Monday, 28 April 2014

When is the best time to visit Our Mates’ Farm (or Tassie for that matter)?

Well, what are you doing tomorrow?  I say that only half kidding, as Tassie always has something special no matter what time of year.  But if you want to really experience a lot, and get some stable weather (well as stable as it gets), and eat some great food, February-March has to be it.  Now keep in mind I am only a new Tasmanian, and I am probably missing out stacks of stuff true locals will tell me I have missed, but after a year down here this is what I think.

In February-March the fruit is on, depending on when you are here you will get cherries, or nectarines, or early apples, or blueberries or blackberries.  For the most part you will get cool nights, warm days, and empty beaches after the kids have gone back to school.  There may be a bit of rain, but it isn’t wet.  On the downside there are more caravans and campervans on the road plus the occasional fire-ban day/week.  But the temperatures mean you can enjoy a beer in the sun in the afternoon, and a glass of red at night.  And if you get a chilly night, a wood fire.

The Taste of Huon festival is on, and after seeing how big it was last month, the secret is definitely out: The Huon Valley has some of the best food in Tassie.

You also get a bit more of the people.  Kids have gone back to school, the hay is in the shed, and there is a bit more time for them enjoy the late fruits of summer before the autumn rains begin.

So these are my thoughts on when it is best to visit, but in reality any time we get to see our friends and share a cider or two is a special one for us.  Hope to see you soon!

And what we have been up to lately…

A few of “our mates” decided that April is the best time to visit us here in Tassie, so over the course of the month we had:

-          My cousin Dan from Canada
-          Our mates Jane and Jonathan and their two kids
-          Our mate Mark from London
-          My sister Charlene from Queensland

Dan worked his butt off with us on the one day he was here, woodchipping like a demon and filling, then emptying, TWO (!) trailer loads of woodchips.  We hope he brings his gorgeous wife next time as we still haven’t met.  Of course we won’t make her work!

Dan and Tinkerbell (with one of her tiny piglets)
Jane and Jonathan had the kids to tend to, but despite this Jonathan showed off his apple picking chops (it helps that he is like 7 feet tall) helping us pick stacks of apples.  He hardly needed a ladder.  A Sunday session at the Apple Shed (awesome!) really set the tone for these guys.

Matt, Oliver and Jonathan get picking, old school style.
This time with Cor, Jane and Amelia in the pic as well.
Mark threw himself into apple picking as well and worked like a demon, but it was what he brought to Tas that impressed me the most.  Mark makes gin, and not the bathtub-you-are-going-to-go-blind gin, but a gin that destroys anything made commercially by the big boys and stacks up very well against other premium “small batch” stuff too.  Straight up, with tonic, or in cocktails.  Don’t just take my word for it, he is being supported by some of London’s finest cocktail and distillery guys.  Not bad for a former dive instructor from Hay!  It was amazing to see how far his knowledge base has come, and great to see the same “fire in the belly” we have for great food.  And now great gin!

Trying out some of the local fare at the Lark Distillery
A bottle of Mark's 58 Gin, we are keeping one to celebrate building our house
We took time out from picking for Mark and I to go for a paddle and a fish.  The final score was 5-4 to him!
Charlene came for a week and I thought it would be a cool idea for Coreen to take her on a bit of a road trip for a few days, so they headed off together to Hobart (MONA), Port Arthur and Freycinet.  It looks like they had an absolute blast while I was tending the farm.

Choppo (Charlene's nickname, short for Pork chop), meets a real pork chop
The girls enjoy Freycinet
We also had a flying visit from our legendary WWoOFers Scott and Hannah before they left their apple picking work to return to the mainland.  They came in and with their new-found skills picked a few bins in no time as a favour, which we really appreciated.  Of course their flash picking-bags from Calvert Bros may have helped (I have gear-envy), but it was great to see them again.  They truly have set a high benchmark for other WWoOFers to follow!

Scott and Hannah on their flying visit.  Look at those flash picking-bags!
So that is it for now, we will have parents here again soon, but I will try to be a bit more proactive on the updates!

Cheers from your mates on Our Mates’ Farm.

No comments:

Post a Comment