Friday, June 18, 2010

Foraging for Fennel

Winnaleah farmer Frank Wagner (photographed left) shows us around his fennel paddock (all 15 acres), fringed by the mystical outline of South Mount Cameron. Grown for its essential oils for Essential Oils Tasmania, we learned yesterday from Frank that it's not the same fennel as the Florence fennel. While his fennel is used for its roots (photographed at bottom), Florence fennel is  bulbous, sweeter and milder, and eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable. Even though it's in season, we haven't been able to source local fennel yet (that is, fennel that doesn't come from Victoria), so hilbarn is hoping that with Frank's growing skills the gap might be filled. Watch this space, and thank you to Frank, who is also Chair of Natural Product Extracts, for sharing his expertise and time. His farm (currently 1000+ acres) has been in the Wagner family since the early 1900s. Respect!

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