Family chips in with spuds for community

The Collins clan (from left) Peter, Bonny, Jonty, Hamish, Emily (13), Mackenzie (15), Melanie,and...
The Collins clan (from left) Peter, Bonny, Jonty, Hamish, Emily (13), Mackenzie (15), Melanie,and (front) Simon Lemota, Lucas (6) and Brent, dropped off a 10kg bag of potatoes to every household in Pareora at Alert Level 3. PHOTO: CLAIRE ALLISON
Peter Collins is the Santa of spuds.

For the second year running, the Pareora farmer has rallied his family to make up 10kg bags of potatoes to deliver to every household in the small town.

Last year’s delivery was during the Alert Level 4 lockdown, but with different advice from police this year, the Collins clan had to wait until Level 3 to carry out the drop-offs.

Three generations of the family work together on Dalmore Farm, so many hands made light work of bagging up the potatoes, loading the truck and doing the delivery.

"We stayed in our own bubble, and went out.

"Nobody really sees us. We just duck in and out, and leave them at letterboxes.

"There’s a lot of stops and starts, so it’s probably about four hours all up."

The Agria potatoes, which were left with a contact phone number, were well received.

Mr Collins estimated they received about 70 thank-you texts and 50 phone calls.

As far as he is concerned, it is just something the family can do for their community — and a couple of tonnes of Agria potatoes out of a yield of about 1000 tonnes does not make too much of a dent.

Pareora born and bred, Mr Collins went to school in the township before making a start in farming as a young man.

"I started off growing spuds. I was only a kid, with no money, so I went around farmers and asked for their roadsides. That’s where I started, and now we own 1000ha. We’ve bought out the valley."

A big part of the Dalmore Farm operation is now a 1200-head herd of dairy cows, but Mr Collins says he is not ready to give up the potatoes completely — 100ha is now about 20ha but he is not sure there will come a day there are none on the property.

"I’ve just about finished growing spuds, but it’s a bit of a disease with me. I’ve grown them for 60 years."

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