Mr, Mrs and Miss BB took the opportunity this week with school holidays to visit a few more of our Northern growers – contact with whom is often only via email, phone or visiting the freight depot otherwise – and we’ll be making profiles for them over the next week. This week’s box features certified organic tatsoi and dill from York Town Organics; we were lucky enough to meet Bruce and Clare (along with their canine menagerie, and of course their son Ben, behind the camera), and hear their story of building up a medium-scale farm in bushland on the north coast of Tasmania. All the leafies harvested by Clare and their small team of local employees are cut (with an ingenious harvester powered by a power drill), bagged and cool-stored within an hour of packing, which explains why they keep so well! Meeting farmers and hearing their stories really brings home the importance of what we do (and what you do by buying from us), and we’re certainly looking forward to including much more from Bruce, Clare and Ben in future boxes.
Your autumnal box this week also includes the first of Katie and Rory‘s hazelnuts (pictured to the right), which we had hoped to include in all boxes this week but unfortunately not enough were ready. (Fun fact: hazelnuts are harvested with a vacuum cleaner – the nuts that are ready fall to the ground – and then need to be sorted by hand to remove other items, like rocks.) We’re definitely planning on squirelling away plenty of these goodies, along with other nut varieties, to include in your boxes over the lean winter.
Other treats this week include a rare variety of apples (Democrats) from John’s home garden, and certified organic quinoa from Damen and Henriette, who we also dropped in on during our travels this week! (Don’t forget – the quinoa MUST be washed three times as it naturally exudes a bitter substance that will spoil your salad if you don’t!) Another real seasonal delicacy is new grower Mark’s Jerusalem Artichokes (or fartichokes for the less prudish…)
A note on eggs: you may have noticed that the eggs in your boxes have been alternating between Golden Free Range and Pure Foods (aka Valley Brook and Devil Free Range). We’ve been having some issues with supply from Golden Free Range, which we had hoped would improve as they grow their operation, but unfortunately this hasn’t really been the case as yet. Pure Foods are a very large operation in Longford with mixed cage and free-range production, and whilst the lines we’re providing in your boxes are within the set guidelines for free range (10,000 per hectare using a rotating forage restoration system) and definitely not the cage lines, we’d prefer to buy from a producer with lower stocking density like Golden Free Range, and have been using Pure Foods only as a back up option to ensure supply. We’ll be discussing the issue with GFR and have also been investigating other producers, and will have the situation sorted out by May either with a mix of lower density producers or with a new producer entirely.
Here’s the break-down of this week’s box: