Written By Tayva
Our week at the Harts family farm started with an early morning March fourth to catch a ferry from Picton to Wellington, a two hour drive from the cute town of Nelson where we have been staying for a few nights. The ferry ride was long but very pretty, many of us slept, enjoyed the views of the bay between the North and South Island as well as eating at the cafes on the ferry. When we arrived to Wellington we dropped our stuff at the hostel before going to check out the FREE state of the art Te Papa Natural History Museum that is famous to New Zealand. The team had a free night to explore the capital city of New Zealand where many of us got seafood at the Crab Shack. Yum!
Waking up the next morning was tough, we had to catch a 6 o’clock shuttle to the bus station where we took a 5 hour bus ride to Waipukurau where we met our contacts Greg and Rachel Hart who are owners of the amazing farm we stayed at this week. When we arrived to the farm all of us were amazed at its beauty and pristine. We were met with gorgeous views of their own personal lake (horseshoe lake), as well has the amazing eco lodge we were staying in. The lodge was connected to a natural water system connected to a worm composting system and all the water in the house was reused rain water. The lodge was just the start to all the renewable energy and sustainability this farm had to offer. That evening Rachel made a delicious dinner of farm grown burgers and sausages, potatoes, kale salad, coleslaw and veggie burgers made from scratch, a wonderful way to kick off our week here at this epic farm.
Every morning this week a group of us would get up early to start the farm chores that get done everyday when the rest of us were able to sleep in. Starting off with hooking the 20 dairy cows the farm has up to the milkers to get the milk that feeds all the other animals at the farm as well as the milk we drink back at the lodge. We then fed the piggies, calves and chickens the cow milk, learned about regenerative farming, which focuses mostly on creating soil and compost, and lastly collecting chicken eggs. Before lunch the majority of the group helped make and move compost for the gardens around the farm while a few of us stayed back to make lunch. Rachel taught us how to make homemade mayonnaise, hummus and sourdough bread. YUMMY! After lunch the group helped clear out old garden beds for Claire and Tim, another family living on the farm. It was hard work and the crew felt pretty beat as well as accomplished with what we had just gotten done. After dinner, Greg showed us the documentary I AM, the group discussion about it after, which opened a lot of people’s eyes. We had our first bites of the homemade bread we made earlier in the day, the full two loaves were gone within 15 minutes of the bread coming out of the oven. Extra YUMMY!
Throughout the week we all helped the Hart family around the farm, from weeding gardens to building a firepit for the family to enjoy, our days were full of hard work, fun and group bonding. One day Bria sat us down and gave us a lesson on the key to happiness, a very easy concept: Do what you say you are going to do. We got a really special lesson from Tim one day about how to butcher a sheep that he slaughtered the day before. That night we had a fantastic dinner of fresh pulled lamb and veggies. Greg and Rachel’s two boys, William and George came back from boarding school for the weekend so they also joined us for dinner. We got a yummy treat of apple crumble and hokey pokey ice cream (signature flavor of New Zealand) for dessert that night. YUMMY! Greg showed us the documentary Food, Inc. a film about corporate food production and where American meat comes from. A very gruesome yet eye opening film about the sad truth about the food we eat and how its made.
Our week at the Mangarara family farm was a blast filled with yummy YUMMY food, good times, and lots of learning about sustainability and farming and consciousness of what goes into our bodies and how we can save the planet, slowly but surely. Big BIG thanks to Greg and Rachel for being incredible hosts.