Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hilbarn Goes To Scottsdale

NEW SERVICE: Thanks to Willo in Scottsdale who let us know about her local, friendly bus service to northeast towns. Wayne (above) from Saintys North-East Bus Service picks up your packed and wrapped hilbarn fresh produce box from us at 830 am each Monday and will deliver it to your door in Scottsdale within the hour for a delivery charge per box of $5. If you live in the area and would like to experience hilbarn fresh produce boxes, just email us at hilbarn@bigpond.com

Friday, December 24, 2010

Berried Treasures

Our hand made berry boxes looked like angel's wings all lined up in anticipation of the arrival of the elves. Finally, after travelling over many valleys and hills to find their treasures, they arrived carrying baskets and boxes of local berries freshly picked with love. Suddenly, Bron arrived with buckets of her shiny redcurrants. "Here, would you like them? There are seven kilos!" "Oh, yes please," the elves cried, and set to packing them along with all the other dazzling jewel-like berries.

There were lush red strawberries from Wendy and Craig & Lyndy and Dave, fat juicy purple brambles and silvanberries from Nat and Corey, ruby red raspberries from Trevor and Rose, cheerful cherries from Jan and Rob, plump bruisy blueberries from Rachel and family, and early season apricots from Rob (like little sunshines).
The elves worked themselves into bed that night, satisfied that the hilbarn berry boxes would look like golden chariots fit for the crown jewels of fruit!

And when Greg and Carla Best came to pick up their boxes we knew the happy smiles on their children's faces were worth all the effort in the world!

Happy Christmas! See you next year!

Sweet Peas In A Pod

Over the past two years, we've really enjoyed seeing young ones growing up and appreciating fresh produce on their doorstep. Here Toby and Jasper (who you'll remember picked passionfruit from their back garden for hilbarn boxes last year) have their first fresh podded pea experience!
And the results? YUM!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Cherry Christmas

When we started taking orders for our traditional hilbarn Christmas Berry Box back in September, we weren't imagining the season would be quite so bad for berries. To be perfectly frank, despite it being the longest day of the year tomorrow, summer hasn't even started (just 4 degrees Celsius forecast for tonight...)! In fact, one northeast cherry grower told us it's been the worst season they'd seen in 30 years. "Ha, cherries," he said when we called him last Sunday. "Not one!" - What, not one kilo? we asked. "No, not one cherry!" Yikes. Tough on strawberry and blueberry growers, too. Our pre-orders sold like hotcakes, though, so we've had a few restless nights wondering if we'd be able to get any fruit at all! We've travelled far afield, scouring the Tasmanian countryside, and finally found luscious cherries in Ross. They were picked this morning, ready for today's lunchtime pick up (above). A big thank you to Jan and Rob Riggall of Somercotes for coming to the rescue at short notice with their red and white (yes, white) cherries! We also received calls today from our blueberry, raspberry and strawberry growers which means, along with an added seasonal surprise, our Christmas berry box will be overflowing and most excellent value. We're contemplating doing another in the New Year when summer finally shows up!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Last Sunday Pack of the Year

A big end of year thank you to Des, Rhonda, Bron, Paul, and Vikki, and to Barn's kids Rachael, James and Billy (& Harry the dog) for sharing the making, packing and delivering of hilbarn boxes this year. We really appreciate everything you bring to what we do.

Thank You To All Our Growers

Here's Johan and Nathalie from Kindred with their freshly cut broccoli harvested for tomorrow's hilbarn boxes. It always seems to be raining whenever we pick up in Kindred, and - sure enough - we arrived in the middle of this morning's downpour. Perfect heads of broccoli complement new potatoes, carrots, new season swedes and parsnips from Scottsdale, mignonette lettuce from Thirlstane, tomatoes from Turners Beach, garlic from Devonport, Moroccan mint from the hilbarn garden and first-of-the-season, sweet fresh peas from Spreyton. Hopefully we've got both salad and roast options covered for Xmas lunch! Thank you to all the growers who have been with us this year. We're looking forward to sharing new harvests with you in 2011.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Clever Re-Use #3

In our travels around Tassie picking up and delivering produce there's usually something we see that stops our day. This "lavender bed" (left) in Broadmarsh and flower trailer (right) at a customer's home in Underwood are among our favourites. Not only are they creative ways of displaying plants, they also seem to keep the wallabies away!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Sunday Pack

Packing nights with Rhonda and Bron usually involve sustenance of the grape variety. Tonight, Bron brought her homemade biscotti for us to try. It works. Recipe has been requested... Tomorrow's hilbarn boxes have just been packed with baby beetroot, new potatoes, baby carrots, cos lettuce, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onions, Granny Smith apples, strawberries and fresh oregano.

UPDATED 20/12/10. Here's Bron's recipe for Hazelnut Biscotti:

200g plain flour, 50g SR flour, 220g caster sugar, 2 eggs beaten lightly, 75g roasted hazelnuts, 1 tsp vanilla essence.
Preheat oven to moderate. Sift flours and sugar into large bowl. Add egg, nuts and essence, stir until mixture becomes firm dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until mixture just comes together. Shape mixture into 25cm log. Place on greased oven tray. Bake in moderate oven about 35 mins or until firm. Cool on tray.
Using a serrated or electric knife, ut log into 5mm diagonal slices. Place slices on non greased oven trays. Bake in moderate oven about 10 minutes or until biscotti are dry and crisp.
Makes 25 slices.
TIP: to roast hazelnuts, spread nuts on oven tray. Roast in moderate oven about 5 mins or until nuts are golden brown. Stir nuts once during roasting. Wrap nuts in tea towel, and rub vigorously to remove most of skin.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Morning Glory

Finally the rain has stopped and you can see the relief in the hilbarn garden patch. The corn (left) has loved the downpour, our early basil (centre) is thriving (along with the snails), but our spring onion seedlings (right) planted last weekend have flattened under the 40 mls deluge. Hopefully today's sunshine will help them work out which way is up!

Eating Artichoke

It's the first time either of us has grown globe artichoke and we had a fun time last night cooking it up to have on pizza. Thanks Kim for the guidance. Sucking the leaves was a delicacy (though the flesh is never enough), and finding the heart is a ravenous journey (so many layers to peel off). Next time we'll boil more! Whoever had the original idea to eat a thistle (far right, the unpicked choke) has to be congratulated!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sprouting in Shearwater

When we picked up bean sprouts from The Marshalls of Shearwater yesterday morning, it was all hands on deck! And, thankfully, everyone was in one place for us to take a quick snap. Here is, from left to right, dad Phillip, Sam, Maddison, Jamieson, mum Angela and Cody. Thanks, guys, for the wonderful alfalfa, pea sprouts and today's bean sprouts, and for being flexible enough for us to pick up on a Sunday.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Under the Rainbow

A jewel-bright rainbow appeared right in front of Mt Arthur on Saturday. Watching it from home on the verandah was magic as the rain lashed sideways.

Then, the arc spread right in front of us and doubled! Too hard to get both rainbows into the photo, but the moment will be remembered nonetheless...

There's always another side of the coin when it comes to beauty. And with all this rain, you have to spare a thought for the cherry growers. When we dropped into the nearby cherry farm yesterday to check on this year's crop, Frank told us it's been the worst season for cherries for 30 years. We're keeping our fingers crossed for the Xmas order...

Spoils of a Tassie Day #2

Here are strawberries from a roadside shed at Shearwater, cherry liqueur from The Cherry Shed in Latrobe, and roses meeting proteas in a Christmas bouquet from Don market. We love our pick up Sundays! Packing tonight for tomorrow's hilbarn boxes.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kissing Apples x

This is sweet Chloe. She found the kissing apples in her mum's hilbarn fresh produce box last week and is now looking after them in her bedroom. She is so lucky her next box is complimentary. Thank you to her mum Susan for sending us this gorgeous photo.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Apple Kiss

First, albino carrots. Now, Siamese apples! Twin cores! Have you ever seen anything like it? Attached at the stalk - too cute for words. So, naturally, we've planted the pretty pair in one of this week's hilbarn fresh produce boxes, and if you happen to be the lucky recipient let us know because your next box is free on us!

Trees For You!

Our friends at Killiecrankie Farm and Jardiniere, Glengarry, are featured in this week's hilbarn box: their famous Christmas trees are ready for purchase! We've dropped a leaflet into this week's hilbarn box with all the details, or you can drop us a note here and we'll put you in touch. So good to know the trees are grown in Tassie soil, under Tassie sun, with good old Tassie TLC. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hang Your Puddings!

LinkIt's a conflict of seasons: a traditional Christmas pud hanging out to dry on a beautiful spring day by the sea. While visiting a friend last week for a cup of tea we spotted it drying out on the deck - a reminder that Christmas is not that far away. A little research (with acknowledgment to Gourmet Traveller magazine) and we discover that, traditionally, five Sundays before Christmas Day is exactly the time to hang your puds!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Whispering calves

We photographed these six week old Murray Greys pillow-talking at the annual Scottsdale Show last Friday, in 29 degrees Celsius heat! So, what makes a champion breed? While watching the judging for the Belted Galloway cows and their calves, it was interesting to hear the New Zealand judge speak about valuing the ability of the cow to produce rather than just how the beasts scrubbed up on the day. Just a bit harsh, we thought. What's a Show for if not a bit of showing off?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spoils of A Tasmanian Day #1

After visiting the Weston's Peony and Olive farm in Broadmarsh yesterday afternoon, we came home with a bottle of Renaissance Olive Oil (it picked up a Bronze Medal in Sydney recently), and one of the blousiest peonies imaginable. A fresh jar of 3 Berry & Rose Petal Jam from Utsi Cafe in Perth was icing on a cake of a day... Thank you to Karen Wagner who organised the farm visit, and the Weston family for opening their farm and garden to gawping garden lovers.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One Thousand Roses!

On Sunday we had a call from rose growers Steve and Maryanne from Beaconsfield. A friend of theirs had sent them a Facebook link to hilbarn and after checking out our blog they liked what they saw. They had some surplus-to-requirement cut roses this weekend. Would we like to share them with our customers for our boxes?

Well, we said. Funny you should mention that! On the way back from the northwest last Sunday, we'd seen their hothouses and actually turned down their driveway to check out what they grew. We saw the roses and said to each other, oh, how nice, and drove straight home to get our fresh broad beans and asparagus into the cool room.

"Well," said Steve. "Flowers are produce too." So Barn returned to Beacy yesterday to pick up 1,100 roses for today's boxes, all beautifully packed and wrapped. That's Hil, packing boxes, in the lemon apron...
We've never had so many grateful customers (or suspicious partners!) in one day. The old rose still turns heads that's for sure.... even our hilbarn delivery van, Guido, took a turn on the dance floor... Thank you Steve and Maryanne for calling.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Coastal Chats

Northeast Tasmanian potato growers tell us they don't see their new season spuds until early December. On a certain slope in Penguin, however, spitting distance from Bass Strait, we finally tracked down Wolfgang and his new season chats. The sea breeze keeps his potato crops free of frost, which means his spuds are among the earliest in the state to be harvested. We picked up these freshly dug Bismarks from Wolfgang yesterday and just finished packing them into boxes along with new season asparagus and broad beans, iceberg lettuce, apples, caulis, watercress, and onions. There's also a surprise we'll tell you about tomorrow.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Black Eyed Beans

If we didn't like broad beans enough to eat them, their unusual flowers and magnificent stalks would end up inside anyway - in vases! We planted these as seeds in early winter in the hilbarn garden, which will mean we have broad beans for Christmas. But - great news - we've found the first broad beans from a Tassie grower and will be off to pick them up this long weekend Sunday for our Tuesday hilbarn box deliveries.

New Pick Up Point

Hilbarn has a new Pick up Point for you to collect your hilbarn fresh produce box - at Crown Cellars, Bathurst St, Launceston. Manager, Luke (pictured) says they're now open for business (including driveway coffees) from 630am until 8pm. Suitable for those customers who might want to pick up their box after work hours - along with a bottle of their favourite local wine or boutique beer - and admire the local graffiti artists' work of art while you're at it! Check the right hand side of this page for our other regular Pick Up Points in Launceston and the East Tamar.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Season Herbs

Baby basil plants in this week's hilbarn boxes were ordered weeks ago from Tara at Four Seasons Herbs based in Exeter (pictured at Deviot Market on Sunday with daughter Jess). We've been checking up on them each week until, finally - last week - Tara told us they were ready. We met Tara at Deviot to pick up our tiny little pots of tenderness, and wrapped them in newspaper for this week's boxes. Thanks, Tara, for nurturing them through the chills of winter! Don't know about you, but we're dreaming about tomato, mozarella and basil salad ...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Local Globes

New and challenging this week - but heralding a new season - are these good-enough-to-paint organic globe artichokes from Lefroy market gardener David Potts. Do feel free to share your ways with artichoke (please!) here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Science or Nature?

Our neighbour, Lyndy, is an organic egg producer and supplies us with superb organic eggs for hilbarn fresh produce boxes each week. This week Lyndy sent us this magical photograph, the results, she says, of "a bit of a science experiment". She explains: "We had a broody hen who wanted to sit on eggs so we sat her on six of our friend Heather's duck eggs (organic) for one week, then placed six of our hens' eggs under her for a further 21 days. Duck eggs take 28 days to hatch and hen eggs 21 days. Heather wasn't sure whether our white petticoat hen would "mother" the ducklings. And we didn't want her to sit for all that time without having a family at the end of it if we had to take the ducklings from her. We weren't sure what would happen."
The results are very photogenic: "Two of the chicken eggs weren't fertile," says Lyndy, "and two of the ducklings didn't make it, so we ended up with 4 ducklings and 4 chickens. Very neat, and a first for us!"
Lyndy has provided her new family with a miniature swimming pool, which the ducks have taken to "like a duck to water". Meanwhile, the chicks scratch about doing chicken things while Lyndy watches over them, mindful that the chicks don't drown!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cheese Please!

Gina, Mike (not pictured - busy milking) and Sam from Yondover Goat Dairy are local cheesemakers. We first met them as fellow market stall holders at Lilydale Market two summers ago. We caught up with them again earlier this year when we dropped in to see what they were up to. We found out they were planning to build a cheese tasting room at their dairy property in nearby Tunnel. Six months on, we were happy to receive an email from Gina saying they were on track for an end of year opening, and would we like a tasting? Would we ever! For Hil, who can't refuse good chevre (especially served with croissant and raspberry jam), and Barn, who has a fetish for marinated feta, all roads led to Tunnel yesterday. Thanks to Yondover for sharing their passion on a cheese plate, and a tour of their goat dairy. We loved the hillside dotted with hundreds of goats. And the good news is they're opening for public visits and tastings sometime in November. We'll be offering hilbarn fresh produce gift boxes featuring Yondover cheeses and other local produce soon, so stay tuned for details.