The Birds’ Wherrol Flat mandies

The Birds’ Wherrol Flat mandies

Mandarins

Graeme and Rozann Bird live a few clicks down Little Run Rd – and have been for some 30 years.  Rozann makes a mean homebrew craft beer.  After winning the local beer-making competition 2 years in a row, she’s holding back a bit to give the other talents in the valley a chance to shine.

 

Mandarin farm in Wherrol Flat

A few years ago, they planted some 30-odd mandarin trees.  Nothing unusual about that, as almost everyone in Wherrol Flat grows some citrus or kiwi or passionfruit or pumpkin or… well anything, really.  Because that seems to be the nature of the place: anything you throw into the soil seems to grow and thrive.

Graeme picking mandarins in Wherrol Flat

It’s just that the Birds’ mandies have this je ne sais qua – sweetness with a hint of mint, and some spice, and a whole lot of other flavours that are difficult to place – but they combine to give it a beautiful flavour.  It’s in the soil, the air or the water.  Or perhaps in all 3.

 

 

Mandarins in Wherrol FlatThey managed to pick about 150kg of ripe fruit, so we just hope that will last us till the end of the week.  Luckily, we’re making another commute next weekand the sunny weather holds promise for more mandies.

Hidden Valley Eggs

Hidden Valley Eggs

Hidden valley eggs landscape

Shane’s eggs  – Hidden Valley eggs in Wherrol Flat, Wingham

Shane and Brooke’s has 500 hens which are free to roam, and lay the most beautiful eggs. He has converted caravans into Chicken Pensions and moves them about the fields as needed. They go in at night and locked up safely. This does wonders for fertilising his soils. Chook poo is at a premium as most growers want to use it as it is the very best for fertilising.

Okay about his eggs. For starters, you will have some difficulty cracking them – some pretty strong shell!

Hidden Valley where is it

Then, when you let the egg out, you will see a beautiful orange-yellow egg yolk. The eggwhite is thick, indicating it’s very fresh indeed.

Then, after cooking it – boil, poach, fry, scramble – you taste it and ahhh: you realise that’s how your backyard eggs should taste. Incredible.

Frittata

Frittata
 
Author:
Recipe type: Egg
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ¼ to ½ pumpkin, cubed
  • 4 eggs
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and whole
  • 100ml milk
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbs Fresh coriander, chopped or 1 tsp dried
  • English spinach, chop about 3 leaves OR 100gms baby spinach
Instructions
  1. Eggs are best mixed at room temp. Take the eggs out of the fridge and allow them to come to room temp before you use them.
  2. Preheat oven 200C
  3. Chop the pumpkin into dices, slicing off its skin.
  4. On a lightly oiled baking dish place pumpkin and two cloves of garlic. Bake until soft 20-25 mins. The smaller your pumpkin cubes, the faster they cook.
  5. In a mixing bowl break 4 eggs, whisk to mix and add 100ml of milk.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add ground cumin and coriander.
  8. NEXT
  9. Lightly oil a medium sized baking dish.
  10. Slide the pumpkin and peeled garlic cloves into the dish.
  11. Wash and dry the English spinach OR 100g baby spinach and add this to the egg mix.
  12. Turn oven down to 180C.
  13. Add the egg mix and bake for 20 mins.
  14. Check after 20 mins to see that the middle has set and the top is golden brown but not burnt. You can eat this dish hot for dinner and cold for lunch.

 

 

Avocado planted

week-1640Avocado planted

What’s involved in setting up an Avocado Nursery?

At Wherrol Flat Farm ….

Farm Setting up the nursery beds

Did you know that no Avocados ripen on trees? It’s actually the harvesting (picking) action that triggers the ripening process! The Hass avocadoes have a rough skin but a creamy texture. As the Hass ripens, its skin goes from green to a dark purple. Before cutting, make sure they have plenty of ‘give’ when pressed: an unripe avocado is pretty tasteless and they have difficulty ripening in winter.

There is no quicker way to ripen Avocados. A natural fruit requires a natural process. So, pop them into a paper bag with an apple or banana in the bag accelerates the process, as these fruits give off ethylene gas – a ripening agent and store at room temperature until ready to eat. This will usually take two to five days. Once ripened the ripe fruit can be refrigerated until eaten, however, not for more than two or three days.

TIP: If only using one half leave the stone in the unused half, this helps prevent it going brown. Use avocado as a cholesterol-free alternative to butter or margarine, or make a tasty Guacamole dip by mixing avocado with Spanish onion, tomato, garlic, chopped chilli, lime juice and salt & pepper.

  • Easy Guacamole
  • Warm Avocado soup
  • Avocado Dip
  • Avocado Mashed Potatoes
  • Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Avocado How to ripen

Avocado How to ripen

Easy Guacamole

Easy Guacamole
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dip
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 ripe avocados
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper, chopped (if not want hot remove peppers)
  • ½ small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (or juice of 1 fresh lime)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Peel avocados and remove the pit (see below for a great idea on how to use the pits). Peel and mince the onion and the garlic.
  2. Chop the tomato. Slice the Jalapeno in two and take out any seeds. Then chop.Mash the avocado in a bowl and then stir in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Serve cold with tortillas or corn chips.
  4. Serve warm with corn chips, guacamole on top and cheddar cheese melted under grill – just quickly though.

Warm Avocado soup
Warm Avocado soup
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe avocados, mashed
  • lemon juice
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1tbs flour
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • A dash of Tabasco sauce (optional) or red chilli flakes
  • Garnish with diced tofu, bacon and chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. Peel, stone and mash the avocados, adding a little lemon juice to stop them from going brown.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan then stir in flour to make a paste. Add the chicken stock a little at a time and always stirring to keep the paste smooth. Add milk and stir then the avocado and season with salt, pepper and Tabasco. Do not boil as the avocado will taste bitter.
  3. If you wish to cool slightly and finish with a hand mixer to make the soup smooth then serve with garnish.

Avocado Dip
Avocado Dip
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dip
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp ground chilli powder
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Mash the avocado and eggs. Add the onion, garlic, seasonings and lemon juice. Serve with bread.

Avocado Mashed Potatoes
Avocado Mashed Potatoes
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 medium avocados
  • 4- 5 potatoes
  • ½ cup nonfat milk
  • 1 dash lemon juice
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
Instructions
  1. Peel and quarter the potatoes, then wash them thoroughly. Place the potatoes in a large pot with enough cold, salted water to cover them. Meanwhile, prepare the avocados, making sure to remove any brown flesh. Scoop into a bowl and stir until smooth with lemon juice.
  2. Place milk in the microwave until melted and warm. When potatoes are fork tender, mash them in a large bowl or a stand mixer, slowly adding the milk and butter spread mixture. When potatoes are mashed to your liking, gently fold in avocado mixture gently, or in a stand mixer - use the lowest setting. Keep warm and serve!

Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Chocolate Avocado Mousse
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 340g good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 large, ripe Hass avocado, pitted and peeled
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 6 egg whites
Instructions
  1. Melt the chocolate with the cinnamon and chili powder in a double boiler over hot water and set aside.
  2. Puree the avocado and brown sugar in a food processor until smooth. With the machine running, pour in the chocolate mixture. Using a stand mixer or whisk, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites.
  3. Pour the mousse into 6 small serving bowls or wineglasses and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or, covered, overnight.

 

 

 

Hidden Valley Honey

Hidden Valley Honey

Hidden Valley Honey, Wherrol Flat, NSW

Organic, no sprays. Raw Bush Honey farmed at Wherrol Flat, NSW

Introducing raw, unpasteurised bush honey from bees that feed on native eucalypts, blue and grey gums, tallowwood and yellow box.  The honey is less sweet than commercially available honey, but has a real depth of flavour and a beautiful floral bush bouquet. You can find their honey in 450g jars and 1Kg tubs under Feature Fruits and in the Honey and Jam section.

Hidden Valley Farm in Wherrol Flat is run by Shane and Brooke Hulands.  Although Shane had experience working on the family farm, he and Brooke only started farming 3 years ago.  They’re running cattle, pigs and about 500 hens, and collect bush honey from about 50 hives. Both are saying that they haven’t worked as hard as they are now, but loving every minute of it.

The Wherrol Flat farm is 475 acres and is mostly timber.  All their animals are running free range, using holistic management and low stress stock handling principles.

On their farm the cows eat down the long grass, and are moved on to another paddock. They are followed by chooks who live in the paddocks in mobile caravans. One hectare at a time is sectioned off with electric netting, and once the area is fertilised the caravan is moved on.

They say they’ve seen the soil improving, holding moisture better. They’ve also noticed the pastures change from bracken fern and Parramatta grass to having a significant increase in plant diversity, including a return of many native pasture species.

“For us it’s about seeing the land comfortable. If we see that we know the soil will be good and our animals healthy, creating a future for our children” says Shane. “We are doing what feels right and it seems to be working.”

“We’re redoing internal fencing so we have better control of our paddocks and letting the stock do the work for us.

“We don’t need to mulch. The cows tread in the older grass to build the soil carbon, so we retain moisture in our paddocks.”

The Hulands moved up from Sydney for family health reasons to raise their young family. Shane had previously worked on a family farm. Brooke is city born and bred, but would never go back now. She says “I’ve never worked so hard in my life but I’m loving every minute of it, and it’s fantastic seeing the kids getting involved.”

“It’s not a job, it’s a passion” adds Shane.

Shane and Brooke sell pastured free range eggs at the Wingham Farmers markets and some retail outlets. They are in the process of setting up paddock to plate pastured beef and pork.