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Nadia Lim’s sweet surprise ‘our first farm baby’

The celebrity cook can’t wait to welcome the new arrival and she reveals why it feels so different this time

Spring weather may have finally made its presence known at Nadia Lim’s Otago farm, but there’s a wee snowball causing a flurry of excitement around the place.

Yes, there’s still some of the white, fluffy stuff lingering on the hills, but the snowball Nadia is talking about is what her two young boys, Bodhi, six, and River, four, have affectionately named their new baby brother or sister, due in late summer.

As the culinary guru and her husband Carlos Bagrie sit down with the Weekly over a café lunch to share their exciting news, she’s relaxed and glowing. At five months’ pregnant, she is adjusting to her sweet surprise.

Nadia and Carlos reveal sons Bodhi (left) and River want a sister.

“I don’t seem to be as big this time around and I’m finally feeling much better now,” she smiles, before digging into a roast vege salad. “Up until 16 weeks, I was just blugh… constantly feeling like I was carsick.

“In the early days, I had citrus cravings and I ate a lot of oranges. And then there was about three weeks where I suddenly got very hungry all the time and wanted a pie! So I found a very good pie shop in Frankton and was there sometimes as early as 9.30am after I dropped the kids off to school.”

Having recently been to her 20-week scan with her mother Julie, Nadia says that when the radiologist told them, “If you don’t want to know the gender, look away now,” she turned and closed her eyes.

“But I’m not 100 percent sure my mum looked away the whole time,” she laughs.

“It’ll be nice to have a surprise. With Bodhi and River, we saw straight away on the scan that they were boys. It was so obvious!

“I’ve been busy cooking up this little one,” Nadia posted on social media.

“I think this will be another boy,” she adds. “River is hoping it’s going to be a girl. He says, ‘We need another girl because you’re the only girl in our family, Mummy!’ Almost all their cousins are boys, all of our pets are boys – even all the orphan lambs are boys! We definitely need some more estrogen around the place.”

Although the couple had always hoped for a large family, they weren’t actively trying for a third.

In July – while up in Auckland for the All Blacks’ test against Ireland – Nadia mentioned to Carlos she had missed a period.

“I thought, ‘Hmm…’ So an hour before the game, Carlos went out and bought a pregnancy test for me. Seeing the positive result, we were pleased. I’m not someone who gets overly excited because I’m so practical-minded.

“So, it was like, ‘Yay, that’s great’, but in the back of my mind, I’m aware it’s also not a 100 percent given either.”

Their baby joy comes after Nadia suffered a miscarriage at 13 weeks in May last year. However, it was a “missed miscarriage” and she later discovered the embryo had actually died at nine weeks’ gestation.

“I don’t want to take away from the pain others feel, and of course we were sad, yet I felt lucky we already had two healthy kids and that was probably the biggest feeling I had more than anything else,” she muses.

“Yeah, it was a really good reminder of the fragility of life,” agrees Carlos, 37. “Losing the baby stung, but it’s nature, right? Living on the farm, you see that happen all the time and you learn you’re no different.”

Three years ago, the ambitious couple moved from Auckland to take over Royalburn Station, a 485- hectare sheep and barley farm between Arrowtown and Cardrona.

Within a year of taking over, they quickly started diversifying the operation and today, it also includes an organic market garden, as well as pasture-raised, free-range eggs and honey operations, and grows a wide portfolio of spray-free (fungicide and pesticide free) crops such as sunflowers, legumes and cereals.

It’s been an impressive undertaking and is also the subject of their new TV series Nadia’s Farm, which began filming a year ago to show the realities of their sustainable farming journey.

Sweet scenes with the kids on Nadia’s Farm.

They joke that date nights now consist of Nadia sitting in bed reading soil science books and then translating the information for Carlos to put into practice.

The passionate farmers first met 18 years ago during Re-orientation Week at Otago University. She was studying nutrition and dietetics, while Carlos was doing marketing and psychology.

“On our second date, he said to me, ‘One day, I’m going to go back to the land and become a farmer,'” recalls Nadia. “And he kind of said it in a way to see what my reaction was. I’m sure it would have been a red flag for him if I said I wasn’t keen! Obviously, it was a really positive reaction and I know from that moment, he probably thought, ‘Okay, she can stay on – we have a shot at this.'”

Carlos is a fifth-generation farmer who grew up with three sisters on his parents’ farm in Southland. Returning to the land felt like an “itch I could never scratch”, until now.

He tells, “I’m super-proud of Nadia because to take her away from the city, from her friends and family, and come to a new location and do something entirely different, has been a big thing. But she’s taken it all in her stride.”

With Carlos on Nadia’s Farm.

For their young sons, who don’t remember city life before shifting south, the grass is proving a bit greener on the other side.

Says Nadia, “When our friends from the city visit, their kids are over the moon to collect the eggs, pull up carrots from the garden and feed the lambs.

“But with our boys, I ask them, ‘Can you feed the lambs?’ And they’re like, ‘Nah.’ But what’s exciting for them is visiting my mum in Auckland, where they have ‘real trains and big buildings’. They say, ‘Can we go to Grandma’s and see the Sky Tower and get lunch from the Sushi train place? They love that.”

So will Grandma be coming down to help when baby number three is born? “Well, if you print that she is, then maybe she will!” jokes Nadia. “Yes, hopefully. She’s a hands-on grandma and actually delivered her only granddaughter three months ago in her house.

“It was my brother Jason and his wife Ying’s first baby. At 3.30am, my brother knocked on Mum’s door and said, ‘I think the baby might be coming.’ Mum went to nursing school a very long time ago, so she gets up and assumes that as a first baby, this labour will likely take ages. She goes into the guest bedroom and realises, ‘Oh, the baby is really coming’ and grabs some towels. My brother catches baby and hands her straight to Mum.”

When Nadia’s new addition arrives, she plans to plant the placenta under a specimen tree, strap baby in the front pack and carry on with harvesting summer crops.

A wee Nadia with her mum Julie, who is a dab hand at delivering babies.

Looking over at her husband of 10 years, she suggests because February isn’t in the midst of lambing season, a summer birth “is quite a good time for us, right?”

“Ah, there’s no good time on a farm like ours because it’s so diverse,” he explains. “The best time probably would have been winter…”

“Oh, sorry, Carlos!” says Nadia, screwing up her face in mock defeat, before they break into peals of laughter.

The couple is keen to have another home birth, however there’s more to consider this time now that they’re living rurally. If something was to go wrong, it’s a two-and-a- half-hour drive to the hospital in Invercargill.

“So that’s not ideal,” she says. “While I’ve had two very textbook births, we have to think about this one. We may have to camp out in a tin-roofed hut we have on some land further south in the days leading up!”

When River was born unexpectedly on their bedroom floor a week before his due date, Nadia was secretly happy to get the home birth she had dreamed of.

For Carlos, it was peppered with relief when the midwives arrived less than five minutes before River’s grand entrance.

“To be honest, I was preparing to deliver him and I think I would have been fine. I’ve delivered hundreds of lambs… it can’t be too different, right?” he grins. “Okay, perhaps don’t put

that in!”

Nadia’s Farm screens 7.30pm Wednesdays on Three and streaming on ThreeNow.

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