30 July 2009

End of July.

We are more than half way through winter here in one of the coldest parts of Australia. The days are slowly getting longer even if you can't notice it yet.

A lot of my time is spent trying to keep warm and cozy but Daylesford Organics is still ticking along doing the every day chores as well as preparing for the next growing season.

There is always a great long list of orders and things to do each day on the coolroom door.

The Spring bulbs are starting to bravely poke their heads out of the ground which always makes me feel a bit optimistic.

The market trailer which has been parked here for the last few months will soon need to be cleaned out and prepared.

The coolroom that sits on the back of Bren's ute will need to be unwrapped and used for deliveries again.

And those chickies, my how they've grown.
At 3 and a half weeks old, their legs are growing long and although their heads are still fluffy, their bodies are full of feathers.

Not long now until they are ready for some outside playtime.

27 July 2009

Listen Up.

Why don't you take your lunch break a bit later tomorrow?

From 3pm til 4pm Lindy Burns will be interviewing our friend Matt Wilkinson from Circa on The Drive program on 774am ABC Melbourne.

Matt will be discussing Put Victoria On Your Table.

He will talk to Jerome, a partridge farmer about selection and technique. Jerome was originally a chef who purchased his business from his game supplier.

Then he will discuss the chef/producer relationship with Daylesford Organics' own Bren.

It is sure to be interesting and informative so make sure you tune in.

25 July 2009

Fire and Wood.

A few years ago when Bren was telling a group of people in a Melbourne pub that the only heating we have in our house is a fire they laughed and said it sounded like The Flintstones.

But for us it is our reality and for at least 7 months of every year we wear a track with the wheel barrow between the woodshed and the house.

When a tree falls down in the forest or when we cut one down for safety reasons it will end up heating our house when it has dried out in the next year or two.

They say that having a wood fire keeps you warm several times over; when you cut the tree into rounds, when you split the wood, when you stack the wood in the shed and when you burn the wood.

When we first moved here there was an open fire place but we replaced it with a very efficient wood burning box. We also have vents in our roof that suck the heat up and with fans move it to the other end of the house.

We believe that the c02 that is emitted when we burn the wood is barely significant when you take into account the thirty acres of bushland we caretake as well as the thousands of trees we plant every year on our boundaries and for wind breaks.

At the moment some of the chooks are in an area that includes the woodshed.
They seem to be enjoying climbing on the stacks of wood and dustbathing under cover when it is raining and wet outside. When we find ourselves getting a barrow of wood in the dark at night, it is reassuring to think the chook have been in there eating all the spiders and bugs.

The fireplace is the heart of our house.
It is romantic, beautiful to watch, cheap and efficient to run and has a welcoming, calming effect. But I'd be lying if I said I never wished for the kind of heating that comes with the push of a button and sometimes even with a timer you can set for an hour before you wake up or get home.

But for now and for the next few months there will be a wheel barrow parked by the backdoor.

I hope you are warm wherever you are.

21 July 2009

The Epicure Green Issue.

We are in today's Age newspaper food supplement: 'Epicure'.
It is called 'The green issue' and has some great articles on all sorts of ethical food matters.

It is fantastic that topics like harvest swaps, farmers' markets, locavores and buying, cooking and eating with a conscience, have hit the mainstream.

On page 20 there is an article written by Matt Wilkinson.
It is a great article, you can find the whole thing here.

I'm not overly happy with that photo. I look like I had been cutting and burning gorse all day which I had. Maybe from now on I'll have to do the farm work in my Campers, just in case.

20 July 2009

NASAA Inspection.

Last Friday we had our annual NASAA (National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia) inspection.

As a Certified Organic farm, each year we are visited at least once by an inspector who comes to ensure that we are complying with all the NASAA standards.

This inspector reviews all our records for the past year.
This includes all our planting, harvesting and sales records, as well as proof that everything bought onto the farm as an input was Certified Organic.

As farmers we love to have our hands in the dirt and are not necessarily the greatest record keepers. For days before the inspection the office desk looked like this as we gathered all the appropriate paperwork.

The inspector also has a physical look around and may take some tissue or soil samples to make sure there are no risks from contamination or other potential problems.
There are three elements that are linked in the certification process and they are the people, the land and the product. A combination of all three is an organic management plan.

For the past six years we have been Certified Organic with NASAA and have the license number 3500.

By the time the NASAA inspector arrived the office desk looked like this.

But its not all paper pushing here at the moment.

The chicks will be two weeks old tomorrow.
Their feathers are already starting to grow through their fluff.
Their eyes are wide open and they are eating and drinking.

They are still pretty cute though.

16 July 2009

In Vogue (again)

The August/September issue of Vogue Entertaining and Travel is out and we are in it.

Page 35 is dedicated to the 2009 Vogue E + T Produce Awards.
There we are in the bottom left hand corner.

On page 150 there is a photo of the dish Matt Wilkinson made for the Produce Awards readers dinner at Circa, The Prince.

The dish was truffled egg with Daylesford Organics garlic champ.
Also on page 150 is a photo of Alex Kearns preparing his dish for the degustation  dinner at the Noosa Food and Wine Festival.

The dish, also pictured, is a pickled carrot salad featuring Daylesford Organics heirloom carrots.

To read more about the Vogue E + T Produce Awards please see here and here (the basket of vegies at the top of the page are ours).

15 July 2009

The Waders.

I have spoken before about the Daylesford Organics style police.
I have no idea how these beauties got through the gates.
Bren says they are called waders.

Today they got tested out for the first time and apparently they passed.

The air temperature is 7.1, I'm guessing the water is quite a bit colder.

We have this issue with high iron and iron bacteria in the water that is coming out of the bore into the dam. You can see it all orange against the green of the dam.

This iron is sludgy and clogs up pipes and filters and creates a bit of a mess and a lot of extra work.

Bren's theory is that by making the water go up into the air before it goes into the water he is aerating it which in turn will make the iron particles heavy and sink to the bottom. Aeration also helps to improve water quality in general.

He will also be able to monitor how much water is coming out of the bore from the edge.

I'm just glad I'm the designated photographer.

13 July 2009

Rain and Hail.

We've been having crazy Wintery weather here for the past few days.


Rain and lots of it.
58mm to be exact.

Everything is dripping wet.
The grey skies make the colours more intense, more vivid.

The chickens are warm in their house though.

Except when we take them outside to play.

The creek has water in it for the first time since last Winter.
Maybe it will run again one day .

That patch of oats I was telling you about looks like it is enjoying the Wintery weather.

Lucky the garlic is enjoying it too.

08 July 2009

Bringing Home The Chicks.

Thanks for all your comments regarding the title of my last post.
I wonder how many people were disappointed when they opened it.

So here they are, 200 one day old chickens.

The whites, Leghorn cross New Hampshires,

the blacks, Australorp cross New Hampshires,

and the browns, Gingerhams.

Once we have finished oohhing and aahhhing over them they go into their freshly fitted out house. 

We put the boxes under the lights and cut the boxes apart until they are flat.

Some of the chickens are adventurous straight away.

While others haven't even opened their eyes yet.

It's not long before all the colours begin to mix.

Better not forget to shut the door hey Pixie.