Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snakes in a motherfu*kin' orchard!

In an effort to follow through on an important resolution; which is to actually do the cool things we see advertised*, rather than just say 'Oh, that looks interesting, I must put that in the diary, I must book tickets,' and then not, the day after New Year's Day (aka January 2), we packed up the children and gathered some friends to go berry picking at Cloud Farm orchard in Mt Tomah. The title of this post doesn't quite cover the degree to which Husbando and I had bought into the romance of fruit picking as neither of us had quite computed that when the ad in the local paper says, wear protective footwear that actually translates as a warning about snakes. However, when I mentioned this to the lovely Kellie, she said she was petrified the entire time but that no-one else seemed concerned. But as she said, everyone but us was wearing serious boots...hmm, live and learn?

Despite very humid conditions beneath the netting, we escaped with our berry booty unscathed. I felt very mother earth as I dallied, delicately placing my treasures into my very modern earth mother's green recyclable bag - another oversight as I hadn't thought of bringing a more appropriate collecting container! We came home with raspberries, both red and yellow, blueberries and gooseberries (which I'd never tried and found rather tart) and whilst I had rather grandiose plans for a berry tart, using a shortbread biscuit base and a marscapone filling, funnily enough, it didn't eventuate.

This foray to Cloud Farm was organised by the Blue Mountains Fruit and Nut Network. Their aim is to document and protect the region's rich heritage of fruit and nut cultivation through hosting events such as this and their blog, which can be found here at blogspot (the full address can be found below). Next up in the ripening rotation at Cloud Farm are apples and figs and so I'll be keeping an eye on the blog as I do love to make an apple jelly. Slowfood and the word locavore have become so overused that it's nice to see examples of these catch phrases in practise.

If you head to their blog, you'll see that I have used 2 of their lovely images, immediately above and below. I hope this is ok and thankyou!

*I've come to the conclusion that this is vital when you live just outside a major metropolitan area. So near and yet so far! A city in a national park, a world heritage area no less! Supporting regional initiatives is a priority and one I take very seriously but it also means taking yourself further afield and making an effort to stay in touch with what the wider world has to offer. If you don't, it becomes really easy to feel that life is passing you by and that you're not a particularly interesting person. Guess it's that old classic, you reap what you sow and as our excursion to Cloud Farm proves, it doesn't have to cost the earth.

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