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TAS Country : December 2nd 2010
16 Friday, Decem FARM FEATURE A berr DEMAND: Malcolm and Tony Wolfe next to the raspberries. Pictures: JENNIFER CRAWLEY land THIS Jennifer Crawley PIONEERS: T MALCOLM and Tony Wolfe have been selling berries for a long long time. Wolfes Berry Farm at Neika has been in the family for over 100 years with some original raspberry plantings still in the ground. Gooseberries, raspberries, loganberries, red currants, black currants, Kentish cherries and josterberries fan out along a valley hidden away in the Western foothills of Mt Wellington. Large green gooseberries are ripening in a bed of horse manure. Gooseberries are popular with customers who make gooseberry pies. ''When he's ripe, he's very, very sweet with a very high vitamin C,'' Malcolm said. There is one customer who only buys Wolfes gooseberries to have with vodka. ''A bloke comes in often and gets a couple of kilos of green gooseberry,'' Malcolm said. '''I eat, I sit there, watch TV, eat gooseberry and skull vodka,' he says. I thought, righto.'' It is the customers that keep Malcolm, 63, and Tony, 60, going, generations of the same families have visited the farm to buy fruit. ''A little girl came in with her mother,'' Malcolm said. ''The mother asked us how we get our fruit to grow so big and so beautiful. When I told her we put a lot of horse manure on it, the little girl said 'mummy, mummy we put cream on ours'.'' The Wolfe men decided to continue farming some years ago. Both work off the farm and spend weekends and after work on their ''labour of love.'' ''We contemplated whether to put it all into grass and have an easy life,'' Malcolm said. ''We don't play golf and we don't go to the pub. It was our customers who wanted us to keep it going, and we have.'' The Wolfe brothers have built up such a reputation they don't advertise. They start picking gooseberries in early December and continue through to March. ''Raspberries need three things,'' Malcolm said. ''Reasonably good soil, a lot of water and a lot of sun, the sun puts the flavour and the ripeness in him.'' ''They've got to be sunkissed,'' Tony said. The Wolfe men never get sick of berries because they never eat them. ''We love the juice from the yostaberry and the blackcurrant,'' Malcolm said. The Wolfe wives are in charge of jam and juice making. ''I'm not a cook, I grow them,'' Malcolm said The Wolfes are originally from Germany. Tony is the family historian. In April 1855 their great grandparents Maria and John and six year old son Herman arrived in Australia, their 18-month-old baby died on the voyage. Maria and John could read, speak and write reasonable English and were sponsored to Tasmania by A J Nichols of Nant at Bothwell. ''He was a gardener and she was a housekeeper,'' Tony said. Malcolm and Tony's grandfather George was born at another property in Nieka in 1870. George went to the Queenstown mines to earn the money to pay for a property further in the bush, where they are now. ''He cut his way in with an axe, made himself a
November 25th 2010
December 9th 2010