Episode 4: Farm By The Sea
On the next episode, screening 13 April at 7pm on TV ONE:
Farm by the Sea
Graham Morcom is taking a chainsaw to the magnificent spread of mature avocado trees on his Coromandel farm near Cooks Beach.
However his plan to drastically cut back the 3,400 trees by the end of the year is not a slash and burn measure, but a new approach to managing avocados being trialled in some New Zealand orchards.
The object is to improve cropping by letting more sunlight in and encouraging new growth.
Graham says it's taken courage to hack off huge branches and leave his trees looking denuded. But he knows avocados recover quickly from pruning and he hopes the results he'll get in two years' time will prove his actions have been worthwhile.
Graham and his wife, Selma, say people often pay too much for the fruit in supermarkets, even when the price being received by growers is low. Their approach is to send boxes of organic avocados direct to customers in many parts of the North Island.
They also supply outlets such as organic shops and sushi bars to make their 28 hectare block of avocado trees economic.
The Morcoms have three streams of income - avocados, contract picking for other growers and rearing bulls.
Most of the 320 hectare farm is in pasture and overlooks the popular holiday spot of Cooks Beach.
Because of the land's value, Graham says it's tempting to subdivide and sell some off but that goes against his principles. The land has been in the family for three generations and he believes land should be used productively.
Graham and Selma, who is a food technologist, plan to add value to their bull operation by starting a gourmet butchery to produce speciality meats and sausages to sell direct to customers.
When Country Calendar filmed a bull muster on the farm, the crew got a surprise - a small wild pig was running with the bulls, which protected the little animal whenever the farm dogs came near.
Graham says he's never seen anything like it before. "The pig seems to have adopted a bull, weighing 650 kilos, as its dad."
When the time came to send the pig's surrogate family to the freezing works, Graham was concerned about its future. But he moved it into a paddock with a group of calves and it's now grazing happily with its new whanau.
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