Clunes is a tiny book town in the central goldfields region of Victoria with a main street wide enough to turn a horse and cart, and a colonial streetscape ripe for a gold rush era movie set. Once a year Clunes tiny population of about 1,700 punches above its weight and hosts the Clunes Booktown Festival. As many as 18,000 book lovers, sellers and writers swarm to Clunes to celebrate the book and listen to author talks.
We took our sadness about losing our old dog and decamped to nearby Yandoit which has an even smaller population of only 154 and spent the weekend staying in a beautifully converted old dairy. It was originally built in the 1860s and set on 21 hectares of pasture occupied by Lola the cow and a mob of kangaroos. At the Dairy we relaxed and, yes, read books in front of the wood fire in between visits to the festival at Clunes. The Italian heritage of Yandoit is evident in the old stone farmhouses and I could imagine myself toiling away in the terraced vegetable gardens. It was a perfect antidote to a difficult week.
Back in Melbourne it was time (a bit overdue really) to get my winter seedlings and seeds in. We removed the large net that covers the summer garden and fruit trees so the parrots don’t eat everything and I harvested about 100 kiwifruit. I left the smaller, less ripe ones for my colorful feathered friends. Into the beds I prepared a couple of weeks ago I planted garlic, broad beans, peas, snow peas, broccoli, spinach, chard, coriander, lettuce, leeks, spring onions and shallots. Now I just have to keep them safe from snails, cleared of weeds and watch them grow while I focus on getting some other garden jobs done over the colder months.
The name kiwifruit, also known as the Chinese gooseberry, is neither a native of New Zealand nor a relative of the Grossulariaceae family to which gooseberries belong. The fruit was bought to New Zealand from China in 1904 and people thought the flavor resembled a gooseberry. New Zealand started exporting the fruit in the 1950s at the height of the Cold War when the name Chinese gooseberry would have been a marketing catastrophe and kiwifruit was eventually born in 1959.
This emerald green gem is best fresh and stores quite well in the fridge. Kiwifruit loses some of its great color and sweet flavor when bottled but it’s good for freezing, drying, pickles and jams. I’m partial to a kiwifruit smoothie with some well ripened fruit myself.
• 2 kiwi , peeled and halved
• 1/2 banana , peeled
• 1 Apple juiced
• 1 cup baby spinach
• 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.
Do you have any suggestions for kiwifruit?