Growers

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...

Matthewson Hops

Julie North @ 2021-02-23 12:34:14 +1300

The day Scott Matthewson’s 1950s Bruff hop-picking machine arrived on his Tadmor Valley farm, it was a dismantled jumble of Meccano-like parts contained in 30 apple bins – and there were no written instructions for putting it back together. Having been a builder all his working life, Scott called on a local engineer, Barry Wastney, and his younger brother Brad’s engineering skills to help him reassemble the multitude of pieces, which he’d laboriously laid out on the ground. Gradually the giant puzzle came together - the framework, numerous panels, chains, nuts and bolts methodically re-connected and secured into all the...

Glenrae Hops

Julie North @ 2021-01-19 16:42:29 +1300

When Wilson Matthewson decided to rip out the entire 10 hectares of berries growing on his Glenrae Road farm, he was the last member of the Matthewson family still known as a raspberry grower. Surrounded by a lush green patchwork of towering hop gardens, the Matthewson’s berry stall was where locals headed when they wanted fresh raspberries and, at one stage, preservative and additive-free jams. Supermarkets throughout the South Island stocked ‘The Berry Cart’ jams, named after the Matthewson family’s antique cart which Wilson had restored, topped off with a bright red roof and re-commissioned as a stall near the...

Northwood Hops

Molly McLeod @ 2020-11-24 14:46:09 +1300

When half-a-century had ticked over since Robert Inglis first started growing hops, he’d not long celebrated one of his own significant birthdays - but he’d barely given change a thought, let alone the idea of selling Northwood Hop Farm. So, when the government-owned Super Fund proposed adding the 85-hectare property to its horticultural investment portfolio, Robert says he had no intention of turning his back on the industry. Just as passionate about growing hops as he was as a teenager, Robert has readily taken time away from his aviation business, Originair in Nelson, to advise or assist as required with...

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