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Picture 037, originally uploaded by espeedy123.

That’s what Jacky yells in her Kiwi accent out the kitchen window to the sheep grazing down the hill on her farm just north of Auckland. A chorus of “baas!” greets her back.

We stayed two nights at the farmstay that Jacky and her husband Norman have. It’s near Matakana, the place a recent Saveur magazine called a gourmet paradise.

The farmer’s market featured in the story was a bit touristy, but the food everywhere exceeded even our high expectations, I suppose because everything is so fresh.

Jacky mentioned how tasty freshly dug potatoes are. When I said I had never eaten one so new, she found some small ones in a mound of dirt and fixed them for me! What was most different was the texture, they were very smooth. Very tasty!

Their farm has three cows and a few dozen sheep, and an excellent view of the ocean. The sheep are mainly arapawas, which have black wool and look sort of exotic. The one in this photo is the more common NZ Romney. Her name is Lily. A few days after leaving the farm we visited Sheep World in Rotorua and saw 19 other varieties of sheep, but none so interesting as the arapawa.

Staying on the farm, and talking with Jacky and Norman, taught us a lot about New Zealand we never would have learned elsewhere. I highly recommend farmstays, Jacky’s in particular!