What a gusty dusty weekend! How was it at your place? At the far northern end of Tyalgum at Summit Organics the force of the wind gusts on Saturday were phenomenal, causing Tania and Rod Bruin’s greenhouses to rattle like the proverbial. At times it sounded like a huge jumbo was about to take off! They have learnt from experience how to securely construct their many greenhouses to withstand these powerful and sometimes prolonged gusts.
Wow, wow and more wow! If you ever wondered about the intensity of producing a vast variety of leafy greens, brassicas, ginger and turmeric, strawberries, tomatoes and much more to provide for customers at four farmers’ markets EVERY week of the year then grab the opportunity to visit Summit Organics at their next farm walk.
Rod, Tania and their son Ryan shared with us the planning that this requires and it is impressive.
After the farm walk on Saturday I drove away filled once again with immense admiration and gratitude for the huge effort and skill that Rod, Tania and Ryan put into growing food for us week in week out.
They are so willing to share what they do and how. At times they plant up to 50,000 seeds per week – every week – during their peak growing season. Imagine that!!!! Seeing their nursery and sprouting shed alone was inspiring. Ryan is the man behind their incredible sprouting feat – ensuring there are plenty for us to select from and enjoy each week. Keeping the quantity of sprouts available is not unlike looking after a baby with attention to timing and watering being critical. If that goes astray then they are not ready to harvest for the market.
Can you imagine planting out so many seedlings every week!!! Tania shared with us the very clever method she uses and how many seedlings she can plant per 15 minutes segments and this continues throughout the day from a 6.00am start.
Harvesting for the market begins very very early and must be completed by about 10.30am before it is too hot. Some produce requires bundling and correct quantities for each market is managed via a colour coding system.
Yes, each market has its own personality and some vegies are more popular at one market than another. It is a very finely nuanced operation and Rod and Tania said that they simply couldn’t manage with out the dedication of their wonderful team of employees; twelve in total including Rod, Tania and Ryan.
They have a lot of education groups visit and it is important to Rod and Tania that students learning about farming see that if done with knowledge, planning, passion and respect it can be viable. They wish to inspire the next generation of farmers.
To top off what was a wonderful morning, we all enjoyed a delicious bowl of sweet potato and pumpkin soup followed by Tania’s famously popular rhubarb cake with strawberries and cream. I hope you grab the opportunity to go next time they offer their farm walk. You learn so much that your gratitude for what they do grows with each step you take during the tour
What’s GREAT at the Market this Week?
Everything is GREAT right now. Each week I either write about what is abundant or I take a guess at what might interest you. What would you like to know about?
Please send me an email and if there are particular aspects of the market that you would like to know more about I am more than happy to answer your questions through our weekly newsletter.
So …..instead of focussing on one fruit or vegie group this week I am going to offer you a smorgasbord of tips.
TIP: If you have a kaffir lime pick the tip leaves off its branches. Use a few in stir fires, or on top of root vegetable bakes where they become crispy and edible. Or crisp up a whole lot on a baking sheet and store for later.
Cress – while water cress needs to be grown in flowing water – land cress – a wonderful peppery herb is relatively easy to cultivate – like rocket, cress is a low maintenance herb and an abundant producer. It can also be grown in pots, thriving in cool, moist soil and partial shade. Summit Organics has land cress every week at the moment. I was fascinated to see it growing prolifically interwoven amongst their leeks.
Microgreens and sprouts – most of our organic farm stalls have a variety of sprouts. Sprouts pack well above their weight nutritionally so sprinkle sprouts on your salads, omelettes, cooked vegies and more for a big health boost. Whilst it is easy to sprout your own beware mould can be a problem.
Barley Grass is available by the tray at Sylva Lining Organics – Sylva and Ian say that shots of barley grass make you feel so good you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried it before. Winter is barley season!
Although it is NOT the season for tomatoes right now Bio Organic Farm has a great selection because they grow them in the beautifully sheltered warmth of their greenhouses. So let’s enjoy these tasty little morsels cooked for warmth or tossed in our salads.