating message.

“We attempt to get people to take a second look at vegetables by portraying them in a different, fun way and get them to see vegetables as appetising; if we achieve this we have done our job.”

Julena says each of The Vege People’s exhibits has its own personality. “We celebrate the fact that we keep our ideas fresh, always striving to develop new ways to present vegetables.

“For example, different vegetables are used each time for various elements in a garden, such as a person’s hair; in the past we have used silverbeet, carrots, asparagus, broccoli, brown corn silk, chives and cabbage leaves.”

The Countdown Lifestyle Marquee is a favourite feature for visitors to Ellerslie, showcasing the best seasonal fare from the garden, a rich selection of specialist cheeses and delicatessen favourites and useful ideas to help customers to shop smarter. Celebrity chef Richard Till will even make a special appearance.

Countdown Channel Development Manager Phil Neely says Countdown is thrilled to again be involved in the Ellerslie International Flower Show. “It is exciting to this year be bring the added element of our own horticultural exhibit to the Show.

“Not only will we be in the running for an award, but we will provide visitors to our marquee with something quiet unexpected.”


Ellerslie International Flower Show is New Zealand’s premier week-long Garden Party in Christchurch’s North Hagley Park from 10 to 14 March 2010. The Show celebrates Christchurch’s Garden City heritage and the best of national and international garden design. Check out the website for further information

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