Thorn Hops

Julie North @ 2021-07-08 14:03:42 +1200

Two weeks before the hop harvest of 1965, a freakishly powerful wind blasted through the usually tranquil Motueka Valley, where the Thorn family has been growing hops since 1928. Bearing the brunt of its mighty force, 10 acres of towering, hop-laden bines toppled like a giant house of cards, as several hundred support poles snapped off at ground level. Ian Thorn was barely into his teens but, even now, at 71, he still marvels over what happened the following day. “The next morning there were around 100 cars parked along our road and on our farm. People came from everywhere...

Totara Terrace

Julie North @ 2021-04-09 11:07:29 +1200

When Peter Lines is not in the thick of the annual hop harvest or harvesting juicing grapes from his 40-year-old vineyard, he is perpetually “pottering around and getting things done” on his Wai-iti property, ‘Totara Terrace.’ “I used to play golf, but that didn’t last. I would rather be here on the farm, pottering around and improving things,” he says. “I like to keep busy.” There is also beer to brewed. “The brewing sort of happened by accident. It started out in 2009 as just a bit of fun with Colin Oldham from New Hoplands and an old cobber of...

Foxhill Hops

Julie North @ 2021-04-09 10:25:34 +1200

Come hop harvest-time, Waikato dairy farmer Mike Visser exchanges his days spent milking 1000 cows for several intense weeks at Foxhill Hops. Mike and his wife Sue bought Foxhill Hops, seven kilometres south of Wakefield, in 2015 - just six days before Mike’s 50th birthday. The young hop bines were racing up their strings when the couple first visited the property in spring. By the time they returned in December as the farm’s new owners, the bines were “towering over us,” Mike says, though they were yet to produce the distinctive bright green buds which grow into plump, aromatic hop...

The Pines

Julie North @ 2021-04-09 10:01:37 +1200

Andy Drummond’s fondest childhood memory is of a warm December night when he stretched out beside his Dad on the back of the farm truck, parked among the hop-rows. “Back then, we used to shift around huge irrigation pipes during the night. Dad had a mattress on the back of the truck so he could just sleep out there under the stars until it was time to move the irrigation pipes again.” That night, in the total silence of the wee hours, Andy’s Dad quietly asked him: “Hear that?” Listening intently, but hearing no cars in the distance, no machinery...

Kotare Hops

Julie North @ 2021-04-09 09:41:52 +1200

Noel Moleta admits he barely gave a thought to the swathes of lush, green hop gardens surrounding the Tapawera property he’d bought to farm sheep and beef. All his working life, he’d farmed animals in the isolated reaches of the Pelorus Sounds, where the rolling hills of his farm, ‘Waitui,’ meet the sea, and its location is so far north, it’s actually further north than Wellington. Since the 1970s, when his father, Vince, bought ‘Waitui,’ Noel has been carrying on the sheep farming tradition his Italian immigrant grandfather Antonino Moleta established on D’Urville Island more than 125 years ago. Almost...

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