At Harvest | 13 April 2024

The Kraken, Autumn’s strong showing, some weekend reading, and a brief musing on canning.

Before we begin today’s ‘At Harvest’ newsletter, we’d like to take this opportunity to put our patrons’ grave concerns to bed. We loathe to think you’re losing sleep.

We speak thusly: we have not lost Chris Doumouros to the Kraken. Nor any creature, mythical or otherwise. Further, Georgetown and its strategic seafood-based resources have not fallen to the Spanish Armada or any naval force, conquering or otherwise. Chris and his good-ship Georgetown Seafoods have the boats in for annual maintenance and repair. Anyone who knows anything about boats will know that such things invariably suffer overruns. He will return!

Just, not for one more week. We do apologise on their behalf.

This Week at Harvest

We’re so pleased to have seen some (probably not enough, but some) rain throughout most of the state in the last fortnight. One might not think it, but winters throughout much of our pastoral land can be as dry as summer. Cold? Yes. Damp? Certainly. But, little by way of precipitation. Fears were for an immediate transition from a hot, dry summer to a cold, dry winter without the rainy bluster that Autumn is want to bring. Dance for more rain; spare a thought for the farmers.

We are also delighted to see a strong showing from producers as we push further into Autumn. Wouter (Seven Springs) is claiming “the best Kennebecs I’ve ever grown”, and his range of heirloom squash is in its absolute prime right now. We’re hopeful that the flourish of rain and some milder conditions extending through April will allow Zong and Yia (Yang’s 4 Seasons and Hmong Veggies, respectively) to keep the variety at peak for some time to come as well.

Anyone who has attempted to buy a mass-market Brussel sprout in the last 10 days or so will have noticed the considerable drop in quality. Not the case at Harvest. There are thus-far-unsubstantiated rumours of heirloom pears; stay tuned for that, though. It is prime time for mushrooms, with the cooler weather intensifying flavours. Roquette will be getting milder and more tender soon, too. Plus, TNGT is back after a week off. It never ceases to amaze us how long they can keep their season going. Spuds are on, lilies are on, the leafy brassicas are absolutely on, and apples are on like Donkey Kong, but, once more, fish is off.

Some Reading

Chief Nerd at Harvest (Meghan, self-appointed) put forward this piece by some Czech researchers with brilliant names. It’s a heavy-hitting article, but the Harvest General Mailing List is a heavy-hitting audience. Put very simply: People come to Farmers’ Markets for more than just food, and increasing cross-category spending is hard.

Maddie Thomas at the Guardian always has a pretty good handle on the fresh-food market month to month. We totally don’t rip it off at all not even a little bit how dare you.

Finally, we thought this summation of the ACCC’s Supermarket Enquiry was quite succinct and informed. It may have gone a little quiet in the media on that front, but we’re hoping it continues at a clip. An interim report is due at the end of August.

And a Brief Musing on Canning

Canned goods are having a moment. Martha says so, and we believe her. Canned goods have a bad rap in Australia, and it’s probably deserved. But this doesn’t mean that canned goods are all terrible. With the produce and resources available to us in Tasmania, it strikes us that the market is ripe for enterprising individuals to start a niche canning business. Local canned tuna in local tomato sauce? Hell. Yes. Mussels? Please. Clams. Tomatoes. Tomatillos. Plums, cherries… the imagination runs wild. We’ll even give you the name: The Other Tins.

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow x

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