365 days of gratitude

January 12, 2018

The advertisement encouraged us to buy a bigger block.

It was talking about cheese and in those days it meant mild or tasty.

These days we have much more choice in cheese, imported and local.

It might be parochialism, but my favourite is Whitestone Cheese.

Today I’ve been enjoying their Lindis Pass Camembert.

It’s creamy, delicious and I”m grateful for it.

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Rural round-up

November 30, 2017

Mouldy hay bale discovery leads to new NZ cheese – Adriana Weber:

A discovery in a mouldy bale of hay has led to a new type of cheese its makers hope will put New Zealand on the map.

Whitestone Cheese, a family-run business based in Oamaru, has discovered a new, local blue mould culture.

Chief executive Simon Berry said he spent about six months trying to find a version of Penicillium roqueforti, originally found in limestone caves in France.

He and his head cheesemaker set out to swab similar caves in Otago, and had come close to calling it quits when they received a timely phone call. . . 

Our world of cheesecraft :

We’re often asked, how many of your cheese recipes come from the New World versus those based on old recipes? Great question…

 Cheese is just like wine, their heritage styles date back to old Europe and Middle East. And just like wine, each little village in Europe put their own twist on cheese recipes to forge their own style. Such as Camembert being from Camembert, while Brie is from Brie.

 This Old World would soon branch out into the new. As civilizations split and expanded around the globe, up popped the New World producers. In the case of wine, California’s Napa Valley, South Africa, Australia, Argentina and New Zealand all joined this group. They each made the most of similar climatic conditions to grow European grape varieties and developed their take on traditional wines.

 It’s exactly the same with cheese. Thousands of miles from the traditional home of Brie and Camembert, at Whitestone we discovered that the local great grass growing combined with fantastic dairy meant we could produce European style cheeses. The result was a Mt Domet Double Cream Brie, Waitaki Camembert and Lindis Pass Brie all named after local source icons, stamping our kiwi regional characteristics to these classics. . . 

Storm hits early crop of cherries – Tom Kitchin:

One Teviot Valley orchardist says between 30% and 40% of his crop was damaged because of the sudden torrential Central Otago downpours.

He has also had to lay off staff for the next 10 days.

Other orchards in the valley and Alexandra-Clyde area have fared somewhat better.

The Teviot Valley orchardist, who did not wish to be named, said his first varieties of cherry, Burlat and Earlise, were severely affected by Sunday’s downpour.

He said his varieties of cherries came earlier than other pre-Christmas and post-Christmas varieties.

About 30% to 40% of his crop was damaged by 50-60mm of rain, so he had to lay off staff.

”Roxburgh’s feeling it at the moment. I employ local people. I feel sorry for them.” . . 

Synlait founder Penno to step down as CEO after 12 years, will remain a director –  Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Synlait Milk founder and chief executive John Penno is to step down after 12 years leading the Dunsandel-based milk processor, whose shares have almost tripled since listing in July 2013.

Penno will step down in the next 12 months in what the company said would be an orderly transition. He will stay on during an international search for his successor.

Penno, who has spent a total of 17 years with the company, said he was ” looking forward to getting back to my entrepreneurial roots and will be looking for opportunities to get involved with start-ups and young companies, which is where my wife, Maury, and I want to continue to make a contribution.” . . 

Celebrating the Kiwi inventor who transformed dairy farming:

Global dairy equipment company DeLaval today celebrated 100 years since the launch of the world’s first commercially successful milking machine by sharing the story of an unknown Kiwi inventor.

At an event held in Hamilton today, the company recognised the vision and innovation of Norman John Daysh. In the early 1900s, Norman invented the first commercial vacuum-pump milking machine that went on to revolutionize the dairy industry.

Norman’s grandchildren John Daysh and Mary Daysh were the guests of honour at the centenary event. John Daysh said he is thrilled his Grandfather is receiving recognition one hundred years after his machine was launched to the world, saying it’s been an untold story until now. . . 

Famous Cambridge stud sold:

One of the country’s most famous horse studs has been sold.

Cambridge Stud has been sold by champion breeder Sir Patrick Hogan.

It has been bought by businessman Brendan Lindsay, who founded and recently sold the Sistema plastic business, and his wife Jo Lindsay. . .

Strong Farm Machinery Sales Herald Strong 2018:

Sales of tractors are strong and the farm machinery sector is employing more workers, demonstrating a positive outlook in the primary industry, says NZ Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) President, Roger Nehoff.

Mr Nehoff said in the year to date (end of October) the total number of tractor sales was up about 11% on the year before with some regions up by 45 to 50%. Overall sales were 3164, compared with 2849 for the same period in 2016 and 2978 in 2015.

In addition, the total number of people employed in the tractor and farm machinery sales and servicing sector had increased by more than 350 since 2015 and was now at 2846. . . 

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Rural round-up

September 7, 2017

The leap from farming to cheese:

The Berry family’s journey from farming to specialty cheese began in 1987.

Such a leap was triggered by a huge upheaval in our rural communities. In 1984 all farming subsidies were removed, product prices halved and interest rates ballooned to 23-24%.

When Rob Muldoon was voted out Roger Douglas and Labour inherited a broken economy. ‘Rogernomics’ and the ‘free economy’ were born, which crippled our rural communities resulting in many farmers leaving the land and numerous farmer suicides.

In our case, North Otago had the added challenge of crippling droughts. We had a pretty large farming operation, which included a high country run and two down land properties. I decided the former could stay as it was, while the down country farms would be used for cropping and stock trading. . . 

A very good move – Pam Tipa:

Any initiative that helps train health professionals ready and willing to work in rural communities is good, says Michelle Thompson, chief executive of Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ).

The Government announced last week a plan to establish a school of rural medicine within the next three years to train doctors for rural and regional areas.

Two proposals are now before the Government: one from the University of Waikato and the Waikato DHB, the other a joint proposal by the Otago and Auckland medical schools. . .

Rural-community-fights-for-cell-phone-and-internet-connection – Kate Taylor:

As the traveller turns off State Highway 2 at Oringi, south of Dannevirke, the cellphone coverage hovers around three or four bars. Further down the road they start to disappear and have gone completely 10 minutes later when the Manawatu River bridge is crossed and the road winds towards Kumeroa.

This isn’t unusual for thousands of rural roads around the country. Farmers all over New Zealand put up with landlines reminiscent of the 1980s and satellite broadband costing a small fortune. . .

Becoming Kiwi: A Filipino with a passion for farming – Deena Coster:

For Joseph Domingo, Taranaki has given him the chance to live his dream.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Domingo made the difficult decision to leave his homeland shortly after he completed his tertiary education in animal science.

It was a choice driven by economics and a desire for seek out new opportunities.  

Domingo said competition for jobs in the Philippines is fierce and a university education doesn’t guarantee work in a country with a population of 103 million people. Only about 60 per cent of tertiary educated people get work there, he said.

“The best opportunity for me and my family was to move overseas.” . . 

‘Justifiable milk price increase must be passed back to farmers’ – Sylvester Phelan:

Yesterday’s GDT (Global Dairy Trade) auction has again demonstrated the continuing strength of butterfat prices, with the butter price up 3.8% and AMF (Anhydrous Milk Fat) up 3.6%, according to the IFA’s (Irish Farmers’ Association’s) National Dairy Committee Chairman, Sean O’Leary.

Taken together with continued strong European market return trends, it is clear that a price increase on August milk of at least 1c/L is fully justified, the chairman stated. . . 

Nursery’s charitable trust thrilled with Ballance Farm Environment Awards involvement

Just to be a finalist was an absolute thrill for Gary and Adrienne Dalton and the Te Whangai Trust in this year’s Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Winning the region’s Hill Laboratories Harvest Award made it even sweeter, Gary says. . .

Why my husband is head of the family – Louise Giltrap:

After being called sexist, Louise Giltrap feels the need to explain what she really feels about her husband’s place in the family.

 My last column about how women cope with stress struck a chord with a lot of people. Rural women out on the farm everyday especially identified with it.

Men read it and said it was like having a penny drop for them. Their wives had been telling them, but all of a sudden it made sense.

The bit some people got up in my grille about was what I said to the men out there, “You are the heads of our families.”

That’s just my opinion. Even though I’m headstrong and opinionated and have my roles within our agribusiness, Geoff is the head of our family. . . 


Rural round-up

September 14, 2016

Success outside of big cities:

We asked some of New Zealand’s leading business people about their bravest moment in business. In the sixth story of our series for Spark, Whitestone Cheese CEO Simon Berry.

“Bravest moment? I reckon moving from Vancouver to Oamaru!”

Simon Berry, CEO of Oamaru’s Whitestone Cheese, comes from a long line of Otago farmers.

When the 1980s arrived so did the rural downturn. Noticing the tide was about to turn, Simon’s father Bob made the bold decision to forego beef and sheep for cheese.

“Dad was always good at reading markets,” says Simon. “‘In those days, the only cheese you could find in Kiwi supermarkets was the 1kg block. So my parents would visit their neighbours in Karitane who ran a small business called Evansdale Cheese.”

“Everyone raved about their green, mouldy farmhouse cheese!” . . 

Lessons from Australian dairy – Keith Woodford:

Our Australian dairy cousins are currently going through difficult times, particularly for those who supply Murray Goulburn, and to a lesser extent Fonterra.  There are lessons to be learned, although there may be alternative perspectives as to the specifics thereof.

Right now, production in Australia has plummeted. It will take a month or two to see how it all settles out, but early season production is down 10 percent.  Fonterra’s production is down 22 percent, and Murray Goulburn is in all likelihood down even more. Indeed, there have to be doubts as to whether Murray Goulburn can survive long-term in its current form.

Once the spring-calving cows come on-stream, the figures may look less dramatic, but both Murray Goulburn and Fonterra have clearly lost substantial market share. . . 

Vehicle review ‘great’ – Sally Rae:

It’s out with the old and in with the new with vehicles on Landcorp-owned farms.

Keeping people safe was the driver behind a review of vehicle safety by New Zealand’s largest corporate farming operation.

The review established a set few vehicles to be used on the basis of what worked for particular farms and terrain.

It was decided to remove all quad bikes on Landcorp’s dairy farms and reduce the number of quad bikes on livestock farms. . . 

Beef producers cautioned to look beyond the price peak:

New Zealand cattle producers are being cautioned to look beyond the current high-priced environment, with near-record prices unlikely to be sustained in the medium to long term according to a new industry report.

In its latest beef research report, Australian and New Zealand beef industry – looking beyond the price peak, agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank says while New Zealand farmgate prices are expected to remain around current levels in the short-term, they will then come under pressure as global beef production, and indeed total animal protein production, increases.

This will likely see prices ease, albeit to trade in a higher-than average range out to 2020, the report says. . . 

Officials Urged to Challenge Canada’s Latest Dairy Trade Protectionism:

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has joined with US, Australian, European, and Mexican dairy organisations in requesting a WTO dispute settlement proceeding be initiated against Canada if it continues with a planned extension to its dairy trade protections.

A joint letter, sent to Trade Ministers, sets out concerns that a recently concluded agreement between Canadian dairy producers and processors would provide an incentive to substitute Canadian dairy ingredients for imported dairy ingredients and would unfairly subsidise exports of Canadian dairy products. The agreement would provide a guaranteed price for milk used to manufacture ingredient dairy products, including skim milk powder and milk protein concentrate, which is below Canada’s cost of milk production, and which matches the lowest globally traded reference price for these products. . Image may contain: text

Life is better on the farm.

New Zealand’s Escorial Wool launches exclusive collection:

This season the luxurious and rare Escorial wool will showcase the first complete collection in both worsted and woollen fabrics, woven in Yorkshire, England by exclusive partners Joshua Ellis and Luxury Fabrics.

Escorial wool, originating from the Spanish Royal flocks of El Escorial, has made a name around the world for producing luxury performance garments for a discerning customer, grown from an exceptional small sheep, grazing in limited numbers in Australia and New Zealand. The Escorial distinction is in the heart of the fibre, performing as a naturally coiled spring. It is this coiled attribute that delivers fluidity in the Escorial fabric making a lightweight garment of crease resistance and comfort.

Founded by New Zealander Peter Radford in 1998, Escorial wool in February this year partnered with renowned Yorkshire textile companies Joshua Ellis and Luxury Fabrics, both who have the heritage and experience to translate the characteristics of Escorial into a luxurious fabric. . . 


Telling our stories

August 23, 2016

Consumers at the top end of the market want to know the story behind their food.

Whitestone Cheese shows how to do it:

The product is at least as good as the pictures, Whitestone’s Lindis Pass camembert is simply delicious.

If you’re not in or passing through Oamaru where you can get it at their factory shop, you’ll find a list of stockists on their website and you can buy online.


Bob Berry MNZM

June 6, 2016

Whitestone Cheese founder Bob Berry has been awarded an MNZM for services to the industry.

Mr Berry, who is semi-retired and lives at Lakes Hayes, said he was delighted to accept the award on behalf of all those who had contributed to the boutique cheese-making enterprise.

The company employs 60 people and Whitestone is a recognised brand in the United States, Australia and the Pacific.

Mr Berry was born on D-Day 1944, was brought up in Karitane, attended Waitaki Boys’ High School and on leaving school worked for stock and station agency Dalgety and Co.

He began farming a hill country property near Waikouaiti in 1972 and bought another farm at Maheno in 1982.

Mr Berry and his wife, Sue, decided to diversify into cheesemaking in 1987 during the rural downturn.

“I was sick of being a price-taker rather than a price-maker,” Mr Berry said.

“A lot of farmers exited farming during the ’80s and started all sorts of enterprises.”

Mr and Mrs Berry set up their cheese-making factory in a garage with the help of Evansdale Cheese founder Colin Dennison, and slowly built up their knowledge base by employing cheesemakers from Europe and elsewhere in New Zealand.

“All have contributed something to our recipes and the regional styles we have developed.”

The company was now putting out more cheese per day than it did during its entire first year, processing about 55,000 litres of milk a week.

Mr Berry said his favourite cheese was the company’s “flagship” Windsor blue.

He was a founding member of the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association, served as chairman for five years and is a life member.

He continues to sponsor many community initiatives through the company, including contributions to and sponsorship of the Oamaru Opera House and the Alps to Ocean cycle trail.

Whitestone Cheese is now run by his son, Simon.

This is  well deserved recognition for service to the industry, business in general and the community.

Other southern rural people honoured include:

Stewart Barrnett, who received an ONZM for services to agriculture and business.

Mr Barnett (73), who spent 34 years with the former PPCS, now Silver Fern Farms, 22 of them as chief executive, said he was extraordinarily lucky to work for a farmers co-operative during his career as it gave him the chance to meet many people in the industry.

He also played a role on New Zealand producer boards, particularly the meat and deer industry boards.

“The meat industry involved me fully; it was constantly evolving.” . . .

Bev  Clark received an MNZM for services to health.

A champion of health services in southern rural towns, Bev Clark, of Wanaka, has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Born in Winton in 1942, and now retired from her various health advocacy roles, Mrs Clark has a long history of fighting to retain and improve health services.

While farming at Hokonui, in Southland, with husband the late Boyd Clark, Mrs Clark became involved in the successful battle to retain, and improve, maternity services in Winton, spending eight years as chairwoman of the Central Southland Health Trust and the Winton Birthing Unit.

Mrs Clark said last week, at one point her husband joked she should move her bed to the unit because of the amount of time she was spending there.

In the late 1990s, Mrs Clark became involved in an even bigger battle, to retain and upgrade Clyde’s very rundown Dunstan Hospital.

As chairwoman of the board of Central Otago Health Services Ltd, she was one of those who took on Labour health minister Annette King.

In 2003, the board threatened to resign over the state of the hospital, and Mrs Clark recalled being accused of “blackmailing” the government and being described by Ms King as “petulant”.

But a public meeting of 1000 people backed the board and the government agreed to put in $7.6million, with the community adding about $3million more.

Mrs Clark has served as a director on the Southern Regional Health Authority and the Health Funding Authority, has chaired the Consumer Liaison Committee for the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and was a council member of their division of Rural Hospital Medicine.

She also spent six years on the New Zealand Psychologists Board.

Mrs Clark is a marriage and funeral celebrant in Wanaka and is a founding executive member, treasurer and life member of the Celebrants Association in New Zealand. . . 

She has more than earned recognition for the years of work fighting for and helping to maintain and run rural health services.

Stuart Heal, a former CEO of the rural co-operative CRT received an MNZM for services to cricket andd the community.

Dr Garry Nixon regards his MNZM as recognition of the importance of rural hospital medicine as a specialty.

 . . .Dr Nixon (55), of Alexandra, has been a medical officer and rural hospital doctor at Dunstan Hospital since 1992 and was instrumental in establishing rural hospital medicine as a specialty.

He has served as a researcher, teacher and lecturer in rural health at the University of Otago and has introduced several specialty training modules to benefit rural patients.

One of those modules – the certificate of clinician-performed ultrasound programme – has been recognised as a world-class programme of special benefit in remote rural areas.

Dr Nixon was made a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners in 2010.

In 2014, he was appointed chairman of the university’s health science division’s rural working party and, in 2015, he was made the director of the postgraduate rural medical programmes at the Dunedin School of Medicine.

His aim is to promote the vocation of rural hospital medicine to ensure the career is sustainable and attractive to doctors in the future.

“What gives me the most satisfaction is the opportunity to work with young doctors as they’ve been coming through – they’re a great group.”

There was still a lot of work to do in rural health in terms of bringing it into line with other specialties in medicine so it had the same status and supports, Dr Nixon said.

The full Honours List  includes:

DNZM

To be Dames Companion of the said Order:

The Honourable Ellen Dolour France, of Wellington. For services to the judiciary.

Ms Karen Margaret Sewell, QSO, of Wellington. For services to education.

KNZM

To be Knights Companion of the said Order:

Mr Robert George Mappin Fenwick, CNZM, KStJ, of Auckland. For services to conservation and business.

Mr Michael Friedlander, CNZM, of Auckland. For services to philanthropy.

Mr Christopher Robert Mace, CNZM, of Auckland. For services to science and education.

Mr Matiu Nohorua Te Rei, of Wellington. For services to Māori.

The Honourable Ronald Leslie Young, of Greytown. For services to the judiciary.

CNZM

To be Companions of the said Order:

Professor John Renata Broughton, ED, of Dunedin. For services to Māori health, theatre and the community.

Ms Janice Amelia Dawson, of Auckland. For services to governance.

Mr George Gerald Farrant, of Auckland. For services to heritage preservation.

Ms Myrlene Dawn Jones, OBE, JP, of Auckland. For services to netball and education.

Dr Dianne Christine McCarthy, ONZM, of Blenheim. For services to science, business and women.

Dr Thomas Ernest Miller, of Auckland. For services to medical research.

Ms Jennifer Mary Prince, of Wellington. For services to children and children’s health.

Professor William Te Rangiua Temara, of Hamilton. For services to Māori and education.

Other awards for agribusiness and rural people include:

ONZM

To be Officers of the said Order:

Mr Mark Joseph Greenwood, of Te Puke. For services to biosecurity.

Mr Christopher Morton Kelly, of Wellington. For services to agriculture.

Mr Samuel Kevin Prime, MBE, of Kawakawa. For services to conservation and Māori.

MNZM

To be Members of the said Order:

Dr Maurice Rewi Alley, of Palmerston North. For services to conservation and education.

Mr Gerald Brackenbury, of Lower Hutt. For services to conservation.

Dr Andrew Ian Dennis, of Nelson. For services to conservation.

Mr Andrew Graeme Lowe, of Havelock North. For services to conservation.

Mr Mervyn Douglas Thomas Utting, of Gisborne. For services to sheep dog trials.

QSM

Mr Ruari Ingram Foley, of Waimate. For services to the community.

Mr Gary William Fowler, JP, of Hikuai. For services to the community and agriculture.

Mrs Jennifer Anne Gallagher, JP, of Darfield. For services to the community.

Mr Jacob Cornelis van Dorsser, of Rotorua. For services to the environment.

 


Rural round-up

May 5, 2016

Cheese-maker happy with the blues – Shannon Gillies:

Pursuing her goal of becoming a businesswoman in the highly competitive world of cheese-making has led Frenchwoman Pauline Treillard to Oamaru.

Originally trained as a sommelier, Ms Treillard (25) left that job to pursue her interest in cheese and became a cheese-maker in her home province of Bordeaux.

After years of trying to get further in the male-dominated industry, she decided to take a chance on the southern hemisphere and left France in 2013.

She arrived in Oamaru in March 2016, after her visa application to stay in Australia with her partner was declined. . . 

China Links paying dividends – Hugh Stringleman:

A week-long trip to China with Prime Minister John Key’s recent government and business delegation enabled Fonterra chairman John Wilson to view first-hand his co-operative’s engagement with its biggest and most-important market. Hugh Stringleman got a debriefing.

Vertical integration of Fonterra’s activities in China position it well for dynamic markets, regulatory changes and government approval, Fonterra chairman John Wilson says.

President Xi Jinping commented on Fonterra’s $1 billion-plus investment in China and the creation of 1600 jobs, Prime Minister John Key had reported. . .

Hard times swell Gypsy Day moves – Hugh Stringleman:

Sharemilkers and other dairy farm staff will be moving in greater numbers this Gypsy Day because of tough times in the industry.

Federated Farmers sharemilkers’ section leaders said more of the annual end-of-season moves would be from necessity and were not improvements in jobs.

“Higher-order sharemilkers will be moving for financial and structural reasons while the lower-orders and contract milkers may be taking a step backwards, unfortunately,” section chairman Neil Filer of Dannevirke said. . . 

Genetics could help combat FE – Sudesh Kissun:

An outbreak of facial eczema (FE) on the West Coast is driving home the need for FE-tolerant genetics, according to a farmer.

Andrew Bruning and Tracey Herrick are first year dairy farming in Karamea, where the whole district has been hit hard with FE — unusual for the area, Bruning says.

They milk 180 cows, mainly Friesian with some crossbred; a quarter of the herd have clinical symptoms of FE. Bruning believes the rest of the herd is suffering with sub-clinical symptoms. . . 

 ‘Gutless’ thieves butcher cow in field – Liz Wylie:

Kaitoke farmer Tony Skews said thieves who shot and butchered his prize cow on Monday night are “gutless pieces of junk”.

Mr Skews, who keeps just 15 cows on his property near Lake Wiritoa, said the animal had been shot with a .22 rifle and badly butchered by “amateurs”.

“They have taken the back steak and four legs and just left the rest,” he said.

“She was the fattest cattle beast on the property and this loss has cost me about $1500.” . . 

 

John Key's photo.

I back our farmers, our manufacturers, our ICT companies and in fact all our export industries to succeed.

If we can get an equal crack at world markets, we’re up there with the best in the world. John Key.

John Key's photo.

This deal matters to individual businesses and workers ine very region of the country.

The orchardist in Hawkes Bay, the windegrower in Marlborough, the dairy farmer in Waikto, and the IT provider in Auckland all stand to benefit. – John Key.


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