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Two years ago you would have struggled to find quinoa and chia seeds in Ranfurly.
That changed when Morgan Grundy (28) started the Maniototo Cafe in 2015.
"Looking around, we thought it would be good to do something a bit different and cater for vegans and different dietary requirements. Do things like smoothies and salads. It’s growing more now, but when we started there wasn’t too much of that around Central."
Ms Grundy won the inaugural Young Professional Award at the eighth Central Otago Awards in Roxburgh on Friday. Her parents moved to Ranfurly from Auckland six years ago and bought one of the Four Square stores, which had a big area of dead retail space on the corner.
Three years on, that space is a booming spot in summer, which remains steady in the winter, partly due to local patronage.
Ms Grundy said they also made sure to provide giant sausage rolls and cheese rolls for hungry farmers.
"We don’t want to target just one market."
The awards are held biennially by the Central Otago District Council, to celebrate the successes of individuals and businesses in the region.
The Youth Award was won by Dunstan High School pupil James Sutherland for his leadership and passion. He is a member of the Sticks’n Stones national board, a founding member of the reformed Central Otago Youth Council, a senior leader and treasurer on the Otago Suicide Prevention Trust and a Young National Party representative.
Earnscleugh orchard supervisor Luke Bottriell won the Apprentice Award. He was described as a fantastic role model, with enthusiasm and an excellent work ethic.
Rose and Nigel Voice, who own Ranfurly’s The Real Dog Company, won the Business Excellence Award. The judges said the dog-sledding company epitomised Central Otago’s spirit and strongly aligned with the region’s values.
The already-announced community service awards were presented to Rod Peirce, of Roxburgh, Judy Elliott Hall, of Alexandra, Heather McPherson, of Cromwell, Valerie Smith, of Naseby and Carol Haig, of Clyde.