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!

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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!

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…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 !!

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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….
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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

an evening of fun in Franklin

A few nights ago, I had the great opportunity to attend a fun evening here in Franklin………

Our very own Franklin jewel – LaValla Estate, did themselves proud with a fundraising event for the Eden Christian Academy school, which is housed within the boundaries of LaValla Estate.

A great turnout arrived to hear Susie Johnson, of The Oosh Experience talk and give guidance on”Wot to Wear and Not to Wear”.
Stalls with jewellery, makeup and skin care as well as hair care where all on hand to compliment the show, along with food and wine, to ensure a fantastic time was had by all!

Oosh show

At Oosh we understand body shapes and to dress in the most flattering styles. New Zealand made and imported clothing. we give good old fashioned customer service!! We are genuine, have positive energy and good honest advice, we don’t judge and make you feel good in the skin you are in! That’s the Oosh experience!!

The evening was organised with the efforts and hard work of the staff from LaValla Estate and Eden Christian Academy. An impressive amount of just a tad under $3000 was raised to help further develop the Academy and helping to develop a playground. The Academy began with 2 kids about 18 months ago and now boasts nearly 50.

ECA is private, non-denominational Christian School catering for boys and girls from Year 1 through to Year 13, offering its students a number of curriculum assessments and qualification pathways.

Our school is located on the beautiful and peaceful LaValla Estate in 131 Dominion Road, Tuakau and you are more than welcome to contact us to arrange a visit at any time.

As you may or may not know, LaValla Estate was once a school for young men considering entering the Catholic brotherhood. I remember talk that in the beginning, the Marist school (as it was then) taught about agriculture and farming amongst other things. When I used to live across the road from the school, it was used only for functions, such as weddings, and the gymnasium was also used for local sporting activities. It later became the home of Felix Donnelly School before once again falling empty.

The Jackson family purchased the property in 2010 in a run down state and are lovingly restoring all the facilities so they can again be shared. The vision going forward is simple, to preserve the past and protect the future of LaValla as a unique location. Many people have been associated with the property through its 90 year history, many of whom still visit to reminisce about good times gone by. To preserve the history the Jacksons are busily collecting articles, photographs and the memories of former residents and are happy to share these with any guests who have an interest.

So for anyone looking for a beautiful place to get away, hold a function or wedding, you can’t go past LaValla Estate, right here on our doorstep in Franklin!! ….and they have their own Chapel Theatre where the likes of well known local singer, Dennis Marsh, perform.
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Pukekohe (and Franklin) Growth…..

Franklin’s main town of Pukekohe is showing the signs of major growth!
GVR engine

Pukekohe, and the surrounding region within Franklin, is growing!! as if we didn’t already know, and as far as the local train station goes, the local public transport area is NOT growing as well, or as rapidly as the district would like and needs to, to accommodate the population explosion on our doorstep!

At the present time, Auckland Transport are not able to help with any inquiries, which would give the assumption that, really, not a lot IS happening, and according to local councillor Bill Cashmore, “this longer term planning needs to be aligned with the Franklin Long Term Plan”
We can all agree that careful thought is required so that the job is done properly to move the population to where it needs to be without clogging the roads more than necessary. Most of us can relate to the peak hour traffic chaos!
Info from one of our local media, show that:

in 2011, Pukekohe and surrounding villages had a population of 23,500. By 2021 that number is expected to reach 35,100, and by 2031, to over 52,000. In 30 years (2041) there will be over 78,000 of us, which is about six times the population back in 1981 (of 13,200).
When we consider that the Pukekohe-Papakura highway is largely unchanged, (save a few passing lanes) for over four decades, something has to give soon.

Franklin SH1

Also from the local media info : –

In 2011 there were 19,700 local jobs. By 2021 there will be 25,900, and this will grow by roughly another 10,000 for each of the next two decades. ……..
The Rail network from Pukekohe to Papakura, said Bill Cashmore, is a central government asset and talk about its electrification…..would need to be a joint Auckland Council/government project.
The government has said no to electrification for the immediate future.
Some comparative growth figures at two of Auckland’s rail stations confirm the growing popularity of a rail system.
Pukekohe Station daily passengers2003 – 74; 2007 – 218; 2011 – 1052… a growth rate of 1322% in 8 years. This represents the highest growth in the Auckland system…..
Even with the local growth in rail travel, still a number of Pukekohe people choose to drive to Papakura to catch the train from there. The attraction being the manned security of the park and ride

( and I feel a more regular number of departures and arrivals)
modern train

Will we have a ferry link to Auckland???

According to one of our local papers, the subject of a ferry link across the Manukau Harbour has once again arisen.

ferry drawingThe Hunua National Party candidate has a passion for better transport solutions and recently he met with Auckland ferry operator Sealink, to discuss opportunities for ferry services from Pine Harbour and across the Manukau Harbour.

With a significant increase in housing in the Waiuku area

the feasibility of providing ferry services is being assessed, with options connecting Onehunga Wharf, Clarks Beach, Waiuku and Huia.
Some key issues that need to be addressed are – Access to Onehunga Wharf, which is controlled by Ports of Auckland; The need for landings to be built at the ports of call; silting of the harbour which restricts access during low tide; the need to make an adequate return on the cost of a vessel.
The proposal would be fully supported by the Manukau Harbour restoration Society group as being the first step in starting long overdue change to the Harbour.
The Manukau is New Zelands second largest harbour and the proposal would allow the wider public to appreciate it’s value and importance to Auckland first hand.

Manukau Harbour aerial view