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Wairarapa Sheep Cheese Venture Enjoys Benefits of Ballance Farm Environment Awards

2 September 2011

Wairarapa Sheep Cheese Venture Enjoys Benefits of Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Janet King with Kingsmeade Artisan Cheese

Entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards gave Miles and Janet King the opportunity to gain a valuable outside perspective of their unique Wairarapa farming venture.

“It’s always helpful to have external feedback,” says Janet.
“Sometimes you become so immersed in a business, you can’t see the wood for the trees.”

Janet and Miles are pioneers of sheep milk cheesemaking in New Zealand. Since 1998 they have produced a growing range of cheeses which are marketed under the Kingsmeade Artisan Cheese label.

The Kings initially started out making cheeses from milk produced by their small East Friesian flock on their 12ha farm on the outskirts of Masterton. This season they will milk around 200 ewes on the home farm and leased land, with the cheese made in their farm factory and marketed through a deli at nearby Lansdowne.

The couple first entered the Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards in 2005 and were thrilled to win the LIC Dairy Farm Award and also the Innovation Award.

In the following years they continued to improve the farm through tree plantings and shelterbelts. With demand for their products growing, they also expanded the size of their cheese factory.

They entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards again in 2011, winning the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award.

Janet says they were particularly pleased to win this award because it was an all-encompassing endorsement of their lifestyle, business and community involvement.

“It was great to be noticed by the sponsors, and the award has enhanced the reputation of our farming and cheese-making business.”

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards logo now features prominently on the Kingsmeade website.

Janet says participating in the awards was “heaps of fun”.
She says she and Miles learnt a lot from the judging process “and the judges made some very valid comments about our business”.

She strongly recommends the competition to any other farming or horticultural operation.

“We learnt a lot from it and the awards evening was a great night out.”

Entries for the 2012 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on September 5, 2011.

For more information on the Greater Wellington/Wairarapa awards, contact BFEA regional coordinator Angeline Colquhoun, phone 06 378 8008 / 027 526 3513 or emailwellington@bfea.org.nz.

For more information on the New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust or the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact David Natzke, General Manager, New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust, phone 07 834 0400, or email david.natzke@nzfeatrust.org.nz.