Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Market @ Franklin turns two

There are plenty of good weekend markets around here, but there's nothing quite like having one in your own town. I love being able to pop down the road, pick up some fresh produce or a birthday gift and catch up with friends. Today we took the dogs with us and took it in turns to wait outside with them as they collected pats and cuddles from locals and visitors to Tasmania. We bought some rye sourdough bread, a free trade coffee, potatoes, a cute purse for a young relative and a delicious warm jam doughnut from the colourful little van out front. Stopped for a chat with friends and favourite stallholders like Kellie from The Forgotten Tree with her buttons and jewellery made from salvaged Tasmanian timbers and Marie from Wakky Taz Creations with her handcrafted glass jewellery - all great gifts when we need them. There were fresh mussels, cakes, scarves, second hand goods, cushion covers and a local musician singing.

When we first moved here, there was a market only in the summer months, but two years ago, local business owner Natalie of Simply Spellbound skin care products took the initiative to take it over and run a monthly market all year round. Stallholders vary so there is always something new and different. The Market @ Franklin is on the last Sunday each month. See you there next time?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Kettering Incident

It's quintessentially Tasmanian. Stunningly beautiful and dark at the same time. After seeing the first two episodes of The Kettering Incident at last night's world premiere that kicked off the Dark Mofo festival, I'm hooked and can't wait to see the rest.

Image source: Foxtel
Mysterious signs bearing the letters TKI started appearing around the Huon Valley and the Channel during filming last year, directing cast and crew to the day's location. The eight-part series was filmed entirely in Tasmania, and it shows. A snow-capped Sleeping Beauty looms outside the windows. The light is soft. Plovers screech in the distance at night. The grey besser bricks of Mountain River Hall. Wet dirt roads. Bright green moss and man ferns. Spectacular views. Forestry loggers versus the greenies. The Bruny Island Ferry. Utes. Lots of utes.

The full series will air on Foxtel later this year, and while we don't get Foxtel at home, I'll find a way to see it all one day. Most of all, I'd love to get my hands on one of the snow globes on sale in the local Kettering store... if you missed last night's screening, you'll have to wait to find out what's inside them.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Native pepperberry shortage

Last year, the many mountain pepperberry (Tasmannia lanceolata) bushes on our property produced very few berries. The few I saw were hardly worth picking. This year hasn't been much better. I was hoping for a bucket full of plump, tasty berries to flavour a science experiment we have underway in the dining room (pictured below). While there are more than last year, I've ended up with less than half a jar of dried pepperberries so far. Some of the pepperberry bushes on our property are very large and twice my height, and they are all growing strongly. There are male and female bushes, and they all look healthy. So I am not sure why the plants have produced so few berries. A few years ago there were so many, we couldn't pick them all. I am wondering if the chill factor has something to do with it. Last year's winter was very mild, but this year we've had three lots of snow already, and it's only the 2nd of June.  I will be interested to see what next year's crop will be like. Pepperberries are especially good for flavouring roasts and beef, and I've used them to replace pepper in other dishes too. I would describe them as peppercorns with a beautiful pink colour and more complex flavour.