Kurt and Lisa Portas are the driving forces behind Palliser Ridge Lamb, a 1300ha sheep and beef station located in South Wairarapa. Farm manager Kurt chatted with the team about the new lamb pack they are just beginning to offer customers.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
"Palliser Ridge Farm was purchased by Jim and Marilyn Law in 2001. I joined the team as stock manager in 2008, and in 2010 I took the reins as farm manager.
In 2013, I was given the opportunity to become a shareholder in the business thanks to Jim and Marilyn and my wife Lisa and I officially made Pirinoa our long term home.
Nowadays I employ two full-time staff and one general hand, as well as mentoring Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre students each year. The farm itself has grown to 1300ha and is home to 7000 sheep and 1000 cattle.
The concept of Palliser Ridge Lamb came about through a friend of ours teeing us up with local butcher Gavin Green, to supply lamb into the Greytown Butchery. From there Lisa and I ran with the idea of marketing our story and finding ways to help consumers recognise Palliser Ridge as a trusted brand in the Wairarapa. With input from Jim and Marilyn, Gavin and a few others, we’ve been able to stay true to our underlying message of traceable local food, from an environmentally responsible producer."
What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
"At present Palliser Ridge supplies traceable lamb into the Greytown Butchery, where Gavin Green and his team showcase the finest cuts in store, while also supplying a number of local restaurants and food establishments.
The point of difference for Palliser Ridge Lamb is that it’s a product with a story, we know how important it is for consumers to know where their food has come from, and what’s in it, and with our lamb products, they are getting just that.
We are fortunate to have Cabernet Food on board to assist with processing and delivering of our prime lambs. A Wairarapa based family business, with MPI accreditations; we know that Cabernet Foods is a crucial part of tracing the product from Palliser Ridge to the retail outlets.
Our lambs are grass fed on a range of forages including herb grasses, as opposed to grain fed, and we are always looking for ways that we can work in with nature rather than against it on the farm."
Has there been any recent company news?
"We do have a new product on the horizon, through our partnership with Greytown Butchery. We’re excited to bring our customers the option of purchasing their own whole traceable Palliser Ridge Lamb, conveniently packaged into a selection of roasts, chops and racks all ready for the freezer. It’s the affordability of purchasing in bulk, without the hassle of portioning or packing your own meat. Keep a look out on our website and Facebook page for the official launch."
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
"Going forward we’re looking to take Palliser Ridge Lamb further afield than the Wairarapa, with a couple of opportunities in Wellington presenting themselves, we’re confident you’ll be seeing more of us in the near future."
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?
"Our products can currently be purchased through the Greytown Butchery, for those wanting already processed lamb. We would love to see Palliser Ridge Lamb branch out of the Wairarapa, particularly into our neighbouring regions where we can still bring that local feel to our consumers.
We are currently taking expressions of interest for other retail opportunities, such as butcheries or boutique New Zealand produce retailers."