the 2017-2018 Berry and fruit season has started

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Just starting to pick cherries

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Blackberries are great

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What a season – hardly any rain in the last 6 months. But amazingly lots of fruit. IN the tree crops cherries and apricots are now being picked. Lucky we have irrigation.

Just the same lots of damage from roos and possums who are desperate for food as the surrounding forests are without fodder.

We have lots of berries though. At present picking strawberries, raspberries, black berries, red currants and blackcurrants.

Our shop is open every day and lots of other goodies available. Ann is a great cook and berry desserts, smoothies and our own special icecream are awaiting your evaluation.

Blackcurrants- for 2017/18

The 2017-18 picking season of black currants has started. We are now sending blackcurrants by Express Post to Eastern States of Australia. These are fresh, vacuum sealed and can be eaten fresh or frozen when they reach their destination hopefully overnight.

We also have black currant cordial and jams available in our shop or online.

See full article from earlier post: https://eurekafarm.com.au/bloghh/blackcurrants/

For ordering online  go to Farmhouse direct

lots of blackcurrants were picked

lots of blackcurrants are being hand  picked

Noma’s visit

This year has been an amazing year. Ann and I have been very busy and alas my updates for our web site have been noticeably absent. Today is Christmas day and it is the only day we are closed. This gives me an opportunity to reflect and say hello to the world. HELLO!!!!

In recent weeks we have been contacted by an organisation called Noma. To you gastronomic devotees this is a well known organisation. They are a  Danish company who normally operate in Copenhagen. They specialise in offering a culinary experience like no other. They have a two star rating with Michelin. You may already have gathered from this rather weak description that I haven’t been indulged yet with a direct experience. Noma personal if you read this feel free to correct this matter.

As a special treat for Mr. Packer of Casino fame and in earlier years Newspapers now has installed Noma at the site of its new casino in Barangaroo for ten weeks. Sounds simple but it has been a marathon undertaking bringing the staff and the whole operation to Australia.

As such the Noma management have been developing the new menu which will incorporate a lot of native produce and of course be sourced with other Australian produce. It still seems amazing that the entire number of sittings has already been sold out and the future guests still have no idea what they will be getting. Even more amazing to me is the cost are quoted at $475 per head with additional costs for an accompanying wine selection. ( for more go to http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/food/restaurants-bars/tables-at-ren-redzepis-restaurant-noma-sydney-sell-out-in-under-five-minutes/news-story/86bac22f58a007a3172e822201a0990e)

All very interesting but what is this to do with Eureka Farm. Well it just so happens that we grow Blackcurrants amongst the large array of activities that we seemed to have taken on over the years. We were contacted to supply green unripened blackcurrants, the leaf from the bushes and the wood as well. Never have we had a client wanting the leaves or wood before. What can this mean?

We at first had trouble taking the request seriously. But they persevered and the day finally came when two representatives of the company turned up. My initial contact was with Thomas Frebel . For some reason he was unable to come and instead we met up with Beau Clugston , chief co-ordinator of the Sydney event and his side- kick Malcolm  a patisserie chief formerly from the Bronx. (sorry surname not known).

 

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not often the top chiefs from Noma help us prepare lunch for our workers. I think they were starving

Beau, Malcolm and myself-Denis

Beau, Malcolm and myself-Denis

 

 

 

It didn’t take all that long to collect eight big boxes of wood and leaf. I imagine the airlines were somewhat intrigued when they turned up with this as baggage. I believe when processed this amounts to about 20 litres of infused product. I think we could actually make it here with less trouble and look forward to doing a trial.

My curiosity now is to explore these recipes used with this unfused product The blackcurrant leaf icecream sounds like a really good product. We have made ice-cream before with the fruit but this will be the first time we have used infusions.

Thanks  very much for your support Noma and we look forward to working with you on this project.

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collecting the wood and leaves.

Master Chefs from Eureka Farm

Our team- left to right; Diego, Pierre, me -Denis, Koocy and Sena. (photographer Wilson)

Our team- left to right; Diego, Pierre, me -Denis, Koocy and Sena. (photographer Wilson)

 

piepastryWe have a team of 5 persons staying with us now. Diego from Chile has been here the longest. Pierre is from France. Sena is from Japan and Wilson and Koocy are from HongKong. All are eating with us and thus meal  times are an important feature of each day. As every one seems to have strong appetites we need to keep thinking of some creative ideas and ones that in the end fill every one up.

This year every person gets their time to be Master Chef.  We have a dinner roster and where possible we get the ingredients in for each person’s selection.   Some of our crew were very nervous at first but I would say in general they warmed to the event and each time it was their turn researched a choice and approached it with increasing confidence. And Ann’s and my job is really just to encourage and ensure that things go to plan and for the less experienced that the kitchen is not destroyed or worse.

My interest this year has been to learn more about pie making both fruit pies and savoury pies. We had a lot of fruit which traditionally doesn’t sell so well. It seemed to me to be an obvious solution to use it more in our desserts. ( and I may add we need lots of food to fill these guys for as they work in the field mainly weeding they come in very hungry) I have had a lot of support from our team and especially Diego who must have developed an interest in cooking from his younger years.

Not every thing has gone smoothly in these efforts and sometimes we have to work harder to make our not so good efforts result in something palatable.

fruit pies galore

fruit pies galore

In the first joint effort we made some fruit pies. On the first night I made the mistake of warming the butter and as a result the pastry was almost impossible to roll out and transfer to the pie. So as you can see the visuals of the lacework on the top are a little rough. This was originally an apple pie recipe but now we use whatever fruit is available.
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with hot custard – a yummy dessert

We do have the advantage in that we have lots of fruit and thus have no trouble providing fillings. The fruit pie pastry recipe comes from Justin a Dutch man who was here last year. It has proven to be very successful and we use it all the time. I have attached a copy of this recipe so that my readers can have the enjoyment of using it.

I have always wanted to make meat pies and pasties. Well we didn’t really intend to make a pie this time but aimed for Cornish Pasties. This time we used Wallaby meat which had been eating up my top orchard. They must get so hungry when food is short that they still get into our orchards in spite of the electric fence and all the other measures we have taken. (g

 

autographed

autographed

I was going to make Cornish pasties but under Diego’s influence they turned pasties using the recipe Empanada dough. My research seems to indicate that the origin of these pasties was from the Cornish miners who worked all over the world and long after they departed this recipe remained. The difference between the two seems primarily in the way the filling is handled. The Cornish do not precook their filling ingredients nor do they use spices. Onion, meat and potato are the prime ingredients of their fillings. Whilst the Chileans use the same ingredients they are certainly not bound to such a restricted range and usually cook the ingredients first. As we were using Wallaby meat we have found from experience it often requires quite a bit of cooking so we too favored the Chilean way.

Apple and Pear Juice

The season is over and now time to clean up. We have heaps of apples this year and only geese and chickens to eat the throwaways. Fortunately my wine maker friend Geoff Wells loaned me his press and dicing machine. In the past I have offered him some of my waste apples but he said he had enough and why don’t you try making some for your self. It seemed like a good idea so on a very wet day ( yes it is starting to rain again) we decided to process some of our apples and pears.
Both the apples and the pears have to be diced in order for the press to extract the juice. Some of the apples are quite firm and also need cutting up before dropping in the dicing machine. It pays to be very careful with this machine as you could do yourself serious harm if you got your fingers near the blades.
Having diced until you are sick of it it is then necessary to charge the press. I found you didn’t need a cloth liner and in fact this slowed things down. It is very important to add on the spacers to the filled press so that the maximum amount of pressing can be done in one go.
The apples were much harder to extract the juice than the pears. And the yield wasn’t great. I am sure we could do more to improve that but as we had plenty of apples didn’t worry about it this time.

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Good weather at last

We are getting things ready again.

Shop is going in a nice simple manner. Coffee and biscuits. Icecreams and jams and chutneys available again. Quite a few orders coming in for our jams not just through the internet but also via our retail outlets stocking up for the summer. We have resisted price increase so far as we know a lot of businesses are hurting but will have to increase prices soon at the wholesale level due to all the price increases we have had to absorb.

On the farm side of things the strawberries are starting to look good although we have had lots of difficulties with water coming down the hill due to the extraordinary amount of rain we have had  this year.  We have put in diversion trains now which is helping in the area where the strawberries are growing but is causing water logging in the area where this water ends up.

This has made trafficking very difficult and mowing impossible. Also we have had a soil analysis done which shows that the soil in this area in addition to being nutrient deficient is showing salinity.

We will improve the drainage in the wetter areas soon and correct some of the soil nutient problems also when it dries out.

But the strawberry rows have all been tidied up and side dressed with compost as well as some fertilisers added. Another major problem will be keeping the wildlife out. This morning we found 3 wallabies in the paddock in the middle of the day. They are either jumping the fence or their is a weak spot in the fence. The top of the fence is electric which usually is a sufficient deterrent.