Sunday, February 28, 2010

Autumn Is...

Wearing gumboots, getting caught in showers, cool nights, open fires, stacking wood, pruning trees, kicking leaves, hot chocolate, apple & rhubarb crumble... Collecting produce today along lanes lined with hawthorn trees turning bright red with berries reminded us that Autumn is a breath of fresh air away. It's also the last day of blueberry picking at Crestview Farm. It's sad to say goodbye - a sense of gratitude, loss, and yearning for more are all rolled up in one - but we'll be back next year. Happy March 1st.

Apples By Night

Barn's magnificent apple tree canopy has served as welcome shade all summer. This photo, taken  on the brink of dusk turning into night, shows just how plentiful this tree's fruit is. A final taste test this afternoon and they're ready. "Shady Apples" feature in hilbarn boxes tomorrow.

Clever Re-use (#2)

From last week's hilbarn box, aubergine (turned into babaganoush), is served on a cheeseboard with Tassie Signature Brie and a splash of local Dalrymple Sauvignon Blanc. Who needs a coffee table when a tricycle will do...? Dinkys: they're the new Lazy Susans.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sweet Williams

These impressively formed William pears from Lee's Orchard on the East Tamar Highway featured in this week's hilbarn box. Next week, Brendon tells us to expect new season Royal Gala apples. The juice is up, the sweetness is assured, which means they're ripe for the eating...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Foraging For Lunch

If you see this man standing by the road - it's Barn, picking blackberries for the two of us now that deliveries are done.

Purple Nightshade

Featuring in this week's hilbarn box for the first time are organic aubergines from Claire and Bruce in Yorktown. Sweetly sized, they fit perfectly into the palm of your hand. Babaganoush is on the menu tonight.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Country Wedding (2)

Some things are just a matter of time and the best things in life ripen slowly. Our neighbours' wedding on Saturday offered space for such contemplation as well as the promise of  peace and support from real friends.

Picking Plums

Thank you this week to Turners Marsh locals Clay and Sheila (photographed with baby daughter Gabrielle) who contacted us about their crop of European plums. Dainty, blue-tinged, yellow fleshed, and as sweet as can be straight from the tree, we picked four cartons tonight for tomorrow's hilbarn boxes - we could  have picked 44! Looks like we'll be coming back for another round next week.

A Country Wedding

A Hills Hoist 'marquee', draped, wrapped and pegged with calico and ribbon provides shade and a breeze under a perfect Karoola-blue sky; the happy couple - Dave and Lyndy - exchange vows in their pretty country garden in front of family and friends. It's good luck to the newly-wed Mr & Mrs Pinner! Life doesn't stop in the country - we'll see you for egg pick-ups on Monday then!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sophie's Muffins

"Loved the carrots and coriander in the box today, so much so that I decided to give the muffin recipe a whirl... I twisted a few things around + Mother & I have been munching on them with a smear of tzatziki and a Gin & Tonic." Thanks to Sophie for sharing her recipe (and photo) with us.

Self Raising Flour - 1 1/2 cups
Carrots - 1 cup grated finely
Coriander - 1/2 cup chopped
Garlic - 1 tsp (or to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper - 1 tsp
Plain yogurt - 1 tbsp
Tomatoes - 1/2 cup pureed (I used a tin of peeled tomatoes, drained, chopped)
Light Milk - 3/4 cup
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Salt - To taste
Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
Parmesan Cheese - sprinkle on top

Mix all of the dry ingredients together - add the oil, tomato puree and milk and mix just until incorporated, but do not over mix - add yogurt and mix - then slowly mix in the coriander and carrots.
Spoon the batter into a lightly-greased muffin tray, topping each muffin with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Cook for 20 - 30mins, 180C fan forced oven... until golden and slightly firm to touch. Serve with tzatziki dip.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Making Passata

Spending the afternoon simmering local tomatoes to make passata. Love the story our Vivienne sent (lover of all things Italian, esp. Tuscan) when we asked her for the definitive, authentic, buonissimo version. Read it by clicking the headline link. And share yours, please, if you have one. Can Tasmania do good old-fashioned heartiness like Italy?

New Season Apples

In this week's hilbarn box, the new season Akane apple is an excellent dessert apple (best used for baking) with a tart flavor & distinct aroma. If you've been craving fresh apples, you won't need to worry. This variety doesn't store well, so enjoy them now, freshly harvested at Millers Orchards, Hillwood.

New Vintage

Drop in to our hilbarn new vintage and fresh produce store in Karoola (open by appointment or when the sign is out). Send us an email and come for a drive. You'll find us on Pipers River Road, Karoola. Hope to see you soon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Join The Club!

More wonderful hilbarner photos, this time from Edward and Christine who emailed us with the following message:
"We now have the hilbarn truck making deliveries in our living room and apparently there is also a hilbarn club! And you even win prizes! Ideas and inspiration courtesy of Alannah (6) and Imogen (3)."
Alannah & Imogen, your surprise awaits... ;-)

We're amazed at how fresh produce, home-delivered, catches the imagination of children - some open the door to us when they hear Guido, our van, pull up outside. Not quite the experience parents have of their kids while shopping with them in supermarkets...
We love and welcome your contributions.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Barn & Hil

We were stocking our local produce roadside stall, making a sign, and doing a bit of shuffling in the new vintage store, when a photographer stopped his car (having noticed our "Fresh Stuff" sign) and asked if he could take some photos. Chris Crerar is another refugee from city life - a former deputy picture editor at The Australian in Sydney, he's now back living and working in Launceston, and commissioned to take a series of photos of the Tamar Valley Wine Route. This one (left) was for us. Thanks Chris, and good luck with the project. You'll find more of Chris' work on his blog site:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

We're Jamming

Greengage jam - just fruit and sugar boiled silly - on toast for breakfast. Yum...

Nearly Apples

While the season's first prize apples - early Gravensteins - are available on the East Tamar Highway, our trees still have a little way to go. They've been beautiful all summer offering an umbrella of shade on these hot days made for lazing...

Open This Weekend

We'd love to see you. We're on the big bend on Pipers River Road, Karoola. Fresh produce and new vintage on sale!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Green Day

It seems like months ago when we planted the first capsicum seedlings in the hilbarn hothouse. In fact, it was. When you see roquette grow from seed to crop in under a month, neither of us appreciated quite how slow it could be to grow capsicum. True to nature, just as we were beginning to think our capsicum days were over, there it was - the most surprising crop of green peppers! Huge bell-sized shapes on every plant. In the end, a case of 'less hope, more patience'.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blackberry Gob-Stoppers

Some good people just love sharing what they grow in their gardens with friends. Our crop of blackberries, featuring for the first time in today's hilbarn box, came from growers in nearby Turners Marsh. But we found these ones (photographed) on our doorstep this morning: a precious gift from a generous friend. During our deliveries this morning, it was blackberries that put smiles on young faces too - just as appealing as a jar of gob-stoppers! It's one of life's special pleasures: seeing how children react at the front door when we drop by.

Lady of the Paddock

They are a force of nature. How can it be that when the ground is at its driest and hardest (tough now for even the strongest of men to dig dirt) that Naked Ladies should be at their prime? Rising seemingly out of a faded paddock as hard as concrete, their power could match that of any post-hole digger. They may be beautiful, but, like black snakes, beware of beauty. The Belladonna is also poisonous.

Vietnamese Mint

Breakfast this morning was spent in the garden, cutting fresh stems of Vietnamese mint (or Laksa plant) for today's hilbarn boxes. They looked a little perkier after last night's thunderstorm: maybe they danced in the rain like everyone else! More please, as Oliver would say.