Word of the day


Discerp – to tear in pieces, rend; separate, cut off from a whole, disunite.

Rural round-up


Chemical-free farming still regarded with scepticism:

Chemical free farming is a multi-million dollar industry that has copped its  fair share of criticism.

The couple behind New Zealand’s first organic farm say it’s time conventional  farmers embraced the concept. but they’ve had to put their beloved property on  the market after more than 30 years.

They call them their secret weapon.

Millions of black dung beetles roam John and Norrie Pearce’s Kaipara Harbour  property and without them they say they’d be in a stink.

Farming organically means relying on the hand of nature, which is where dung  beetles come in . . .

Castle Hill Station on the market – Liz McDonald:

Castle Hill Station, a high-country farm owned by businesswoman Christine Fernyhough, is for sale.

The author and philanthropist bought the 3000-hectare station for about $2.4 million in 2004, with the Conservation Department taking on the remainder of what had originally been an 11,000ha block.

The land was first settled by the Porter brothers in 1858. Real estate group Bayleys is now seeking offers for the farm, with a late May deadline. . .

Fine deal for merino farmers – Sally Rae:

On a gloriously sunny autumn day in the Maniototo this week, a small Cessna aircraft landed on a farm strip at Gimmerburn. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae was on hand to discover more about the visit.

It was, as they say, a flying visit.   

Alighting from the plane, in that most rural Central Otago landscape, were three Japanese gentlemen, bedecked in suits.   

They had made a special trip from Japan to meet the Clarke family from Closeburn Station.

The visit by Konaka Co Ltd chief executive Kensuke Konaka,      technical adviser Mitsuo Hori, and Kento Nagao, from wool      trading company Nagao Shoji, was a goodwill gesture.  . .

Woollen coffin a hit at show – Sally Rae:

You wouldn’t normally expect to find a coffin among the fleeces on display at the quintessentially rural Malvern A and P Show in Canterbury.   

When Polly McGuckin was approached by the convener of the wool section at the Sheffield show to see if she would like to have a woollen coffin on display, she was initially not sure it would be appropriate. . .   

China blamed for PSA-V outbreak – Richard Meadows:

Scientists are on the edge of unravelling the origins of the Psa-V disease devastating the country’s kiwifruit vines – and China is the most likely culprit.

A team of Otago University biochemists is confident it will be able to confirm the source of the virulent disease, which was first detected here in November 2010.

The scientists were able to map out the bacterium’s entire genetic code using a multi-million dollar advanced genetic sequencer, provided through the government-funded New Zealand Genomics Limited (NZGL). . .

Putting the fizz into wine ‘visonary’

Staff at Cloudy Bay Winery in Blenheim are enjoying what is likely to be a short-lived leisurely work pace as the last of its sparkling grapes are brought in to press, says winery spokeswoman Stephanie McIntyre. . .

“At the moment, everyone’s just taking it easy. You can see there aren’t too many people around, but that will all change in a few weeks when all the ripening comes on at the same time.”

Cloudy Bay winemaker Sarah Burton anticipated the first lot of grapes for the still variety would be brought in today. There was usually a one week gap before this harvest began, so it was a good way to prepare the crew for what was in store. . .



Only 5/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.

Easter Slice


If you’re looking for a sweet and spicy treat for the weekend, I can recommend Easter Slice:

It’s a current, currant, chocolate  and spice mixture sandwiched between an almond shortbread base and crumble topping.

The recipe come from NZ House and Garden.

It was easy to make and tastes delicious.

Oamaru Farmers’ Market needs your vote


If you’ve got a favourite Farmers’  Market you can vote for it in the  Taste Farmers Market Awards.

The annual Taste Farmers’ Markets Awardshave officially begun to Taste the nation’s best independent Farmers’ Market food producers and let localvore’s vote for the Farmers’ Markets that have turned the weekly shop into thriving community events. One lucky voter will also be jetting off to Melbourne for their own private tour of Victoria’s Authentic Farmers’ Markets over a mouthwatering long weekend.

Farmers’ Market food producers will also compete in their categories (kitchen bench, water, butchery, paddock and dairy), judged by Masterchef Nadia Lim and Jonny Schwass, recently named Restaurant Personality of the Year. Last year Canterbury stole the show, winning four out of the five categories and Otago Farmers’ Market won the consumers local votes. Schwass, a Canterbury localvore at heart, felt the real importance of supporting local producers after the Christchurch earthquakes: “It supports the small farmers and gives them and their families a future. Ultimately it just tastes better to cook with food sourced as close to the stove as possible.”

Oamaru Farmers’ Market opened on vacant land in Tyne Street, near the harbour, last spring and has been an outstanding success.

It allows local producers to showcase their produce and provides high quality food at reasonable prices for locals and visitors.

It’s usually held on Sunday morning but there was a special twilight market on Thursday.

Among the stall holders were:

Alma Acres
Asta la Pasta
Biddy’s Breakfast
Brydone Growers

Campbell’s Butchery
Free Range Fresh Eggs

Get Saucy
Harbour St Bakery
Harwarden Organics
Keen’s Berry Farm

Kurow Winery
Leo’s on Arun
Matsinger Berry Farm

Mean Greens
Mostly Natives
Papas Cordial
Pasquale Wine
Passion Sucree

Real Good Fudge
Sea Breeze Free Range Eggs & Produce

Sue’s Java Express
The Loan & Mercantile
Toby’s Fresh Fish Shop
Vinbrux Biscuits
Waitaki Bacon & Ham
Whitestone Cheese

The market hasn’t just been good for people buying and selling, it’s also brought more life to the neighbouring historic precinct.

There were doubts about the viability of an outdoor market this far south in cooler weather. But those doubts have been quashed by the announcement the market is moving into the Loan and Merc building where it will be warm over winter.

The market has attracted a wide range of stalls and it gets good crowds but it will be difficult to compete for votes in the Taste Awards against those from more populous areas.

So if you don’t have a favourite market of your own, take my word, Oamaru is worth a vote and it could win you a long foodie weekend in Melbourne.

Free milk boosts punctuality


The introduction of Fonterra’s free milk in schools has had an unexpected consequence:

Manaia View School principal Leanne Otene in Whangarei says the pupils love their morning milk and it’s giving a good start to the day for those who didn’t eat breakfast.

But she says the surprise has been the immediate impact on lateness.

Mrs Otene says the milk is handed out at 9am, so pupils can sip it while they work on their literacy programme, and those who turn up late miss out.

She says since the milk regime started, children are getting to school on time.

Manai View is one of more than 100 schools in Northland where the free milk is being trialed.

Fonterra Co-operative announced the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme late last year and has since been working with Northland schools and communities to set up the pilot in a way that makes it as easy as possible for schools to participate.

The Co-op will monitor the pilot for the first three terms, with the intention of rolling it out nationwide in 2013, says Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings.

“Our motivation is to get more Kiwis drinking more milk, and this starts with our kids.

“Milk is without a doubt, one of the most nutritious foods there is and as leaders in dairy nutrition, we want to do what we can to make it more accessible to New Zealanders,” says Mr Spierings.

The positive resonse to the trail is not unexpected but improved punctuality is an unexpected bonus.

April 7 in history


529 First draft of Corpus Juris Civilis (a fundamental work in jurisprudence) was issued by Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I.

1348 Charles University was founded in Prague.

1506  Saint Francis Xavier, Spanish co-founder of the Society of Jesus, was born (d. 1552).

1521  Ferdinand Magellan arrived at Cebu.

1541 Francis Xavier left Lisbon on a mission to the Portuguese East Indies.

1718 Hugh Blair, Scottish preacher and man of letters, was born  (d. 1800).

1770 William Wordsworth, English poet, was born  (d. 1850).

1776 Captain John Barry and the USS Lexington captured the Edward.

1788 –  American Pioneers to the Northwest Territory arrived at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, establishing Marietta, Ohio as the first permanent American settlement of the new United States in the Northwest Territory, and opening the westward expansion of the new country.

1795 France adopted the metre as the basic measure of length.

1803 Flora Tristan, French feminist and socialist philosopher, was born (d. 1844).

1827 John Walker, an English chemist, sold the first friction match that he had invented the previous year.

1856 New Zealand’s first state secondary school, Nelson College, opened.

First state secondary school opens in Nelson

1860 Will Keith Kellogg, American cereal manufacturer, was born (d. 1951).

1862 American Civil War: Battle of Shiloh ended – the Union Army under General Ulysses S. Grant defeated the Confederates.

1868 Thomas D’Arcy McGee, one of the Canadian Fathers of Confederation was assassinated.

1890 Completion of the first Lake Biwa Canal.

1908 Percy Faith, Canadian composer and musician, was born  (d. 1976).

1906  Mount Vesuvius erupted and devastated Naples.

1906 – The Algeciras Conference gave France and Spain control over Morocco.

1908 H. H. Asquith of the Liberal Party took office as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1915 Billie Holiday, American singer, was born (d. 1959).

1922 Teapot Dome scandal: United States Secretary of the Interior leased Teapot Dome petroleum reserves in Wyoming.

1927 First distance public television broadcast (from Washington, D.C. to New York City, displaying the image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover).

1933 Prohibition  in the USA was repealed for beer of no more than 3.2% alcohol by weight, eight months before the ratification of the XXI amendment.

1934 Ian Richardson, Scottish actor, was born  (d. 2007).

1938 Spencer Dryden, American drummer (Jefferson Airplane), was born (d. 2005).

1939  World War II: Italy invaded Albania.

1939   Francis Ford Coppola, American film director, was born.

1939  Sir David Frost, English broadcaster and TV host, was born.

1940 Booker T. Washington became the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp.

1941 Gorden Kaye, British actor, was born.

1943 Germans ordered 1,100 Jews to undress to their underwear and march through the city of Terebovlia to the nearby village of Plebanivka where they were shot dead and buried in ditches.

1944 Gerhard Schröder, former Chancellor of Germany, was born.

1945 World War II: The Japanese battleship Yamato, the largest battleship ever constructed, was sunk 200 miles north of Okinawa while en-route to a suicide mission in Operation Ten-Go.

1945 – World War II: Visoko was liberated by the 7th, 9th and 17th Krajina brigades from the Tenth division of Yugoslav Partisan forces.

1946 Syria‘s independence from France was officially recognised.

1948 The World Health Organisation was established by the United Nations.

1948 A Buddhist monastery burned in Shanghai, leaving twenty monks dead.

1951 Janis Ian, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1954 U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his “domino theory” speech during a news conference.

1954 Jackie Chan, Chinese actor, director, producer, and martial artist., was born.

1956 Spain relinquished its protectorate in Morocco.

1963 Yugoslavia was proclaimed to be a Socialist republic and Josip Broz Tito was named President for life.

1964  IBM announcedthe System/360.

1964 Russell Crowe, New Zealand actor, was born.

1969 The Internet’s symbolic birth date: publication of RFC 1.

1971 U.S. President Richard Nixon announced his decision to increase the rate of American troop withdrawals from Vietnam.

1977 German Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback and his driver were shot by two Red Army Faction members while waiting at a red light.

1978 Development of the neutron bomb was canceled by U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

1983 During STS-6, astronauts Story Musgrave and Don Peterson performed the first space shuttle spacewalk.

1985 Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev declared a moratorium on the deployment of middle-range missiles in Europe.

1989  Soviet submarine Komsomolets sank in the Barents Sea killing 42 sailors.

1990 John Poindexter was found guilty of five charges for his part in the Iran Contra Affiar (the conviction was later reversed on appeal).

1992 Republika Srpska announced its independence.

1994  Massacres of Tutsis begin in Kigali, Rwanda.

1999 The World Trade Organisation ruled in favor of the United States in its long-running trade dispute with the European Union over bananas.

2001 Mars Odyssey wass launched.

2003 U.S. troops captured Baghdad.

2009 Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison for ordering killings and kidnappings by security forces.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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