A confessed born and bred a “city slicker”, Ali Scott has spent much of her career in the print industry. It wasn’t until Ali joined her partner Dion on his 1050ha Wairarapa property that she found herself involved in agriculture. Since then life on the farm has been all very new and exciting.
Life before farming had Ali involved in various sales and marketing roles. She was a General Manager for a Digital Printing Company when she moved to the sheep and beef property and continued to commute to the city whilst her son finished school. Always very jealous of Dion in red bands when much of her day was spent in heels, she made the decision to join the operation full time in 2013. Since then it’s been a steep learning curve for Ali and a busy time for her and Dion expanding their business twofold.
While the main farm is at Bideford, they have added a couple of lease finishing blocks with 40ha in Masterton and 180ha in Dannevirke, and bought a 540ha property in Pongaroa. More recently Dion and Ali tendered for the Belmont Region Park Farm, a 1200ha property in Wellington, and took over buying stock from LandCorp in July 2016. “The lease is for just under 10 years and we have a Contract Manager in place something that is a little new to the sheep and beef sector.”
Not one to sit still and seeing an opportunity to take ownership of their supply chain, Ali along with Dion’s support, has taken a portion of the business beyond the farm gate and directly into New Zealand family homes in the form of
Homegrown Farm Fresh Meats. “As farmers we are really very spoilt having a whole lamb in the freezer - the good old fashioned nose to tail eating. We wanted to find a way to supply our family, friends and acquaintances and their family, friends and acquaintances with our beautiful meat.” A key philosophy, and 2am lightbulb moment, is Know your Farmer, Know your Food. Connecting people with naturally farmed, ethically raised food is something they think is important.
“With more people wanting to know where their food is coming from and the story behind where the animal was born, we’ve been encouraged by the way that Homegrown Farm Fresh Meats has been received.“ Lamb boxes have been a starting point and creating a quality product is key. The lambs they breed are Romney/Texel in conjunction with the Charollais. “We have found that they are a high meat yielding sheep meaning more meat and less bone for the customer. They also lay their fat down differently creating intramuscular fat. This intramuscular fat gives the lamb a distinct softness and flavour which add to the overall eating experience.”
They have just added Angus Beef packs are very excited about the Speckle Park meat that they will be starting to market in about 6 months’ time. “The Speckle Park breed marbles like the Wagyu but only takes 22 months to grow. "Calving is one of Ali’s favourite times on the farm - it is really exciting to see what unique speckle markings each calf has.”
It's early days but Ali is enjoying the journey she is on in the agricultural industry. “Meat is something that we are passionate about and who better to sell and market it than the people that create it. There has been a lot of talk over the last few years about doing it and it's awesome to be able to give it a shot. We certainly won't die wondering.” One thing that continues to blow her away is the incredible personal level that they end up on having with their customers.
Life must be a little different to that of a career in the city but we can only imagine how fulfilling it must be to be doing something that means so much to you and your partner. Catering to the consumer and offering the luxuries of meat we are so used to is genius and we know you will continue to be a success!