Blackcurrants

In 2014 we started selling black currants on line. Our entre into this market was  heavily supported by Farmhousedirect and Australia Post. The following is the article that was written at that time. we have learnt a lot since that time about packaging and handling and hope we will have the opportunity to supply you once again.

Black currants

Black currants

 

lots of blackcurrants

lots of blackcurrants

However the black currants were unaffected and we had very good black currants; so many in fact that we didn’t know what to do with them all. Unlike machine picked black currants our black currants are washed and clean of stalks and other foreign matter. This makes them ideal for desserts and of course jams.

 

We made lots of blackcurrant jam and mixed berry jam and froze a lot but still there were more black currants to pick.

we made lots of blackcurrant jam

we made lots of blackcurrant jam

Blackcurrants everywhere

Black currants everywhere

Looking at the internet I discovered that there is a big market for frozen and fresh black currants in the United States. Maybe we could do the same here!

I then contacted Farmhousedirect who handle our products for on-line sales as well as many other similar producers. They were very supportive and we arranged for a special sale to happen with dispatch to go out the following Monday by Express Post.

Well I was dumbfounded for within a couple of hours all our black currants were sold. In fact due to an error in my ad we really didn’t have enough.

Now we were entering new territory. How were we going to get these items to our customers? My experience is that they didn’t deteriorate quickly in our chilled coolroom. However they did tend to juice and the skins became softer. With this in mind I decided to pack them in heavy duty plastic bags and vacuum seal them.I then enclosed this bag in another lighter bag just in case the bag was not perfectly sealed. We do two sizes fir mail orders namely a 1.5kg and 4kg package which we dispatch in express mail bags.   All the bags once packaged were put back in the cool room until dispatch which was planned for the Monday. However for locals either near us or in Tasmania we can dispatch in any size and freight is generally cheaper.

On advice from FarmHouse Direct we send them via the Perth Post office just outside of Launceston , Tasmania so as to be at an Express Post outlet. We had now discovered that all Post Offices in Australia were not equal. In fact there was not only a National Network but a State Network too. And to further complicate matters if you moved into another State Network all bets were off as to how long it took to get there.

With these processes in place the system seems to work well. Deliveries as far as Queensland often get there the next day.

So to all our customers thank you for your support . And to all out there more suggestions would be appreciated.

 

 

Summer Joys and Woes`

It has been an interesting summer for us. Well that is one way of describing it. Certainly the driest year in the 26 years we have been settled in Tasmania,
We have been continually irrigating our row crops with mixed results. It is very difficult wetting sandy soil. The more you water the more likely you are to remove the nutrients that the plant needs. With rainfall the mechanism is different and the nutrients outside the rootzone can migrate back to the plant. We have had a couple of showers one of 30mm and the improvement in growth for the strawberries was impressive. But alas that was some time ago and now it is back to the dry conditions.
The main orchard  is some distance away from the farmhouse and much higher. It is on a north facing slope on sandy soil with hard pan less the a metre below the surface. Very poor soil obvious by the lack of vegetation outside the paddock. Even the bracken is having a hard time this year. Gums trees have also been dying. But inside the paddock we grow apricots, plums, citrus and other trees. The citrus have really struggled with many dying. These are shallow rooted trees and thus much more susceptible to drought. 

Gary picking apricts

the yellow carpet of Apricots

A different story for the apricots. Picked a couple of tons this year versus a negligible pick last year. Quality was very good too. Apricots unlike citrus have a deep root structure as they obviously liked these harsh conditions. There were so many that at least 8 tonnes were left and dropped to the ground.