Friday, March 26, 2010

Wild & Ancient Walnuts

It's nearly walnut season and we've been sourcing walnuts for boxes. This week we were told by a new hilbarn customer about an old walnut tree growing on the side of the road on Mount Arthur.  With just rough directions, we thought we'd have no hope of finding it amongst the native forest. But here it is. We also found a twin just up the road, but, unfortunately, the birds had got to their sweet fruits first.  Who knows how old they are and who planted them?

Hilbarn Pick Up Points

We've added two new Pick Up Points to our existing options and now deliver to George Town on Tuesdays. Here is our current list and we will update you as it changes: 
Monday AM in Launceston: ABC Studios, Ann Street; Davies Grand Central, Wellington Street; Delicacy in Canning Street; Mill Providore & Gallery (above Stillwater restaurant); the Human Life Sciences Department at UTAS Newnham Campus (for UTAS students and staff); and Town Hall for Council employees.
Tuesday AM in George Town: Pooki's, Macquarie Street.
And for an extra $5 you can have your hilbarn box home delivered.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Foxy Basil

Freshly picked basil and rocket from the garden makes pesto then gets frozen ready for lazy, quick suppers later. 

Vintage in Pipers River

We photographed these just-picked Chardonnay grapes at the Jansz Tasmania Vineyard in Pipers River yesterday. We're proud to say that Jansz is our local!  Who knows what sorcery will happen in the winemaker's hands between now and when this year's vintage is released. Four years is a long time to wait to find out, but hopefully the Jansz 2010 Premium Vintage Sparkling Wine will be as good as the summer we've just had!

Groovy Herbs

While touring the northwest coast for produce this weekend, the Groovy Penguin Cafe's barrow of herbs caught our attention.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cabbage Head

Featuring in this week's hilbarn box (with apologies to Magritte), the biggest cabbages we have ever seen! Along with giant silver beet, potatoes, sweet potatoes, apples, pumpkin, carrots, beans and rhubarb, we're not sure how it's all going to fit in!

Northeast Landscapes

The rhythms of the country are set by milking time and the moon rising over hillsides. Despite being different every day, the backdrop of Mount Arthur is reassuringly familiar. Roads without lines are precious and stopping your day for a herd of cows reminds you that waiting can also be good for you.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Heirloom Tomatoes

We first sought out heirloom tomatoes on a special trip to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hobart one wet winter's morning. We'd heard about their annual tomato plant sale on ABC Local Radio. Having queued at the gates under umbrellas, along with a hundred or more diehard pilgrims, we finally snaffled a few varieties from Tiny Tom's to Black Russians. Now, we have heirloom tomatoes available locally from grower Trevor and his young family who moved to Springfield recently to establish a permaculture farm. In the past year they've planted half an acre of more than a hundred varieties of heirloom tomatoes. This is Trevor’s first crop – you’ll see they’re all shapes and sizes and some of them aren’t perfect. Hilbarn box customers can try them this week. Let us know what you think. Trevor is keen for feedback. He’s experimenting and taste-testing, aiming to reduce the number of varieties they grow to 30. And if you're looking for inspiration with tomatoes, here's a link we found from George Washington Carver's fascinating 1936 Bulletin How to Grow the Tomato and 115 Ways to Prepare it for the Table. Carver, described by Time magazine as a “Black Leonardo”, was an inventor and early advocate of sustainable farming in early 20th Century America. We think he also has a tomato named after him: the George Washington. We picked one up at the Royal Botanical Gardens thinking it must have been the American President. But with Carver on the end, it makes much more sense!

Champagne & Scones...

You wouldn't think it works but it does. We surprised the waitress by ordering Josef Chromy's Sparkling Rose with our scones and strawberry jam, but we wanted to celebrate. The Glover Prize, held over the long weekend at the Falls Pavilion in Evandale, is a uniquely Tasmanian event, and one of the highlights of our cultural calendar.  Art, flowers, music,  scones & bubbles, and a community hall that has managed to survive Council demolition! Sweet.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Coming Next Week: Passionfruit!

Jasper is pictured busily picking buckets of passion fruit for next week's hilbarn boxes. Thank you to his mum and dad, Amy and David, who planted these wonderful vines three years ago in their inner city back yard. Such a sunny spot, and some tender loving care, have provided them with an abundance of fruit they were more than happy to share.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Fresh ears of corn (why ears not heads or fingers?) filled hilbarn boxes this week, picked Sunday morning by growers Liz and Michael in Lebrina. Happily the corn survived a savage wallaby raid on their farm last week - not so the beans...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Seedy Antics

If you look closely, seeds are as endlessly fascinating as flowers are pleasing. Love In A Mist (top) and Sweet Pea (bottom) have cunning ways of ensuring they live on. Not that we are by any means botanists, just appreciative observers of some of nature's finer and more curious details. The first's miniscule black seeds are held tightly in folds until the seed pod drops to the ground or disintegrates enough to let them fly on the wind to find renewal. And the second, has, in comparison, enormous pea-shaped seeds that become twisted inside its drying pod. As the pod continues to dry in the summer heat it tightens like a spring until it eventually cracks open with surprising energy, releasing the seeds to the ground. If you've saved your Sweet Pea seeds, you will know that March 17th is traditionally the day to plant them, ready for a fresh new crop next Spring. We packet our saved seeds and some are for sale in our hilbarn country store & nursery, 1065 Pipers River Road, Karoola.