A pop of positivity

09/04/2020

We passed the halfway point of the four-week lockdown last night.

There is very little chance we will get out of lockdown earlier and it is too soon to know whether it might extend beyond four weeks.

The decline, slow as it is,  in the number of new cases of Covid-19 gives reason for hope that four weeks might be enough to eliminate the disease, or at least get the spread so low it can be contained and the likelihood of that would be increased if all new arrivals are quarantined.

National launched a petition on Monday  calling for mandatory quarantining at the border and it had an unprecedented response:

. . .With the large number of cases overseas, experts, like epidemiologist Professor Sir David Skegg, say a blanket quarantine is needed to ensure Kiwis with the virus don’t return to the country and nullify any success our domestic lockdown measures have had. 

Likewise, the National Party leader told The AM Show that implementing a mandatory quarantine was about making sure the four-week lockdown wasn’t in vain.

“As we make sacrifices as New Zealanders, as dads can’t see their babies in hospital, as people can’t go to their loved ones’ funerals, let’s do some of the things that really matter,” he said.

“We know where COVID-19 is coming in from, it is offshore, that is where most of the cases are. This is urgent.” . . 

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield also appeared supportive of tighter border control on Tuesday.

“I agree with what Professor Skegg was saying, that, actually, if we’re going to go for the elimination approach, which is our extended keep it out, stamp it out, and for when we move down out into Alert Level 3, we need to be very confident we are not letting new cases into the country at the border,” he said. . . 

In the meantime, business not as usual goes on.

The regular newsletter from my MP, Jacqui Dean is usually full of what she’s been doing around the electorate.

The latest one is different as she is working from her lock down base.

She, like other electorate MPs, has been busy helping people in need of support, information  and advice.

She has also had time to notice the good things people and businesses have been doing:

A pop of positivity

Cardona Distillery

I visited Desiree and the team at Cardrona Distillery last year. It’s a wonderful family run business and I was impressed (but not surprised) by their offer of free hand sanitizer to locals who need it.

Prince Albert

We humans are social creatures and The Prince Albert in Wanaka has come up with a clever idea to keep their regulars connected. They’ve moved their weekly quiz night online, something I suspect could be a highlight on many social calendars in the coming weeks.

Bringing out the books

Geraldine’s new bookshop The Page and Post Booksellers has been offering a daily story time session through its Facebook page. Cromwell Community Board Chair and Goldfields School Principal Anna Harrison has done something similar by reading children’s books and posting the videos on YouTube.

Whitestone Taxis

Whitestone Taxis have offered to deliver Meals on Wheels to people in Oamaru without taking payment from Waitaki District Health Services. This news left me in no doubt that there are some absolute gems in this electorate. What a kind and generous offer.

Supermarket superstars

Frontline supermarket staff all deserve a round of applause at the moment but I’d like to give a special mention the owner-operators of supermarkets in our small towns who are going above and beyond in taking orders and delivering groceries to those who need it. I started to compile a list of the towns where this is happening and it just got too long – a wonderful reflection of community spirit.

Digital Libraries

Here’s a quote from the Waitaki District Libraries website that couldn’t be more appropriate in times like these:

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.” ~ Anne Herbert

Their buildings may be closed but libraries are still there for you either on the phone, via email or social media, and you get your good reads using the digital platform.

Visit: https://library.waitaki.govt.nz/

https://codc-qldc.govt.nz/

#codclibraries #digitallibraryopen

When so much in the media is bad news, it was refreshing to read this pop of positivity and there’s plenty more.

Riverstone Kitchen chef Bevan Smith is live streaming cooking demonstrations.

Cucina chef Pablo Tacchini is live streaming cooking demonstrations too.

Netball NZ is offering free online fitness classes – Netfit.

Otago Museum has a range of activities including online jigsaw puzzles and Te Papa has online jigsaw puzzles too.

If you can add to th epop of positivity, pleaes do.


Rural round-up

10/11/2015

Chefs see food as much more than a commodity – Rebecca Ryan:

There’s a new movement gaining momentum in the New Zealand food industry. ConversatioNZ, aiming to ”inspire and empower” by creating a strong sense of pride and respect for the country’s natural, edible resources, is a not-for-profit movement created to share the story of New Zealand food and push culinary boundaries. North Otago reporter Rebecca Ryan talks to North Otago chefs and ConversatioNZ advisory board members Bevan Smith and Fleur Sullivan about it

Thirteen years ago, Fleur Sullivan saw waste and an opportunity for people to enjoy ”beautiful, fresh fish” straight off the boats in Moeraki.

Her restaurant Fleur’s Place, she says, was formed after she saw the byproduct – the fish brains, the heads, the livers – being thrown overboard from fishing boats and she knew she could use what was being thrown away. . . 

Te Brake hits the accelerator – Ali Tocker:

Changing the guard at Young Farmers has propelled meat industry accountant Jason Te Brake into the hot seat as chairman. He talked to Ali Tocker about his career so far and his aspirations for the Young Farmers movement while he heads the board.

Jason Te Brake is clever, confident and committed – three qualities that have earned him the role of chairman of New Zealand Young Farmers (NZYF).

The 27-year-old has his sights set on a strong and secure future for the group.

Woman’s passion for health and safety leads to award:

A passion for improving health and safety on New Zealand farms, and in particular the health of those working in the industry, has contributed to a West Coast farmer being named the winner of the rural category of the Women of Influence Award.

Katie Milne, a dairy farmer from Rotomanu, is also a member of the Federated Farmers Board, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Board, TB-Free West Coast and numerous other groups, including being a volunteer firefighter.

Ms Milne works closely with the Rural Health Alliance and travels the country talking to farmers about health and safety.

She said some farmers were not coping due to low or dropping returns, but help was available. . . 

Water scheme expanding down valley – Hamish Maclean:

The North Otago Irrigation Company’s $57 million expansion down the Kakanui Valley is well under way.

Last month, McConnell Dowell Constructors crews began laying the main line – 1.2m-diameter reinforced fibreglass pipes – that will stretch towards Herbert.

The company almost tripled the size of the head pond on Ngapara-Georgetown Rd and upgraded pump stations over the winter.

The project was still on target for the September 2016 hook-up, company chairman Leigh Hamilton said. . . .

Significantly Improved Result Confirmed for Silver Fern Farms:

Silver Fern Farms has confirmed a positive 2015 financial result and further inroads made on debt reduction.

For the financial year ended September 2015, the company achieved Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) of $86.9m. This represented a 28 percent improvement on the $68.1m achieved in 2014. Net profit before tax for the year was $27.2m, up from $1.8m in 2014.

Chairman Rob Hewett said Silver Fern Farms’ shareholders will be pleased by the audited result. . . .

Potatoes ditch cadmium:

University of Canterbury researchers have developed potatoes that are resistant to cadmium, a toxic metal found in soil.

They say the finding could give growers here a new marketing edge.

Biotechnology lecturer Dr David Leung said their potatoes had a trait that could solve this problem and enhance New Zealand’s best potato varieties. . . 

 


Dot, Queen of Riverstone Castle

17/05/2014

When Neil and Dot Smith chose to move their family from the top of the North Island to well down the east coast of the south is was Northland’s loss and North Otago’s gain.

They were among the first dairy farmers to see the opportunity irrigation on the Lower Waitaki plains presented.

They bought one of the worst, stony, barren, wind swept properties and with hard work and skill have turned it, and other blocks they subsequently purchased, into some of the best.

One son followed his parents into farming, the other Bevan and his wife Monique established the award-winning Riverstone Kitchen on the farm.

The Smiths are not just good farmers, they’re good community people and entrepreneurs too,

They know how to work hard and save hard and nowhere is that better illustrated than in the time and effort they’ve put in to fulfilling Dot’s dream of building a castle.

Now Dot can add author to her long list of accomplishments.

 

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The pink, flowery cover shouldn’t put off men, Dot Queen of Riverstone Castle isn’t a “women’s” book.

It’s an easy, entertaining and inspirational read which covers her modest, but happy, childhood; overseas travels; marriage; farming, including  through the ag-sag;  other business ventures; more travel, the development of the Riverstone complex and the castle.

Dot’s always worked hard and she’s faced tough times, including the loss of most of her savings in the collapse of Hubbard Management Fund. But in life, and through the book, her irrepressible spirit and sense of fun shine through.

Dot Queen of Riverstone Castle, written with Nathalie Brown.

Published by Random House also available as an e-book.

Graham Beattie posts:  Dot – She’s a visionary, an entrepreneur and dreams big in North Otago’s Waitaki Valley  and talks to Mark Sainsbury about the book here.

In other media:

* Dot talks to Jim Mora.

* Dream of living in castle comes to life

* Dot’s castle inspires dreams.

* And TV3’s 3rd Degree featured Dot’s building a castle.


If you want a castle . . .

02/01/2014

Dot and Neil Smith were among the first people to take up the opportunity irrigation provided on the Lower Waitaki Plains.

They moved down from Northland more than 30 years ago and through hard work and good ideas established successful dairy farms.

Dot’s energy and enthusiasm didn’t stop there, she also established Riverstone Country, a store crammed with gifts, home and garden ware.

One son is dairying, the other, Bevan and his wife Monique, and his wife developed the award winning restaurant Riverstone Kitchen.

One reason for its well deserved reputation is its fresh fruit and vegetables from the expansive gardens which surround it.

The Smiths believe in their dreams and are prepared to work hard to realise them.

One of Dot’s dreams is to have a castle and she’s getting it.

Mrs Smith said . . . It would be the only ”new home” they had lived in.

”We have only ever lived in farm cottages on farms before, so this will be the first time we have had a new house.”

The 65-year-old said the chance to live in a castle was ”a dream come true”.

”Some people have a dream to own a Porsche. My dream has been to live like a princess in a castle, and really, everybody’s home is their castle.”

Although the castle would also have a ”secret tunnel”, along with a basement and dungeon, the building was intended as ”just a home”, she said.

”Hopefully, it will be lots of fun for the grandkids.”

TV3’s 3rd Degree profiled it, you can watch it here.

You can also read her story  in Dot Queen of Riverstone Castle, written with Nathalie Brown and published by Random House.


Riverstone Cuisine finalist again

18/06/2012

North  Otago’s Riverstone Kitchen is a finalist in Cuisine’s restaurant of the year again.

It won the supreme award two years ago and was the regional winner last year.

The food and service are equal to any I’ve had anywhere in the world and it’s continuing success in these awards show it’s not justparochial people like me who thinks so.

It specialises in simple, fresh food, much of which is grown on the property or near by.

If you can’t get there in person, you could get a taste of what they serve via chef Bevan Smith’s recipe books.

The 50 finalists are:

Northland
Á Deco

Auckland
Antoine’s RestauranT, Café HanoI, Cibo, Clooney, Cocoro, Coco’s Cantina, Depot! District Dining, Ebisu, Kitchen at Hotel De Brett, Merediths, MooChowChow, O’Connell Street Bistro, Ponsonby Road Bistro, Roxy, Sidart, Soul Bar and Bistro, The Engine Room, The French Café, The Grill, The Grove, TriBeCa, Vinnie

Waikato/BOP
Palate, Chim-Choo-Ree, Victoria Street Bistro

Hawkes Bay
Black Barn Bistro, Elephant Hill Estate & Winery, Terroir at Craggy Range

Wellington
Ambeli, Arbitrageur, Capitol, Hippopotamus, Logan Brown, Martin Bosley’s! Matterhorn, Ortega Fish Shack & Bar, The Larder, The White House

Marlborough/ Nelson
Hopgood

Canterbury/ Christchurch
Edesia, Pegasus Bay Winery Restaurant,  Pestacore

South Canterbury/ Oamaru *
Riverstone Kitchen

Central Otago
Amisfield Bistro, Wai, Wakatipu Grill

Dunedin
Pier 24, Two Chefs Bistro

Cuisine profiles them all here.
* I think South Canterbury/Oamaru is a category not a geographical mistake.

Rivertstone Kitchen officially the best

24/08/2010

The judges of the Cuisine Restaurant of the Year awards have given official confirmation to what North Otago people, and anyone from further afield who’ve been lucky enough to dine there already knew – Riverstone Kitchen is the best.

It was the competition’s supreme winner and also topped the casual dining section.

This is well deserved recognition for Bevan and Monique Smith who produce deliciously simple meals using locally produced ingredients, including fruit and vegetables from their own garden, where at all possible.

Riverstone Kitchen is on Bevan’s family’s farm about 12 kilometres north of Oamaru on State Highway 1. His mother Dot has an amazing gift shop beside it which adds to the fun for day-time diners.

We’ve eaten at Riverstone several times. Every meal from a casual lunch with small children to a wedding breakfast has been superb and the friendly, efficient service matches the food.

Bevan, Monique and their staff provide a wonderful experience for diners. They have also shown locals and people from further afield that it is possible to operate a top quality, successful business in the country.

A TV3 news story on the restaurant is here and a Campbell live interview with Bevan and Monique is here.

The ODT story on the win is here.


Riverstone

23/08/2009

Thirty years ago the Lower Waitaki plains were dry and barren. The stone-strewn paddock supported a few sheep and crops which only did as well as the weather let them.

Then came irrigation. In its wake new business opportunities followed, on and off farm. One of these is Riverstone gift shop:

choc 009

 It grew and then came Riverstone Kitchen which offers delicious food, efficient and friendly service in delightful surroundings.

We lunched there today. It hadn’t occurred to me to book, but I will next time because it is now so popular we were lucky to get the second last free table.

Misses nine and four were happy with the play area inside and the swings, chickens and peacocks outside while waiting for the food. The menu catered for them and the adults.

Chef Bevan Smith uses good quality, fresh ingredients. He grows what he can in the garden on-site and sources as much as possible of anything else he needs from local suppliers.

 Today I enjoyed the Italian Provincial Soup:

choc 003

Then my sister in law and I shared a chocolate sour cream cake with berry compote and vanilla bean ice cream:

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Riverstone on-line

08/07/2009

Riverstone Kitchen, one of North Otago’s best restaruants has a new website.

Buy local, think seasonal, eat well is Riverstone’s motto and it practices what it preaches, serving delicious, fresh food which includes produce from its own garden.

The website includes some of chef Bevan Smith’s recipes.

He has been providing recipes for the ODT. I can recommned his hazelnut shortbread.


Recipe for success of Oamaru Wine & Food festival

15/02/2009

Take 36 purveyors of fine food and wine, pour into the beautiful Oamaru public gardens .

Heat to optimal temperature with sunshine, tempered by a gentle easterly breeze. 

Pour in plenty of people and allow to mellow under blue sky.

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Add chef’s secrets from Bevan Smith of Riverstone Kitchen  and Fleur Sullivan of  Fleurs Place seasoned with wine producers’ tales from Jim Jerram of Ostler Vinyard.

Spice with music from  Boh Runga , Barry Saunders, The Rollicks, The Eastern and Spotless.

Relax, enjoy and thank those who made another  Oamaru Wine & Food Festival  such fun.


Riverstone Kitchen

23/06/2008

Lauraine Jacobs waxed lyrical about the delights of Riverstone Kitchen  duirng her guest chef slot on Nine to Noon this morning.

The praise is well deserved. Chef Bevan Smith serves delicious food in simple but elegant surroundings. Most of the fruit and vegetables served are grown on the property and he features as much local produce as possible.

If you’ve time, a wander round the adjourning gift shop run by Bevan’s mother, Dot, is a delightful way to finish your visit.


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