Franklin in photos

We’re a little bit country…………and a little bit city savvy, too……… with a whole lot of heart!!!

Franklin………our changing face

Franklin – our wee patch of NZ, like many others I guess, is ever changing, as the years move on…….

Pokeno of yesteryear
Pokeno of yesteryear

Just one instance is –

Pokeno, our neighbour down the road in the Northern Waikato part of Franklin, has been through many changes over the years – going from a fairly busy village as per our photo, to an area by-passed by the modernisation of the highway/motorway and now back again towards being a busy town with it’s new and increasing housing areas.

The town also has Yasihili, the new Infant Formula Factory, being built. It will  be interesting to see how this helps to build the region with employment, visitors and growth in general!

Yashili is part of a major group that leads the dairy market in China. To help us achieve our preeminent position there, we have been a longstanding importer of New Zealand milk powder. Now we are taking that one step further – we are not just sourcing our milk powder here; we are producing our finished goods here. Our $200 million investment in Pokeno focuses on the development and construction of a 30,000m2 manufacturing plant. Our annual production capacity of around 52,000 tonnes of infant formula products will supply the rapidly growing and increasingly demanding Chinese market.
To help us achieve our potential in New Zealand we are looking for the brightest and best people in dairy manufacturing to come on board with us. We have job opportunities in manufacturing, supply chain and quality management. Come and join us and be part of our team that is putting Kiwi expertise on the world’s stage.

Yashili is one of the “big three” producers of infant milk formula for the domestic market in China. Our two leading brands, Yashily and Scient, and the more recently introduced Merla brand account for more than 80 per cent of Yashili Group’s total business. Yashili is also one of the leading suppliers of soymilk powder, cereal, rice flour and milk powder for adults and teenager to the Chinese market. Our products are sold in just over 105,000 retail outlets in China. In July 2012, we were named among the top 500 Most Valuable Brands in China for the ninth consecutive year. Yashili Group employs over 5000 people and reported an annual turnover in 2011 of NZ$566 million. We are publicly listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In June 2013, China Mengniu Diary Company announced plans to acquire Yashili Group. Mengniu, China’s largest producer of liquid milk products, is part owned by China’s state-backed agricultural and food industry supplier COFCO.

Building Future Capacity
China’s infant formula market is expected to grow to NZ$32 billion by 2017, according to Euromonitor data. The increasing demand for infant milk formula is being driven by families shifting from rural locations to the cities, a stable birth rate, more mothers going out to work, and increases in disposable income. The challenge for Yashili and other manufacturers is to keep pace with demand while maintaining a high level of quality control. That’s why we have looked to New Zealand and its internationally recognised expertise in the manufacture of quality milk powder to build our newest dairy processing. Yashili already promotes the high quality of New Zealand-sourced milk content in our premium brands.  We have imported milk powder from New Zealand for over 10 years and we have used New Zealand milk powder exclusively in our infant milk formula since August 2010. Now we are adding further value to our product with Kiwi manufacturing expertise, and the support of the country’s skilled labour force.

Franklin Taste at Karaka…..

Today the Franklin Taste show was on at the Karaka Sports Grounds, with a pretty good turnout, and apparently Mayor Len Brown arrived, not sure where he was, but it was mentioned that he WAS there (maybe that bit will show on telly tonight?)

Franklin Taste 2015 Balle  (14)So, although not all of the stands were foodie stands, there was quite a mix of mainly local Franklin stands, and here are a few photos to get a “Taste” of what was on show.
Along with our own Balle family’s “Chip off the old Block” yummy potato chips,

Chip Off The Old Block potato chips are only ever made with Balle family grown and supplied potatoes which the chip makers then only ever cook in sunflower oil and then only ever sprinkle with natural seasonings. When they’re Flat Cut Chips they’re sliced thick with their skins on and when they’re Kettle Chips they’re cooked slow and long in batches for a bigger crunch.

we also had Sonja’s Taste of Austria stand (based in Tuakau) with some delicious sweet “Cremeschnitten” – Franklin Taste 2015 cremeschnitten from Sonjas taste of Austria

Tuakau Hotel, Awaroa Vineyard and Cottage, Mercer Cheese
and more had a presence along with delicious cold pressed juice from Soul Organics, rich in nutrients and tasty too, bringing their product to the Auckland market. I am NOT much of a veggie eater particularly, but the “Detox Dude” organic, carrot, apple and lime drink was very delicious. It is packed with vitamins A, K and potassium and is a great source of energy for the body. My friend tried the “Energiser Bunny” – organic carrot, beetroot, apple and spray free ginger, and was impressed by this mix too! – amazing for heart health and a great source of nitrates with anti inflammatory properties. Look out for this brand in our region!

In the non foodies range, Glenbrook Lavender Oil Co had a range of beautiful smelling lavender soaps, along with shampoo, conditioner

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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

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!!