Dutch couple, Johan and Miriam van der Gaag, bought their property in Cambridge when they moved to New Zealand in 1984. Johan is a very talented craftsman; building and constructing their family home along with an impressive series of glass houses... Johan has since fashioned a novel hobbit hole in a hidden nook of their property for the grand-kids!
Johan and Miriam must have a thing for Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, their holdings, Rivendel Gardens pays homage to the Elven outpost -Rivendell - in Tolkien's Middle-Earth. Johan and Miriam decided to go with the Dutch spelling with one 'L'. They joke that they chose that name long before Sir Peter Jackson made The Lord of the Rings even more famous.
Today they have 1000 square metres of glasshouses, growing many varieties of tomatoes, plus courgettes, cucumbers, capsicums and hot peppers. They sell from a farm shed - using a red plastic nail container as their honesty box - as well as Hamilton and Cambridge Farmers' Markets.
Like many Dutchmen, the van der Gaag's have music in their blood- Johan hand crafts guitars and Irish bouzoukis in his wood-turning workshop- a skill he developed when they returned to the Netherlands. Gorgeous native timbers such as kauri, mangeao and other local wood, are the materials of choice. Johan hosts guitar making workshops, helping others to develop their passion and appreciation for music.