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Produce Report- Week 14

The aftermath of cyclone Debbie will definitely have an impact on what is available this week. A week s worth of rain has left rhubarb with rotten wet feet at Glenn s place. It could be a while before it returns. The amazing pineapple season is tailing off - fruit are getting a bit smaller and less numerous. It s been a particularly good season with the early dry warm weather - let s hope the next big flush in late spring is as good! kiwi fruit are not far away at Ros Cairns although I did speak to her before the heavier rain yesterday. Ros does have good drainage not to mention fantastic views so fingers crossed her dexter hayward and bruno fruit will be here in a few weeks. So for a little while until mandarins avocados and kiwi Fruit start there will be plenty of summerdel and gala apples in the boxes as well as winter cole and beurre bosc pears. The winter coles squatter than a bosc with a similar flavour and slightly smoother flesh. We have come to develop a real liking for them at the Homestead! While we can t enjoy fresh figs all year round you can enjoy Fig Jam from Michelle at Ugly Duck. Michelle s jams are batch made just the way your would at home- with figs from Shane Halloran and sugar from Northern NSW. Everyone s favourite green tree shaped veggie is back in earnest this week courtesy of David and Tammy at Black Crow. Now given the amount of rain that has fallen around that area we won t be able to take broccoli for granted in the coming weeks but they are a resilient lot so I m sure we will see broccoli continue as well as cauliflower and cabbages in the near future. Ian and Bev MacKinnon have started harvesting some beetroot at their farm near Blackbutt. They are not big growers of beetroot so do it bunched with leaves on. You can use the leaves in a salad or wherever you use kale or silverbeet. In fact the bright colours of the leaves and tubers is a hint that it s one of the healthiest vegetables going around. Beans are still in abundance and although the sugarsnap peas at Jon Dukamps did not hold up in the rain there are plenty of snow peas. Easter is almost upon us - if you can t resist getting into the spirit just a little early Leavain has hot cross buns available from this week. Available in wheat and the ever popular spelt they are of course best toasted with dollops of butter. Adding fig jam might just be a little over the top. With cold weather approaching we have the potent fire cider back from Buchi. While making no health claims the fire cider follows age old recipes that many folk swear by but be warned it is an intense experience for you and any lurgies it hits!
March 31, 2017
Posted by: Joel Y

Produce Report- Week 12

Fruit The fruit train keeps rolling on with persimmon land the next destination for us. Kylie and Mick Carr have taken over the farm this year from Heinz and Angela Gugger in the Mary Valley. Thankfully the Carrs have decided to continue on with the holistic farming regime that Heinz put into place on the farm. Essentially this is all about nurturing the soil as the best source of good nutrients for the trees. We have discovered over the years that the persimmons peaches and nectarines produced in this way are out of this world. Heinz is now busy as a full time farming consultant and I expect he will be of great benefit to some of our farmers in the near future. The Carrs persimmons are all of the non-astringent type. This means they won t turn your tongue furry at any stage! You can eat them firm like an apple or leave them to ripen like and peach or kiwi fruit till they are sickly sweet. Persimmons are also versatile enough to lend themselves to many savoury recipes so let your creative juices flow. Dennis Angelino has some more aurora sunset peaches for us and perhaps some golden queens depending on how the weekend pick goes. Although in small numbers the peaches are much improved on last year - they have a wonderful dense flesh that will get even better if you let them fully ripen till soft. There are more apples coming soon including granny smiths plus the first decent crop of fujis from trees Dennis grafted specifically for us a few years ago. We are hoping for more figs this week compared to last week when a rainy Sunday and Monday made it difficult to pick and grade at Shane Hallorans. Just down the road Tom Dunn has finished with his black muscats but has ruby red seedless to replace them for this week and hopefully one more week. nbsp Veggies The rain last Monday almost derailed the vegetable train at Steve and Julie Steads with a heavy downpour wind and lightning arriving just as they were finishing the pick. We almost missed out on all their vegies last week! They are harvesting Silverbeet regularly now so fans can order on extras plus the mini red cos are back to make a more interesting 2 pack! We have just a few carrots left here for this week but now the Bauers and Googa s season extended run has finished we will have to wait till around June for more carrots. This has been a fantastic local run of everyone s favourite orange root crop. On the other hand you are probably sick of the sight of them so thank goodness for seasonal food! In just a few weeks you can sink your teeth into broccoli and cauliflowers from the Lockyer and this week we also have some fire candle radish like a skinny red carrot to complement the carrots. I m very excited this week to announce to all the Food Connect canine customers that we finally have a product for them. As a newish owner of a 4 month Labrador Kelpie Lulu I was shocked that she was far from interested in the vet endorsed dried kibble food we bought for her. Just afterwards we were approached by a Food Connect customer Diana Scott who is on a mission to remove caged animal meat from the food chain. As a pet lover she wanted to start by producing a pet food with the ethics that we all look for in our own food. She has created an amazing food made from free Range meat organic veg plus free range eggs and other goodies. Made in a human food grade facility the food is freeze dried not cooked to lock in the nutrients. You just add water before your pooch devours it. Our Lulu always licks the bowl and begs for more! We have trial packs available for purchase this week and in a couple of weeks Diana will have new stock available in the larger pack sizes. Diana s hard work is paying off with rave reviews and many satisfied dogs! Luke Procurement Guy
March 17, 2017
Posted by: Joel Y

Produce Report- Week 11

Fruit Late summer and Autumn really are rich times for fruit in our regions. It s a good time to get an extra fruit bowl with Apples and Pears at their peak Dragonfruit and Pineapples adding some tropical flavours Guavas making their brief appearance and Persimmons not far away. Although the number of varieties of fruits are decreasing over time as supermarkets have dominated our shopping there are still hundreds of types of fruit like Peaches still available if you look hard enough. This week we have a late Peach variety from Dennis Angelino called Aurora Sunset. With such a poetic name you might expect from a 60 s surfing documentary you know the flavour is going to be amazing. Dennis has just a few of these trees with some of the later variety Golden Queens arriving in coming weeks. Still on the Granite Belt the big dry and hot conditions experienced a few weeks ago have had some impact on some varieties of apples. Like most crops some apples are more prone to certain diseases which can be exacerbated by conditions. Bitter Pit is caused by a lack of Calcium uptake by the fruit and often if worse when very hot conditions cause trees to shut down and not transport minerals like they usually do. Jonathons are particularly susceptible and you may notice some on Mario s. Dennis has also noticed some on his Imperial Galas - we tasted some this week and did not notice any bitterness but as always let us know if any problems. Neville Singh experienced the same hot conditions at his farm near Bangalow. He was concerned how the Bananas would cope especially with the water uptake however his system of mulching seems to have worked well. Neville leaves the trash from old trees and trimmed leaves as a mulch and has a neat mower attachment which throws the inter-row grass onto the trash. This layered mulch is what helped the Cavendish bananas get into your boxes this week. Veggies Farmers are actively looking for ways of dealing with tough conditions including the increasingly extremes likely caused by climate change. Growing inside structures that can protect from weather as well as birds and insects is becoming increasingly common. This can work especially well for Organic farmers as their options for controlling pests in the field are more limited. The Lebanese cucumbers we are enjoying at the moment are from Quentin Hayward of Sunup farm grown in greenhouses that result in great quality fruit . Night time temperatures on the Granite Belt are down to around 10C making it a bit easier for greens to cope during the day after a cool night s rest. The Steads have started again with the fancy types of lettuce - Red Oak and the heritage oakleaf type called Lingua di Canarino. It is also perfect tomato weather especially if it stays relatively dry. Salad days indeed until the first frost begin to appear around Anzac Day. The still-warm days are producing plenty of amazing basil - you may find the big bunches are a bit overwhelming. Apart from producing Pesto to keep you going for the rest of the year you can use Macadamias or Almonds if Pine Nuts are too expensive it is also easy to dry Basil to use as a dry herb. As well as slow drying in an oven on low heat or sun drying you can do a quick job of small batches by Microwaving a single layer of leaves for around -2 minutes. Once they are dry enough to crumble in your fingertips you can store them in a jar or vacuum pack for future use. Luke Procurement Guy
March 10, 2017
Posted by: Joel Y

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March 3, 2017
Posted by: Joel Y

Produce Report- Week 10

Fruit Grapes are the perfect portion controlled snack food and the Black Muscats from Tom and Rosemary Dunn are about the tastiest you can get. Tom does have other varieties like Ruby Red Seedless that will follow but despite the seeds I reckon the Muscats are the bees knees. Tom had them netted early this year so has avoided the bird problems he had last year - you save a lot of sorting time if bird peck is not a concern! Mangoes have almost finished - the last variety will be the R2E2 that Richard Patton has sent this week. While they don t have the intensity of flavour of a Kensington Pride they do have a relatively small seed and wonderfully smooth flesh. They are also big - some are close to 1kg so definitely one to share with friends! Just 10 minutes from Tom and Rosemary is the farm of David Cox. David also grows grapes although for winemaking - his San Giovese Verdelho and Mourvedre go into some top local wines. This week we start with his Beurre Bosc pears the elegantly necked French variety. With their russetted skin and rich sweet flesh that cooks brilliantly they are many people s favourite. Pears are different to apples in that they must be stored in the cold after picking for a period in order for them to ripen properly. We have looked after them in the coldroom for the past week and now they are ready to leave at room temperature till they ripen - you can of course eat them crispy or wait longer till soft and juicy. On the conventional market Pears are usually ripened like Bananas - using Ethylene gas in ripening rooms so all pears ripen at the same rate. Naturally ripened pears mature at different rates so some of the Beurre Bosc may take longer. Veggies There are plenty more tomatoes available this week - the Black Krims really are a treat. They are very fragile though so this week we are looking at prepacking them for the boxes to stop them jostling around with the rest of the produce. Danny at Lettuce Bee is recovering quickly from the super hot week that wiped out his lettuce and most of the herbs a few weeks ago. So he has plenty of coriander chinese greens watercress and lettuce this week to complement the greens from the Steads. Try Watercress and Pear in a salad - what a combo! Ian Jane and their team at Barambah are enjoying great conditions on the farm with plenty of good pasture and more rain expected. Barambah products are always amazingly creamy because it is not broken down into constituents and then reconstituted like conventional milk. They regularly win awards with the latest being the below haul at the Sydney Royal Dairy Awards GOLD Full Cream Milk Lactose Free Milk Labna and Pure Cream. SILVER Skim Milk BRONZE All Natural Yoghurt Sour Cream Marinated Feta. This week their Labna a regular prize winner is back in stock. Coming Soon Frontier Pets Food Bush Foods from First Food Co. Luke Procurement Guy
March 3, 2017
Posted by: Joel Y

Produce Report- Week 9

Fruit Last week we had pineapples as the highlight a fruit that is made up of multiple flowers. This week Shane Halloran is picking figs for us another fruit made up of many flowers which goes some way to explain its fragility and short shelf life. Common figs like the black genoa and white genoas from Shane are self-pollinating but some varieties are only pollinated by the fig wasp. At the risk of going from produce report to insect report let s indulge in a short tale of their life cycle. The female fig wasp finds it s way through the small opening that you can often see in the end of figs. After laying eggs it dies and is digested by the fig. The eggs hatch into males and females who immediately mate after which the males burrow outside to die while the females fly off to find another fig to restart the process. I m kind of glad our figs are self-pollinating! Hopefully the figs will be around for a few weeks. All the pomme fruit growers are busy keeping trees alive with lots of water and attention. In a good year we would be enjoying lots of rare treats from the apple world like the legendary Cox Orange Pippin. Mario is one of the few growers still persevering with this old English variety. It doesn t enjoy a long shelf life nor does it look pretty but the bouquet and flavour are superb. With luck Mario will have enough for the gourmet boxes this week. If we run short he also has a small pick of jonathon apples which are also a favourite with apple lovers. Unfortunately Dennis Angelino who dry farms most of his fruit had to watch as the jonathons dropped off his trees in last week s heat. Fortunately his gala apples are looking and tasting great and he expects to pick some late peaches in the next couple of weeks. Veggies When you eat a really perfect tomato you realize why some folk consider them a fruit not just botanically but in the culinary sense as well. Black krims are often listed in tomato fan s top ten lists with the rich flavour and lovely dark colour amongst the highlights. Steve and Julie Stead have a good crop right now of these big beefsteak beauties. Gourmet box folk will enjoy them this week and you can also purchase on extras. Thank you to the Stead's for persevering with the heritage tomatoes this year - while they are growing quite a few smaller types we thought it better to concentrate on one large variety. There are also plenty of seconds tomatoes available for everyone who wants to make chutneys passata sauces etc. The Corn supply is hit and miss at the moment as the Duke's go between patches but we expect to have corn for the next couple of week s if all goes well. It is one of those veges that says summer along with tomatoes and beans. Jon Dukamp has more purple and green beans for us this week but it s unlikely there will be more un-summery broccoli this week. He has however put more seedlings in which hopefully means he is going to be our regular broccoli grower over summer. He would appreciate any feedback so if you had broccoli in your box this week let us know what you thought. Lastly Ash Palmer has just started picking limited quantities of okra so you can order on extras if you are a fan. Luke Procurement Guy
February 27, 2017
Posted by: Joel Y

Produce Report- Week 8 (17')

Fruit The fruit highlight at the moment for me are the Clarks pineapples. The staff shared one at morning tea last week and were blown away by the sweetness and juiciness. Pineapples are often picked too early resulting in hard flavourless flesh with no sweetness. This is done to allow for long transport chains but the Clarks are picking ours on Sunday and delivering Monday. They colour pick which involves walking a patch and picking the fruit that have enough yellow to indicate ripeness. It can be tricky and the best way to test ripeness is of course to eat them! Pineapples come on strong with warm weather and although they can get sunburnt in really hot periods there should be plenty around for the next month or two. Also getting sunburnt in the last week were apples. They get a blush of colour on the sunburnt side like a sunbather who has fallen asleep on the beach. Although they are fine to eat fresh from the tree they will turn black when stored for any period of time at low temperatures. We shouldn t have any problems this week with the summerdel and gala apples from Mario and Dennis. There are more glenn mangoes this week from Richard and just a few KP s from Paul Flower who is having his first decent harvest year. Paul is also starting with his limes. You may see some limes with a yellow blush - this is not suburn but just the natural colour that limes get when ripening. Actually the more yellow they get they more juice they contain and the thinner the skin. Veggies I can t believe there are any vegetables left alive after the past week. The veg farmers I speak to had to water almost 24 hours a day to keep things alive. Steve and Julie Stead are not sure if the Red Oak and Lingua di Canarino lettuce will hold up this weekend with another hot spell expected but the mini cos should be okay. As with the pineapples tomatoes are coming on strong - the Steads have plenty of romas rounds and the superb heirloom cherry tomatoes we have come to love. Just up the road Jon Dukamp is harvesting a lovely mix of veges including purple and green beans zucchinis wombok cabbage and broccoli. That s right broccoli in summer! The micro-climate of the Granite Belt allows for growing of broccoli and cauliflower over summer with the right variety and conditions. Jon has a trial patch happening which he will harvest over the next couple of weeks. We will have a couple of week s break in corn until the next patch at both Mary Duke s and James Branson s places are ready. We also have a week s break on lebanese cucumbers from Quentin out in the Lockyer. We do have sweet potato to look forward to in the next week or two however. Keep an eye out this week for some stripy eggplant from Ian and Bev McKinnon as well as long white ones. Both are heritage varieties that Ian has lost the packet for! Coming Soon Persimmons are coming in early March from the farm formally owned by Heinz Gugger but now being nurtured by Mick and Kylie Carr using the same Bio-Dynamic methods. Luke Procurement Guy
February 17, 2017
Posted by: Joel Y

Join our team as a Food Connect Wholesale Packer! Are you socially-minded with a passion for the great produce of SEQ Want to get your foot in the door with one of Australia's leading social enterprises Are you resourceful reliable and ready to get your hands dirty as part of our wonderful team If so Food Connect wants to hear from you! I f you are interested please send a CV and one-page cover letter addressing the selection criteria to operations foodconnect.com.au by 5pm Sunday 26 February 2017. View the role description here.
February 10, 2017
Posted by: emma.rose

Produce Report- Week 7

Fruit The long-awaited moment of summer is here. The Black Muscat grapes from Tom Dunn are ready to be picked. Tom reports they re very sweet and good-sized and the skin is slightly paler due to extreme heat. He s expecting good yields thanks to netting covering most of his rows. Not a berry left for Tom and family where there s no net but the birds are flying really fast in the neighbourhood! Enjoy the local stone fruit season while you can Shane Halloran still has some peaches and nectarines. We hope you enjoy the fragrance and sweetness of the Glenn mangoes from Richard Patton they should ripen just perfectly on your bench in a few days. This is the last week for them but Paul Flower has promised a little return of the KPs for us in the coming weeks. The super-local Dragon fruit from Mrs Do at Taringa is tasting amazing this year with slightly more citrusy tang than usual so make sure to add some to your extras order. We might have a few spare for the set boxes as well. The Clarks of Woombye are worried about water for their veggies but the Pineapples are obviously loving the warmth. They re good size and Darren is picking them rather green to avoid pest issues. As the season progresses they ll get smaller and riper on arrival to the homestead which will leave us warehouse crew to make sure we take care of sorting storing and fruit flies. Just as you might do at home we set up a few apple cider vinegar traps in our 18 degree room and let them choose the juice they like. A reminder - pines suffer from chilling injury if stored below 15 degrees or even 20C depending on which guide you read and so here s a challenge for you - store them in a cool place but not in your fridge. Once cut wrap it and refrigerate but eat soon after removing it from the fridge. David Cox has dropped off his Williams pears to us last week and we let them ripen up for you a little. This week he s bringing freshly picked Red Sensations. You will see some of each in the boxes and we will give you a mix of varieties as Extras. Dennis Angelino is putting a lot of effort into picking new season Gala apples which he has to time just right. To our luck he s an expert with decades of experience with dry apple farming up his sleeve. We might even see a sprinkling of Ginger Golds here and there which are a rarity and Luke would say to me don t even mention them because they re gone before they arrive not to mention there s very few to start with. Veggies It s hard not to talk about hot weather here when all the farmers mention it in some way or another. Darren Clark is running out of water the Steads are picking at 3am and throwing away hundreds of little Christmas tree lettuces in the field Danny at LettuceBee struggles with the water in his aquaponic bays getting too warm...and the story goes on. On the bright side we still have grown locally greens that get to your fridge within 48 hours or less - in the middle of summer. Let s hope for a bit of rain and some cooler nights. Another nice surprise from the Dunns is the Rattlesnake Bean. Similar to a French bean and you can eat it as such but with little purple blotches on the skin. Bob Raabe s Ruby Lous we ve been enjoying lately are finished but he has dug some Melody spuds for us for the boxes this week. They re a disease-resistent all-rounder rather firm-cooking with a smooth skin. Mal Smith s Sebagoes complete the mix for the time-being. Groceries Michelle from Ugly Duck preserves has whipped up a bigger jar of Tomato Relish which has proven popular. Now coming in a 250ml jar you can relish the whole family with it resting assured you're serving concentrated local ecological goodness made with love and care. Jakub The very temporary Procurement Guy
February 10, 2017
Posted by: emma.rose
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