Lucy Appleton and Christo Keijzer established their Wairiri Buffalo Farm in the mid-2000s.
It’s near Glenroy in the Selwyn District of Canterbury. Wairiri is the name after the awa, or stream, which runs through the property. Like so many artisans, they had professional careers before finding their true love. Lucy did bookkeeping, which she continued in the early years as they established their operation. Christo is originally from the Netherlands, moving here in 1992, and was an engineer. He worked outdoors in the tourism industry for a decade before returning to engineering. Those skills have been more than useful in installing and looking after the milking shed and cheese factory. They’ve both been full time on cheesemaking since the late-2010s.
Wairiri Buffalo Farm is two-fifths native forest and wetland reserve, and Lucy and Christo are fully committed to sustainability and maintaining this ratio. They share an approach of living at one with the whenua, and their commitment includes looking to global best practice in sustainable animal care. They have fenced off the awa and planted the banks to filter runoff, but the buffalo are otherwise left to roam free. A distinguishing feature of buffalo is their cloven hooves, which means they don’t pug the soil like, say, cows do.
Winter feed is grown on the farm, which is wholly organic. They use biodegradable packaging whenever they can. Buffalo produce A2 milk which is claimed to have more calcium and protein and less cholesterol than cow’s milk.
Their milk is both light and smooth, and simultaneously high in fact and creamy, and ensure their range of Italian and French style cheeses are simply fabulous.