Tired of the dairy farming life, a young couple from Marton have turned to growing pumpkin seeds and found a new lease of life.
Tom and Melissa Welch began planting pumpkin seeds on Tom's family farm in late 2017 after Tom found himself in a very low point.
Melissa suggested moving into town for a change of lifestyle but Tom wanted to stay on the land, a dairy farm that has been in his family since 1942.
"Dairy is nutritious, it's kept billions of people alive for thousands of years but so have seeds and they're very nutritious and that's a big part of what we want to do, we don't want to have anyone come up and say you shouldn't be doing that because we've had enough of that," Tom said.
Melissa said the couple picked themselves up and Tom suggested growing hemp and pumpkin seeds - creating Cannock Harvest.
"We thought well even if it doesn't work it has to be better then where we are and at the end of that year we started growing those seeds," Melissa said.
They grew four hectares of hemp over two years and in their first attempt, Cyclone Gita damaged the crop.
"Even though it went wrong we met so many great people and Tom was so happy that it didn't seem to matter that it didn't work."
The pumpkin seed growing took a turn in the other direction.
Tom said they began growing pumpkin seed after seeing the potential value of the crop.
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"We can average more or similar in pumpkin seeds weight per hectare as what we would in milk solids," Tom said.
Although the costs are higher in getting a kilo of pumpkin seed to the market than getting a kilo of milk solids out the gate, they are slowly learning how cover production costs.
"It's not as easy as you think that's for sure but the way we're gearing the business up at the moment I think we're doing pretty well," Tom said.
"I think it because we've hit the game just at the right time for what we're doing."
Melissa said they used some of the pumpkin seeds to make oil and flour.
"There's a bit of work in getting people knowledgeable about them but it's still fun work because each time you surprise someone with the taste."
Their first year of planting was a great success but in their second year, they battled weeds which will be a challenge in the coming year while remaining spray-free.
The couple began planting only two hectares of pumpkin seed on the 150-hectare farm but are hoping to plant 12 hectares at the end of this year.
Seeds are then dried over two days in a large dryer that Tom has made.
From there the seeds make their way down to Valhalla Seed Ltd in Longburn to be dressed out for any unwanted stones or chips.
The seeds then come back to the Cannock dairy farm and are packaged into bags for online and wholesale orders.
So far the couple stock to 14 wholesales around New Zealand including Bin Inn Whanganui.
The couple is now focusing on selling the last of their pumpkin seed oil and renovating their production sheds before their next season.
"It's quite nice with this business, I'm at home so I can still do things I love and do my work," Melissa. said.
"We're doing things together and going out and meeting people and it is a nice change."
The couple has made contact with celebrity chef Simon Gault who has offered to promote their products in Auckland gourmet grocery stores.
Toms parents both still work and help out on the dairy farm every day and they have employed a farmworker to give Tom and Melissa the time they need to focus on the pumpkin seeds.
The couple have decided not to grow hemp in the coming year but still have some seeds and leaves leftover to make balm and soaps as they are very keen on still being apart of the hemp association Melissa said.
They also plan to plant juniper, crab apples in the coming years while waiting for their already planted walnut trees and monkey puzzle trees to produce nuts.
"What we're doing and hope for other dairy farmers that want to stay dairy farming, the diversification I think is going to be a very important part of the future for the dairy farms and sheep and beef farms," Tom said.