Friday, November 30, 2012

hilbarn goes to Campbell Town

hilbarn is now delivering fresh produce boxes to Campbell Town. Your box can be collected on Tuesdays from The Book Cellar, located underneath Foxhunter's Return. It's an amazing location: while you're there, say hello to Michael (left) and Cath, browse the fascinating collection of new and second hand books, and think about the lives of the convicts once held here while they built Campbell Town's famous Red Bridge. 

The red brick line that Michael is standing on goes right through the Midlands town and marks the kind of "crimes" for which young people were transported to Tasmania in the 19thC. For example: James Duffy, age 20, from Dublin - he stole a plate and got 7 years. It was one way to build a colony... Thanks to Michael and Cath for making contact; we're glad we could make it work. If you're in Campbell Town and fancy discovering fresh, Tasmanian produce, drop us a line:, or pick up a hilbarn brochure from The Book Cellar.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Remembering Marita

We've known Marita since almost the start of hilbarn. First she was a customer. Then a grower, offering us Jerusalem artichokes and limes from her family garden in Launceston. Pretty soon she became a Pick Up Point when she offered Egremont B&B for customers to collect their boxes each week. She cleared out an old shed previously used for storage and loved to see it full of boxes waiting to be picked up. We became good friends. She helped Hil with archive material and contacts for her book, and when Hil needed space for its final edit, Marita offered her the family shack at Low Head to hide away in. Marita Bardenhagen was a generous, funny, intelligent friend who passed away last week. We planted an Australian lime tree in The Nuns' House garden in her memory. Thank you Marita. Rest peacefully.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Today's bounty!

This morning we travelled west to collect Nicola potatoes from Wolfgang (centre) and his gang: l-r, Phil, Maxine, Wolfgang's wife Andrea and Shirley. They'd started early, harvesting in the cool of the morning, and we timed our visit well with the bulk of their morning produce already boxed and loaded onto the back of the truck ready to go. 

Next stop, Kindred, where we collected capsicums, chillies, and these stripey eggplant from Ann (above), who told us it's the first year they've tried growing eggplant and they're really pleased with the results. "What's the best way to cook them?" we asked. "I think the simplest is always best," said Ann. "Just barbecued - no salt or oil. Just sliced and as they come. Rob cooked some like that last night and that's all we had. They were beautiful!"  On the way home we spotted a couple picking on a hillside. They were backs bended over buckets in the middle of a paddock of magnificently tall broad beans. We stopped and let them know that we'll be putting in our order next week! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Just Great Feedback

We just wanted to say a big thank you to Alison for sharing her experience of receiving a hilbarn fresh produce box with her young school class. Reading stories like this helps keep us going! 

"Thanks so much for organising my first fruit & vege box delivery today - it was perfect!

After it was delivered to work, our wonderful office lady bought it down to my classroom. I was working with a small group of children who were just as excited as I was to see what was inside.  

We stopped our reading activity and spent time reading the details on the delivery tag and the message stamped on the lid saying ‘THIS BOX MAY CONTAIN EGGS’.

We spent time predicting what type of fruit & vegies might be inside the box and noticed we could smell something interesting.

The children helped snip the binding and lift the lid... WOW!

We all spent time smelling the strawberries and mint; laughing about the funny names on the list like ‘bok choy’ and ‘pink eye potatoes’; wondering what the purple plant was (beetroot) and what the long green plant was (spring garlic) and EVERYONE had to have a turn of holding the carrots with the green tops still on!

Someone noticed that the produce list told where each item came from. Someone else noticed the recipe with clever drawings and that the procedure was written in beautiful fancy writing - which also told the name of who grew each ingredient.

Finally, someone decided that the strawberries smelt so good we should all try some... so we did! Everyone agreed they were so sweet and juicy!

The fresh produce is now packed away in my kitchen, minus some butter lettuce, garlic chives, potatoes and carrots that my family and I enjoyed for tea, although they did ask why the list mentioned strawberries but there weren’t any in the box!

Thanks for the wonderful freshness, great range and stress free delivery."

Boxes to Bicheno

Thank you to Helen and Subi from the Bicheno Post Office who sent us this photo of hilbarn fresh produce boxes arriving at sunny Bicheno, 57 Burgess Street. Boxes filled with freshly harvested produce that we've sourced directly from farmers and growers across the state can be picked up from the Bicheno Post Office (also an Art Gallery featuring Tasmanian artists) after 4 pm on Mondays. Interested in ordering a box for the shack? Drop us an email for details:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Broad Bean Recipes

Thanks this week to artist and sommelier John Wilkinson for his spirited recipe illustration for our hilbarn boxes, featuring two recipes using Spreyton broad beans as the star. We've been scouring the region and managed to book these beans for their debut appearance a few weeks ago. We often wonder why some things are harder to find in large quantities than others, especially when broad beans can sow themselves in your own back yard! John, and his wife Fiona, were visiting us again this week, on their way to new jobs in United Arab Emirates. When we were without an illustration for our hilbarn boxes, John offered to spend the day playing with watercolours to see what he could come up with, while Fiona and Hil podded broad beans and Barn helped test the recipes. We hope you enjoy playing with beans!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Welcome Spring Garlic

We're sharing a first in hilbarn boxes this week with this wonderful spring garlic from Paul and Sandy of Pelverata, in the lower Derwent Valley, who tell us their farm is well on the way to organic certification. Paul says that all of their produce is spray free and that they're awaiting organic certification from the Biological Farmers of Australia
When we asked how their produce was grown Paul told us: "We have never used any chemicals or artificial fertilisers on our property. Blood and bone and BFA-certified chicken manure pellets are as harsh as things have ever been on our farm. We also make our own fertilisers from our leftover produce on-site. And we use a rotational method on our farm so as not to exhaust our soil." 
You can see the care they take in the way their garlic is washed, bunched and tied in beautiful spring bunches. Thank you Paul and Sandy - it's a pleasure to share your beautiful produce. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

New hilbarn Pick Up Points

Great news for people who live in the regions and want better access to superbly fresh and local produce! Along with Scottsdale, Windermere and Perth, we are now delivering weekly to Campbell Town, Bridport and Bicheno. If you'd like to subscribe, click on How to Join on our home page or contact Hil and Barn via email

In Campbell Town, you can Pick Up between 10 am - 4 pm on Tuesdays from Cath and Michael at the Book Cellar. They're located at the Foxhunter's Return, 132 Main Road (right).

For people in Bridport, we're now delivering to Kate and her team on Mondays at the Bridport Cafe, 89 Main Street (left).

And in Bicheno, we are now delivering our fresh produce boxes to the Bicheno Post office in Burgess Street where you can pick up your box from Subi and Helen on Monday after 4pm. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chicken Episodes

Chickens are curious things. Hil is extremely relieved at having finally found the nest Marilyn and Monroe (left) have been hiding from her for the past two weeks. When all the time she'd been scrabbling around the nether regions of her garden trying to find them, there they were yesterday - a whole two dozen - nestled perfectly in the middle of a bush of lemon balm right in front of the kitchen window.  Now that they've recovered from the separation from their eggs, and the weather is warming up, they seem quite taken with the idea of sunning themselves on the Nuns' House sun lounge. 
This morning, we collected the final dozen of organic eggs from Lyndy because they hadn't quite laid the required number  for us on packing day. Lyndy told us she was waiting on Blanche: "I kept telling her, Blanche, how long can it possibly take you to lay one egg!" We love Lyndy's hen stories.

Last week, in Stanley, as the sea mist rolled in around the Nut (above) and down the streets of the deceptively placid town, the richly-feathered hens and roosters of historic Highfield House proved equally entertaining as they tried to find shelter from the coming storm. You see how much hens are a distraction? We happen to have fresh Turners Beach strawberries in our boxes this week, and do they get a mention? Next post, promise...