Autumn is here – and no slowing down!!

P1000532 Autumn is officially upon us but that doesn’t slow things down here in Franklin Country – a region also known as Auckland’s Southern playground – where Auckland meets the Waikato!!

For those car and vintage vehicle enthusiasts, Franklin’s main town of Pukekohe is home again to the ever popular Swap Meet, where all things vehicle related should be able to be found – whether in the original state or a reproduction, there should be something there and very likely all manner of other items too. Should be THE place to be!!
Model A

Bombay 150th poster

Following on from that, over the next weekend, is the celebration of Franklin’s Bombay area. Another part of our district will be having a ball showcasing the 150 years of Bombay,

March 14th 2015
Bombay Family Festival, open to all, no entry charge.
10am to 3pm in the Bombay School grounds.
Farmers market, bouncy castle, Clydesdale cart rides, unicycles, tractor displays, face painting, historical displays and refreshments.

Bombay the shipBook sales: ‘They came by ship’ the history of the first 100 years of the district, and ‘Bombay, the next 50yrs’ telling the stories of the families, clubs, farms and businesses of Bombay between 1965 and 2015.
This Family Fun day is being held as part of Bombay’s 150th Anniversary Weekend, so come along dressed up 1860’s style and you may win a prize.

Should be a great weekend for all –

FRIDAY
Mix & Mingle
Venue: Bombay Rugby Club
Time: Evening
SATURDAY
Fun Run & Family Festival
Venue: Bombay School
The Pioneers Settlers Fun Run will start the day with a festival atmosphere growing as we celebrate success of fun run entrants. We envision games, food and fun activities for the whole family! Local Stalls/Farmers Market, Athletics, Old School Races (Egg & Spoon, Sack Races), Ethnic Foods, Vintage Tractors, Photobooths, Displays, Olden day Dressups/Photos, Facepainting. Ideas and input welcome!
SATURDAY NIGHT
Dinner & Guest Speaker
Venue: Bombay School Hall
SUNDAY
Church Service
Historical Bus Tour/Scavenger Hunt
With the help of local/school families, we would love to put together an ‘Amazing Race’ type challenge for families/teams to be a part of. This could be a really exciting way for us all to learn about our wider community and what it was like in years gone by.

……but wait – there’s more!!
If you haven’t already decided to book some accommodation and enjoy a great few weeks, this may help you to decide ……
Touchwood sign

we have our very own Taste Franklin happening, This should be an amazing event showcasing the wonderful food that we produce right here on the edge of Auckland!
Fish - Taste Franklin

Us locals know that we live in an area that grows, produces, cooks, carves up, bakes and ferments some of the very best stuff that we consume here in Godzone yet do you always buy locally? What about people moving into the area – do they know what’s available? Do you know about cheesemakers, butchers, growers, breadmakers, fishermen, winemakers and brewers plus so many other culinary magicians that are found around the corner, a few streets down, or a short drive away (we are semi-rural after all)..

Check out the newsbeat piece here about this event.

So if you hadn’t considered Franklin – (where Auckland meets the Waikato) before now, this IS the time to get on over to our patch and celebrate – history, our own home-grown everything and so much more

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Weather patterns and Vege prices

One of Franklin‘s local papers has reported on what “Joe Blogs” enjoyment of the great summer weather is doing to our vege growing!

sun cartoon image

The damp start to February may not be enough to keep vegetable prices down, as growers and dairy farmers battle to deal with the particularly dry start to the year.
….according to Weatherwise Auckland, Pukekohe received just 6 % of its historical average rainfall for January and Waiuku received 22% of January’s average.
…While the hot and sunny weather has been good for holiday makers, they too could be hoping for rain with the potential vegetable price rises on the horizon.
The Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association president said that if the dry weather continued, prices of crops like potatoes and onions could go up.
It has been an abnormal season for growers and farmers alike.

The hot dry weather has meant that the later planted onion crops may not reach their potential.
Many of the local crops are being irrigated, but that too, will bring its extra costs to the end product – extra watering and manpower amongst the mix!

Lets hope our patch in Franklin, will be able to cope!

potatoes redonions

…and here we are – 2015!!

green 2015
Where DID 2014 go?

The beginning of a new year with new plans and prospects. Franklin is no different in that respect as we have such a lot on the agenda again this year! BUT we do have such awesome events.

If you are a racing fan, then the end of this month at Hampton Downs (officially in the North Waikato, but we still call that area our southern Franklin!!) is the Fifty Plus Formula 5000 lineup

An unprecedented turnout of Formula 5000 cars looks set to secure the 2015 Gulf Oil Howden Ganley Formula 5000 Festival’s place in motorsport history as one of the largest ever gatherings of the iconic race cars.

The organisers are confident fans will see 50 plus of the V8, 10 and V12 powered machines, with cars covering all years of the F5000 formula’s life, and most if not all of the manufacturers who built cars for the series which ran in various guises in the USA, Europe and Australasia between 1968 and 1982.

The 2015 event – which stretches over the weekends of January 16-18 and 23-25 at the Hampton Downs circuit in the North Waikato – is a celebration of both the Formula 5000 type of racing car and driver Howden Ganley. Unheralded Kiwi Ganley’s story is a fascinating one that took the former team mechanic to sports cars, F5000 and the dizzy heights of Formula One.

It also marks the first ‘Formula 5000 World Series’ – the champion of which will be crowned after the last race of the second weekend of the Festival. At least one full grid of Formula 5000s will race during the Festival, and that could mean as many as 35 of the earth-shaking single seaters roaring around the Hampton Downs track almost five seconds a lap quicker than the best ‘V8 taxi’ is capable of

..and while you’re over this way, why not stay awhile and head to Waiuku for the Movies in Parks Rocky Horror Picture show on the 16th Jan? Rocky Horror pic

Splore pic
February, on our calendar here in Franklin has the “Splore Festival” at Tapapakanga Regional Park. So get set for summertime fun and music by the water!

Simply put Splore is a boutique music and arts festival like no other.

In March we have some celebrations of the area and our own Taste Festival…so keep an eye out for more info here AND get your accommodation booked (if you can!!) and come stay a while !!

pohutukawa beach pic

Rural Franklin – where we grow fresh!

Welcome to Franklin Country – where Auckland meets the Waikato

The Franklin district is strongly defined by urban and rural areas, outstanding natural landscapes and open green spaces. It is also regarded as both a desirable and accessible ‘lifestyle’ destination for those seeking an alternative to city living. Traditionally Franklin has supplied the Auckland region with fresh produce and today market gardens still remain a feature of the district’s landscapes providing an appealing backdrop to the building developments that are taking place within the area.

As one of New Zealand’s fastest growing regions, Franklin offers not only excellent residential options and recreational opportunities, but also access to the goods and services available in much larger centres.

Families relocating to Franklin are attracted by the benefits that country living provides such as more space and larger sections while at the same time recognizing that Auckland and its attractions is just 45 minutes away by motorway.

The Fresh Grower 1 (2)

The Fresh Grower 1 (3)

The Fresh Grower 1 (4)

The Fresh Grower 1 (5)

The Fresh Grower 1 (6)

The Fresh Grower 1 (7)

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a “Picnic in the Paddock” that was put on by one of our local growers, Allan Fong from The Fresh Grower, with help and support from a number of family, friends media and businesses associated with Allan’s business.
The weather played its part too, with the sun shining over the marquee in the paddock.
Inside the marquee some of talented young locals,(some of Allan’s family I think) played gentle background Chamber music, while the guests chatted and had a glass or two of wine or juice.

Allan’s son was the chef – Ryan of Ryan’s Kitchen.What great food, company and a generally wonderful day here in Franklin – with local people showcasing local food right where much of it is grown – here in Franklin Country.
The Fresh Grower 1 (8)

(Ryan attended the Food Show earlier in the year – view his youtube video)
These guys have been in the news a few times over the years, and with Franklin holding our very own Taste show next March, we’ll no doubt be seeing and hearing much more from our local home-grown producers!
Allan and Ryan Fong in the field 2014

Franklin’s patch is growing!!

Well now…another brekky meeting and more info about our patch here in Franklincountry!
Happy Valley Honey

The speakers at this months business breakfast that I went along to (after being a bit held up by peak hour traffic!! Can that ever be remedied?) came from our own Happy Valley Honey. Another awesome business that we have in Franklin.
Did you know….
bee cartoon pic

Happy Valley Honey was founded in 1975 by the late Ben Rawnsley and his wife Dot.
What started off as a hobby quickly grew into a shop and office based on their farm in Mill Rd in Alfiston, South Auckland. Many of our current customers still recall visiting the farm and filled their containers with their favourite honey.

In 1990 Happy Valley commenced production of Fresh Royal Jelly; and to this day Happy Valley remain the only commercial producers of NZ Royal Jelly. Investment has been made to ensure we stay at the cutting edge of Royal Jelly production.

Royal Jelly
Royal Jelly

In 2003, Happy Valley honey was relocated to its current address in Drury when the Lipscombe family took full ownership. Happy Valley focused on setting up our honey production facility with state of the art manufacturing equipment. Production at our facilities focuses on converting bulk honey into packed honey, either for third parties or under the Happy Valley range of honey & beauty products. All Happy Valley honey products are displayed at the retail store based at 520 Great South Rd.

In 2011 the business changed shareholdings, and to this day is run by two families, the Lipscombe’s and the Harvey’s. The Lipscombes focus on Bee Enterprises, a separately run entity focusing on bee keeping and procurement of bulk honey and Bee related products for Happy Valley.

Happy Valley has a range of Honey related products including Energy bars, Lollies, Lozenges and toothpaste- have a look for yourself.

Happy Valley is the #1 producer of New Zealand Fresh Royal Jelly, believed to be the purest Royal Jelly in the world, giving unsurpassed wellbeing to everyone.
Our Fresh NZ Royal Jelly has the highest levels of 10HDA known: 3.1% – these high levels determine the quality of the product you get when buying from Happy Valley.

Royal Jelly benefits can help to assist with several health conditions:
Anemia, Arthritis, Broken or weak bones, Bladder infections, Coronary Artery disease, Depression, Diabetes, Eye Cataracts, Hormonal imbalances, High cholesterol levels, High blood pressure, Impotency, Infertility, Inflammation, Impaired memory, Immune system problems, Liver ailments, Mental exhaustion, Menopause, Panic or anxiety attacks, Parkinson’s disease, Skin blemishes, Viral & bacterial infection, Weight control, Wound healing, Weak or tired eyes, Wrinkles.

Happy Valley Honey have purchased another property locally to continue their growth into the food arena, so watch out for their next news…..

We are so lucky to have such a range of fantastic businesses in our patch, so come along and check out what we have here.

bee and flower

Franklin Country – from garden to table………

Our region of Franklin, is a garden paradise – the area is surrounded with market gardens which supply fresh produce to all manner of places.
Balle Bros chips

Franklin market gardensSome of our very own market gardeners are taking things a step further in the potato growing industry by growing specific potatoes for potato chips. The newcomers to the chip market, the Balle family, planted their first crop last week.
Eamon and Tim Balle, from Chip off the old Block potato chips say it is a real buzz seeing the family’s new product on the shelves of the supermarkets.
These guys are third generation vegetable growers and potato growing is “in the blood”.
The focus on their chips is to keep things as natural as possible, and so far the flavours that they are producing include sea salt, smoked paprika and sea salt with cracked pepper.

One of our local papers has the story.

The Balle family have really done their homework and over the generations have certainly come to know their stuff. There is information on the vegetables that they grow on their site, and even the humble red onion should not be overlooked for health benefits!
…and did you know “Potatoes are surprisingly rich in vitamin C. They help the body absorb minerals when eaten with other iron-rich foods. Potatoes are also excellent for satisfying hungry appetites, the sugar carbohydrates releasing energy gradually, allowing you to go longer between meals.”

One of our other local growers, Allan Fong, has also been in the news over time with his fresh take on cooking with some of the Asian greens that he grows. Allan has been on telly with Al Brown ( I may have already mentioned that in a previous blog!) and also appeared in a Country Calender episode a few years back.

So – not only can you come check out WHERE your food is grown, you can ALSO head to one of the cafes and restaurants. or even the local supermarkets, and try the local produce 🙂
We had a story about a lady who came from France, who was visiting Pukekohe especially to find out where the potatoes were grown that she had tried in one of the restaurants overseas!! Now THAT is getting international recognition of our wee patch!!

Franklin – getting out there!

How awesome is Franklin region – a unique part of the greater Auckland super city!!??

Cafe PalazzoA couple of our local eateries have had articles written about them and they are justly deserved.
We sure do have a bunch of really great places to dine (among other things) – the Red Shed Palazzo is one. I can definitely recommend this family friendly place to go to at whatever time of day is needed.

Another great foody place, in the heart of Franklin’s main town of Pukekohe, is The Monarch Café and Restaurant and along with offering yummy whitebait fritters in the season, they also had a piece written in the NZ Herald review from Saturday 4th October. I would urge everyone to read both and then get on over to check them out for yourselves!!
…and while you are in the area, check yourselves into one of the fantastic accommodation providers for a great stay with our own Franklin hospitality and friendliness. 🙂