The feijoa (Acca sellowiana, aka. Feijoa sellowiana) is one of those underrated suburban fruit trees that is often (perhaps unwittingly) grown around Adelaide backyards and little eaten. The varieties I’ve come across most often have offered grey-green torpedoes with a sharp, pineapple tang and a somewhat gritty texture. In the height of feijoa season, we were given a paper bag full of a variety I’d not encountered before. The skin was thin enough to bite a chunk out of and the flesh silky(ish) and smooth. Continue reading
Years before there was talk of locavores and 100-mile-diets and omnivore’s dilemmas, I came upon Gary Nabhan’s book Coming Home to Eat, a personal account of his experiences striving to solely eat food produced in his home bioregion of the US-Mexican borderlands in southern Arizona. His observations as renowned desert ecologist and ethno-botanist redefined how I thought about food and sustainability and accompanied me on my own sustainable food explorations for years after.
I get the feeling that his latest book, Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land: Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty (Chelsea Green, 2013), may be another companion for us in our adventures on the farm. While Growing Food is as practical as its title suggests, it is permeated by Nabhan’s respect for the insights of cultures deeply connected to the land, and his belief that communities connected to their bioregion are the most resilient in the face of environmental change. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago, we checked the hive and all seemed well. We found the queen, the bees were busy and on opening the hive there was the seductive scent of honey. The colony had spent weeks drawing out the honeycomb on the hive frames, and seemed to be just beginning to lay a good pattern of brood (young).
There were a few ants that seemed to be making a nuisance of themselves. The bees would try to expel them from the hive, while the ants would cling on to their legs and wings pulling them off-balance. After a little research, we thought we’d apply cinnamon, a widely recommended treatment for ant problems. The bees were irritated by it, and the ants unmoved. Next, we constructed a hive stand with the intention of putting the legs in tins of oil as a physical barrier for the ants, but unfortunately for us, it was too late. Continue reading
You may be wondering where the cheese part comes in to Trees, Bees and Cheese. One of our plans is to eventually run dairy sheep and have a small-scale artisanal cheese business, to complement the other income streams on a diverse farm. But in the meantime, we are busy honing and expanding our cheese-making skills.
After learning how to make haloumi, ricotta, and goat curd from Lulu of Culinary Art Productions, and teaching ourselves a modern camembert from Cheeselinks‘ book Home Cheesemaking, the next cheesemaking frontier has been good old child-friendly mozzarella. Continue reading