Backyard Bounty all-Tasmanian Vegie box: 21st October

This week’s organic box features Provence artichokes from new grower Coal River Red. Artichokes are a variant on the thistle cultivated for eating; if the heads are allowed to go to seed they also produce a beautiful, exotic looking flower. Like asparagus, 14479632_546111935589754_3184617110491903253_nthey have a fairly short season in spring, although that season can be extended by continually picking the artichokes before they form flowers. We picked this week’s artichokes up from Luisa and Gaspare in Campania this Wednesday, and are looking forward to getting more from them as the season progresses; their small farm is family-run and is strongly rooted in their Italian heritage within the context of the Tasmanian seasons. The boxes also include lovely bunches of mixed herbs from Honeywood Farm and more great produce from Wouter at Seven Springs – this time we’ve been able to get red radish as well as more of the baby fennel that we featured in the boxes a few weeks ago.

13886926_1737627183168478_6212622508955898613_nThis week’s organic box sees the last ever Forest Hill Farm potatoes (and our small remaining stash of their pumpkins will probably only last another month or so) – we’re frankly pretty gutted to announce that they went into voluntary liquidation at the end of September after being unable to find a buyer for their 350 acre property and packing facility in the Forth region. Forest Hill Farm have supplied us with high-quality certified organic produce for the past two years – in addition to the root veg, pumpkin and onion we’ve sourced for the vegie boxes, we’ve also used their beetroot and pickling onions in award winning preserves – and as the only large-scale vegetable grower in the state, their closure is a great loss for us all. Farming is a precarious business – today’s announcement that Simplot and Coles will be buying thousands of tonnes of vegetables from Tasmanian growers that have previously been sourced from overseas is surely only part consolation for the terrible losses that various weather events have caused this season – and we’re glad to be doing our bit, small though it is, to help Tasmanians get their food dollars into hard-working local farmers’ pockets.14712725_10154770468231337_5357547186734463533_o

This will also be the last week of pears for 2016 – Pop BB is very excited to try the Josephine pears Hansens will have available in late summer next year – but we’re excited to see the return of Tassie Pride’s cucumbers (note to self: schedule cucumbers and spring garlic together for a fresh and delicious tzatziki), and after a long wait we’ll have asparagus for absolutely everyone next week! We’re also expecting some new season’s pink eyes pretty soon…