Episode 5: Pig Tales
On the next episode, screening 2 May 2015 at 7pm on TV ONE:
Two years ago Daniel Todd and Claire Ongley were living the corporate life in Sydney. But they gave it all away to set up a free range pig farm.
“I used to joke in board meetings that I was going to give it all up and become a pig farmer and everyone would just laugh,” Daniel says. “Little did they know!”
“I’d been running the company for seven years. I’d stopped learning and needed a challenge. I saw an ad for a pig farming course and that’s where it started.
In a year, they’ve tamed their Horowhenua block and created a home for almost 90 pigs. Daniel specialises in rare breeds – mainly Berkshires and Large Blacks – and all the pigs at Woody’s Free Range Farm are free to roam around their paddocks, graze the grass, root the soil or wallow in mud.
“Ninety per cent of pig farms are intensive – the pigs are indoors and can’t move around, so they get fatter quicker. Ours can move about all they like, so they do grow slower, but they have good lives.”
Daniel’s had to learn a great deal in the last year – carpentry, plumbing, electrics, animal nutrition – all things he knew nothing about before moving here. Now it’s his everyday existence.
And as if that wasn’t challenge enough, in the last year, he and wife Claire also got married and had a baby boy, Fred.
“He’s added to our busy lives” says Claire – “a shock to our systems but lots of fun.” Claire has also managed to set up her own work-from-home business selling homewares over the internet.
Daniel sells Woody’s pork, bacon and sausages at farmers’ markets in Feilding and Wellington at the moment – but has plans to sell online in the near future.
For now, he uses the road trips to the markets to call in at craft brewery Garage Project to collect the used brewers grain, which makes a high quality pig feed, and to visit cafes and restauranteurs who stock his products.
The markets also give Daniel face-to-face contact with his customers. “I think it’s really important that people know where their food comes from. So it’s a great chance for me to meet people and tell our story.”
For more about Woody’s Free Range Pig Farm, visit: http://woodysfarm.co.nz
To read Woody’s blog, visit: https://thestartupfarmer.wordpress.com
For Claire’s, Izzy&Jean homewares site, visit: http://izzyandjean.co.nz
For more about craft brewer Garage Project, which supplies feed to Woody’s, visit: http://garageproject.co.nz
For more about Wellington’s Hill Street Market, visit: www.hillstfarmersmarket.org.nz
Post Production Manager