As we attempt to produce as much as possible of our own food here on the Farmlet, we also continue to challenge ourselves to find local sources for foods we do not produce ourselves. Recent shortages of grains and other staples are making such arrangements ever more urgent and meaningful.
Fruit trees take a while to establish, and Kevin and I haven’t even planted very many yet, so we are always pleased to find good local sources of fruit. We recently made a trip out to a local organic apple orchard and picked five dollars worth of apples — so many that Kevin could only just lift the crate! We’ve been eating our fill of apples, and I’ve been busy transforming the rest into apple leather and dried apple pieces using our dehydrator. I also have plans to make some applesauce and a lacto-fermented apple chutney. Some other fruit for which we’ve found wonderful local sources include feijoa, grapefruit, guava, bananas, babaco, plums, avocados, pears loquats, figs, macadamia nuts, tamarillos and blackberries. We count ourselves very lucky!
Recently, we’ve also been enjoying some delicious fat lamb from a local farm. This is fantastic, since we have no plans to keep sheep on the Farmlet any time soon. Our fencing isn’t equal to containing sheep, just for starters! I think I may also have found a local source of pork fat for rendering our own lard.
Northland does not have a favourable climate for the production of many kinds of grains, but we can source biodynamic wheat and buckwheat from Terrace Farm, a biodynamic farm in Canterbury. I think I have also found New Zealand sources of barley and oats. All the while, we will continue to experiment with growing our own maize, and also have plans to try amaranth and quinoa. These are the grains that seem most likely to suit small-scale production in the Far North of New Zealand.
Pulses? All of this year’s dried pea crop got stolen by birds very soon after Owen was born. I didn’t realise what was happening quickly enough, and by the time I went to put on the row covers, it was too late. Oops! If we want to enjoy a few pots of delicious pea soup this winter, I’ll have to buy some peas from Terrace Farm. We’ve grown a small but lovely crop of borlotti (pinto), and selugia beans this year. I’m saving most of what we’ve grown to increase our seed stock (plans for a bigger crop next year!), but we’ll still be able to enjoy the odd treat of refried beans or minestrone soup over the winter.