When Henry Studholme bought a 3.64ha farmlet in Hororata, it came with an abandoned building. He saw the opportunity in the modern honey processing plant and his journey to founding Sovereign Salmon began.
In the 1980’s, Henry was a farmer in the Selwyn District well into a new farm development. The tough economic times meant he ended up losing both farms. “The interest rate went from 7.5 % to 18% basically overnight but we didn’t want to leave the district.”
With a new start grant, he was able to purchase the farmlet in Hororata. A friend suggested Henry could smoke salmon in the abandoned honey factory. He researched Scottish smoking recipes in the Christchurch Public Library and came up with a recipe still used today.
Today, the smoked salmon products are exported and sold to supermarkets. The salmon is still smoked onsite in Hororata. Most of the salmon comes from Sanford Stewart Island, Mt Cook Salmon and High Country Salmon in Twizel. Sovereign Smoke Salmon employs around 20 staff, most of whom are in the Selwyn District.
Henry plans to open several Salmon Heaven retail stores in New Zealand, the first being in The Provedore, a newly developed covered food arcade at the Bush Inn Centre, followed by one in Newmarket, Auckland. As well as salmon, the shops will sell items from whitebait to gourmet ready to eat meat meals, free range eggs, manuka honey, cheese, crackers, gourmet preserves and pastes, and fresh Roan A2 milk.
Sustainability is important to Henry, especially when it comes to packaging. “Our supplier is working hard on developing biodegradable pouches. And we won an award because we changed from polystyrene cartons to insulated cardboard. It has silver paper inside and out and it’s biodegradable,” Henry said.
Sovereign Smoke Salmon’s point of difference is that it’s a family business. “Most of my competitors are big commercial operations. We have always valued the fact that our clients have that personal contact with the owner. For years, we’ve been a family company. That culture is something special that we want to keep,” Henry said.
Find out more and order delicious smoked salmon today!