Further-a-field…

At Warwick Park in Foxground, the beds have finally dried out a bit, and the vegies are mostly none-the-worst for the months of drenching rain. The mixed winter green crop of oats, vetch and mustard has flourished!

Our oat green crop devouring children!

Our oat green crop devouring children!

During a Foodscape Tours visit a couple of weeks ago, we picked our first baby parsnips – small, but a sign of yummy things to come. This was Feast Farms last visit from Jacqueline and her guests, as the Warwick Park garden has now been handed over to Bonnie Cassen of Sharwood Greens. Bonnie will continue to host visitors and supply wholesome, fresh vegies to Green Box & local restaurants in the area. Have fun Bonnie, and we look forward to watching the garden flourish, and sharing vegie growing tips and stories!

Jac and baby parsnips

Jac and baby parsnips

Meanwhile, we have been exploring further South in search of larger paddocks to till. The South Coast is such a ‘hidden treasure’…..so many beautiful, character-rich villages from Milton, down through Moruya, to one of my very favourites, Bodalla. Beautiful forests, stunning coastline, flourishing arts communities and cottage industries everywhere. So many experiences to soak up and flavours to savour!

Pumpkin harvest

Cobargo pumpkin harvest

The contrast between the rural heritage of Tilba Tilba one minute, a pretty 10 minute drive through spotted gum forests later and you’re watching seals sunning themselves on the breakwater as fishing boats bob up and down gently in Bermagui Harbour. Irresistible really!

Small town eats

Delicious local Cobargo offerings…

Back in Berry, husband and wife team John Evans and Sonia Greig have now opened their awesome new restaurant “SOUTH on Albany“. John does a great job sourcing many local, seasonal ingredients for their simple modern menu influenced by chef John’s Welsh background and European training. The menu is accompanied by a fantastic wine list again offering many wines from the local region. A ‘must visit’ for a fresh, delicious, seasonal meal.

Sydney Markets

Morning has always been my best time of day, but I have really loved Friday mornings for this past 10 months or so, going up to the Sydney markets to source fresh produce from other regional growers.

12 July 2012 010 (2) Markets

Up before the sun.

When I finally convinced my daughter to join me one morning, she agreed to be awoken in the dark, “…only if we can visit the flower market too?!”

Pretty start to the day.

Pretty start to the day.

Reluctantly, I agreed, and have incorporated the flower market stop into the Friday morning ritual ever since. Whether the sun is up or not, it’s a buzz that looks and smells exhilarating.

Floral brassicas

Beautiful brassicas.

Unlike the food growers section, which is just plain scary sometimes, among the bustle of florists and this week-end’s brides, there are smiles everywhere. With beauty all around, you can’t help but smile.

Monks

Monks

I don’t know much about the flower-growing world, and sadly I’m sure many of the flowers are imported from far away, and probably not raised with particularly sustainable methods, but there is no denying that the giving of a flower, is an age old way to share joy.

Zzzzzzzzzz

Zzzzzzzzzz

It’s not enough to keep everyone awake though, and my daughter is more than happy to let me choose her flowers for her. Once was enough!

Ham and Salad…

We have been running our Jamberoo Pub Feast Markets for a couple of months now, and some weeks Tass from Jamberoo Valley Farm brings down an assortment of her gorgeous heirloom variety seedlings. She has loads of beautiful varieties of salad greens, some very unusual such as delicate ‘bucks horn’ and ‘lamb’s lettuce’. Interesting tomato varieties too; and ‘casper eggplant’!

Tass and the Jamberoo Valley Farm seedlings

I have of course been unable to resist purchasing many of them, and they have been planted in Warwick Park’s garden.  Interested in having a look, P1 escaped from his comfortable enclosure last night, and when I arrived in the garden this morning he was having a lovely time taste testing the fresh garden offerings!

Ham and salad…

They say ‘happy as a pig in mud’, but let me tell you, a pig in a veggie garden is pretty chuffed too! He is led by his stomach though, and when offered his very favourite treat of creamy South Coast Dairy milk, he trotted happily back into his enclosure.

How old is heirloom?

We celebrated all things unique and special this week, with Deb’s Birthday, heirloom veggies and the wonderful job our heritage pigs are doing preparing the ground for spring. Not sure if Deb would like to be considered ‘heirloom’, but seeing she now has grand-nieces and nephews, I don’t think she’d be too offended by the dictionary definition of, “A valued possession passed down in a family through succeeding generations.”

Deb & Steve – enjoying Ran’s heirloom cherry tomatoes at the Pavilion on Tuesday night.

Heirloom veggies are described as old, open-pollinated and mostly non-hybrid with some suggesting they needed to exist as they are today before 1951 (which Deb certainly didn’t!), or even before the Second World War. Popular not just because they often look interesting and beautiful, but often taste better and are sometimes more pest and disease hardy.

Gorgeous heirloom eggplants ran out the door at last week’s Feast Markets, and will make an appearance again this week.

The exact lineage of Feast Farm’s pair of pigs is somewhat doubtful, but they look like Berkshires to me, which is Britain’s oldest pig breed, originating from Berkshire county (now Oxfordshire).  I’m just thrilled with the job our pair are doing moving the grass at Warwick Park. As well  as preparing the ground, we planted over 40 trees along the Southern fence line line here last Sunday to help create a wind break and bring small birds to the new garden.  Bring on spring!

Pigs at Foxground doing a great job of moving the grass

The new guy in town…

The Pavilion Hotel has a new chef, and Ran has been visiting us at the markets each Friday to check out what’s fresh & what’s local. Just moved up from Melbourne (and still looking for a room to let… anyone?), he is determined to keep the menu fresh too, adapting as often as he needs to, to ensure fresh, seasonal flavours.

Chef Ran Kimelfeld

Last week he bought a couple of shiny black eggplants to create burnt eggplant soup as an entree for a vegan guest that night. Deb and I were lucky enough to get to taste it, when he popped back over the road a couple of hours later, with samples and teaspoons….yum!!! Any time you need help Ran! He takes great food shots too – both of these dishes below have been on the menu in the last few weeks, so go and have your own taste test soon.

Ran’s roasted fennel with grilled ocean trout

Stuffed zucchini flowers with feta and home made pesto