Harvest by Meredith Kirton

Harvest by Meredith Kirton

Harvest: A Complete Australian Guide To The Edible Garden


Meredith Kirton has shown off her green thumbs for more than two decades in newspapers, magazines and on TV and not only does she know her craft but she manages to part with her knowledge in such a way that it is easy to follow and understand. She teaches you all the basics, from climate, soil and preparation to pests, diseases, crop rotations and even organic gardening.

This beautifully illustrated book will inspire you to grow, harvest and cook your own seasonal fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices, whether your garden is a large suburban block, a small city courtyard, or in the country. You’ll learn all about successful edible gardening as well as how to grow a huge range of edibles that include old favourites, heirloom varieties and exotics. Full of tips, step-by-step gardening techniques and fascinating historical background information, Harvest is your definitive guide to growing your own delicious produce.

Don’t pay $60 or more for this wonderfully illustrated book.  Ask for our very special price at The Cygnet Market.

The world of warm winter breads (photos)

A staggeringly fabulous, blue sky day in the middle of winter heralded the first of the seasonal cooking experiences from around the world.  From Tasmania to China, USA and Germany.

Four cooks and so many sharp knives in one kitchen.  Lucky they are all good friends!

John, Sally, Bud and Kate.                                                                                                 Twelve participants eager to learn new cooking experiences.

A selection of photos from a great day:

The congregation gather

John dividing up his dough

Sally and the Spring Pancake production team get to work

Bud mixing up corn bread while Kate tends to the beans

Bud cuts up corn bread for the beans

Black beans with corn bread

John’s wholemeal roll (with apricot jam)

Chopstick lessons from Sally included free

Lunch time

The Four Cooks in a less frantic pose

Upper Crust Pastry workshop – July

The demand for conducting Sourdough Bread workshops has been really strong recently but I do love making pastry and was very pleased to be able to conduct another Pastry workshop.

Six pastry students visited recently and we stuck to the same format, making three different types of pastry.     I demonstrate how to make the particular pastry and then mine is made into a pie or tart while the other students make their pastry for taking home and for cooking later.

Having fun with new recipes

It was a fun day and I think that everyone learned some new things about making pastry.  Of course, it is really nice when the recipes come out just as yummy as they usually do but sometimes you take a risk and change something and the results can be a surprise.

Turning out the upside down tart

The upside down tart is quite spectacular and its so easy to make.

spinach and fetta pie

The spinach and fetta pie was the main course for lunch.  The students and the parking attendant gave the pie the thumbs-up.

Lunch is always better when you have plenty of time to enjoy good food and good company.  So it was when we had the blackberry pie and yoghurt.  Thanks to all the participants for making this a really enjoyable day and for the lovely comments about how they are progressing with their pastry recipes.

Contact me to find out when the next Upper Crust Pastry workshop will be held.

Blackberry pie with yoghurt – yum!!

Cygnet Library Garden receives a donation from GaSP!

You may have seen a post on Vegetable Vagabond titled “The adventures of my wheelbarrow“.  I drove my wheelbarrow into town and a group of us from The Community Garden planted herbs and vegetables in the garden in front of the local library.

The plants are doing quite nicely but we have had some dry patches in between the winter showers and when I walked past recently I noticed that the plants needed watering.

The librarians seemed keen to look after their new herb and vegie garden so I decided to present them with a watering can.


I sell these watering cans (in red and green) and other sizes at my Cygnet Market stall and at home.

This watering can is five litres and the larger size is nine litres (as seen on Gardening Australia).

The larger size comes in red, green and black.

A galvanized watering can is also available.

These are genuine high quality English watering cans and make wonderful presents for keen gardeners (or librarians!).


Real spices….from real people

From The Pantry side of my business I want to stock your pantry with the purest products available; free from chemicals, low in food miles and direct from farmers and makers. This is how I choose to eat and I cannot sell anything that compromises this philosophy.

Spices has been my biggest problem, in this regard. I cannot contact hundreds of small, Asian, Middle Eastern and various island growers via my laptop! I will not simply buy certified organic spices through a distributor because I am not confident that the spice farms are owned and operated in a manner that helps their local economies, but rather, I fear, are large, multinational enterprises charging too much and paying the indigineous communities too little.

rotating images

Barry, in red, measuring out spices for a customer

Enter Barry Beach, of Beach Organics, by the sea, south of Adelaide. I have met Barry a few times at the Willunga Farmers’ Market and once visited his vegetable garden and spice business with the Hills and Plains Seedsavers group in 2008. Barry’s passion for pure, ethical, organic spices has led him on a fascinating journey, culminating in forming working relationships with a group of Indonesian spice growers. His spices are sometimes wild harvested and sometimes cultivated, but always with the benefits to the communities in mind and always organic.

Now, as The Garden Shed and Pantry is finding its niche in southern Tasmania, I feel I can benefit from all the work done by Barry and begin to offer a small range of his beautiful, and often unfamiliar, spices to my customers.

Barry’s stall at the Willunga Farmers’ Market

I have asked Barry endless questions in our email exchanges and I am grateful to him for his understanding that I need to know all about things, before I buy them for myself or my customers. Here is what I have so far learned from Barry…..

As for the cloves & long pepper, as a result of a long relationship with Indonesia, its people, culture & cuisine we have extended our business to this part of the world to grow our spices, cacao, produce our extraordinary honeys etc etc. This enables us to put more money into the pockets of our Growers & ensure quality control & consistency from paddock to plate. A true direct / fair trade business model. The production of our strawberry blossom honey has for example enabled the purchase of school books for all the children living in the vicinity of the production area.

Specifically the long pepper is a wild harvest from various locations within Indonesia, incredibly aromatic & highly valued as a culinary spice and used medicinally in a tonic known as Jamu.

It has recently been shown in clinical trials to target & kill cancer cells due to the presence of piperlongumine.

The cloves are grown by a very good friend of mine and are named after him – Agung’s – Cloves.

We have a licence to import both of these to Australia. Additional .. none of our spices etc are fumigated nor treated by AQIS nor the Indonesian authorities.

As for our vanilla, we grow all our spices, including our certified organic and wild crafted vanilla in Indonesia. General Balinese vanilla is considered to be of inferior quality, with much better vanilla coming from other “pockets” of the Indonesian archipelago, including Sulawesi, Alor & some areas of Java etc.

We currently have good supplies of the following single origin spices – our star anise, nutmeg & lampung black & Agungs peppercorns. Our turmeric and whole ground vanilla is also proving to be extremely popular and we have excellent supplies of both. Maybe worth your consideration.

New stock of our organic cinnamon is due Sept, as is sliced dried turmeric, galangal, ginger, Indian gooseberry & rosella petals – which is excellent as a herbal tea, reputed to regulate blood pressure etc. Also excellent gourmet grade vanilla is on the way at the same time. We are also about to launch our new single origin whole bean coffee range early Spring and organic spiced raw choclate.

First of all I am stocking the Long Pepper and cloves mentioned above. The long pepper is like nothing I have experienced before and last night I crushed two with my mortar and pestle, releasing a multitude of aromas. On potatoes freshly dug from a neighbour’s garden, and steamed for dinner it was sensational.

You will find Barry’s spices at my stall and available from my home shop.

…and we have a winner!!

We had our first market stall up on the stage at the Cygnet Market today and customers were invited to receive a free packet of Southern Harvest seeds with every purchase above $20.

We had a wonderful time chatting to new and existing customers about our great range of products and it was really pleasing to see people relaxing at the Stage Left Coffee Corner.  Fabulous idea from Julie!  Thank you for your support and hard work.

One happy customer redeemed the offer of free seeds and here she is below with her Four Leaf 85% Flour and her packet of seeds.  Her partner also has a bag of Four Leaf 85% Flour – it is a very popular and versatile flour.

Our winner, with Four Leaf 85% Flour and a free packet of Southern Harvest seeds

Stage Left Coffee Corner was well patronised and the stall holders selling food and drinks agreed, as there has not previously been anywhere for people to sit and eat or to relax and watch the crowd.

We are back in three weeks for the next Cygnet Market (Sunday August 5).  But if you can’t wait that long, remember we are open most days from 1 pm.