Thursday, October 28, 2010

Black Eyed Beans

If we didn't like broad beans enough to eat them, their unusual flowers and magnificent stalks would end up inside anyway - in vases! We planted these as seeds in early winter in the hilbarn garden, which will mean we have broad beans for Christmas. But - great news - we've found the first broad beans from a Tassie grower and will be off to pick them up this long weekend Sunday for our Tuesday hilbarn box deliveries.

New Pick Up Point

Hilbarn has a new Pick up Point for you to collect your hilbarn fresh produce box - at Crown Cellars, Bathurst St, Launceston. Manager, Luke (pictured) says they're now open for business (including driveway coffees) from 630am until 8pm. Suitable for those customers who might want to pick up their box after work hours - along with a bottle of their favourite local wine or boutique beer - and admire the local graffiti artists' work of art while you're at it! Check the right hand side of this page for our other regular Pick Up Points in Launceston and the East Tamar.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Season Herbs

Baby basil plants in this week's hilbarn boxes were ordered weeks ago from Tara at Four Seasons Herbs based in Exeter (pictured at Deviot Market on Sunday with daughter Jess). We've been checking up on them each week until, finally - last week - Tara told us they were ready. We met Tara at Deviot to pick up our tiny little pots of tenderness, and wrapped them in newspaper for this week's boxes. Thanks, Tara, for nurturing them through the chills of winter! Don't know about you, but we're dreaming about tomato, mozarella and basil salad ...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Local Globes

New and challenging this week - but heralding a new season - are these good-enough-to-paint organic globe artichokes from Lefroy market gardener David Potts. Do feel free to share your ways with artichoke (please!) here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Science or Nature?

Our neighbour, Lyndy, is an organic egg producer and supplies us with superb organic eggs for hilbarn fresh produce boxes each week. This week Lyndy sent us this magical photograph, the results, she says, of "a bit of a science experiment". She explains: "We had a broody hen who wanted to sit on eggs so we sat her on six of our friend Heather's duck eggs (organic) for one week, then placed six of our hens' eggs under her for a further 21 days. Duck eggs take 28 days to hatch and hen eggs 21 days. Heather wasn't sure whether our white petticoat hen would "mother" the ducklings. And we didn't want her to sit for all that time without having a family at the end of it if we had to take the ducklings from her. We weren't sure what would happen."
The results are very photogenic: "Two of the chicken eggs weren't fertile," says Lyndy, "and two of the ducklings didn't make it, so we ended up with 4 ducklings and 4 chickens. Very neat, and a first for us!"
Lyndy has provided her new family with a miniature swimming pool, which the ducks have taken to "like a duck to water". Meanwhile, the chicks scratch about doing chicken things while Lyndy watches over them, mindful that the chicks don't drown!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cheese Please!

Gina, Mike (not pictured - busy milking) and Sam from Yondover Goat Dairy are local cheesemakers. We first met them as fellow market stall holders at Lilydale Market two summers ago. We caught up with them again earlier this year when we dropped in to see what they were up to. We found out they were planning to build a cheese tasting room at their dairy property in nearby Tunnel. Six months on, we were happy to receive an email from Gina saying they were on track for an end of year opening, and would we like a tasting? Would we ever! For Hil, who can't refuse good chevre (especially served with croissant and raspberry jam), and Barn, who has a fetish for marinated feta, all roads led to Tunnel yesterday. Thanks to Yondover for sharing their passion on a cheese plate, and a tour of their goat dairy. We loved the hillside dotted with hundreds of goats. And the good news is they're opening for public visits and tastings sometime in November. We'll be offering hilbarn fresh produce gift boxes featuring Yondover cheeses and other local produce soon, so stay tuned for details.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Home Is...

Following the article in Country Style magazine's September issue on hilbarn, Hil was contacted by Sydney writer Germaine Leece to consider some thoughts for her blog on what home means to us today. You can read it here Some Home Truths and, perhaps, leave your own thoughts for Germaine while you're there?

Photos above left & right: Copyright Chris Chen & Country Style

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blossom Dearest

Perfect apple blossom forms on old apple trees in the hilbarn garden today (left), and in orchards from Hillwood to Spreyton as we trekked our way across the countryside in search of the first broad beans of the season. No luck - except for one wonderful fresh boxful we spotted at a roadside shed. It turned out they'd came all the way from Victoria. We'd have to wait another two to three weeks for Tasmanian broad beans, we were told. Be patient, and the season will come. UPDATE (right): apples fruiting on the same tree in March.

Trays of 'Angels'

We caught Ellie this afternoon preparing trays of 'Angel' grape tomatoes for hilbarn customers next week. The exclusive variety is grown hydroponically in greenhouses, and produced chemical and pesticide free. Ellie's Central Coast based family, has been innovating in tomato production for more than half a century.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Darling Buds of October

Clockwise from top left: fig tree, quince blossom, bluebells and roses. At last, everything is budding with energy in the garden.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Asparagus Run

You have to be quick to catch Jo's asparagus. The season is short and the paddock still young, but we couldn't be happier right now than on our weekly asparagus run from Karoola to Moriarty. Not only does it take us through some of the lushest valleys in the north, through Flowery Gully, Winkleigh and on to top-of-the-world Moriarty, but we get to share the freshest asparagus with our box customers.
It won't last long, so we plan to be greedy, ordering in advance each week from Jo so hilbarners do not miss out on one of the delicacies of Spring. Just place in a shallow pan of boiling water for three or four minutes - or until the tip droops slightly when you hold up the spear - and either savour or devour without embellishment.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Houdini's Hens

Fresh local eggs can be ordered through hilbarn and delivered with your weekly hilbarn fresh produce box. Choose from organic eggs (laid by free range chickens raised on a certified organic farm in Karoola), or free range eggs (photographed) from Rohbar Farm, Bangor - "where every hen is a star" and the rooster is called Houdini...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Home Grown With Love

Recycling hilbarn fresh produce boxes is important to us but we particularly loved the artwork on this one that came back to us: "Lemons 10c - home grown with love". We hope lots of lemons were sold at the stall and appreciated.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Roadside Stall # 3

In our travels picking up fresh produce for hilbarn, we love stopping at roadside stalls and seeing the different things people do to attract the attention of passing drivers. Here, in Yorktown on the West Tamar, a beautiful sign speaks to your honesty, and a home made stand is stacked with bags of Nicola potatoes, fresh free range eggs, and beautiful generous bunches of "Flowers from my garden". Tempted? We were.