Saturday 9th – Sunday 10th March 2013
From the central Taranaki town of Stratford on SH3, turn inland (as opposed to the mountain) at the roundabout at the northern end of town onto Regan Street. Proceed straight onto East Road at the town boundary and you will now be on SH43. We have a further visit to fit into the day.
Time: 10 am – Sandra and Lou’s farming property –
Once you have passed the cemetery turn right onto Skinner Road, then take the left turn into Bird Road. We have been invited to view this 70yr old + orchard before the farm is sold. The trees are generously bearing apples and anyone is welcome to a harvest some budwood and sample the fruit. The fruit is clean of codling moth and the orchard is not sprayed.
Where: Toko Primary School – to see the orchard planting in progress.
(left hand side of road just after Ahuroa Rd)
This country school signed on with the Enviro Schools project to create an orchard (see Central Districts Newsletter dated Spring 2012) and there should be some freshly completed autumn budding to inspect.
Where: Cathy and Rod’s farming property, Ohura Road (SH43), Douglas (17k from Stratford)
This property is on the right side of the road. This will be our lunch break. Cathy runs a young biodynamic orchard and garden which is exemplary. Her crops are magnificent, testament to her dedication and hard work to her organic principles. The property is very neat and orderly and her wide range of plants very healthy. Cathy is also growing a crop of Mark Christensen’s heritage maize.
While here we will walk through to senior’s old orchard of about six fruit trees and a kiwifruit vine. Next we drive for 20mins to Te Wera.
Where: Te Wera Arboretum.
This area was planted out as a trial block back in 1956 by Taranaki foresters. It is mainly conifer and Eucalyptus with some Quercus. A pleasant loop walk up through the forest and back down to the car park is advisable to see the best of the trees. Some of the trees’ name tags are missing – perhaps we will have some tree buffs amongst us to solve the un-named species.
Where: Purangi Orchard.
Ian and Laurel’s property ‘Purangi Orchard’ is about 3⁄4 – 1 hr’s drive from Te Wera via Mohakau and Matau Road, through one of the legendary East Taranaki tunnels and over a couple of saddles. It is a narrow and windy road in parts and most of it is unsealed.
Purangi is situated on the banks of the Waitara River in papa country of steep hills, bluffs and a fertile valley floor, known for its impressive frosts, the best plums and great country hospitality. We will be staying the night.
Sleeping provisions: The old Purangi Schoolhouse sleeps five marae style and this can be bulked up to ten people with blow up mattresses. You can of course sleep in your vehicle or bring a tent. Cost is $10 per person regardless of where you sleep! There is one shower in the schoolhouse and one outdoor loo. Please indicate if you are planning on staying overnight and note to bring bedding and towels. Crockery, pots and pans all available plus gas stove and refrigerator.
– to book for the overnight stay, please contact Jane Hart.
Meals: Cater for ourselves but suggest a shared meal for Saturday night and the Aitkens will have a gas barbeque available for those requiring it.
A little information about their property: off-grid, relying mostly on solar. Their crops include walnuts, feijoas, plums, apples, peaches, loquats, forestry trees of pines, Douglas Fir Sequoia sempervirens and in the nursery, Chinese fir Cunninghamii lanceolata, Redwoods and a vigorous forestry walnut from China and Himalaya.
The original Purangi Orchard was planted in the 1930’s.
Ian has based his apple collection (by grafting) from both their old orchard and an old commercial orchard of 80 trees on the Ngatoto Road (across the Waitara River). This orchard has now gone – the 1990 flood put paid to that – but the pear trees survive despite producing gnarly small inedible fruit. We plan to visit the pear trees and enormous oak trees growing close by. One of the oaks is the largest recorded oak of its age in the New Zealand.
Ian being a very capable mechanic also has many interesting pieces of machinery (especially milling equipment) to cope with the variety of jobs that confront him in his daily routine. Laurel now has a nut cracker for the walnut crop.
We have late Saturday afternoon and Sunday till 2pm to enjoy Purangi Orchard and the old Ngatoto Road Orchard.
To get back to SH3 proceed out through Tarata to Inglewood where Junction Road joins the main road.
For those travelling out to Purangi for Sunday only, the start time will be 9am.
For any further information or to book for the overnight stay, please contact Jane Hart