Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand
1600 merinos on 178 hectares
She does everything herself, Meg Taylor, a friendly lady who sometimes get a couple of guys over to help her when things gets busy, but who mainly take care of her maximum 1600 merinos all alone. “Being a small farm means I can have very high standards, because every paddock and sheep counts”, says Meg who for many years ran a luxury lodge on Riverrun, where tourists got to wake up in magic surroundings. She sold the company a year ago, to concentrate entirely on farming. Now she lives in a converted woolshed, where she uses a part of it for the tractor and equipment, and the rest for living in a bright, open and modern space, with concrete floors and huge glass doors with views to the river and thick willows in a saturated blue and green environment.
Meg and her late husband bought Riverrun in 1995, her being a first generation sheep farmer. “If you feel passionate about something I think you do it well”, she says. Riverrun is a small farm standing on different levels in the landscape, since it´s placed on terraces made from former ice age glaciers. The sheep are moved all over the farm all year. But right now, Meg says, the lambs are on the top, the ewes by the river where they have access to a high protein plant called alfalfa, while her home and irrigation are in the middle terrace. She does not use insecticides at all. “I am trying to move towards organic farming, and be proactive when it comes to sheep health, so I have introduced a lot of herbal pasture mixes lately”.
A couple of times a week she brings her mountain bike straight from her front door and whizzes along the river down to a little town on trails dotted with coffee shops. Recently she also has become involved in SUP, an activity where she will stand on a paddleboard and paddle her way down the calm, deep and aqua blue river, into a big lake and then over to some small islands where she brings out her snacks form the pockets of her lifejacket. “Wanaka is all about the outdoors, with lots of climbing, sailing, and kayaking in the summer, and skiing and snowboarding in the winter”, she says. “Everybody, being a teacher, engineer or a builder, is into sports”. But most of all, Meg is into wool. She loves her work, and says merino wool is a practical, long lasting product she “believes in and feels connected to as an outdoor person”.