Te Rata News
We've had a busy year, with chickens laying and the pigs producing.
We raised calves for the first time and discovered how intensive
that can be, but very rewarding.
We have had a steady stream of Wwoofers working with us this past
year. All of them have loved being here and learning new things.
It is a pleasure to share our patch of paradise with them.
We want to take the opportunity to wish you all a wonderful Christmas,
remember, God's gift of Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas.
Summer time at Te Rata Family Farm - February 2010
With the beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures, we have enjoyed
a beautiful summer this year. The rain in the last week of January
topped up the water tanks and has greened up the pasture (ever so
lambs all headed off the farm before Christmas to be fattened on
other farms and the rest of the sheep departed in early February.
It will be strange not to have any sheep on the farm, but with the
pigs, chickens, cattle and wild goats there's no shortage of livestock
- or work.
The farm now has 80 breeding sows, producing lots of lovely piglets
who are enjoying being out and about in the sunshine. The sows are
being good mums and choosing sheltered places under the trees to
farrow (give birth). Within minutes of being born the piglets are
up and feeding and within hours they are heading over to meet other
piglets and look around at their new environment.
The bigger pigs are enjoying wallowing in the mud to keep cool.
They do this because pigs dont sweat, so to regulate their
own temperature they cake themselves in mud; the mud keeps them
cool and as it dries it also works are thick sunscreen. Maybe we
can market this concept for the health conscious urbanite - free
sampler pack with every meat order!
Weve also been extracting the most yummy honey from the bee
hives, so far we reckon we've tasted manuka, clover and pennyroyal.
We'll be giving away free samples at our next open day on the 27th
First Farm Open Day - 28 November 2009
Bacon and Eggs Au Naturale / Mangawhai Focus
on from their very popular appearance on TVs Country Calandar
in May, the Borger family of Te Rata farm at Paparoa held their
promised open day last Saturday to allow friends, neighbours, interested
parties and natural farming converts to see their progress first
You may recall this former corporate couple who
left the big smoke behind in favour of a block of harsh northland
land. This, they have turned into a style of life which works for
and with them on a natural-cum-organic basis well outside the square
of local farming practices with poultry and pigs taking precedence
over traditional sheep and cattle.The first noticeable improvement
was the growth of the operation. Met by a very jovial yet very pregnant
Rebecca, there was no hiding the fact that she is but a month away
from adding a fourth little member to her brood. Brood being the
operative word perhaps
its a chook thing. Nontheless the current three
are happy, healthy Kiwi farm kids who have their respective chores
to do as Kiwi farm kids have done for generations.
For newcomers this was a day to see how such an
operation could be successful, and ask a lot of questions. For previous
visitors like myself it was a progress report on the growth and
development of their ideas. Numbers
on the day were well over a hundred and included mums, dads, grandparents
and kids. It allowed everyone the chance to get up close and personal
with the hens, collect some eggs, come within metres of a whole
range of pigs in their natural state and purchase some of Te Rata
Farms fine products.
The poultry side of the farm is as it was with
9000 rusty-coloured egg factories doing what they are bred and fed
to do. The main expansion has come in the pig department, the success
of which has actually created its own dilemma. Bert Borger
has adopted a natural breeding programme with his Berkshire pigs,
and litters over a dozen piglets are not uncommon. He has also recommissioned
the local butchery to market his products together with farm-raised
beef. Although he has some city outlets for his bacon and ham, supply
is now outstripping demand.
We recently sent some product to the Browns
Bay Market which was very successful, said Rebecca, and like
many niche-market products, this may be where the success of Te
Rata Farm smallgoods lies.
came generally from within the Whangarei, Warkworth and Dargaville
triangle but this open day also attracted a Korean television crew.
As a result of Mike Kings appearance on the Sunday programme
last May in defence of factory-farmed pigs they were looking to
inform and promote an alternative to a country where factory farming
is the norm.
Run by Bert and Rebecca plus a willing band of
Wooffers, future open days will be well anticipated as the word
Numbers are limited, but another open day will
be held in March. Registration is at www.familyfarm.co.nz, and strong,
clean footwear is essential. The farm is in Porter Rd, which is
off the Paparoa-Oakleigh Rd. If travelling from Auckland, turn left
on to State Highway 12 at Brynderwyn and go through Maungaturoto.
As you come into Paparoa, turn right on to the Oakleigh Rd. Porter
Rd is the second road on the left.
Spring Piglets Galore
Spring at Te Rata arrived with the loud squeal
of many piglets. The last week of September and the first week of
October were full on with 19 sows
farrowing all in quick succession. Litters ranged in size from a
modest seven to the largest ever at Te Rata of sixteen. Some mothers
were better than others at selecting good farrowing spots, with
quite a few piglets needing rescueing and returning to their mums
after a bit of drying and warming. Due to the wet weather and the
last of the winter mud we ended up building simple tent-like shelters
for many of the litters just to keep them dry and warm. At last
count we had over 200 piglets running riot and having a ball, with
some of the smarter ones feeding from several sows (and growing