Country Style - - CONTRIBUTORS - Fol­low Bar­bara on In­sta­gram @foodand­words

This month we hear from a trop­i­cal fruit farmer. Plus, a round up of re­gional food news.

MEET THE PRO­DUCER John Pi­cone, Pi­cone Ex­otic Fruits, Tya­garah, NSW

The ex­otic fruit or­chard at John and Lyn­dall Pi­cone’s farm at Tya­garah, north­ern NSW, is the re­sult of an in­sa­tiable cu­rios­ity and hard work. John worked as a graphic designer be­fore he and Lyn­dall left Syd­ney with their chil­dren 30 years ago. First stop was a 6000-tree macadamia farm at Tin­ten­bar where, to supplement the macadamias, John also planted 3000 dragon fruit cacti. When cus­tomers be­gan ask­ing if he had any other fruit, he planted trop­i­cal and sub-trop­i­cal fruit trees — “For some­thing dif­fer­ent,” he says. Lyn­dall and John moved to their ex­ist­ing 50-hectare farm in 2008, plant­ing hun­dreds of trees. To­day it’s a lush Gar­den of Eden with about 400 trop­i­cal and sub-trop­i­cal fruits, in­clud­ing su­gar ap­ple (left, a cus­tard ap­ple va­ri­ety), guava, jack­fruit (above), ly­chee, lon­gan and sapote — white, yel­low, green and black. John has even de­vel­oped two types of dragon fruit with pink flesh: ‘By­ron Sun­rise’ and ‘Pink Ice’. John and Lyn­dall sell their fruit at Mul­lumbimby Farm­ers’ Mar­ket, where they ed­u­cate cus­tomers on when to eat the fruit and how to pre­pare it. “I don’t think God has cre­ated a fruit I don’t like. I’ll have a go at any­thing,” says John. Vis­i­tors are wel­come to visit the farm in small groups, tele­phone 0412 926 208. LOVE BAK­ING Renowned Syd­ney baker Na­dine In­gram is talk­ing about the mak­ing of her first book Flour and Stone (Si­mon and Schus­ter, $55) this month at the Food and Words food writ­ers’ fes­ti­val. The book, to be re­leased in Oc­to­ber, is filled with sto­ries about her bak­ery Flour and Stone, its peo­ple, her phi­los­o­phy and the recipes that have made it a suc­cess, in­clud­ing the much-hyped panna cotta lam­ing­ton. Na­dine is one of 10 writ­ers ap­pear­ing at the an­nual fes­ti­val, which cel­e­brates our best food writ­ing tal­ent. The event, aimed at those who en­joy food and read­ing, is on Septem­ber 15 at The Mint, Syd­ney. foodand­words.com.au


Septem­ber is a big food book month and here are our picks. Milk­wood (Mur­doch Books, $45) is a DIY guide to grow­ing toma­toes and mush­rooms, keep­ing bees and safely pick­ing wild plants, in­clud­ing sea­weed. The point of learn­ing th­ese skills, say au­thors Kirsten Bradley and Nick Ri­tar, is that they en­rich our lives and cre­ate con­nec­tions to the land and the peo­ple around us. Hooray to that. (Kirsten and Nick are also speak­ing at Food and Words, see left.) Cau­li­flower is King by Leanne Kitchen (Mur­doch Books, $19.99) is an ode to the chameleon of the veg­etable world, lots of fun and in­struc­tive.


Fourth-gen­er­a­tion farmer An­thony Re­hbein from Bund­aberg, Queens­land, now sells dried, ground ginger and turmeric as well as fresh. The prod­ucts — sold un­der the Bunda Ginga brand — are Aus­tralian-grown and avail­able on­line at bundaginga.com.au


Due to pop­u­lar de­mand, Holy Goat Cheese from Sut­ton Grange in Vic­to­ria has stepped up pro­duc­tion of Nec­tar, the semi-hard cheese made with or­ganic cow and goat milks. You can buy it at farm­ers’ mar­kets in Vic­to­ria or or­der it at se­lect Syd­ney restau­rants. holy­goatcheese.com

HOW TO EAT Evan White, chef and owner of By­ron’s Mex­i­can restau­rant Chu­pacabra fell hard for black sapote (left) when he first tasted it in Mex­ico. “It’s choco­late pud­ding in a fruit,” he says. While Mex­i­cans use it in com­potes and cake, Evan likes to eat the ripe fruit straight. “Wait for the skin to crack and for it to smell strongly of a rich choco­late pud­ding,” he says. chu­pacabra.com.au

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