Friday, July 23, 2010

New Season Signs

Self-seeding peas from last year flower in the hilbarn veggie patch, and a traffic stopping wattle bulges with bobbled blooms - both sending cheerful messages that nature is moving forward without a slogan. It simply happens.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lively Leeks

It was a difficult week for produce. With many growers experiencing frosts and floods, we traversed the region to fill this week's hilbarn boxes. Thankfully, these sturdy leeks from Stuart, an organic market gardener based in Bridport, survived everything nature could throw at them. They were harvested for us on Saturday, and we love the way Stuart slices the tops to make them look plaited.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Backyard Kiwis

Thank you to hilbarn box customers Reuben and Kate who alerted us to their next door neighbour's magnificently laden kiwi fruit vines - in downtown Launceston! While picking enough fruit, we hope, for next week's boxes we were keenly observed by a pair of sweet silvereye birds. So copious is the harvest (how, in the dead of winter?) that neither beak nor hand seemed to make the slightest mark on the number of bronzed and furry kiwis. We're very grateful to home owner Emma (and her father Ken) for letting us raid the sun-trap of a garden (even on a cold winter's afternoon). Enough for next week's boxes, thank you, and maybe a second pick soon?

Anyone for Alfalfa?

Recently, one of hilbarn's box customers set us a challenge: "Is there any local alfalfa?," quizzed Bec. To be truthful, we had no idea, not having come across it in our travels. In fact, we'd never even considered it as a box item. Thankfully, it didn't take us long to track down, sprouting up in nearby Shearwater. So, with thanks to Bec, alfalfa from Angela made it into this week's hilbarn boxes.  Coming up, look forward to local pea sprouts and a profile of the grower too!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Show Me The Way To Tamarillo

We first contacted Dick of South Spreyton about his avocados last summer. "Terrible season this year", he told us. "None to spare. But I'll have tamarillos by winter if you're interested."   
    This week, Dick called us and we went to meet him on the way home from picking up alfalfa from Shearwater, potatoes from Wesley Vale, red pears from Spreyton, and cherry tomatoes from Turners Beach. 
    The Shaws' immaculate orchard has up to 50 tamarillo trees. Dick first planted them for Lois to remind her of her Kiwi home. "New Zealanders are weaned on tamarillos," jokes Dick. They also named them. Although their origins are South American, the tamarillo is commonly known all over the world as "tree tomato".    While savoury like a tomato, it's also sweet like guava or passionfruit, which is why Dick believes they are the most versatile of fruits. 
    Like passionfruit the skin is to be avoided while the flesh is scooped out. Sliced in half they can be eaten raw. Or, use them in chutneys or add them to stews or curries; toss them into an apple sponge or crumble, or poach them in red wine. "People either love them or hate them", says Dick. We'd love to hear what you think. Here, Dick and Lois have kindly shared two of their own recipes using South Spreyton tamarillos - the icing on the cake in this week's hilbarn box.

Savoury Tamarillo
Allow one tamarillo per person.
Skin tamarillos (method as per tomatoes)
Slice fruit lengthways, lay in a shallow ovenproof dish. Pour over a little cider vinegar, sprinkle with brown sugar salt and pepper. Marinate for a couple of hours then heat before serving.

Tamarillo Fruit Sponge
Half fill pudding or pie dish with about 10 stewed and sweetened tamarillos (keep hot). Blend with or substitute any fruit in season you choose. 
Sponge top recipe:
4 oz butter, 4 oz sugar, 2 eggs, 4 oz flour, 1 tsp baking powder
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and beat well. Add flour and baking powder, pour over hot fruit. Bake for 45 mins at 200 degrees C. Serve hot with ice cream or cream. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hilbarn on Facebook

We'd love you to share what you like about our fresh produce boxes with us and friends. So feel free to share your comments, and also, please, your recipes through Hilbarn on Facebook.
Click on the RECIPES tag at the bottom of this post to view what's been cooking so far...