The Daley News
A Daley Day Out
We took advantage of a sunny, winter's day to go on a group excursion to a couple of local farms. Our first stop was Playing With Fire which is an award winning bush food business on the outskirts of Ballina. We had time in our day to stop by the water at Brunswick Heads for lunch before our afternoon visit to Boon Luck Farm.
Daley's Staff and friends at Brunswick Heads
This is an expanding local business that supplies fresh, organic produce to Thai restaurants in Sydney.
Daley's Staff Walking through the bush food farm of Playing with Fire
In a secluded valley in Tintenbar hides the bush food orchard that supplies Playing With Fire with a range of native foods for their tasty treats.
Gus showed us around the food forest that was planted in 1982 and has matured into an impressive stand of tall, slender Davidson Plum with some majestic specimens of Atherton Oak. Lemon Myrtle, Aniseed Myrtle, Orange Berry and Lemon Aspen were other delicious treats we enjoyed tasting at the farm. Our tour ended with the opportunity to try their different preserves, Davidson Plum Jelly with a light sprinkling of Tasmanian Pepper was a hit.
Gus showing us all the Jams like Fingerlime, Davidson plum Jams
Davidson Plum Fruit Trees planted in 1982
We bundled ourselves back into our cars with arms full of Cut Leaf Mint Vinegar, Rosella Cordial, Bushfire spice and many more delightful native flavours. Their range of products are sold under the name of Sustainable Food Farm and can be found at the local markets and online. Thanks to Rebecca and Gus for showing us around.
Davidson Plums are perfect for making delicious jams and sauces, their colour is rich and vibrant and the flavour is superb.
My Tips on making this Jam
I used 1kg of Davidson plum fruit with their seeds removed. This was made up of 1/2 fresh Qld Davidson Plums & 1/2 frozen NSW Davidson Plums. I placed the fruit in a food processors until it is cut into small pieces but not pureed (for a sauce you can puree). This makes sure the tough skin is cut into small pieces. Then I used the juice of two Eureka or Lisbon Lemons. This is because Davidson Plums are low in pectin so you can also soak the lemon seeds overnight in a little warm water and add this pectin-rich liquid to the jam. I also used jam sugar as it has additional pectin added. Match the weight of sugar to the weight of fruit. Wash jars in hot soapy water and sterilise in oven for 20 mins, temp 110deg Cook the fruit, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the jam takes on a glossy sheen. Test to see if the jam is ready by putting a small amount on a saucer in the freezer for a few moments, when it is thick and sticky it is ready to put in your jars, label and share with your family and friends.
Palisa, the owner of Boon Luck Farm was unfortunately unable to join us during our visit as she runs several Thai restaurants in Sydney, so we were shown around by Jack the farm manager. Boon Luck Farm sits on top of a hill in Tyagarah with fertile red soils. There is a large exclusion orchard that covers an area of over 1 hectare and has crops of tomato, Thai egg plant, Thai holy basil, chillis and an extensive planting of fruit trees. Palisa has an angled trellis structure on the eastern side where trees will be espaliered and pepper vines have been planting up the supporting posts.
Inside the exclusion planting of fruit trees.
Outside the netting is a large citrus orchard with hundreds of kaffir lime trees to supply fresh lime leaves and the oily fruits that are essential ingredients in Thai foods. In the center of the farm is a large chicken coup which houses a great collection of colourful chickens, they run free range and convert farm scraps into manure, meat and eggs. The other main feature at Boon Luck Farm is an innovative poly house. Fully automated with screens to control the temperature and an irrigation system to control the moisture.
Automated Polyhouse for temperature conntrol and watering.
It allows Palisa to grow a range of tropical produce throughout the year It had fresh winter crops of tomato, chilli, eggplant and Holy basil that will be ready for picking in the coming months. Jack, the farm manager is a soil expert and showed us how he plants crops of low growing woody plants such as chia and lupins around the fruit trees to encourage fungal activity in the soil. Finely crushed blue metal dust provides slow released nutrient to the soil and digging is discouraged.
One of hundreds of chilli plants that supply the Thai restauraunts. Totally Organic.
All crops are cut back when they are finished and then used as mulch for the next crop. Additional mulch is added to control weeds, retain moisture and protect the precious soil.
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