We are excited to be sharing such a wide range of local growers and producers within the Wellington Horowhenua region. There will be trips that encompass local venues around Otaki and some further afield over the ranges into the Hutt valley on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Please select your field trips when you register.
Bus A – Saturday
Cold Tolerant Tropical Papaya
Martin Gembitsky has been undertaking a tricky breeding programme to try and hybridise the tasty tropical papaya with its distant cold tolerant mountain relatives. You will be amazed by what he is able to achieve on a suburban quarter acre. Martin has created various systems to enable him to protect his plants during the winter and is continually experimenting with moving his pots to get maximum benefit from light and sunshine. You may have seen in the December 2020 Tree Cropper magazine, he is getting closer to his aim of producing a large sweet papaya type fruit with an improved ability to grow and produce fruit in New Zealand conditions.
Taupō Swamp was the first major wetland to be protected in the Wellington region and is a biodiversity gem because of the rich diversity of plants, fish, birds, reptiles and insects that can be found there. This wetland also plays a crucial role in regulating water flows reducing, the risks of local flooding, capturing nutrients and sediments from surrounding farmland to improve water quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Bus B – Saturday
When Junko Chun told her husband Neville she’d like a yuzu tree so as to be able to enjoy the fruit she had known in Japan, little did she realise that she would spark off a great enterprise developing into a yuzu orchard in Levin. Neville initially thought he would grow the fruit for export to Japan, but this has now been overshadowed by the demands of chefs and gourmets in New Zealand, and they are now the largest provider of yuzu fruit nationally. You will see the yuzu orchard and its fruit, which most New Zealanders know nothing about. Learn about its many uses and the hazards of harvesting the fruit.
An abundant haven for Lesley Grant, this nine acre property is managed using organic, permaculture principles. There is a wide variety of fruit trees, walnut trees along with many native and exotic trees. A flat walkway goes around two large ponds, creeks and over bridges. Lesley also shares the land with llamas, cats, free-range chooks, ducks and abundant bird life. A large covered and completely enclosed vegetable garden is vital to protect her produce from these critters!
Bus C – Saturday
Coral Tree Organics
Starting out in the late 80’s by Kim Baker as one of the first commercially certified organic orchards in pip fruit production. By the mid 90’s it was able to be run on a permaculture basis with no toxins entering the production process.
The locally-grown organic apples are fermented then matured in oak barrels like a fine wine to make the best apple cider vinegar on earth. Coral Tree Organics is now operating out of a purpose-built processing plant designed in Otaki from where Kim and daughter Zhana export their organic apple cider vinegar, apple and pear fruit juices to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, South Africa and Japan.
Waikawa Blueberry Farm
Waikawa Blueberry Farm is fully certified with Organic Farms NZ. Their main products are blueberries and award winning organic olive oil. They have a range of seasonal fruit, including strawberries, raspberries, apples, pears and plums and are also famous with the locals for their blueberry icecream.
Farm tour will include the olive grove, heritage apples and home orchard, wetland restoration, food forest and blueberry production area.
Bus D – Sunday
Eric and Annette Cairns
For any tree croppers in the Wellington, Horowhenua or Wairarapa area, Eric is certainly the “go-to” person when you want help with trees of all kinds. It is a treat to be able to visit the property that he and Annette have established over many years. Not an easy terrain to work with and yet they have managed to grow an enormous variety of trees. They have been leaders in many Tree croppers’ research projects: figs, olives and honeyberries just to mention a few more recent ones. Recent interests have turned to acorns as a food crop and wood turning.
Eric describes their place as a “mature treecroppers’ temperate food forest.” They have an extensive range of heritage pip and stone fruit, nuts, and a honeyberry breeding area, oaks and some experimental forestry on 8 ha of hill country. Visitors to this property will need to be of reasonable fitness as the drive way is steep and not accessible to vehicles.
This visit will be followed by a short visit to see a local Honeyberry trial site (TBC).
Bus E – Sunday
Te Horo Harvest
Barbara Harford-Silas likens her 5 hectare Hautere Plains property, with its own commercial kitchen, to a creative “jam central.” It’s here Barbara produces an eclectic range of delicious artisan preserves including vanilla strawberry jam, Moroccan peach chutney, fig and olive tapenade and preserved lemons.
The property is surrounded by tall stands of totara and other native tree which make an ideal shelter for the established heritage orchard. Barbara has a long-time interest in permaculture and uses her wonderful collection of recipes to enhance the crops on her doorstep.
Pine Nut Orchard
Over 200 nut trees producing over a tonne of kernels each season, which are sold to Pinoli Pinenuts in Nelson. Former owner Peter Hill developed his own systems through trial and error for managing and harvesting and will be on hand to explain the whole process of managing a pine nut business. New owners Charlotte and Clinton Neame will share their plans for taking on (to them) this very new project.
Bus F – Sunday
Ammara Lodge is a beautiful organic haven in Te Horo. A 17 acre block of land has been developed over the past 20 years from a paddock full of pine trees with a stream running through it, to an olive grove producing top quality oil each year, a mixed fruit orchard, two BnB’s, and a delightful collection of animals (alpacas, goats, guinea fowl and chickens, and sheep to name a few.) The latest development is establishing an avocado orchard.
‘Good for you, good for the Earth’
Ever wondered where the highly successful Commonsense Organics stores started out? Come and explore the farm that sowed the seed in 1975 and find out about the philosophy that has driven this success of Jim Kebbell and Marion Wood on their land in Te Horo named Common Property.