Our family has been market gardening for over 100 years with farms throughout the South Island. Our Highbank farm is managed by brother and sister Andrew Barnes and Gaylene Barnes, while father Ian Barnes enjoys a well-deserved retirement. Andrew brings a wealth of skills from contracting in agriculture and managing a yam farm in Southland. Gaylene has been growing specialty herbs for several years, and is experienced with the management of an organic farm. Gaylene is also a documentary filmmaker, and interested in stories that explore our relationship with the natural world.
We are both passionate about organic farming, biodiversity, and growing safe food securely and sustainably. Our values include:
- RESILIENCE – Building the soil, plants and sentient life on our property, enabling resilience in the face of future challenges.
- SUSTAINABLE – Growing nutrient dense food with minimal fossil-fuel based inputs and minimal dependance on imports.
- HEALTHY – Growing food without the use of toxic chemicals, so it is safe and healthy for customers and farm-workers.
- CONSERVATION – We manage the soil and soil micro-organisms restoratively, and we work to conserve water.
- HERITAGE – We contribute to the survival of heritage crop and stock species at risk.
Our soils microbes are nourished with organic fertilisers. We do not use herbicides, fungicides or any other-icides, and have not done so for years, having been “spray free”. We are now “Under Conversion to Organic” (Level C1) with Organic Farm NZ.
We have been nurturing a range of taewa (Maori Potatoes) for a number of years. And can offer some of these for sale commercially. We especially love the Waiporoporo (purple) potato for its rich skin colour and nutrient-dense white flesh. We also have heritage sheep (Finnish Landrace), chickens (Cochin and Wyandotte) and Canterbury Blue pigs – which are all loving our excess vegetables. This year we are expanding a specialty line of Aztec Blue Corn – a corn that makes the tastiest blue corn tacos ever! We are also growing trial amounts of Black Mitcham Peppermint for it’s remarkable properties as as essential oil and dried leaf.
We’re well setup to harvest and manage root vegetables. We have some great implements to manage this – some have been carefully stored by our Dad for over a hundred years. 🙂 We currently grow carrots, parsnips, yams and plenty of potatoes.