31 July 2010

Nick & Willow.

Allow me to introduce you to the two newest members of the Daylesford Organics team.

Meet Nick.

And Willow.

Nick and Willow join our other two maremmas Bingo and Banjo.

Our maremmas live with the flocks of chooks and protect them from foxes. They do a fabulous job and to date, we have never lost a chook to a fox on their guard.

Hopefully at some stage in the near future Nick and Willow might be the parents of some baby, puppy maremmas. We'll keep you posted.

We are pretty excited to have them here, doing their fantastic and important work. Its day one and they are already settling in beautifully and taking their job very seriously.

We hope you guys are having a great weekend.

Oh and if you are looking for our eggs in Melbourne this weekend you can buy them at Organic Wholefoods in Smith Street Fitzroy, at the Ceres shop or from Ceres Food Connect.

21 July 2010

2010 Delicious Magazine Produce Awards.

We had such a fabulous night last Monday night at The 2010 Delicious Magazine Produce Awards at Circa @ The Prince.

There were 18 finalists in our category, From The Earth. 18 amazing growers and managers who we felt honoured to be included among.

For most of the night we hung out at the cheese table eating what is undoubtably the best cheese in Australia, La Luna. The Holy Goat girls, Carla and Anne-Marie, won the cheese category again this year.

We watched the foodie world as they mingled and shmoozed all around us. There were farmers and growers and chefs and food celebrities and all sorts of food lovers.

I read somewhere online that morning, (but I can't seem to find it now), an article telling people not to bother going out for dinner in Sydney that night as all the best chefs were heading down south for the awards. And they weren't wrong it was a whose who of the food world and it was wonderful to be a part of it.

Our gorgeous friend Matt Wilkinson was the amazing chef charged with showcasing all the wonderful finalists' produce and he certainly did us proud.

Rather than include our heirloom vegies in another dish, he made them the hero.

Our rainbow carrots, beetroots and baby turnips were only slightly cooked and looked gorgeous standing up proud in all their glory.

We didn't win our category outright this year, we won a gold medal, but by the way Matt Preston was gushing about our farm and our heirloom vegies we felt like winners anyway.

Yay!

Miranda Sharp and The Collingwood Childrens' Farm Farmers Market won the award for the Most Outstanding Farmers' Market.

Yay!

I discovered that farmer's wives don't wear frocks (except me).

From left Vicki Sher (Sher Wagyu), Lizette Snaith (Warialda Belted Galloway Beef), me, Miranda Sharp (Melbourne Farmers' Markets).

Probably the best part of the night though was sharing dinner after the ceremony with these gorgeous women and their partners and Matt and a few other producers. Usually we see these growers at farmers' markets where we are busy working, so it was wonderful to relax and have a drink and enjoy the night with them.

And soon enough it was time to take the party shoes off, get the farm gear back on and come back down to earth.

'Hi' to everyone who told me they read this blog. Thanks for the offers to take photos for me and for the encouragement. I hope you are settling back into your real life ok.

Have a great Wednesday.

16 July 2010

From The Earth.

The boys have been picking and washing gorgeous heirloom vegies to send off to Circa The Prince for this year's Delicious Magazine's Produce Awards cocktail party on Monday night.

They picked rainbow carrots, white and yellow baby turnips,

as well as four varieties of beetroots.

Last year we were lucky enough to win the From The Earth category. This year we have been included in the list of finalists but will have to wait until Monday night to find out.

I have a gorgeous new frock to wear and now I just have to decide between last year's shoes or my Hunters, it is the produce awards after all.

Have a great weekend.

13 July 2010

Harvest festival promo.



Check this out; its the video Richard Cornish made to promote the Daylesford Macedon Produce Harvest Festival.

Its a freezing cold morning this morning in Daylesford. The big girls are at school, Farmer Bren, Liam and Pierre are moving the chooks and Pepper and I are making bread for their lunches.

We hope you have a great day too.

08 July 2010

10 things.

10 things I love about farmers' markets - in no particular order.

1) I love that feeling of setting up the stall first thing in the morning and then stepping back and feeling amazed and proud that we've grown such gorgeous produce.

2) I love our wonderful helpers. Thank you John, Rene, Viv, Roscoe, Danielle and Mark! We couldn't do it without you. XX
3) I hate the feeling of knowing that the health inspectors are doing the rounds of the market. But I love it when they tick all our boxes and walk away.

4) I love selling our wonderful, colourful, tasty produce to people who care about and appreciate good food.

5) I love how every market we sell at has its own personality. I'm not sure if its the mix of stalls, the market managers or the different sites. But I do enjoy attending all the different markets we do.

6) I love thinking up exciting and innovative things for the littlies to do while we are selling our wares.

7) I love that most of the markets we do, and almost all of the stall holders at these markets, have been accredited by the VFMA. This means the public can be confident that the stall holder they are buying the produce from actually grew or made the product.

We buy and swap so much of our groceries from the other stall holders at the markets we attend and feel absolutely certain that we are buying the best there is.

In this photo Simone (market manager Daylesford Farmers' Market and Melbourne Show Grounds Farmers' Market) is awarding us our accreditation certificate. Yay!

8) I love it that our customers care about where their food comes from. They quiz us on how it was grown and how they should store it. And they discuss what they are planning to do with it.

Some growers sell their produce to middlemen/wholesalers. I cannot imagine not having this connection and feedback from our customers. We look forward to it.

9) I love that you never know who you'll bump into at the farmers market. So many of Melbourne's top chefs come and visit to find suppliers for their restaurants. As well as other celebrities, people I went to school with and family and friends always pop in too.

10) I love it when its all gone.

Please support the people who grow your food.
Come to your local farmers' market and say 'hi'. We'd love to meet you.

01 July 2010

Nine years today.

Nine years ago today we left our Melbourne home and moved to our 55 acre farm on the outskirts of Daylesford.

It was a glorious sunny winters day and we were finally on our way to making our dreams come true. Sure we didn't know a soul in Daylesford, we had an eight month old baby and barely had a clue about organic farming, but we couldn't let that stop us, we had ideals and we had to have a go.

In retrospect we might have been a bit naive.

Organics were not then what they are now.

We had to convince our families, our friends and the bank manager that we could make a go of it, but to be honest with you, I don't think we really understood what we were doing until we got here.

Nine years ago we made two ten year plans. The first ten years were to set up a model of succesful organic farming and the second ten were to educate people to do it for themselves. We've got one year left on the first ten and I think we are already moving into the second. Stay tuned for course dates, they'll be coming soon.

Nine years ago we got here and the fun and games began.

I don't think we've looked back or questioned our move since.

Happy nine year anniversary Daylesford Organics!

There is an article about us in this week's issue of The Weekly Times.
You can read it here.

There is also an article about my craft blog Foxs Lane.
You can read that article here.

Just a quick note for those of you in NSW.
The Mercurio's Menu shot in Daylesford will be shown this Sunday at 5.30pm.
I'll let you know as soon as I know when it will be screened in the other states.

Oh and we'll be at The Melbourne Showgrounds Farmers' Market this Sunday with lots and lots of eggs. Why don't you come and say hi and check out the new market.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.