Gardener picked for royal assignment

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A local vegetable grower has once again been picked to provide food for the upcoming royal visit.

Kakanui resident Jim O’Gorman, who is well known for his organic soil practices and delicious produce, has been asked to provide some food for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s upcoming visit to Government House, expected to be in early April.

This is the fourth time he has provided produce to members of the royal family and to top off an already interesting year, a documentary on the gardener is airing on television in early March.

Despite the lack of sunshine this summer, which has caused rot and dampening to many of his crops, Mr O’Gorman is confident he will be able to provide a delicious salad to the young couple.

It had been the most overcast summer he could remember, but he would make sure they got what they needed for the meal, the grower said.

The chef at Government House would be using some of his herbs, tomatoes, potatoes and possibly a few more treats, Mr O’Gorman said.

“It is a bit of a buzz really. It is nice to be asked.

“It is recognition for the little guy.”

His produce is sought-after because of the flavours of the Kakanui soil, which has a very high nutrient base and is high in magnesium and pot ash, he said.

“We’re blessed with very high quality soil right here in North Otago.”

To be chosen was an acknowledgement that smaller farmers mattered, Mr O’Gorman said.

Part of the reason he has been so well recognised is that he has spent years researching ways of using micro-biology to help recover damaged soil.

“It is about taking another look at soil from a different perspective.

“We don’t need so many chemicals.”

Because of his take on organic soil practices, he has been filmed numerous times and has had a fourth documentary made about him, which focuses on his philosophy.

A film-maker contacted him last year after receiving a BBC grant to make a movie and asked if she could make it about Mr O’Gorman and what he did.

The documentary will be showing on BBC Knowledge at 8.30pm on March 2.

Visit www.preditor.co.nz/dirtdoctor for more information on the documentary.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

ROYAL REDS: Kakanui vegetable grower Jim O’Gorman with some tomatoes he is hoping to send in his parcel of produce to be used to feed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Government House in April.