Kitchen Garden Guides

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Its all very well, this whole "simple life" thing but it takes a hell of a lot of time, every single day, and is seriously getting in the way of blogging.... I have sentences being produced in my head all the time, for a blog piece I want to write, but that topic, and subsequent topics, are requiring all my energy and time, leaving little space in my day for writing.

image Like now.... apples..... the first of the season are just arriving at the markets and I was so excited to find Gravensteins at the Cygnet Market last week. They don't keep well... so now I want to make apple pie but I really have to write what's on my mind... You see, Gravenstein is a crisp, juicy, delicious eating and cooking apple which I had never seen in Adelaide. Which brings me to a very important point - Tasmania used to be nick-named the Apple Isle. It has the perfect climate for apples and hundreds of varieties were grown here for all Australians and even shipped around the world, in the northern hemisphere's off season. It really was the basis of the economy for Tasmania for a century or more. The important word is "was".....

However, for some ridiculous reason, cheap, inferior apples are now being imported from China and New Zealand, to fill the shelves of the big supermarkets on the mainland and overseas!!! Tasmanian farmers are therefore ripping out orchards of heritage apple trees in order to find something else to grow that the world of supermarkets will buy. It is criminal that Tasmania is being treated this way. It makes my blood boil as I have never tasted better apples and never seen such variety as the apples at the markets and in the gardens here.

This has far-reaching consequences for Tasmania. One of those closest to home is the recent closure of the Cygnet Fruit Processing Company just down the road from me. I used to see the steam coming from the chimneys as I sat in my kitchen and ate my breakfast last winter, grateful that I did not have to be at work on those frosty mornings. imageBut now no more steam.... No more work there for the locals and no tins of delicious, out-of-season apples and other fruits for the customers to buy.... No more cardboard boxes proudly stamped with Cygnet Apples ink..... and long gone is the Cygnet Apple Festival, along with the Apple Queen parade down the main street.

All that is left is the story.



JOC said...

Hi Kate,
I know what you mean about busy and blogging!

But apples, of which I have 2 Gravenstein in my garden, are coming along so quickly this year. I have a friend who is an ex-Sydneysider and she raids my garden at this time of the year especially for the Gravensteins. Every night she bites into one of these apples and "mmmmmm, now that's a real apple".
I'm still working on the plums, sigh.


africanaussie said...

All those lovely varieties will soon disappear, and our great grand kids will think that red delicious are in fact apples. The same way that everyone thinks cavendish are the only bananas, whereas there are so many other very tasty kinds of bananas. I think big corporations are after our tastebuds :(

RodM said...

The last thing big corporations care about are our tastebuds.

Lisa said...

I know what you mean. When we went on a family holiday to Tassie we went to the Apple museum. And we were totally blown away by how many different varieties there are (or rather were) and how come we had never even heard of some of them. It was one of the first things that started steering our family in a different food direction.

Heather said...

International trade agreements. They are the culprit unfortunately. A politician may not want to let the outside apples in, but if they are seen to be creating a barrier to free trade (for no good reason or not enough good reason) then the country faces international trade penalties. So..even with environmental concerns like diseases being brought in etc, free trade must continue...I learnt about this in my Enviro Science course and it saddens me as much as you.

Amanda and Stephen said...

(comment by Amanda)

As far as I understand its "free trade" related as well.

We have an agreement with NZ and that means they can sell apples in Australia.

And because of the laws in NZ it may be Chinese imports get "rebaged".

But thats a very limited understanding. I could be wrong.

We harvested 50 kilos of "Herbie" (cross named after gardener) apples last friday.

They were so tasty, and so MUCH better than the produce from mainstream sources.

Unfortunately its Herbies last year as hes on land to be subdivided :(

Kate said...

This whole free trade thing is true but no-one is making consumers BUY these foreign apples. I don't buy them, you don't buy them (I hope!!) and no Australians should! Vote with your purse; buy produce at farmers' markets, not at supermarkets.