If I’ve learnt one thing from this series, it’s that we live in a place with so much knowledge, so much expertise, it makes living and giving things a crack here enormously gratifying. You know you’re not the first, you won’t be the last, and there’s a great sense of camaraderie amongst those who’ve gardened, grown, fattened and harvested.
The way filming works is you show up at the house or home of somebody you admire, spend hours teasing out their stories, their knowledge, and generally overstay your welcome. (Filming, I’ve discovered, isn’t a quick business and we all feel a bit drained at the end.) Then someone in an edit suite cuts a few hours worth of shoot down to two minutes of television in a half hour of story line. What appears is incredibly interesting, to me at least, and yet just a part of these people’s tale. We all have stories that could fill a book and the best we can do is try to introduce some of our state’s brilliant producers to the viewers.
I get asked often, why Tasmania? Why move here?
The answer is complicated. In short, I knew someone here, so didn’t have to make friends from scratch. And, through him, I knew that there were other smallholders giving it a go in the valleys that dot the state, in particular the south. I don’t know if I’d find the same number of people doing amazing things in other states, the same variety of artisans in other regions. I just know that I wanted to live in a fertile place with reliable rainfall, in a community that I felt could be called home. Whether it’s by chance or by design, it couldn’t have worked out better.
My piece of paradise, Puggle Farm, looks wet at the moment, though that’s not surprising; a local, Gus, reckons it’s the wettest he’s seen the ground since ’48. On a day like today, with the sun blasting into the front room, and the light warming my back as I work in the garden, it just feels like a Tassie winter. Start with frost. Take off two layers during the day, and light the fire at four.
The shop seems to be doing okay. I do find it hard to stand there, offering a smell of a real black truffle and not eating it myself. Talking about eating is a bit like talking about sex, really; hardly satisfying in that same way.
So I took one truffle home. Used it to make dippy eggs. Five days in a sealed container with this very expensive, subterranean fungus made our buff orpington eggs as funky as a truffle can. Served with a truffle and butter sandwich made with a Lotus Eaters baguette, there’s no place on earth I’d rather be.
Visit the Gourmet Farmer program page for recipes and to find out more about the show.
This simply stunning dish allows the Tasmanian crayfish to shine. With such a high quality ingredient the best way to serve it is simply roasted so that the flesh is just cooked.
Looking for more salmon recipes? Jill Dupleix's rice noodles with salmon, lime and mint recipe is a great dinner option no matter the time of year. You might also like Luke Nguyen's Vietnamese chargrilled salmon salad recipe, or Gabriel Gate's French-style pan-fried salmon with shallots recipe.