Monday, August 30, 2010

Cool Climate Oranges!

Rose grows many things in her Hillwood garden, but an invitation to morning tea last Saturday was the surprise of the century when she matter-of-factly served freshly-squeezed Hillwood orange juice made from oranges not only grown but ripened in her orchard. It's a hot spot on the East Tamar more renowned for apples and strawberries. But oranges?  Morning coffee and "Cloud Nine" scones (made with baking powder and vinegar) seemed perfectly fitting on a sunshine-filled day. Tastes of things to come...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Frost Bites

You could say this morning started with a sharp intake of breath. The photo on the left was the frost bitten view through our windscreen just before we set off to pick up fresh veggies for tomorrow's hilbarn boxes. The hole on the right is from Barn's finger print, which was warm enough to melt a porthole for us to see through. This is the week that Spring starts, that the swallows return (we hope) and the sweet peas sewn in March start sprinting up lattices.  Spring, here we come!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Home Deliveries With A Smile

We love home deliveries, especially when we're greeted at the door by young people with big smiles. Most weeks, Liam, who's 4 and a half, and sister Annelise who's nearly 3, are at their front door, ready to swap their recycled hilbarn box for a full one. We miss them if they're not home...Their mum, Yvette, says they love to make funny faces with the fruit and veggies they receive.  "Last night we cooked up the cauliflower and potatoes from yesterday's box and made a big brew of cauliflower, leek and bacon soup and mini silverbeet quiches," says Yvette.  "Liam helped wash and prepare the veggies and smacked his lips together at dinner time!" Thanks guys for the high-fives!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Flower of Cauli

What do you do with your cauliflowers? These are freshly harvested from the Forth Valley, and will be tucked up in our winter veg boxes tonight, sleeping with swedes, pink eyes, carrots, pumpkin, celery, onions, pears, grannies, and bouquets of lettuce (see previous post).

Pretty Mignonette

We first spotted these perfect little lettuces a few weeks ago in a vegetable shed on the Central Coast. The stallholder couldn't remember the grower's name for us to contact, so, as there were just 20, we bought them all. Ever since, we've been curious to try and track down the mysterious mignonette maker. Finally, after knocking on several farmers' doors in the Thirlstane area, we found Graeme. Here he is, with his freshly harvested and loved red and green salanova butterhead lettuces, grown outdoors with views of the snow-capped Great Western Tiers. Seriously cool and featuring in hilbarn boxes tomorrow...Thank you Graeme (and Kim), and thank you, too, to the farmer next door who pointed us in the right direction!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blossom Route

Last Monday, the blossom on hilbarn's delivery run through Launceston was nowhere to be seen. This Monday the streets of West Launceston in particular were ablaze with pink and yellow.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What's In Soil?

Every time we pick up produce from Scottsdale or Jetsonville in the northeast, we marvel at the colour of the soil. Farmers had been busy this week, preparing ground for seeding: oceans of paddocks of chocolate furrows with islands of trees left to bask in their own glory - for a moment. It got us wondering, what's in soil? And in searching for answers, we came across this description from Discovery Channel's online education site. We thought it was so good, we wanted to share it:
"We know less about the earth under our feet than we do about the far side of the moon. Yet every plant and animal you can think of depends on this vast ecosytem. Each shovel of soil holds more living things than all the human beings ever born.  Lots of species are still waiting for scientists to identify and name them."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Nature's Bling

Dainty snowflakes dangling like earrings and a raindrop diamond set in a lupin leaf...a Tiffany garden this morning.

Meet Des

Des is our chief box maker. Each week he empties and checks your recycled boxes, then makes up and stamps new ones, lining all of them with fresh, recycled newspaper. Thank you Des for helping to keep hilbarn on the road.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Size Matters...

What size should a cucumber be? We were surprised to learn that Woolworths and Coles issue pages of quality assurance guidelines to farmers and growers about, among other things, the precise sizes their produce should  be. Here is one grower's way of reducing their written requirements in a meaningful and practical way. This home-made template applies to the size of cucumbers: the minimum radius for a cucumber acceptable at Coles and Woolworth's is left and middle - notice that they are different - and the maximum radius is on the right. Love to know what you think. We just want them to taste good!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tatsoi You

Clare (pictured) and Bruce from Yorktown Organics have excelled at producing certified organic produce near Beaconsfield for nearly two decades. We've loved their extra peppery wild roquette. And this week is the first time we've tried their tatsoi -  an Asian salad green with a mild mustard flavour generally eaten raw or added to soups before serving. Harvested earlier today, we'll pack it late tomorrow ready to be delivered in hilbarn boxes on Monday.