Monday, 2 December 2013
Day 7 of NZ Nuffield Adventures - Horticulture
Slightly later than planned we started off around Julian's farming operations along the coast from Nelson, nestled behind Richmond, over looking he Tazmin Bay. To say the business is diverse would be an understatement and we could have spent days not hours looking around! As always it was great to see Julian again after meeting for the first time at the Contemporary Scholars Conference in March and to me it sums up what it means to be part of the Nuffield Family. We started off on the lower ground looking at apples and the Boysen Berries. Julian grows 75 acres of this fruit, a cross between logan berries, raspberry's and black berry's, all of which need to be harvested in a 28 day period.
The first 'pick' should be ready in about 2 weeks and then the bushes are mechanically harvested every few days. The harvesting machine will travel through the crop 7 or 8 times, gathering during peak production 1T/hr of fruit. The fruit is then sorted on the harvester, transported and processed back at the farm yard. Some berries are individually frozen whilst others are stored in larger containers for canning or processing.
In addition to the Boysen Berries Wai West, (meaning water in Maori) grows Kiwi's, Hops and Apples. With 250 acres of apples the business is gradually moving into varieties that are popular with the Asian markets in preference to those markets in Europe. Asia is certainly an emerging market that Wai West is looking to supply with lots of different products. Here's Julian, Tom Sewell and myself looking down across the farmland and onto the Tazmin Bay. Nelson the nearest large city is across to the right and is the largest fishing port in Australasia.
One of the other enterprises that has just been launched is selling liquid milk through vending machines. I bought a bottle and filled it up through the machine to take on the 6 hour journey to Methvin, later that day. I loved the pictures of the cows on the bottle and the idea of taking whole milk out to all the customers in the form of a vending machine.
With the full milk bottle in the back of the chariot we set off for the 500Km drive from Richmond and Nelson to Methven in the Canterbury area near Christchurch. Our route took us along the Maruia river and over Lewis Pass, down passed Hanmer Springs and then towards Christchurch.
We noticed lots of interesting aspects of the Agriculture along the way, the main one being the amount of irrigation being used to grow the grass for the dairies. There were centre pivots, rain guns and sprinklers running in every direction. It will be interesting to explore this use of natural resource as my studies here continue, especially in the arable sector which I will be concentrating on over the next couple of weeks.