Apple envy


The feature which is set to make ENZA’s  new apple variety a star was a lucky accident.

The new variety survives for many hours longer than other apples without turning brown when cut.

The super-apple is called “Envy” – and that’s likely to be the reaction from growers around the world.

Envy is proving extremely popular on the international market for a unique reason – cut or bite it open and it will take between four and eight hours before it turns brown.

“It’s just a combination of the acid sugar level,” says Brian D’Ath of ENZA. “The balance must be exactly right ‘cos you know, to stop apples browning you put lemon juice on it.”

Envy is a cross-pollination between Braeburn and Royal Gala – developed to be sweet and crisp. The fact that it doesn’t brown quickly wasn’t planned, just an added bonus.

 Envy is one of the seven deadly sins and orchardists from other countries will be guilty of that because Envy’s ability to withstand discolouration when cut will be a virtue they’ll wish their apples had too.



Today’s contribution to poetry month comes with the people of the East Coast, where drought has been declared, in mind.


The poet, Francis Hutchinson farmed in Hawkes Bay so had first hand knowledge of how debilitating drought can be.


Drought, comes from New Zealand Farm and Station Verse, published by Whitcombe & Toombs.




The hand of the Sun

Lies heavy on this land.

The solemn drought steals on

the grasses wilt and wither, faint and fade.


First on the high dry terrace-lands

On grey cliff edges, naked spurs,

The green grows brown and fades to grey.

Parched are the high land water holds,

And far below the creeks shrink fast.

We look to westward, longingly,

But rain so wished-for does not come.


Only the daily portent-

Clouds that, hurrying up, seem full of promise,

Thinning too soon to harsh grey blue

    And boisterous gales.


Is it prophetic impulse that the plants

       Are pushing onward suddenly –

              The great and small alike –

To quick fruition?

The wind bows a myriad bents,

The sward’s ablaze with flowers.


       – Francis Hutchinson –

East Coast drought official


The Gisborne/Wairoa Drought Committee has declared their region a drought area.

Agriculture Minsiter David Carter is meeting the committee today and says the declaration has triggered government drought measures including tax assistance, funding for farm mangement advice and funding for Rural Support Trusts.

Drought is like a chronic disease which creeps up on paddocks as each day’s dawn brings blue sky and sunshine, dashing hopes that today will bring rain.

North Otago has had more than its fair share of droughts and those who’ve farmed through them have learned  it is important to have a plan with dates for action, to destock early and ensure that animal welfare is paramount.

Meat & Wool NZ’s website  includes advice for planning and management during droughts.



Today’s contribution to poetry months comes from the ODT’s weekly poetry column which solicits contributions from readers.

It’s Money by Anthonie Tonnon.



Imagine a world where laughter was currency. If you wanted

an expensive TV or lounge suite, you would laugh at the salesman

until you had bought it. Every Thursday you’d ask for your wages and

watch the boss roar at you like he’d never heard anything so funny.

We’d all make hundreds of transactions each week that involved giggling,

sniggering, chuckling and chortling, and walk around with big lines

of our faces, shaking our heads. It wouldn’t be easy though; some people

would get exhausted and fall into unfunny cycles. People with big mortgages

would spend all their time on the phone to the bank, practising like feeble

sheep while they listened to the hold music. Others would waste the laughs

they had on DVDs by motivational comedians. The wealthiest people

would be the ones who put aside plenyt of time to spend with their families,

wrestling on the bed and making up silly jokes about poos and wees.


– Anthonie Tonnon –

Keeping abreast of pillow trends


Strange but true, The New Zealand Week reports that Japan has come up with the bossum pillow.

Soft, rounded and oh, so touchable … the billowy, bosomy Oppai (‘breasts’ in Japanese) Pillow is the stuff young boys might dream of. 

If you follow the link  above you’ll see a picture of it.

I’m not sure whether to be amused or affronted, but women who find this offensive might have the last laugh because TNZW also highlights a story on Amazonian ants:

Like the warrior women of legend, one breed of Amazonian ant has rid itself entirely of males and is now a completely female species.  . . These ants are the first to be shown to reproduce entirely without sex and the females sexual organs have degraded to the point they are physically incapable of mating.

If ants can do it will people be far behind? 

TNZW is a web-based news digest, published every Friday which covers serious issues as well as the froth I’ve mentioned.

Dansey’s Pass Pub for sale


The ODT reports  that the Dansey’s Pass hotel is on the market.

The hotel is a few kilometres from Naseby. It was built in 1862, and is one of the few old coach inns which remain.

We celebrated a 50th birthday there last year and can recommend the comfort of the bed and the standard of the food.

The pass is the border between North and Central Otago. It’s a scenic drive through tussock covered hills but the road is unsealed, narrow with lots of twists and turns so not recommended for inexperienced drivers or passengers who get car sick.

Whitestone Cheese named a farmhouse style cheese  after it.

It’s also the subject of an Owen Marshall poem, from Occasional, published by Hazard Press.

                           – Dansey’s Pass –

Walk the wind arch of this burnished place.

Leave the gravel road behind like childhood.

Tussock flayed by austere Waitaki winds

is harsh, archaic and blown quite clean.

Here nature still defies all subjugation

and I rejoice in blissful arrogance

standing solitary upon the lion’s back.


– Owen Marshall –

Cycle network linked over time


The original idea of a cycleway the length of New Zealand sounded good but there were lots of questions about if it would be practical and affordable.

Te Araroa , the walkway from Cape Reinga to Bluff,  was suggested as a model but only a relatively few keen and fit trampers are ever going to use much or any of it. A cycleway using parts of the walkway or based on that concept would have had a similarly limited appeal and provided limited opportunities for spin-off businesses.

The current proposal  to be discussed by cabinet today is more practical, less expensive, more accessible for more people, will provide more opportunities for smaller communities to be involved and be based on local initiatives.

Plans for one of these, a cycleway from Queenstown to Bluff , are already well advanced.

Planning consultant Mike Barnett, who researched the Lake Wakatipu-Bluff route on behalf of Venture Southland, said the Ministry of Tourism had found “the practical thing was a network of excellent cycle opportunities in New Zealand which may lead to bigger things later.”

Mr Barnett said the network could be totally inter-linked “in 10 or 20 years’ time”.

Mr Barnett said the Lake Wakatipu-Bluff route could be ready in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, as research had been under way for three years.

Building cycelways will provide employement, but the long term jobs which come in its wake will be even more beneficial.

One of the reasons the Central Otago Rail Trail  has been so successful is that it was a local initiative and locals have been able to use the opportunities it provides for business initiatives.

It has been particularly good at opening doors for women who followed husbands or partners on to farms or into small coutnry towns where employment opportunities were limited. Thanks to the rail trail they’ve been able to create or work in businesses providing food, accomodation, retail  and other activities and have found new outlets for art and crafts.

The cycleway the length of the country sounded good, but a network of cycleways is a much better idea.

Fonterra must apply NZ stds in China


Prime Minister John Key sees opportunities for New Zealand to help China with its food safety standards.

He’s right but with the opportunities come risks, one of which is an association with New Zealand or New Zealand companies and their products if standards aren’t up to scratch.

Another is the difficulty of  transferring our standards to a country with a very differenct culture, customs and ethics.

The significance of Fonterra chairman Henry Van der Heyden accompanying Key hasn’t been missed. The company was badly bitten by its involvement with Sanlu but is looking for fresh opportunities in China.

They will have learnt from the Sanlu disaster, but I’m not yet convinced they have learnt all the lessons and realise all the risks.

One of these is the danger of selling infant milk powder in a country where companies don’t abide by the International Code of Marketing Breast Milk Substitutes.

The code was developed by the World Health Organisation in 1981 and prohibits almost all advertising of breast milk substitutes to the public.

If Fonterra is associated in any way with companies which disregard the code it risks an international backlash.

Baby Milk Action is an organisation  which monitors the baby food industry. Its website shows Sanlu advertisements which contravene the international code and it has a campaign to boycott Nestle because it breaches the code.

 If Fonterra wants to invest and operate in China it must not only ensure that the animal welfare and food health and safety standards which it requires in New Zealand are adhered to there, it must also ensure none of its produce is advertised in breach of the ICMBMS.

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