I got talking to a really nice guy on the Hillview Fine Foods stall then I made Tray Bake Apple Pudding with the produce
Tray Bake Apple Pudding made with Hillview Fine Food’s apples
The best way to know what is in season is to pay a visit to your local farmers market. The fluorescent lights of the supermarket can often lull us into believing things are in season all year round. They aren’t, and so I like to remind myself of what’s truly local and fresh by checking in at the markets every few weeks. That’s where you’ll find all the goodies growing in a reasonable radius of your city and that’s where I was last weekend.
I got talking to a really nice guy on the Hillview Fine Foods stall at Marrickville market after I noticed a box of semi dried plums on the counter. I love this kind of thing with cheeses and for baking and I wondered who bothers to semi dry their own plums these days?. It seems that Jason from Hillview Fine Foods can bother to do lots of things, he’s not your everyday farmer.Jason’s a guy that has come full circle. He grew up on a farm in the Bylong Valley but couldn’t wait to get to the big smoke moving to Sydney after high school. He clearly has an entrepreneurial spirit because he quickly found his way in Sydney and started a business that eventually stretched nationally before a very unfortunate turn of events caused him to reassess what he needed to do to pick up and keep going.
His successful years in the corporate world were punctuated by visits to his parents in the country. It’s funny how the past sometimes just becomes your future, it seeps back in and there you are…..looking for a Farm to buy. In 2011 he found Hillview in Batlow. It already had 3500 apple trees, and after being on the market for some years was seemingly just waiting for him. His parents bought a neighbouring farm that had chestnuts, hazelnuts and walnuts growing. They went on to include a large array of fruit and vegetables.With a case in the courts to fight, it became obvious the Farm would need to provide an income. As I said, this guy has an entrepreneurial spirit and with a small push from another local farmer, he took a stall at his first Farmers market in February 2015. You can guess I am sure, that it was a great success and he has now managed to expand his Farm interests into a job that also involves family and other local Farmer friends . This means he is building an important community as well.
Now you can find Hillview Fine Foods in markets from Marrickville to Gladesville, Hornsby, Orange Grove and Double Bay Markets (on Thursdays). That’s a big achievement in such a short time. A new storage facility in Leichhardt has simplified the weekly trek from farm to market. I hope you don’t think this is it for now though…….are you kidding?. Last week he launched an App. This gentle, well mannered man is a big thinker, and not one to sit on his hands.
You can buy his fresh seasonal produce and Hillview Fine Foods condiments through the App which includes the option of collection from whichever market is closest to you for a discount or free home delivery. There is also an ingenious option for schools to use it in a fund raising capacity, and just by using it receive a 10% donation. Contact him for details. So much better than nasty chocolate freddo frogs.
This is such a wonderful story and I am congratulating myself on popping in to ask about those semi dried Plums. You can find Hillview Fine Foods ordering App HERE. Anybody can order through this itunes app. They only supply seasonal locally grown fruits and vegetables. As of late February they have beetroots, plums, pears, sweet baby nashi apples, carrots, fennel, blueberries, potatoes, beans eggplants and lots more.
I appreciated that Jason took the time to chat to me about some of the things that are worrying me at the moment in food. Australian farms and food businesses are being sold off to overseas interests at a very rapid rate. If you love to eat local this should scare you a lot. Is anyone else aware of this?. It seems we should have a say about it. Between testing the nashi pears and the blueberries we discussed the learning curve he is on with the very intense job of growing so much produce. He says that Farmers are a very supportive lot and share their knowledge and experience generously. He is one of the youngest farmers around, and that seems to be standard. As Farmers age and their children choose not to work the land it makes me wonder, who will be farming on our land in 10 years? I know this is quite a controversial conversation. But one we probably all should be having.
Now back to that pudding. Other people might just eat the fruit they buy from the market…..but I bake with it. This is the Tray Bake Apple Pudding I made when I got home from the market with apples I bought from Hillview Fine Foods. It should to be eaten straight from the oven HOT. If you need to keep it, rewarm in the microwave, because it will start to crumble when cold due to all of those chopped apples. Make it with plums or pears or apples. It tastes a little bit like apple pie to me. AND I LUVVV apple pie. We served it with whipped cream but you could go for ice cream in vanilla or even caramel flavour.
- 400 gm apples, diced fine ( 3 cups)
- 100 gm caster sugar or ½ cup or brown sugar if you like
- 250 gm self raising flour, 2 cups
- 125 gm butter melted
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 100 gm caster sugar, ½ cup
- Preheat the oven to 180 C /360 F. Line and grease a 25 x 18 cm ( 7x 10 in) brownie tray or well greased pyrex dish
- Put the finely diced apples into a bowl add the sugar, flour, and toss.
- Mix the egg and the vanilla together then pour the egg, melted butter and vanilla into the apple mixture and stir with a soon till well combined and the egg is mixed evenly throughout.
- Spoon into the tray and flatten out.
- Mix the cinnamon and sugar then sprinkle over the top of the prepared tray .
- Bake for 35- 40 minutes or until firm to touch.
- EAT straight away.....Yes you are allowed!
MKS has no affiliation with Hillview Fine Foods but they are awesome, go find them.