Martin Place farming

Drove all the way up to the city from Gerringong on Tuesday to have lunch with my wonderful, suit-clad brother, and as I trotted down Martin Place, soaking up the Christmas buzz and glittering decorations, to my surprise the country had followed me to town. An enormous screen had been set up and passers by could step up onto the stage, before a blue screen (which was green) and ask questions of a virtual Aussie farmer.

Chatting to a farmer in Martin Place

According to their Facebook page, ‘Ask an Aussie Farmer’ is:

“…an idea grown by real Aussie farmers so you can have your food and fibre questions answered by those who produce it for you.”

So this is how you chat to an Aussie farmer.

Great idea. I hope it gets a few more city folk thinking about the source of all  the lovely food offerings in their city arcades, cafes and restaurants; about how it’s all produced and about the security of its supply in our changing world. Most importantly, the cost of an event like this proves that producers know that the decisions discerning city consumers make when they purchase, will make or break their rural businesses.

Foodscape Tours visits Feast Farms

If you wanted to lean on the fence and chat to a real producer though, why not book a wonderful Foodscape Tour? Spend a day chatting to South Coast Food producers and not only chat about the food, but get to taste it too!

Thanks, and please weed on…

Everything is growing, growing, growing… especially the dock, fireweed, Kikuyu, and the bill at the irrigation supplies shop….. but Feast Farms have invoiced their first customers – yay! (teeny amounts, but it’s a start).

Tom at Foxground – November 2012

Most importantly though, we (my wonderful, patient, often dragged along for the ride, family), are all still smiling and enjoying the learning. Many thanks to our wonderful markets customers each week, to Green Box and The Little Blowhole Cafe who are supporting our efforts, and of course to our friend Kerry, without whose generosity, none of this would be possible.

The gorgeous Kerry at one of our dawn meetings!

We had a visit from a Land journalist a few weeks ago, so keep an eye out for the early December issue of the paper for the ensuing story. Jacqueline is bringing Foodscape Tours to visit for the next three Saturdays which will be fun too. All the excitement just means one thing to me though… boy have I got a lot of weeding to do! Anyone want to come and help? I can pay in lettuces…. 🙂

Crave 2012 in pictures…

I know the Crave Sydney International Food Festival is all about the food, but to us it meant teamwork! The very organised and talented Jacqueline and her Foodscape Tours coordinated our big day a few weeks back, but it wouldn’t have been the fabulously fun day it was without our wonderful friends and family pulling together. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves…

So many thanks to our wonderful guests for ‘giving us a go.’

Curious sticky beak spectator

Bunting (and all these photos) courtesy of the gorgeous Adelaide

Fresh pickings…

Many thanks also to Bev, Will & Antonella for allowing us to visit their lovely, hillside garden

Amazing, delicious lunch by Di of A Bite on the Side – service with a big Harriet smile!

Beautifully decorated thanks to Vanessa – The Wedding and Events Creator

A long table lunch courtesy Barry and Monique at Mountain Ridge Winery

Very many thanks to all, and we hope to use our enormous amount of learning from the day to make it even bigger and better next year! XO

Foodie Tour

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!

Tea anyone?

 I think it’s so wonderful that we can brew a real cuppa with organically grown tea, picked just up the road in Foxground.  Yesterday I visited Kirsten McHugh’s tea plantation as a priveleged member of the Foodscape Tours rent-a-crowd for the filming of an episode of Sydney Weekender.

Mike Whitney with Kirsten in her tea garden

Mike performing for the camera

Lush, damp (and with a few leeches…much to the TV Producer’s horror!), the immaculate rows of tea (camellia sinensis) are edged with comphrey and the new flower buds signal the end of the leaf growth phase.

Camellia sinensis

Delicate toadstool










Kirsten’s way too modest about her tea making skills – the tasting that followed was of superb fresh, almost minty green tea, delicious black tea, and one of her many blends – this one green tea with lavender and mandarin rind…yum!

The taste test