Here’s a note from Peter Molloy at Ye Olde Berry Farm – thank you so much Peter for letting the community know about all the interesting goings on at Ye Olde Berry Farm, we love having you here!
We have been very busy, 7 days a week in fact for several weeks…Today it is raining (again!! A very wet autumn and approach to early winter has been problematic for us)
The Olde Berry Farm from Morrinsville road merged with Matangi Berry Farm in 2015 (motorway took us out), we have had 2 harvest – shop seasons 15-16, 16-17. We bought some spare land from Peter Waugh next door, (3.0ha, he kept house and 1ha) and this included 100m road frontage with Tauwhare road, where people will have observed a lot of action these past 2-3 months.
We have put a lot of effort, money and time into getting established. We are aiming to complete the establishment phase over the next 18 months, hoping to be fully developed by spring 2018. We are doing our best in the interim, but it takes time to get crops and systems up to standard, especially so as we are pioneering protected cropping of berryfruit in NZ.
Originally our intent was to develop the road front 1ha field into a shop, cafe and garden for the business. It was a great landscape with existing infrastructure including trees, ponds and pathways. Unfortunately the cost of developing got too high for us, and the best advice we could get on the time to get thru approvals to a viable operation was long and fraught with uncertainty. Also our kids who were at first interested in involvement left for work and life overseas, taking with them some of the incentive for my wife Debbie and I, and my business partner Mike Jiang.
We intend to develop our Gate sales from the existing shop area, we are adding a coffee and food option, children’s covered playground and other initiatives for next Octobers opening.
Our big Focus has been to get a better PYO crop offering, particularly around strawberries. At this new site we have struggled to get good crops going thru time pressure, wet and drainage issues etc. This Autumn has been extremely wet, and we took on preparing the 1ha front field and the rear fields re drainage and development at the worst possible time!!
We still hold out hope that we can complete a strawberry field planting, and with this get up a new fence, install a new driveway entrance etc, and therefore get a tidy frontage to the property. The removal of the large willows encroaching over the road will make entry and exiting our site a lot safer from a traffic view perspective!
The Waugh site has proven to be quite wet, with a high water table and prone to poor drainage (includes many seepages and springs). We have upgraded the open drains and installed underground drains in an attempt to improve this.
We are also putting up 15 new plastic houses this winter, increasing our Raspberry, blackberry and strawberry crops under cover, this on the former strawberry area on the new Waugh block.
Other tasks the community will see is the reducing of height on the shelters by the railway line, completed by Treescapessometime this winter. Also the helicopters will be in late winter to clear the algae and green slime from the tunnel house plastic as they did last year.
We are available to sell frozens from the office all off season, will be open again in early October some time, and I am always happy and available to communicate with the Matangi Link.