Backyard Bounty all-Tasmanian Vegie box: 18th November

I’m not going to lie… this has been a challenging spring for sourcing produce. Spring is known as “the hunger gap”, a time of the growing year when sun-loving crops aren’t quite ready, stored winter crops (e.g. onions and potatoes) start to run out, and cold-loving crops (e.g. brassica) start to go to seed. So it’s always a challenge to source produce in spring anyway, but this year the hugely variable temperature and huge quantities of rainfall, coupled with a shortage of farm workers, has made it particularly difficult. New season potatoes tend to start expensive and drop in price as the larger northern growers start harvest, but this year with almost impossible digging conditions and loss of crops this second wave hasn’t really hit, although on the plus side John’s Lymington-grown pink eyes are probably the best I’ve ever seen.

Wet conditions have also resulted in Dutch carrots rotting in the ground and harvest problems with parsnips, and broccoletti – a crop that requires a skilled, reliable harvest crew – has not been viable to harvest, while similar labour and weather issues have resulted in limited supply of silverbeet. Whilst all the produce in our boxes is Tasmanian, produce shortages due to weather interstate impact on supply of our local produce, both in terms of upward trends in market prices and more of our produce heading interstate. It’s late November, and I’ve just found out that it’s likely asparagus is over for the season due to a heavy frost!

Luckily, we’re still able to source plenty of delicious Organic baby greens from York Town Organics, and this week they’ve also supplied us with over 150 bunches of baby turnips, which are much sweeter than their larger relations and are ready to eat either with a quick blanch in salted water or thinly sliced and raw! Moore’s Farm Fresh in Scottsdale – the north-east – have been less impacted by the flooding that has hit the north-west, and are able to reliably supply us with freshly harvested winter roots (beetroot and swede) and last summer’s onions. As always, autumn apples (this week’s from Lucaston Park) are still delicious even in spring and early summer with modern storage techniques, and our hydroponic tomato growers and tunnel-grown berries are affected far less by the weather and are producing beautiful fruit.