The Barnes Family Farm

Farming runs in the family and Andrew uses this experience and knowledge to have a successful organic farm in the highlands of Canterbury.  

Located just south of Mt Hutt in Highbank, Canterbury, the Barnes Family Farm sits at 300 meters, providing the perfect climate for Andrew to specialise in growing certified organic carrots, potatoes, parsnips, yams, and onions. 

Andrew comes from a family with a long history of farming.  His great grandad farmed in the UK, his grandad farmed in Belfast, Christchurch, and his dad followed their footsteps. So it’s no wonder Andrew has become somewhat of an expert when it comes to growing root vegetables in the highlands. 

Andrew gained quite a bit of experience in multiple farming contracts, and eventually decided it was time to have his own farm. Part of this was for the freedom and part of it was to lead a healthier lifestyle and cut the chemicals out of his work place. So Barnes Family Farm was born. 10 years on and Andrew, with the help of only one part time employee, looks after 20 acres of certified organic land. The farm is certified organic by BioGro, one of New Zealand’s leading organic certifiers.

Andrew has a passion for farming, organics, biodiversity and growing safe food, sustainably. He finds the greatest challenge to organic farming is the weeds and the carrot fly. He manages this pest through rotation planting. Carrot flies do not like onions, so planting rows of onions between the carrot paddocks minimises their spread. Clever.  

He explains to me that healthy plants have a better chance of fighting off pests, so he supplements his crops with fish oil and seaweed. He also restores the soil with cover cropping. 

For example, following a season of carrots, he plants clover or mustard in that paddock. These crops then get tilled into the soil. The paddock may rest for a year, then potatoes are planted.  When carrots finally return to that paddock, the soil has been restored and has the nutrients to support healthy plants. This regenerative practice takes a mix of time, knowledge and passion, which Andrew is dedicated to. 

Running his own organic farm is juggling act. Therefore he prefers to work with a wholesaler, such as Chantal Organics, who can market and sell his vegetables to those looking for healthy organic produce. This allows him the time and flexibility to focus on growing, where he finds he is most happy. 

RECIPES USING The Barnes Family Farm

Twice Cooked Salt & Vinegar Roast Potatoes
This simple recipe combines the classic roast potato with the popular potato chip flavour to create a mouth-watering side dish. Apple cider vinegar creates a subtle vinegar flavour which everyone will enjoy.
Carrot, Thyme and Butter Bean Tart
A moreish flaky puff pastry tart filled with a butter bean purée and topped with roasted baby carrots, red onion, garlic, and thyme. Top it off with hemp seeds and a sprinkle of fresh thyme. 
Vegan Potato Salad with Green Cashew Cream
A simple yet delicious salad, perfect as a side or for a dinner party. You will love the crispiness of the potatoes and kumara and this vegan dressing will quickly become one of your favourites!