Posts Tagged ‘Sunday Mail’
The health world moves in fads. Some fade, some are enduring.
Baby wheat looks like it’s here to stay. You probably know it as wheatgrass. It’s generally sold by the shot (it’s not the best tasting thing) and is said to do excellent things for your immune system.
That’s because the new shoot of wheat is filled with goodies such as chlorophyll, amino acids, minerals, vitamins and enzymes. But chlorophyll makes up about 70 per cent of the grass – hence the green colour.
The western consumption of wheatgrass started in the 1930s as a result of experiments conducted by American nutritionist Charles Schnabel. He used fresh cut grass to nurse dying hens back to health. The hens recovered and produced eggs at a higher rate than the healthy hens.
I recently interviewed Jan Struthers of Wheatgrass Noosa for my Ask a Farmer Feature in the Sunday Mail. She started juicing wheat when she became sick with streptococcus and lupus. At the time wheatgrass was hard to source so she used her training in horticulture and landscape design to grow it and now supplies wheatgrass for both medicinal purposes and also to brides looking for a sleek, modern table centrepiece.
Little do they realise it’s also a Persian tradition to have a vase of wheatgrass on the wedding table as it’s an ancient symbol for fertility.
The best way to consume wheatgrass and reap the benefits is to juice it using a juicer which ‘presses’ the ingredients. Jan sells trays of wheatgrass for $13 each.
This is how she grows it.
Have you ever felt the urge to smash a watermelon with your head?
Nah, me either.
But it seems there are plenty who do and you’ll find them at Chinchilla this weekend for the bi-annual Chinchilla Melon Festival. Apparently the record is 47 melons in 60seconds. Sad news this year though … the organisers have put a stop to the melon head-bashing competition, something to do with potential risk to competitors’ brains. You will however be able to witness melon skiing, melon bungee and the melon ironman race.
The festival is timed to coincide with the watermelon season … Queensland melons are harvested between December and mid April each year.
I interviewed Chinchilla melon grower, Terry O’Leary, a while back. He explained the intricacies in breeding seedless watermelons. While you and I may love eating seedless varieties they are actually inbred … and need a seeded melon to survive.
And if you think growing melons is as easy as throwing some seed in the soil, think again. Terry says they are a tricky crop, which is always throwing up new challenges.
Terry supplies melons to the central markets through the Select Melons Grower group.
Check out Terry’s blog Melons Cause Insomnia
Read on to follow the Paddock to Plate journey of a watermelon.
In the red rose growing world February 14 is game day. It’s the equivalent to the league grand final … everything you’ve been working towards must come to fruition in time for this day.
No one knows that like Queensland rose farmer Stephen Speirling. He will supply about 75,000 red rose stems to the market ahead of Valentine’s Day.
In the weeks leading up to February 14, Stephen and his staff and family work epic hours, so they can be sure the flowers will be ready just in time. Too early and too late simply are not options … we all want our red roses ON February 14.
I interviewed Stephen for my Ask a Farmer feature in the Sunday Mail. If you missed it you can read it here.
He explained the Paddock to Posy process. This is what he said.
If you’ve watched a TV cooking show lately (who hasn’t) then you probably know a little bit about Verjuice.
It’s a favourite with Maggie Beer. The fellows on Masterchef are partial to a drop, as are the contestants on MKR.
But what is it?
I have a bottle in my cupboard. The label says can be used as a substitute for lemon in dressings and wine in cooking.
I recently interviewed Vinegar and Verjuice producer, Ian Henderson from Lirah Vinegar at Ballandean.
He used to work in the wine industry but now his sole focus is on producing grapes for vinegar and verjuice. He makes a lot of it, to bottle under his own label and for other companies to use in their own products.
Ian jokes that he deals acid. That’s essentially what vinegar is. But what is verjuice?
Ian says it’s grape juice, not vinegar and not wine. It’s not alcoholic, it’s just made from really, really unripe grapes. Ian picks his grapes when they’re still hard. He says the difference between good verjuice and bad is the quality of the grapes
Apparently some companies use their second-grade grapes for their verjuice, whereas Ian says he will only use first-class fruit in his.
He stepped me through how to make vinegar and he told me how to tell a good vinegar from bad. Apparently if vinegar smells or tastes dirty or like fungus something is wrong. Also if it doesn’t taste like fruit it’s not great. Nor should it smell like nail polish remover.
Read on for Ian’s explanation of how he makes vinegar.
My Ask a Farmer page has a new home in the Sunday Mail’s Homeground section.
The format remains unchanged – that is profiling Queensland farmers and asking them to explain just what goes into producing fresh food.
The feedback I receive about the page and the information shared by the farmers is awesome and I hope the feature is helping to breakdown some city-country barriers.
If you know of an interesting Queensland farmer with a great story to tell I’m always on the lookout!
This Sunday I profile Terry O’Leary, a Chinchilla Watermelon Farmer, ahead of the Chinchilla Melon Festival, which runs from February 14 to 17.
Terry also writes a great blog called Melons Cause Insomnia. Why’d you call it that, I asked him.
Because they do, he said.