If you are in a pickle regarding the best jam, paste, relish, chutney or pickle to go with a favourite dish then a gustatory experience awaits you with Karen Robson from Taste of TamO’Shanter at the Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market this Saturday.
Karen’s fingers are green (take a look at the market this Saturday!) producing wonderful crops of fruit and vegetables in her gardens at TamO’Shanter but it is her taste buds that have taken her on a journey into the world of preserves.
Karen’s food philosophy is predicated on no waste, but her prolific gardens saw to it that she had plenty of produce which she need to “turn into something”. Ideas and recipes for value adding to her abundance of vegetables and fruit filled her head. Karen set to work creating jams, relishes and pickles.
She enjoyed playing around with different flavour profiles, trying new combinations and more often than not, she says, her ideas worked. Karen does admit to a few instances where taste testers have pulled faces. However, she was not deterred and persevered with conserving whatever she could grow. Karen adds that her mother is also a wonderful gardener and cares for a third garden in Latrobe on her behalf.
But her real inspiration is the chilli. “I love the flavours and the different taste profiles they add”. Chilli does not mean hot, instead the chilli highlights different flavour notes says Karen. For example, the jalapeno is a fleshy chilli which gives a subtle heat when added to her pastes, pickles, jams and relishes. From a gustatory perspective Karen is adamant her taste buds are saying “beautiful flavours” and not retreating from chilli heat.
Then there is the cayenne which is a perfect match for tomatoes …
Karen grows all her chillies but she admits that she is not always able to grow everything to meet all the ideas she has and she then seeks out other Harvest Launceston producers. This week she launches her corn and chilli relish using corn produced by Elphin Grove Farm. Her favourite hampers include honey from West-Bee and delights from A pinch of …
Karen’s head is easily turned by an interesting ingredient and is full of ideas for potential collaborations with other Harvest stallholders and always with what her garden has to offer each season.
Taste of TamO’Shanter is at Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market every Saturday. The market operates in the car park between Cimitiere and Cameron streets from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.