Food Service from the Secret Garden, Auckland

 Image courtesy of The Grove Restaurant

The Secret Garden.... home of New Zealand's finest, fresh specialty produce

The Secret Garden is a treasure trove of the rare, interesting and unusual...from exotic herbs to extraordinary vegetables and amazing Araucana eggs, we've got it covered. Our aim is to interest, excite and inspire you, the professionals.
From our simple origins as an interesting and varied home garden, we've organically grown, in response to requests from chefs, into The Secret Garden - the hidden ingredient of many top New Zealand eateries.

Natural: We're passionate about natural, honest food, so our fresh, seasonal produce is carefully grown using only natural pesticides approved for use in organic farming.

Fertile: Our plants are proudly grown in Patumahoe's rich loam soil – renowned for yielding beautiful, flavoursome produce.

Interesting: Our extensive fresh produce range also includes peculiar plants – we relish requests from chefs for specialty produce like fig leaves, alpine strawberries, nasturtium capers, winter savory, Chinese artichoke, lovage and Mexican tarragon.

Magic: Occasionally, at the request of chefs, we lovingly create our special Magic Boxes – which encapsulate the essence of The Secret Garden in a box. Our Magic Boxes involve a personalised selection process whereby we explore, forage and hand-pick the beautiful, rare and interesting. We're proud that chefs turn to The Secret Garden for inspiration – our Magic Boxes have helped launch many a new menu.

Star quality: Fresh produce from our Magic Boxes has played leading roles in celebrity-chef cookbooks, like 'Cut' by Josh Emett, and ventured into modelling for restaurant websites, including Sidart's. With personal TV appearances a highlight of their career, our Magic Box produce has even been artfully used by Matt Moran on Masterchef NZ.

Presenting The Secret Garden's fresh, specialty produce...

The Secret Garden
Garnish Leaves

We offer a fine selection of single origin garnish leaf punnets, featuring naturally grown, hand -picked varieties including, ice plant, ice lettuce, chickweed, buck's horn plantain and edible chrysanthemum. Our product range is seasonal - contact us today for current availability.

The Secret Garden
Magic Box

An enchanting, mystery box showcasing 25 plus weird and wonderful fresh ingredients to interest, intrigue and inspire you. Previous boxes have presented alpine strawberries, lemon verbena, pine needles, ice plant, horseradish leaf, fig leaves, lovage, Mexican tarragon and nasturtium capers, to name but a few. Perfect for photo shoots and new menu creation.

We're proud to grace the tables of many top New Zealand eateries and are excited to be able to supply our wonderful products to the South Island via overnight freight service. Talk to us today to secure your supply of fresh seasonal specialty produce from The Secret Garden.

Adorable baby radish

Our crunchy little babies are usually of the red and white Sparkler variety, offering tender young leaves with crisp, juicy, peppery radish.

The Secret Garden, Garnish Box for Food service

The Secret Garden
Garnish Boxes

On the larger side, our Garnish Boxes have a reputation for offering only the freshest seasonal produce. Think crisp youthful leaves, adorable baby radish, exotic herbs, incredible edible flowers, plus a medley of other unusual vegetables with outstanding colour, supreme flavour and interesting texture. The Secret Garden Garnish Boxes are available on request.

Baby Radish auckland for food service and home chefs by the Secret Garden

Our produce range

Our seasonal produce range includes the following hand-picked varieties....

Summer savory
Winter savory
Mexican tarragon
Bronze begonia
Pineapple sage
Anise hyssop
Sorrel
Nasturtium leaves
Shungiku (C. coronarium)
Baby Sparkler radish
Shiso
French tarragon
Bronze fennel
Fig leaves
Nigella leaves
Alpine strawberries
Bergamot lemon
Cooks scurvy grass
Salad burnet
Nasturtium leaves
Lovage
Pineapple sage

Lemon verbena (end Dec)
Large Shiso leaves (mid Dec)
NZ Ice plant (beg Dec)
NZ Native celery (Dec/Jan)
Pennywort/Gotu Kola (Dec/Jan)
Lambs Lettuce (Dec)
Ice lettuce (Dec/Jan)
Amaranth green and red (Dec/Jan)
Amaranth Mekhong red (Dec/Jan)
Salad purslane red and gold (Dec/Jan)
Mustard deep purple leaf (Dec/Jan)
Blood veined sorrel (Dec/Jan)
Red-veined beetroot leaves (Dec/Jan)
Edible Crysanthemum (C. carinatum)(Dec/Jan)
Dandelion (Dec/Jan)

Our Instagram menu

Forgotton Herbs from The Secret Garden

Our Forgotten Herbs collection brings a touch of nostalgia to the dining table, allowing diners to rediscover the aromatic flavours that once graced our grandparents' plates.

Anise hyssop, summer and winter savory, bergamot lemon, salad burnet, lavender, mexican tarragon, bronze fennel, French tarragon and lovage.....flavoursome herbs that have almost been lost, but never forgotten. Now, you can give them a modern twist!

Salad Burnet - this useful little herb offers a clean, fresh flavour much like cucumber. Use whole in salads or chopped into soups and other dishes. Add pizzazz to vinegars by infusing with salad burnet. For the best flavour, we pick our leaves when young and tender, making them ideal in dips or with fish. Just add imagination...

Summer Savory - with a thyme-like pungence, there's no end to this herb's talents....pair with vegetables, meats and fish or use to enhance marinades, soups and stews. Also known as 'the bean herb', summer savory enjoys the company of string beans, limas, navy beans, soybeans, and all types of broad bean. Use to create flavour-popping stuffings, sausages, and pork pies or steep in vinegar and salad dressing, for an aromatic boost. This versatile herb also works well as a garnish. A jack-of –all-trades herb!

Mexican Tarragon - Hola! This good looking herb goes by the alias Mexican Marigold. Offering a tarragon-like rich, anise / liquorice flavour that's indispensable to many French and English recipes, Mexican Tarragon makes a great tarragon substitute. Use the leaves fresh or dried to flavour soups and sauces.This Central and South American shrubby marigold-lookalike has been used as a culinary and medicinal herb for centuries – it's time to give it a new lease of life....

Winter Savory - the annual cousin to summer savory, this under-appreciated evergreen herb is set to make a come-back. Marrying a gentle menthol freshness with its mint, pepper and thyme flavours, Winter Savory, offers a more intense flavour than summer savory. Most at home with hearty, winter meat and bean recipes. Spice up herb mixes, stuffings, pulses, pates and meat dishes by partnering with fresh or dry leaves and tips.

Anise Hyssop - think mint meets liquorice.... a minty, aniseed flavour that's both fresh and sweet. Scents of black liquorice, lemon, pine, sage, black pepper, and camphor make it interesting on the nose. Team with strawberries for a match made in heaven or partner with shellfish for an interesting twist. Best finely shredded to release their full flavour. Vying for the limelight are the herb's edible purple flowers, owning a similar flavour to the leaves. Add to quickbreads and muffins, or use as an attractive garnish for iced tea. A truly resourceful little herb!

Bronze Fennel - attractive, sweet and aromatic...what more could you ask for? This herb oozes charm, handsome good looks and a superb anise / liquorice taste. Finely chop fronds over seafood and summer salads, infuse oil with the foliage for a gourmet drizzle or chop fronds over roasting potatoes or vegetables. But, its talents don't end there....use flowers in salads or herbal vinegars and leaves in soups, stews, dips and marinades. As an added bonus, its seeds are delicious in breads, cookies, cakes and salad dressings. An all-round multi-talented herb!

Bergamot Lemon – this fresh, lemony little number is a bit of an all-rounder. Use its intense lemon-scented leaves in teas, as a culinary herb or add fresh to inject some zing into salads and drinks. Meanwhile, the edible scarlet flowers add a dramatic decorative touch to desserts and cakes. This herb enjoys imparting its subtle lemon flavour to dishes, especially desserts like cheesecakes, biscuits, cakes and fruit salads. Also good in sauces and rubs for meats and poultry, fish dishes, dressings, wines and liqueurs.

Lavender – a truly reliable kitchen companion! Lavender lends a floral and slightly sweet flavour to most dishes, both savoury and sweet. A perfect partner to strawberries, blueberries, pears, lemon, orange, honey, sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, black pepper, and chocolate. Especially good paired with sheep's-milk and goat's-milk cheeses.

French Tarragon – oh là là....a legend of the herb world! This useful herb boasts a distinctive sweet anise-like flavour, described as uniquely spicy, sharp and aromatic. Works wonders with fresh green salads, egg dishes, cheeses, chicken recipes, vinegars and fish. Add interest to fresh salads or infuse it in mayonnaise and mustards. Also makes a tasty addition to omelettes, sauces, butters and purées. This herb likes to steel the limelight so is best used in dishes that feature its flavour as the dominant offering.

Lovage - what's not to love about lovage? A flavoursome herb reminiscent of parsley and celery combined with a hint of aniseed and curry. Toss its lively young leaves in salads or tuck them into the cavity of a chicken or fish before roasting. Finely shred for a great addition to soups, stews, mash or scrambled eggs. So versatile - you can steam the stems, braise the roots and use the seeds in biscuits and bread.

Fabulous foraged plants:

Chickweed, Dandelion leaves, Three-cornered leek stems, Wood sorrel, Swinecress and Garden Cress.

Exceptional Araucana eggs:

Araucana eggs – our girls are reared in a small grassy paddock with native trees for shelter. They lead a privileged life, spending most of their day scratching around the paddock and resting under trees. As a result our Araucana eggs are beautiful inside and out.