Monday, July 30, 2012

What to do with celeriac

Ian and Lesley, celeriac growers from Sassafras, would love to know what you think of their produce. Their celeriac has been featuring in seasonal hilbarn boxes lately. It's an excellent lasting vegetable and you may still have some left. Or, if you're a box customer this week, you may find some inside nuzzling up to the swede from Jetsonville. We've especially loved it boiled with potatoes and turned into mash, or chopped into sticks, along with carrots and parsnips, and sauteed lightly in a small amount of olive oil. You might also like to try a recipe from Nigella Lawson for a warm winter soup containing celeriac. Also, Ian has promised us that Lesley might find time to share some of her favourite celeriac recipes. Will keep you posted as soon as we hear from her. In the meantime, please feel free to share your recipes here - we'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A typical hilbarn weekend

People often ask us how we manage to source fresh, local produce in the dead of winter when the days are cold and short and the paddocks are often sodden. To be honest, we wonder this ourselves... But - after four winters of hunting down growers across the state - we always manage to find some surprises that give us a spring in our step and to fill the boxes, often so abundantly it's a job just to fit everything in! This weekend Barn travelled north west and, while en route, found the sky so awesome that he had to stop to take a photograph. It was as if someone had rolled a cigarette using the clouds...
After the sky, Barn met Nathalie and Johan in Kindred who provided the wonderful, freshly-harvested Brussels sprouts for this week's box, and a surprise for Hil: a whole Brussels sprout stalk. If you've never seen them growing, the neatly-knitted tree of sprouts will amaze you.
Next stop, the Young family in Sassafras. We were on the hunt for celeriac, having read that it was in season, and asked several of our growers if they knew anyone in Tassie who grew the turnip-rooted celery. Thank you to Sandra who introduced us to her neighbours the Youngs (photographed on their farm below). We're happy to have met them and to learn that they are the only growers of celeriac in the State. We hope you enjoy the first hilbarn fresh produce celeriac in your boxes over the coming weeks. Ian (left) told us celeriac is as versatile as the potato. You can chop it up in soups, stews and casseroles, or use it in mashed potato. Tastes a bit like smoked celery and parsley.
Next stop Hillwood, where Barn collected six varieties of apples from Morgan (photographed below) at Millers Orchards in Hillwood. Morgan is the great grand-daughter of Geoffrey Charles Miller who first established the orchard way back in the early 1900s. It's great to see the family business still going strong. Thanks, Morgan, for selecting the best apples for this week's hilbarn boxes. 
Finally, Hil had a call from Lyndy up the road to say her hens were finally back from vacation. They've been away sunning it up on distant sands for so long that their eggs even have freckles and a tan! Thanks Lyndy, it was good to see Goldilocks fossicking again in the garden when we came to collect on our way home.
It's nearly 5 o'clock! Bron and Rhonda will be here to pack any minute - must fly!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Touches of Frost

Successive days of frost and ice have turned the Pipers River valley into a winter wonderland but we feel for the rhubarb growers who this week saw their crops turn up their toes for the year when normally they would be flourishing. Yesterday morning - hilbarn ordering day - Gerard scoured the field for us but found nowhere near enough had survived the fourth night of frost. And Tim told us the frost had been so severe this week that his rhubarb wouldn't be back until September.  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Eggs & Potatoes

Real free range eggs come in all shapes, sizes - and colours! Which is why we love Rhonda's (pictured here) so much: their soft pastel greens, pinks and blues and eggshell browns are reminiscent of a Porter's Paint swatch. While Lyndy's organic free range hens are still on winter vacation, we're pleased to say Rhonda's from Bangor are finally starting to lay again after what seemed like an eternity. 
Also in this week's hilbarn boxes, King Edward potatoes from Scottsdale. They're an English variety with white skin and pink blotches and excellent for roasting, chips and mash. They also happen to be Hil's mum's favourite. 

Packing With Muffins

A drift of snow was tucking up Mount Arthur for the night, viewable from the hilbarn shed. Bron arrived to help pack boxes and our hearts lifted when she walked through the shed doors bearing a basket of just-baked-still-warm blueberry and apple muffins. "Come on, eat up while they're still warm!" she coaxed. And we did.