Glen and Ruth are third generation on their property at Darkes Forest. Glen’s grandfather bought the land in 1939 and ‘fled’ there from Sydney, fearing for his family’s safety when war broke out. Doubt they would have been at risk, but for his descendant’s sakes, the decision was probably a good one anyway
The big apple
Glen’s Dad started planting the orchards in the early ’50s, and they now have several varieties of apples, nectarines and peaches. They sell almost all fruit locally, as well as to a local business who presses the fruit into beautiful juice. I was lucky enough to taste a sample of their new value add in the way of dried apple pieces – sweet and chewy.
The goodies counter
The very last apple of this season was picked yesterday, so they are super fresh at your Feast Market and at Green Box this week. Plus, don’t forget to keep an eye out for Glenbernie on the new season of MasterChef in a few weeks when they screen Matt Moran’s recent visit for an apple tasting!
Michael Stathos’ mission at Smadimi Estate in Terara is to grow everything. If someone tells him, “You can’t grow that here!” – he will. He has one or two examples of almost every edible plant you can think of, enough grapes to make wine (don’t ask to taste it though!), and enough veggies to feed the biggest family, and still sell leftovers to Green Box.
Michael and sweet potatoes
New plantings in Michael's veggie patch
When visiting the other day, he picked a dragon fruit and sliced it up to give us a taste. The colour knocks you out first, but the flavour is subtle – slightly sweet and a little bit floury – think watermelon?
Fresh picked dragon fruit
Michael is one of my favourite characters. He always has some advice – not only on growing luscious white figs and crunchy beans, but practical business advice. Sensible stuff, like making sure you keep the other half happy!
Saturday’s Foodscape Tour visit to the Shoalhaven Nursery revealed some favourites, and some not-so-common fruits, some edible…some best left well alone…
Jacqueline among the strawberries
Jo sells her strawberries at the Nursery gate, and also to Green Box. Last week she picked 120kg – not bad for the first week of May!
Illawarra Plum - tasty fruit one end, seed the other.
This Illawarra Plum (Podocarpus elatus), fruit was small with a very interesting shape, but very tasty. My dad can grow anything, so I pocketed a couple of seeds for him to give it a go.
Neil's halucinogenic 'cherries'
Walnut drying in its pod
I had certainly never opened a walnut this fresh before – the nut was soft and almost creamy. Neil and Jo’s magnificent garden and nursery on the banks of the Shoalhaven is well worth a visit, but wait until spring when the strawberries get going again – YUM!
A perfect autumn garden day today. The citrus in the Seven Cedars garden in Foxground is colouring beautifully, the peas have started flowering, the garlic is up and away, and many of the hundreds of seeds sown over the last few weeks are popping up to enjoy the sun.
Perfect autumn day for a garden
I finished off a compost heap today, with barrow after barrow of fresh cow poo pinched from the neighbours paddock. Twelve cubic metres of wood chip arrives tomorrow afternoon to line the paths, and the barrow will be put to work for a few days then I suspect. All in all though, I’m pretty chuffed with how this feast is growing.
We have just had the wettest and coolest summer in recorded history. So many people complain about the endless wet weather, but providing it’s not torrential, gardening in the rain is really lovely. And the cleansing effects on the land and creeks are invaluable.
I visited a friend at Broughton Village the other day (pretty place name, but there isn’t one…village I mean. Must research that one day…) The crispness and freshness of the post-rain landscape just cannot be expressed in words, and I expect these pictures don’t do it justice either. But hopefully you can get a feel for how beautiful it is…
My old plastic scone cutter broke, but that didn’t stop us enjoying a batch of mouth watering scones, made with South Coast Dairy cream – yum! An old metal heart shaped cutter just made them even more fun.
And thanks to our wonderful friends for sharing their garden abundance, and stove-top labours – Andrew found them ‘finger licken’ good!
Andrew Feasting on local jams
It wouldn’t surprise me to know that people just grew passionfruit for their remarkable flowers. I LOVE the fruit with an even greater passion though! The crop about to ripen on the vines on our side fence should satiate Tom, Hattie and I for a little while at least…
The exquisite passion flower - baffling how nature turns this into one of my favourite fruits
The history of the name of the fruit and it’s flower is fascinating too…
Roman Catholic priests of the lat 1500’s named it for the Passion (suffering and death) of Jesus Christ. They believed that several parts of the plant, including the petals, rays, and sepals, symbolized features of the Passion. The flower’s five petals and five petallike sepals represented the 10 apostles who remained faithful to Jesus throughout the Passion. The circle of hairlike rays above the petals suggested the crown of thorns that Jesus wore on the day of His death.
Deciding to move to Gerringong in January 2007, we chose a block with a new-ish house and a backyard that had been completely ‘untouched’. The back fence was hidden in blackberries and lantana, and the lawn was basically remnant dairy paddock grasses barely covering the red clay soil.
23 January 2008
One year later, the food garden had been laid out, and over the years it has been wonderfully productive despite periods of ‘life too busy’ neglect, two new puppies, little boy’s birthday parties and escaped chooks. Lots of failed experiments and bucket loads of learning later, and it’s time to find some more space…
23 January 2012