Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bravo Basil!

One week last spring, among the fresh fruit & vegetables we collected from local farmers and growers, we included a pert little basil plant in each hilbarn box. We ordered them especially from Tara at Four Seasons Herbs in Exeter, and they were a little late arriving because of the late start to summer. This week, we received this photo of a strong and healthy basil plant from one of our hilbarn customers. Fiona writes:
"From the moment the tiny plant was gently placed in my daughter's hands as part of our hilbarn delivery, she has nurtured it with such love. Not only has it been a wonderful addition to our home & recipes, we have been able to trim large portions and share with friends and family. One such portion was kept in a small vase, grew roots and has since been potted. My daughter's sweet basil plant is commonly referred to as "Baasil!" (Fawlty Towers style). 'He' is much loved and although this pic was taken a couple of months ago now, he's still doing very well. I'm not that IT savvy, so I thought I'd simply send it in an email for you guys and let you know how much we appreciate your hard work. Ultimately, I believe you deliver a lot more than simply food to homes here in Tasmania, Thankyou x
Thanks for sharing the great story, Fiona. Your comments are why we love doing what we do.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Honey Morning

Our hilbarn boxes this week feature local leatherwood honey for the first time - from our near neighbours Cheryl and Drew Honeychurch in Pipers River. Those of you who frequent Evandale Market on a Sunday will be familiar with Cheryl's honey bee van and banjo playing. You might not know that she learnt her apiarist skills at an Adult Education course (and that's also where she learnt how to play the banjo). Cheryl, bottom left, is pictured suitably dressed with husband Drew amongst their leatherwood hives in Hellyer Gorge. Hope you enjoy this luscious treat from the perfectly named Honeychurches of Pipers River Apiaries, and if you miss out this week, you can always catch Cheryl at Evandale on Sundays. She's an inspiration!

Wild About Walnuts

The perfectly formed walnuts in hilbarn boxes this autumn are thanks to Lucy Landon-Lane whose organic orchard is situated on the banks of the Tamar at Rowella (Lucy is pictured above left, during mid-harvest in April), and from Ed Archer in East Arm. Thanks also to hilbarner Amy who sent us this photo of her son, Toby. She says he loved cracking the shells with his brother, Jasper (who wouldn't with a smashing red squirrel nutcracker like this one!), and the nuts were devoured over afternoon tea.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rescue Mission

We tried out a new produce collection system this week. We thought it worked for us, but the freshly cut perfect cauliflower we ordered from the north west didn't appreciate it. When we went to pack them into our boxes on Sunday night, they just weren't up to scratch so we decided to leave them out. Instead, we made up the difference with extra onions and a larger piece of pumpkin. This morning, we donated most of the cauliflowers to The Mission Kitchen in Launceston - what comes as bad luck for us has turned into good luck for people who are doing it tough, living on the streets of Launceston. Thanks to Laurie and Jerry (left) who dropped in to collect a van full of caulis from our packing shed today.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Return of the Red Van!

Esther and Saskia (left) were getting a hilbarn fruit and veggie box home delivered every week until suddenly, last summer, they stopped :-( Their mum, Margaret, said their veggie garden was really happening ;-) so they were putting it on hold.
Our red van, Versace, was a little bit relieved because that meant he wouldn't have to make it to the top of their hill in second gear any more. Except, he really missed the girls coming to meet him in the driveway, and the spine-tingling view from the top of the hill as he made his way back down in fourth gear. Imagine how pleased he was, then, to see them this morning! Looks like Esther and Saskia were just as pleased to see him too! Margaret emailed us to say:
"The girls were overjoyed to recognize the red van driving up the driveway: 'Mum!, I think it's Hilbarn!'. We didn’t realize how much we’ve missed you, till then. We’ve had an abundant summer veggie garden this year, which now is pretty well dormant, so bring on hilbarn!"
Bring on all the winter veggies from our local growers, and thank you, Margaret, for sharing this wonderful photo. We missed you too. ;-)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mushroom Magic

We'll be packing mushrooms into hilbarn boxes tonight - but not like these ones! These are just for show - and what a show! Have you noticed how good an autumn it is for mushroom foraging? And the toadstool fairies must be having a field day... Barn took these shots at The Pear Walk in Lalla, and at a garden on Pipers River in Karoola that he's helping to get ready for the Australian Open Garden season in the Spring.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Simply Persimmon

Persimmons in this week's hilbarn box came from a magnificent backyard tree in central Launceston. Bob, a hilbarn customer who originally hails from Queensland and knows his persimmons from his tamarillos, says persimmons should be left to soften almost to the point of over ripeness, then eaten just the way they are. What do you do with your persimmon? If, like us, you have no idea, here's the home of persimmons in Australia! Plus, ideas for recipes here.

Artichokes & Icons

Historian Marita Bardenhagen is the owner of historic Egremont B&B, one of hilbarn's Pick Up Points in Launceston. She also keeps a pretty neat market garden, and invites us each year to pick her limes and dig her jerusalem artichokes for our boxes. You'll find the artichokes in this week's hilbarn box, complete with recipe suggestions. They might look like a Dr Who alien, but see what you can make them do! While we pulled them from the earth on Friday, we asked Marita if we could take her picture for our blog. "Yes, provided you take it in front of an Australian icon!", she told us. Which is why the Hills Hoist features more than the artichokes in this photo...