In 1998, famers Steve Sterne and Jens Ravn discovered their dream block of land nestled upon the south bank of the Hurunui River in North Canterbury. Here they established Patoa Farms: an outdoor pig farm, providing an environment as close to the pigs’ natural habitat as possible.
Fast forward 25 years and Patoa Farms is one of New Zealand’s largest pig farms. With Steve and his daughter Holly now at the helm, Patoa produces around 100,000 animals a year with a focus on providing a free range environment for the breeding sows and producing pork in the most eco-friendly and sustainable way possible.
Patoa’s sows freely roam the expansive property and use straw-based shelters for farrowing. Large eco-barns with deep litter straw are used for finishing. The farm waste – manure and used straw – is all composted; all part of Patoa’s approach to free-farming. Patoa Farms is proud to be an SPCA Blue Tick approved company as well as Pig Care accredited: both acknowledgements to the level of care they put into rearing their animals.
And of course, all of this careful farming makes for a finished product of exceptional quality. Patoa Farms pork can be found on Countdown supermarket shelves under their own brand and they are the exclusive suppliers of Harris Farms.
Why North Canterbury? The geography, soil type, access to local communities and bio-security aspects of our current location make for an ideal environment for farming pigs. Most of the outdoor farms in New Zealand are based in the Canterbury region.
What’s your favourite thing to do in North Canterbury? Keeping it simple; I love to walk up to the lookout on the Hurunui bluff road in the early evening and see the river and hills beyond as the sun is starting to set. You just can’t beat that view!
Top three North Canterbury brands?