April 24, 2011

Time out


Our short get-away this weekend was everything we could have wished for. A simple road trip to the country-side where we could see the beautiful autumn colours, visit the local farms and pick some in-season fruit and nuts. We were lucky with the weather on Good Friday as it was a picture perfect autumn day - warm and sunny with the slightest breeze reminding us from the cooler season to come.


Buying fresh produce straight from a farm is a such a privilege for a city-dweller like myself. In the city I love visiting farmers markets whenever I can and buy produce from the local farmers. Visiting an actual farm, however, is a wonderful experience itself and I wish I could do it more often. I also love the warm-hearted community feeling in the small country towns. They are welcoming and friendly and supporting the small businesses makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing.


The apple season is at its peak so majority of the farms were selling mostly just apples. We did come across an old-fashioned unattended fruit stall where you could just pick a bucket-full of persimmons and leave the money in the tin. I adore this kind of honesty and trust - it is such a novelty nowadays.


The following morning dawned misty and rainy, but it was an atmospheric drive on the bendy roads through the native Australian bushland. We were up early and headed to a farm where we could pick our own chestnuts and, if lucky, find a few late-season walnuts as well.

At the farm we had a chance to chat with the farmer himself. He told us a bit about the farm and guided us to a tree that had the freshest chestnuts. I felt like I was back in my element, foraging, as I used to do so often back in Finland. We saw some gorgeous pine mushrooms, even nettles and dandelion that unfortunately were not suitable to eat at this time of the year. Chestnuts were plentiful and despite being slightly ill-equipped, we were able to fill our bucket in no time. 

As we were walking back to the gates, the farmer approached us with his big hands full of walnuts. He had gone out to pick them himself for us and I thought it was such a kind gesture. I have never tasted walnuts as delicious as these. The nuts were so fresh and clean, with not a hint of the rancidity many shop-bought walnuts may have. What a perfect way to end our trip!


With a freshened spirit I'll soon be back in my kitchen, cooking and bearing in mind where my food comes from and how it is grown.The little extra effort it might take to eat organic, locally grown food just makes it feel more special and more enjoyable.

I will use the chestnuts we picked to make these cakes, perhaps a soup and another savoury dish. I also cannot wait to try the recipes the farmer recommended.

I hope you are all enjoying your time out and doing things you don't normally find time for - spending time with your loved ones, trying new recipes or just relaxing. Enjoy! 


32 comments:

  1. Hi, I'm a transplanted Canadian living south of Sydney. I miss 'u-pick' and would love to know where the farms are that you can buy directly from. Any clues on how to find that out? Love your recipes, by the way!

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  2. Hi Prilla!

    Thank you for your comment.

    Have a look at this website

    http://hawkesburyharvest.com.au/farmgate.asp

    It tells you what is in season and where the farms are located.

    Hope this helps :-)

    Maria
    x

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  3. Lovely! That fourth shot is awesome.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. I've been wanting to do something like this for a long time and reading your wonderful post makes me yearn for it even more. It's too easy to get caught up in city life when all it takes is to jump in a car and just drive somewhere beautiful like this. Time for me to hire a car, methinks!

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  5. Love the pretty shots of the countryside, and all that fresh produce!

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  6. What a lovely trip you had :)

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  7. Thanks so much, this is wonderful. I'll have some fun checking this site out and hopefully some farms too. Now, if only for a few more long weekends!

    Thanks again! Enjoy the rest of the holiday :)

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  8. Wish I could jump in and pick up some fresh produce together with you! Nice clicks!

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  9. That sounds like so much fun :) I've never picked fruit or anything like that before, I'm going to check out that website! Happy Easter.

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  10. Wow.. U had a lovely trip.. I have never had a chance to be on such a trip.. now i really wish i could.. Happy Easter !

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  11. Really beautiful pictures Maria.I m sure you had a fun time picking those pink apples old fashioned style.Have a nice rest of the weekend.

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  12. That looks wonderful Maria! Calling one of the orchards on the Hawksebury to go tomorrow :-) We are so close to the Hawkesbury Trail and head to Dural every other week to buy fresh produce and jams left at the gates with the money boxes. Kids love it!

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  13. There really is nothing better than pick your own. I marvel at how fresh the produce is. I only wish that it was a bit more widespread. It's one of those treats that we only get to do every now and then!

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  14. Upeita kuvia Maria! Pidän paljon syksystä;täällä on kesä ja pitkä kuiva kausi pian alkamassa,ja tuollaista vihreyttä voi sitten odotella vasta pitkän ajan jälkeen.Ihanaa kun voi ostaa tuoretavaraa suoraan maanviljelijältä:)

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  15. What gorgeous photos! It seems like you had a marvelously refreshing weekend away!

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  16. I'll be in the car-hire queue behind John and on the road to this gorgeous place. Lovely photos, Maria.

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  17. It looks like you had a really enjoyable trip. This reminds me of a trip back to my grandparent's mikan plantation in Japan. I would have loved to taste those walnuts. The fresher the food is, the more delicious it will be:)

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  18. Looks like the perfect weekend!

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  19. Your photos are so beautiful I feel like hanging them around my bedroom walls to cheer me up!

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  20. Beautiful - the weather looks wonderful and your photos are stunning.

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  21. What a wonderful weekend. Its so funny to hear about autumn events and fall foliage when way over here everyone associates Easter with Spring. I love how different that is and how the internet gives us windows into other countries. Your fall photos are so beautiful. I have never lived anywhere with chestnuts so I am always intrigued by these.

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  22. Beautiful! I need to do a weekend trip myself.

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  23. Just breathtaking, Maria! I never knew what chestnuts looked like in their natural environment =D.

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  24. How lovely! Thanks for showing us what the chestnut tree look like!

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  25. Beautiful photos! There isn't anything better than buying fresh produce straight from a farm and I know what you mean about it feeling right supporting small businesses. Looks like a wonderful getaway Maria and thank you for introducing me to a chestnut tree!
    Natasha xo

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  26. Gorgeous photos, i love when the trees start to change colour.

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  27. How utterly, utterly beautiful. Aren't the Autumn colours around right now amazing? I'd love to pick-my-own anything - alas, I haven't since I was a kid!

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  28. I do like those pink apples. They've lost their color here - they are only pink for the first few months of the season but then they turn all pale-white just like any other apple. Still taste delicious.
    I'm a little envious of your autumn produce :)

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  29. Gorgeous photographs as usual Maria! I love those pink apples too.

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  30. Beautiful pictures Maria! We also headed to the country for the long weekend and very much enjoyed the produce and beautiful changing leaves.

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