Willowmere farm is based in Hororata in Canterbury and run by Kelvin Hicks. The 200 hectare farm produces a variety of different vegetable crops, sheep and cattle.
When Kelvin’s parents, John and Trish, returned from Australia in 1991 they purchased the Hororata sheep farm of Willowmere. Kelvin, with a degree in mechanical engineering from The University of Sydney, came to New Zealand the following year “for a holiday, and stayed”.
In 1995 they converted the farm to organics and it is now a fully run organic farm.
The farm originally started with livestock, but soon diversified into crops. “We knew we had good soil types, so we were looking for opportunities to utilise those,” says Kelvin. The carrots, for example, “began with a couple of rows, now there’s eight hectares!”
Willowmere is passionate about high quality produce, which Kelvin says “always sells”, and they maintain the highest quality by farming in a sustainable manner. It’s a style of farming Kelvin enjoys and one where he sees ongoing business opportunities. . Kelvin believes great tasting, high quality produce begins with healthy soil. ‘‘My main philosophy is to have a healthy soil, to try to keep the fertility up and to have a balance of nutrients.’’
His efforts were rewarded in 2013 when Willowmere won the Balance Farm Environment Award.