Sarah Uhl opened the Okere Falls Store and Café 7 years ago. Sarah, originally from Christchurch, was drawn to Rotorua through her love of white water rafting. The store is on the site of the old dairy and Sarah says, “The main thing was to bring the community together.”
The store is a foodies dream and the perfect spot to stock up on provisions for the weekend. There are the basics like milk, bread and eggs as well as an amazing selection of gourmet and artisan foods. Sarah says they have lots of fun finding new suppliers and are always attracted to small businesses that are passionate about what they do.
As the business has grown so too has the cafe. A beer garden behind the store has been developed and this winter an edible garden planted. Every Labour weekend they hold a very popular German beer festival complete with 30 piece oompha band.
“Part of our business vision is good food and coffee,” explains Sarah, “the other part is minimising our impact on the environment.” Along with a composting toilet and worm farm to take care of food scraps, customers are encouraged to recycle. The team are also part of a programme monitoring the endangered Dabchick population in Lake Rotoiti, reporting their findings to DOC.
757a SH 33
Rhubarb, Strawberry and White Chocolate Muffins
From Okere Falls Store, Lake Rotoiti, Rotorua
3 cups of flour
3/4 cup of caster sugar
150gms of butter
1/2 cup of milk
6 tsp of baking powder
2 free range eggs
1 1/2 cups of strawberries
1/2 cup of white chocolate buttons
1 1/2 cups of pre-roasted rhubarb
(Cut Rhubarb into chunks, sprinkle with brown sugar and add a knob of butter, place in a roasting dish for 30-40 minutes at 200 degrees celsius. Roasting keeps the full flavour of the Rhubarb)
Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
Heat milk and butter in separate bowls in microwave for a minute and a half.
Mix together milk, and butter once heated and whisk through eggs.
Combine liquid with dry ingredients.
Add fruit and fold through carefully trying not to over mix.
Put heaped tablespoons evenly into greased or baking paper line muffin trays.
Bake at 180-200 degrees celsius for 30 minutes rotating every 10 minutes from top to bottom trays. This recipe will make 6 large muffins or 12 small muffins
Sarah also has cafes at the Rotorua Library and most recently at Mountain Bike Rotorua