Backyard Bounty all-Tasmanian Vegie box: 2nd July

This week $30 and $40 boxes include sage, grown by Hills Hydroponics near Devonport, who started out growing seedlings for farming and forestry, but when the forestry industry fell apart a few years ago they branched out into growing herbs, which turned out to suit the same highly efficient hydroponic technology that they use for growing seedlings. Unlike soft herbs like basil, coriander and parsley, sage is not great raw, adding complexity and savoury aromas to hearty winter dishes. It can be used in slow-cooked stews and braises, but where it really shines is when combined with fat – it’s often combined with fatty bacon, pork, skin-on chicken, and is cooked with brown butter to create one of the simplest sauces for pasta and gnocchi. It also pears well with soft vegetables that have a hint of sweetness – balancing out the natural savoury and bitter characteristics of the herb – which is fortuitous as this week’s boxes contain three of these: pumpkin, celeriac and Jerusalem artichokes. Like most of the “woody” herbs, sage is really easy to dry for later use – just tie it up and hang it in a place that has plenty of air-flow, making sure it’s not too clumped together, and it will dry itself!