Steve Stern, Countdown supplier and owner of Patoa Farms in Canterbury
Steve Stern, Countdown supplier and owner of Patoa Farms in Canterbury

Countdown announced today that going forward, all its fresh pork would be 100 percent free farmed and sourced from the Canterbury region. Customers are demanding more sustainable, ethical alternatives, and North Canterbury’s Patoa Farms fits the bill.

Patoa Farms has been free farming pork since 1998, and is certified by the SPCA. Free farming is not the same as free range. Free farmed sows are outside in a paddock, and piglets are raised in barns after they’re weaned. There are no crates nor stalls to trap sows in place. Less than two percent of New Zealand’s pigs are farmed free range.

Countdown’s Head of Meat Alton Gullery said the move to 100 percent free farmed pork was an example of working with suppliers to reach a better outcome for customers. “We know that provenance, supporting local Kiwi producers, and animal welfare are all increasingly important considerations for our customers,” said Gullery. “Steve [Sterne] and his team and Patoa Farms have set the bar high for free farmed pork.”

Sterne, owner of Patoa Farms, said the company was delighted to help make free farmed pork accessible for all New Zealanders.

The partnership is a welcome boost for the Canterbury region, which has also benefited from Countdown’s earlier announcement that it would use 100 percent New Zealand wheat in its store-baked products.