Archive for October, 2012
Now that the weather has warmed up our herbs are going great guns.
I ‘harvested’ the crop on the weekend and am now madly adding Italian parsley, oregano and thyme to EVERYTHING.
‘Would you like some oregano on your Vegemite Toast darling?’
Just waiting for our Basil to fill out. Still no success with coriander but will keep trying. Noela our wonderful home miracle worker has gifted us some celery and Vietnamese mint from her garden. Hopefully we won’t kill it.
Alex’s succulent garden is also doing well. The cacti not so much (too much water). Did you know the pineapple is a form of cactus? I discovered this last week while interviewing Glasshouse Mountains pineapple farmer Murray Pike. He’s my next Courier Mail Ask a Farmer subject.
There is something strangely satisfying in growing your own food … I think I’m beginning to understand what motivates Mr Bean.
Have you had success growing your own food? Why do you do it?
As mainstream farming becomes larger and more corporate, one Queensland vegetable producer is bucking the trend.
Matt Muller and his wife Sarah, are enjoying incredible success selling their produce at a roadside stall at the front of their farm, using an honesty box for payments.
The couple, who trade under the brand, Fassifern Valley Produce, sell up to one tonne of tomatoes a week using this method.
Matt says the customers love knowing that they are buying direct from the farmer and that the produce they’re buying is super-fresh.
He’s weeks away from introducing heirloom tomatoes to the stand and his potatoes, sold in old-fashioned brown paper sacks tied with string, have also proven popular with customers.
“The thing that most people tell us is that the tomatoes taste like old-style tomatoes,” says Matt.
“Maybe it’s because we don’t have that whole transport issue, we don’t have to pack them so the customer is getting them so much fresher.
“It’s a bit of a warm fuzzy too; people like to see where their food is coming from.”
So you’ve been driving a car for 15 years. You can reverse park with just one hand on the steering wheel and you’ve still got your no claim bonus.
Big deal. Try driving with children in the back and then come talk to me.
I reckon all driving tests should be conducted with two screaming kids in the backseat because if you can avoid crashing under those circumstances you’ll be fine in most motoring situations.
Cars and kids … where shall I start?
Kids have no appreciation for how hard it is to drive in traffic.
Picture this. You are concentrating hard as you prepare to merge at speed onto the busy Pacific Highway, when suddenly from the backseat you hear: ‘Mum, he hit me, MUMMMMMMM he’s hitting me, help me MUMMMMEEEEEEE.’
Weaker women would have a bingle right there, but we mums must block out the noise pollution and focus on Not. Crashing. The. Car.
Next time you bite into a banana spare a thought for the farmer who grew it. Banana-growing is a tough gig, particularly as most bananas are grown in a tropical climate, which often means extreme weather.
I recently interviewed Stephen Mackay who heads up the family’s banana business Mackays. They’re based in North Queensland and they grow about 10 per cent of Australia’s bananas and pack and market about 35 per cent of our bananas.
The family used to plan on being hit by a cyclone once every 20 to 30 years. But lately the cyclones have been striking more regularly and at shorter intervals. Their farming operation took a 100 pr cent hit when Cyclone Yasi moved through in January 2011. It was the fourth cyclone to hit their farms.
But they don’t give up that easily and the family is back farming and marketing bananas. So next time you’re faced with a higher-than-normal banana price, load up your trolley and know you’re helping to keep a banana farmer viable. Stephen says if you pay less than $2/kg retail the farmer is losing money.
Here’s what happens on the paddock to plate journey.
If you’ve ever been stuck behind a slow caravan on a narrow country road with limited overtaking opportunities then spare a thought for me this week. Our little country town has been invaded by small army of grey nomads – more than 2000 of them. That’s 1100 campervans and motorhomes on our roads.
Few things in life are guaranteed, but this week you can be sure that whichever local road you take you’ll find yourself chugging away behind an amazing camper.
Forget modest camper trailers. Forget dinky little caravans. I’m talking incredible mansions on wheels. These things are enormous and by all accounts luxurious.
I’m still not convinced of the benefits of camping but it seems I’m in the minority out this way.
The camping enthusiasts are in town for the National Rally, organised by the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA). They’ve taken up residence at the local sporting grounds, the showgrounds and the golf course. The picture above shows the mini campervan city on the sports fields and was taken by Mike at Pterodactyl Helicopters.
It’s been great for our town … the local shopping strip has been inundated with new faces and the local walking path is so busy between 5.30am and 8am that you’d be forgiven for thinking you were on the Bondi to Bronte track.
The campers are in Boonah until Sunday so if you’re in the neighbourhood come past and check it out.