The lifestyle block life isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding.
Nestled in the beautiful Pohangina Valley in the heart of the Manawatu lies Cartwheel Creamery, an artisan cheesemaking company owned by Adrian and Jill Walcroft that produces outstanding cheeses that reflect the unique goodness of their valley. And the proof is in the … cheese.
“Local is a major part of our story,” says Jill. “Just like wine, the climate, soil, pastures, even the person handling the ingredients can make a distinct style of cheese. We’re really proud of that uniqueness.”
Localness extends to their suppliers too. “We buy our milk from a couple of local farmers who we’ve known for a long time,” says Adrian. “They have excellent animal husbandry and milk quality, and those factors are very important to us.”
The Walcrofts’ 12-hectare lifestyle block makes more than just cheese. “We graze dairy heifers and also have a tine herd of Dexter Cattle, a few sheep and some pigs which we use for meat when the freezer is low,” says Jill. “We have an orchard out the back too which produces more fruit than we need so the pigs eat what we don’t. We really love this self-sufficient way of life.”
Lifestyle block living isn’t easy though. “Someone who dreams of having a lifestyle block might imagine drinking wine in the evenings while watching the sun go down,” says Jill. “We are actually quite busy. We often have to nip out in the evenings or over the weekend to work on our cheese. We love being our own bosses and managing our own time, but there’s not a lot of time for watching sunsets!”
Running a full time rural business comes with its challenges. When the Walcrofts wanted to insure Cartwheel Creamery, they needed a solution that would cover their house, farm, business, contents, vehicles – everything. An FMG adviser visited the property, analysed the business and its unique intricacies, and came up with a policy that ticked all of their boxes. For example, the cheese must be refrigerated so their policy includes cover just in case something happens to the chiller.
“You don’t know what you don’t know,” says Adrian. “For people who are new to the country, there might be things that they haven’t even thought about. For example, if your livestock get out on the road and cause an accident, you’re liable.
“It’s a bit of a cliché but peace of mind is essential. Dealing with an insurance specialist that specifically looks after farms and rural businesses is a no-brainer. We’re really thankful for our relationship with FMG.”
Credit: Stuff Ltd