Wes Reichel is of German, French and Scottish descent and is the third generation to farm the land south of Ettrick on the main road.
He has 10 hectares of very arable land which he took over from his father in 1971. Wes likes to grow high value produce and for this reason grows very few leafy vegetables, rather concentrating on courgettes, garlic and his novel bush fire pumpkins.
The name Te Mahanga refers to a tiny settlement in the North Island, and was named prior to Wes’s family owning the land.
Wes’s grandfather planted an orchard which his father took over through the war years. In 1971 when it was Wes’s time to take over he took out a lot of the old varieties of trees and looked to the future.
Wes started at the Otago Farmers Market about two months after its inception and was totally blown away by how much produce got sold there. It was a learning curve in the first few years to determine how much to plant and what would do well.
Wes considers the market to be a real boon for smaller growers who have been locked out of supermarkets. His customers at the market want to buy fruit that is ready to eat or very close to it, rather than the rock hard fruit which is often all that is available at the supermarket.
Wes grows everything from seed. He sources his seed from Terranova, South Pacific seeds and Kings. He likes to look through catalogues to see what new varieties he might want to try. His very popular bush fire pumpkins are a result of this type of research and customers like them because you can eat the skin.
Wes has a great stall at the market for about seven or eight months of the year.