At Harvest | January 28 2023

Officially the last week for apricots and cherries at Harvest. Plus, a surprise return, California dreaming (not really) and thank god I’m a country boy (also not really).

Life on a farm is kinda laid back, and there isn’t much that an old country boy can’t hack. They’re early to rise and early to the sack, thank god for the country boys. Look, we’re sorry-not-sorry to paraphrase (read: bastardise) the late great John Denver in this way. But we couldn’t possibly have said it better. What began as a spur-of-the-moment trip to the Birralee Rodeo for a bit of fun on a Saturday afternoon turned into an inspiring and insightful experience in country Tasmania. Allow us to enlighten you.

Normally at an event of a certain size in Tasmania, one can expect to know a considerable percentage of the attendees. At the Birralee Rodeo, we knew no one. Until that is, we ran into Neville from Tas Natural Garlic and Tomatoes. Certainly there was a mutual surprise at having run into one another. What was truly surprising though was that, during the course of the conversation, we received an inspiring history lesson. Turns out the rodeo arena is on the family property of Neville’s partner Annette, and was in fact built by Annette’s father.

Not a Country Boy

It is difficult to describe how much we love learning things like this. One of Tassie’s great beauties is the quiet achievement of the extraordinary. You never quite know who you might be talking to, or how incredible their story might be, until you scratch the surface. Our experience at the Birralee Rodeo typified this. Never would we have known about this little piece of history, nor appreciated its significance, had we not made the effort and participated in the life of the community.

Underprepared and overdressed, we stood out like a sore thumb. It was so clearly our first rodeo that the locals had us pinned from the moment they set eyes on us. Did that matter? Not a lick. Everyone we spoke to couldn’t have been more welcoming. There was excitement in just living their lives and sharing their experiences. No airs and graces, no pretences, just good old-fashioned fun. A few beers and a cover band in the golden evening light of a Tasmanian summer. What more could you possibly want?

Come as you are, with an open mind and a kind heart, and Tasmania will welcome you with open arms. Also probably a drink and a yarn. If that isn’t one of life’s great joys, we don’t know what is.

California Dreaming (not really)

Don’t worry, we’re not going all sunshine-state-legalise-it on you. We’re continuing on the theme of understated great stories. So in light of a community education day to be held next month, we thought it high time that Tim and The Tassie Hemp Shop received a proper shout-out. THS are one of only a handful of primary producers nationwide that are growing and value-adding to industrial hemp. Tim consults with industry and government. He attends and speaks at conferences, sits on the Australian Hemp Council and is the chair of the Tasmanian Hemp Association.

He also turns out at Harvest week in and week out for his community. Industrial hemp has applications across an incredibly diverse range of industries, from medicine to fibre to agriculture to food, and Tim is at its cutting edge. Let’s not forget the key thing closest to our hearts here at Havrest though. That hemp products are unique and delicious. Want some texture in that leaf salad? Hemp hearts are for you. A versatile and uniquely flavoured cooking oil? Hemp oil it is. Or if craft beers are your raison d’etre, try the 7 Sheds Hemp beer collab.

Tim, Pip, and their family have been involved in the Australian hemp industry for many years, and are the pioneers of the industry in Tasmania. Having created, developed, packaged and marketed their consumer hemp products over a considerable time, they began selling at Harvest in 2019, drawn by their existing relationships with Harvest members. If you want an example of an innovative local product that will have national significance, look no further than the Tassie Hemp Company.

Plus, who could resist the chance to put a photo of what appears to be (but definitely isn’t) a giant weed crop on the blog page?

Apricots, Cherries and the rest of the week at Harvest

With some reluctance, we’re forced to acknowledge that this will be the last week that you’ll see Tasmania (Ferniehurst) Cherries and Penna Valley Farms at Harvest for the summer season. That said, get excited about Margaret bringing along 5kg packs of jamming apricots! Now you can extend the apricotty goodness further into the year. Is there anything more delicious than homemade apricot jam on a fresh croissant? Hard to think of something honestly.

We’re super excited by the surprise return of Genaro and La Cantara this week too! Genaro and his family have been growing their business and exploring opportunities around the state with great success. With their busy summer run of events drawing to a close, we were delighted that La Cantara has found their way back to a (hopefully) regular slot at Harvest again. We’ve genuinely missed them and welcome them back with open arms. We’re certain you will too.

Plus, we’re relieved to see Jordan and Hillwood Fresh Food Co back after some illness. It’s a Cake of Peace week, so stock you can stock up on raw vegan sweet treats if that’s your bag. Plus, while the apricots and cherries might be on the wane, the berries continue strongly from Sheffield Berry Gardens and Westerway Berry Farm. And finally, the aforementioned Nev and Annette, for whom our already great love and respect has only grown, will be there with literally – not figuratively, literally – the best tomatoes in the world.

Thanks for reading, can’t wait for the market this week. See you there.

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