Adapting to change the key to longevity

Adapting to change the key to longevity
More than 100 years on the land for the Jackson family was aptly recognised at the Century Farm Awards.

Peter and Deborah Jackson are members of an exclusive club that recognises and celebrates New Zealand’s rich and diverse pioneering heritage.
Century Farms New Zealand recognises those farming families the depth and breadth of the country that have owned and worked their land for 100 years or more.
Two years ago Peter and Deborah along with many other like-minded descendants from New Zealand’s pioneering farmers attended the Century Farms Awards evening in Lawrence, Central Otago, sharing stories of courage, perseverance and personal sacrifice.
The land that is now Peter Jackson Vineyards was originally bought by Peter’s great-great grandfather Adam Jackson who set sail from England on board the Martha Ridgeway, arriving in Nelson in 1842.
Thirteen years later Adam purchased a parcel of 330 acres in Marlborough’s Upper Wairau District, naming it ‘Runnymede’, a reference back to his old English routes.
The Jackson family has retained that original parcel of land, though its usage has evolved over the years from mixed cropping, sheep, then garlic to its current use growing sauvignon blanc grapes.“Change is part of farming—particularly the changes here over the last 50 to 80 years,” says Peter. “We’ve adapted to the changing times.
You know my father went through hard times with the land and his farming way-way back. For a while we were virtually living off the smell of an oily rag when the sheep and lamb prices were no good and then a couple of crops fell over and bits and pieces like that.”
Passionate about farming from a young age, Peter’s fascination with garlic provided pocket money and then a good living at a time when his father struggled to pay his wages.
Eventually, under Peter’s guidance garlic became the farm’s primary crop until Peter adapted to the changing times again, becoming` a viticulturist.

Adapting to change the key to longevity
The Northbank site is under development with 16 hectares planted last year, a further 12 hectares about to be planted and a 20,000 cubic metre dam in the very final stages of completion.

Peter reckons if his great-great grandfather was standing amongst the vines of plump sauvignon blanc grapes today looking over the land he first worked with his Clydesdales, he would be pretty chuffed.
“He would be quite proud of the fact that five successive generations had stayed on the land and just carried on. “I think that Adam Jackson would be a proud man. So would my father.”
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