Meet Your [Outstanding] Maker – Mandy Steel from Mandy’s Horseradish
Mandy’s Horseradish was awarded a Gold Medal in the first Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards in 2017. Owner, horseradish grower, harvester, peeler and sauce maker Mandy Steel has 15 years experience making delicious horseradish in Christchurch. Here she shares some of her stories from behind the scenes – including the perils of winter for a horseradish sauce maker and what she listens to as she hand peels tonnes of fresh horseradish every year.
Q: What prompted you to start your business?
Mandy: “In 2005 I was introduced to another Mandy who was growing fresh horseradish and turning it into a fabulous condiment from her Grandmother’s recipe. We decided to join forces and that was the beginning of Mandys Horseradish, over the next few years the word starting spreading and we started supplying stockists throughout New Zealand. All these years later Mandys Horseradish still supplies chefs, cafes and food stores across the country and now we also have more than six acres of fresh horseradish which we grow in Canterbury.”
Q: What’s the most challenging aspect of creating your product?
Mandy: “There are two main challenges when it comes to making Mandys Horseradish Sauce. Firstly, the frustration which many growers are challenged by and that is harvesting in winter whether its rain, hail or shine! Sometimes, on the worst wet, boggy days the tractor gets stuck so we have to hand dig the horseradish roots out. Secondly we spend a lot of time hand peeling fresh horseradish, we have researched numerous different alternatives for this but nothing peels as well as good old fashioned hand peeling. Hence the reason all our products are made fresh to order in small batches. One can only peel so much horseradish in a day!”
Q: What makes your product stand apart?
Mandy: “Using fresh horseradish grown here in Canterbury, New Zealand, the Canterbury climate is perfect for growing horseradish.”
Q: What do you listen to when you’re producing/packing/cooking/working?
Mandy: “Mmm…depending on the mood, sometimes RNZ National, the Sounds FM mix of the 70’s and 80’s music or to my special Spotify playlist my husband has made up.”
Q: What keeps you going?
Mandy: “The feedback I receive from my clients.”
Q: What do you do to relax when you’re not working?
Mandy: “I love walking my dog at the beach, in the Port Hills or Hagley Park. I ski in the winter, and in summer love nothing more than hanging on next to the water at the beach or the river. Also I have to mention Pilates, which helps keep the aches away after harvesting horseradish!”
Q: What’s your favourite spot in New Zealand for a picnic?
Mandy: “Near Hamner Springs over Jacks Pass and into the Clarence Valley, peace and quiet with a river and amazing views….”
For more info and to purchase award-winning Mandy’s Horseradish visit the website.