Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hilbarn Goes To Scottsdale

NEW SERVICE: Thanks to Willo in Scottsdale who let us know about her local, friendly bus service to northeast towns. Wayne (above) from Saintys North-East Bus Service picks up your packed and wrapped hilbarn fresh produce box from us at 830 am each Monday and will deliver it to your door in Scottsdale within the hour for a delivery charge per box of $5. If you live in the area and would like to experience hilbarn fresh produce boxes, just email us at hilbarn@bigpond.com

Friday, December 24, 2010

Berried Treasures

Our hand made berry boxes looked like angel's wings all lined up in anticipation of the arrival of the elves. Finally, after travelling over many valleys and hills to find their treasures, they arrived carrying baskets and boxes of local berries freshly picked with love. Suddenly, Bron arrived with buckets of her shiny redcurrants. "Here, would you like them? There are seven kilos!" "Oh, yes please," the elves cried, and set to packing them along with all the other dazzling jewel-like berries.

There were lush red strawberries from Wendy and Craig & Lyndy and Dave, fat juicy purple brambles and silvanberries from Nat and Corey, ruby red raspberries from Trevor and Rose, cheerful cherries from Jan and Rob, plump bruisy blueberries from Rachel and family, and early season apricots from Rob (like little sunshines).
The elves worked themselves into bed that night, satisfied that the hilbarn berry boxes would look like golden chariots fit for the crown jewels of fruit!

And when Greg and Carla Best came to pick up their boxes we knew the happy smiles on their children's faces were worth all the effort in the world!

Happy Christmas! See you next year!

Sweet Peas In A Pod

Over the past two years, we've really enjoyed seeing young ones growing up and appreciating fresh produce on their doorstep. Here Toby and Jasper (who you'll remember picked passionfruit from their back garden for hilbarn boxes last year) have their first fresh podded pea experience!
And the results? YUM!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Cherry Christmas

When we started taking orders for our traditional hilbarn Christmas Berry Box back in September, we weren't imagining the season would be quite so bad for berries. To be perfectly frank, despite it being the longest day of the year tomorrow, summer hasn't even started (just 4 degrees Celsius forecast for tonight...)! In fact, one northeast cherry grower told us it's been the worst season they'd seen in 30 years. "Ha, cherries," he said when we called him last Sunday. "Not one!" - What, not one kilo? we asked. "No, not one cherry!" Yikes. Tough on strawberry and blueberry growers, too. Our pre-orders sold like hotcakes, though, so we've had a few restless nights wondering if we'd be able to get any fruit at all! We've travelled far afield, scouring the Tasmanian countryside, and finally found luscious cherries in Ross. They were picked this morning, ready for today's lunchtime pick up (above). A big thank you to Jan and Rob Riggall of Somercotes for coming to the rescue at short notice with their red and white (yes, white) cherries! We also received calls today from our blueberry, raspberry and strawberry growers which means, along with an added seasonal surprise, our Christmas berry box will be overflowing and most excellent value. We're contemplating doing another in the New Year when summer finally shows up!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Last Sunday Pack of the Year

A big end of year thank you to Des, Rhonda, Bron, Paul, and Vikki, and to Barn's kids Rachael, James and Billy (& Harry the dog) for sharing the making, packing and delivering of hilbarn boxes this year. We really appreciate everything you bring to what we do.

Thank You To All Our Growers

Here's Johan and Nathalie from Kindred with their freshly cut broccoli harvested for tomorrow's hilbarn boxes. It always seems to be raining whenever we pick up in Kindred, and - sure enough - we arrived in the middle of this morning's downpour. Perfect heads of broccoli complement new potatoes, carrots, new season swedes and parsnips from Scottsdale, mignonette lettuce from Thirlstane, tomatoes from Turners Beach, garlic from Devonport, Moroccan mint from the hilbarn garden and first-of-the-season, sweet fresh peas from Spreyton. Hopefully we've got both salad and roast options covered for Xmas lunch! Thank you to all the growers who have been with us this year. We're looking forward to sharing new harvests with you in 2011.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Clever Re-Use #3

In our travels around Tassie picking up and delivering produce there's usually something we see that stops our day. This "lavender bed" (left) in Broadmarsh and flower trailer (right) at a customer's home in Underwood are among our favourites. Not only are they creative ways of displaying plants, they also seem to keep the wallabies away!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Sunday Pack

Packing nights with Rhonda and Bron usually involve sustenance of the grape variety. Tonight, Bron brought her homemade biscotti for us to try. It works. Recipe has been requested... Tomorrow's hilbarn boxes have just been packed with baby beetroot, new potatoes, baby carrots, cos lettuce, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onions, Granny Smith apples, strawberries and fresh oregano.

UPDATED 20/12/10. Here's Bron's recipe for Hazelnut Biscotti:

200g plain flour, 50g SR flour, 220g caster sugar, 2 eggs beaten lightly, 75g roasted hazelnuts, 1 tsp vanilla essence.
Preheat oven to moderate. Sift flours and sugar into large bowl. Add egg, nuts and essence, stir until mixture becomes firm dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until mixture just comes together. Shape mixture into 25cm log. Place on greased oven tray. Bake in moderate oven about 35 mins or until firm. Cool on tray.
Using a serrated or electric knife, ut log into 5mm diagonal slices. Place slices on non greased oven trays. Bake in moderate oven about 10 minutes or until biscotti are dry and crisp.
Makes 25 slices.
TIP: to roast hazelnuts, spread nuts on oven tray. Roast in moderate oven about 5 mins or until nuts are golden brown. Stir nuts once during roasting. Wrap nuts in tea towel, and rub vigorously to remove most of skin.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Morning Glory

Finally the rain has stopped and you can see the relief in the hilbarn garden patch. The corn (left) has loved the downpour, our early basil (centre) is thriving (along with the snails), but our spring onion seedlings (right) planted last weekend have flattened under the 40 mls deluge. Hopefully today's sunshine will help them work out which way is up!

Eating Artichoke

It's the first time either of us has grown globe artichoke and we had a fun time last night cooking it up to have on pizza. Thanks Kim for the guidance. Sucking the leaves was a delicacy (though the flesh is never enough), and finding the heart is a ravenous journey (so many layers to peel off). Next time we'll boil more! Whoever had the original idea to eat a thistle (far right, the unpicked choke) has to be congratulated!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sprouting in Shearwater

When we picked up bean sprouts from The Marshalls of Shearwater yesterday morning, it was all hands on deck! And, thankfully, everyone was in one place for us to take a quick snap. Here is, from left to right, dad Phillip, Sam, Maddison, Jamieson, mum Angela and Cody. Thanks, guys, for the wonderful alfalfa, pea sprouts and today's bean sprouts, and for being flexible enough for us to pick up on a Sunday.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Under the Rainbow

A jewel-bright rainbow appeared right in front of Mt Arthur on Saturday. Watching it from home on the verandah was magic as the rain lashed sideways.

Then, the arc spread right in front of us and doubled! Too hard to get both rainbows into the photo, but the moment will be remembered nonetheless...

There's always another side of the coin when it comes to beauty. And with all this rain, you have to spare a thought for the cherry growers. When we dropped into the nearby cherry farm yesterday to check on this year's crop, Frank told us it's been the worst season for cherries for 30 years. We're keeping our fingers crossed for the Xmas order...

Spoils of a Tassie Day #2

Here are strawberries from a roadside shed at Shearwater, cherry liqueur from The Cherry Shed in Latrobe, and roses meeting proteas in a Christmas bouquet from Don market. We love our pick up Sundays! Packing tonight for tomorrow's hilbarn boxes.