Countdown to Tassievore 2015 – locally grown all the way down to the hashtags #tassievore

It is less than a month until Tassievore 2015 and we are so excited (just like when you find your first ripe tomatoes)!


To cut the suspense here is a list of what you will find if you read on:

  • Our weekly challenges for March
  • How you can get involved!
  • Our new and improved Tassievore Team
  • Your invite to our launch picnic in Hobart

Ok so, drum roll……

The 2015 challenges, complete with ultra on-trend hashtags, are:

Week 1 – Become a local food forager – discover a new place to buy Tasmanian produce or find it where you shop already.

  • #tassievorefoodforager

Week 2 – Grow fresh fruit and vegetables for yourself

  • #tassievoregrower

Week 3 – Support a local business that uses Tasmanian produce

  • #tassievorebusiness

Week 4 – Feast with your family and friends on great Tassie produce

  • #tassievorefeast

Our overall hashtag is #tassievore so if you aren’t sure, or if your post ticks all the challenge boxes just share the #tassievore love.

Anyone who shares their stories and pictures with us during the challenges will go in the draw for some great prizes including accommodation, books, growers’ calendar, tickets to the Living Local Feast and some other Tassievore treats.

Now we expect that you are also incredibly excited and just itching to get involved so here are our top ideas for doing just that!:

  • Send us your tips for being a Tassievore – what are your favourite recipes, restaurants, Tassievore friendly businesses, markets, events, farmers or producers. Like us on facebook and share your stories and photos during the challenge. If you don’t use facebook you can email us at
  • Tell your friends about the Tassievore challenge – the more the merrier!
  • Check out the shopping and cooking page for recipes and places to buy Tasmanian food and drinks and visit the blog role (i.e scroll down) for inspiring stories from the previous challenges
  • If you are feeling technological why not use our hashtags on facebook or twitter – sadly we’re not 100% sure what they do but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
  • Do you have anything you could offer as a prize to entice other would-be Tassievores? We are totally volunteer run and a bit stretched to purchase fabulous prizes. Fortunately we aren’t too proud to beg.
  • If you need a small project in your life you could download and print the ‘We support Tassievore’ sign on the back of our e-flyer and stick them in your window or take a happy snap and share it on facebook or twitter. It should look something like this: Tassievore support poster
  • If you are a teacher or have kids at primary school why not try the Tassievore schools challenge – brought to you by our Tassievore partners (listed below) and MoveWellEatWell. If you share your stories with us your school can go in the running for a celebrity visit, a Tassievore cooking class and, for MoveWellEatWell schools only, a CD from the fabulous Vegetable plot (rumours are that once you hear these tunes you’ll be singing about vegetables for weeks!).  For all the details about the schools challenge click here. And the hashtag? #tassievorekids of course!
  • Finally we would love to hear from you if you have some time and energy to help us promote the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge within your local community and networks, for example: Taking posters around, recruiting your friends and colleagues and/or encouraging local eateries to highlight Tassie produce or even getting involved in the organising committee.

Our 2015 Challenge has attracted a few new fabulous team members and supporting organisations. We are thrilled to have Leah Galvin from the Heart Foundation, Nenita Orsino from Eat Well Tasmania, Julie Dunbabbin from the Tasmanian School Canteen Association, and Lisa West from Stanton B & B all on board this year! And we are so grateful that Penelope Dodd of Produce to the People, Kym Blechynden of Urban Farming Tasmania, Sandy Murray from the University of Tasmania, Lissa Villeneuve of Sustainable Living Tasmania, Serena King, Pen Clark and Caitlin Saunders are all still committed Tassievores for 2015.

We would also like to say a huge thankyou to our friends from Move Well Eat Well and the rest of the Eat Well Tasmania Kids Coalition (i.e. Family Food Patch and Breastfeeding Coalition Tasmania) for partnering with us on the schools challenge. We are so excited to see what stories those budding primary-school Tassievores have to share with us.

Last but not least here is: Your invite to the Tassievore Launch at SLTs Pears and Flares Picnic in Hobart (RSVP by Feb 23rd – see invite for details)

Stay tuned for our next post which will be at the start of the challenge and send lots of happy thoughts and vibes to our gorgeous support organisations:

Sustainable Living Tasmania

Produce to the People

Eat Well Tasmania (EWT)

The Heart Foundation

The Tasmanian School Canteen Association (TSCA)

The University of Tasmania

Urban Harvest Tasmania

Stanton B and B

and supporting the Tassievore schools challenge as part of the Eat Well Tasmania Kids Coaltion (alongside TSCA and EWT):

Move Well Eat Well

Family Food Patch

Breastfeeding Coalition Tasmania


Adventures in Primary Schools in the NW

Produce to the People is a proud Tassievore partner.

We have been working in Primary Schools for a couple of years now in the NW of the State, not only delivering lovely fresh, locally grown veggies each week, but also running veggie garden workshops on a regular basis.

Early next week 20 schools will be receiving parcels of seeds kindly donated by Urban Farming Tasmania.  These seeds will be used in further veggie garden adventures in established gardens, and for those schools that have no veggie patch, well these seeds might just provide the impetus to get started.

A little while back I interviewed some students about veggies and gardening, here are their thoughts:

Havenview Veggie Garden Students

What is your favourite vegetable to eat?

Darren, 9 years old: carrot

Sharlie, 12 years old: that’s hard, um probably potato

Kirby, 12 years old: carrots

T’Keyah, 7 years old:  mashed potato

Connor, 11 years old: carrots

What is your favourite way to eat it?

Darren, 9 years old:  cooked and cut

Sharlie, 12 years old: mashed….baked potato

Kirby, 12 years old: by themselves peeled

T’Keyah, 7 years old:  mashed

Connor, 11 years old:  cooked

Is there a vegetable you would like to taste but haven’t yet?

Darren, 9 years old:  sweet corn

Sharlie, 12 years old:  I don’t know what tomatoes taste like, I don’t know if I’m going to like it, I’m a bit scared.

Kirby, 12 years old: broccoli

T’Keyah, 7 years old:  tomato

Connor, 11 years old:  um, um, don’t think I’ve ever tried radish

When you had dinner last night, where there any vegetables?

Darren, 9 years old:  broccoli

Sharlie, 12 years old: peas, carrots, potato and corn on the cob

Kirby, 12 years old: tomatoes – oh their not vegetables!

T’Keyah, 7 years old:  no.   all fruit for dinner

Connor, 11 years old: no we had a bbq, we had salad.

Do you have a veggie garden at home?

Darren, 9 years old:  yes

Sharlie, 12 years old:  silver beet and some chives and potatoes

Kirby, 12 years old: no

T’Keyah, 7 years old: yes

Connor, 11 years old: no

What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen in the garden at school?

Darren, 9 years old:  learnt about why the worm usually like some food squashed and stuff

Sharlie, 12 years old: I’d probably have to say when Christian comes, he teaches me how to do compost cause I’m the compost person and I need how to do it and he’s taught me a fair bit. I like that the matter of fact that he lets me ask questions and stuff and lets me do signs and that says what I do and the steps in case I’m not here and what can and cant go in the compost.  I like Christian.  I’m the compost lady!

Kirby, 12 years old: use your hands with the worms!  Their really squirmy and everyone else is scared of them.

T’Keyah, 7 years old:  you learn about vegetables

Connor, 11 years old:  um, done a lot of things. Probably when we first started making the garden. Putting it all together.

To read more about Produce to the People and all our veggie growing, gathering and giving adventures, head over to our blog  you can also visit us each Sunday during March at The Cradle Coast Farmers Market where we will have info on the Tassievore Challenge.

Happy Tassievore adventures for the month of March!

Special Offer – 12 for the price of 1!!!

Can you believe that our 6 month Tassievore Challenge is nearly coming to an end?!?  It seems to have flown by!  I don’t even feel like I am going to binge on tropical delights when the calendar ticks over.

For those of you who have been hanging out on the fringes and haven’t actually done the formal registration – – now is your chance!  This challenge isn’t necessarily about eating only Tasmanian food!  It is about challenging yourself to EAT MORE Tasmanian food or to at least consider buying local when making your purchases.  It is about supporting our local businesses by shopping at Tasmanian-owned shops.  It is about connecting with the people growing our food and letting them know that we value them and we value having food that is grown near where we live and that we want farming to be a viable livelihood in Tasmania.

So, if you (or someone you know) is committed to this, but hasn’t registered (I promise it will take less than 10 minutes), please do it now!  Or if you have been thinking about how you’d like to do it but didn’t want to commit….now’s your chance to get in on the glory by doing it for the last 2 weeks!  It’s like getting 12 for the price of 1…now that’s a bargain!!

It may seem pointless, but this small step (registering online) allows us to gauge how many people have engaged with the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge and to show how many Tasmanians care about these issues.

Since the start of the year, we have run about 20 events! These have ranged from a tour of Two Metre Tall Brewery in the Derwent Valley to a gourmet 3-course Living Local Feast to a Preserving Workshop with Sally Wise.  The good news is, that we still have 3 more events as part of the Challenge!  The Tasmanian Climate Change Office awarded us an Earn Your Stars grant earlier in the year, which will fund our Tassievore Tips and Treats Workshops in Hobart, Launceston and Penguin in May.


Top tips from our Tassievore team will be shared in these experiential workshops.  Learn how to make staples at home, including bread, yogurt, pasta and dips as well as some low energy methods of food preparations and ideas for reducing the environmental impacts of your food.  Eating, learning, sharing and enjoying together – the tastes of Tasmania.

We are in our final weeks of the formal challenge, but we will be continue to promote and support local food production in Tasmania.  We hope that you will too!


Tassievore tips for the International Day of Happiness

blue buildings

I have to say that the weather in Tasmania today makes it pretty easy to be content with your lot in life. The sun is streaming in the window as I type and the sky is as blue as those beautiful stone houses in Rajasthan.

I spent the morning mulling over the things that have kept me happy in my Tassievore challenge over the past few weeks and I have to confess it is mostly those seasonal changes that bring a bit of zing and inspiration back into your cooking. I should explain that I tend to be a bit slap dash in my cookery – I make something fairly basic from the ingredients in the fridge, pantry and fruit bowl using fragments of recipe and cooking knowledge that I have built up over the years. Needless to say it gets the job done but isn’t often worthy of overly enthusiastic praise from the family.

Anyway my Tassievore saviours for the start of autumn have been, in no particular order: Pirates bay octopus tentacles, sweet corn, new season apples and Japanese ginger.

The Pirates bay octopus is a bit of a treat (ie not super cheap…but cheaper than most fish) but I love it because it is easy to cook and can jazz up a tomato pasta sauce or make a great meal in itself if accompanied with some sort of salad and perhaps some chunky baked potato wedges. To prepare it I just rinse off the legs and then put it in a heavy fry pan or griddle with a bit of olive oil at medium/high heat, slap a lid on and leave it for twenty minutes. Then I turn it off and let it rest for another ten minutes before chopping and adding to the dish/meal. The other fun thing about Octopus legs is that they go a bright pinky red colour when cooked, thus elevating your meal another notch or two above the mundane.

Sweet corn seems to be a hit with my little boy and I have to say that I have enjoyed munching and crunching on a cob or two as well. The other great thing about sweet corn is that it gets me thinking of Mexican things and I have discovered that you can do a pretty good sort of Mexican frijoles (bean sauce) using Tasmanian Aduki beans. I have a ginormous sack of aduki beans in my cupboard so anything that gets them cooked and eaten is a good thing.

malus-coxs-orange-pippinNew season apples are on the hit list because they are just so crunchy and tangy and gorgeously fresh. I am particularly excited by the resurgence in old heritage varieties like Cox’s orange pippin – delicious! New season apples certainly help to ease us out of the declining berry season doldrums and it’s far too soon for us to be sick of pome fruits while eating Tassievore style (that will likely come later in the year…). Keep an eye out for apples ripening in parks and public spaces too – such a shame to see fruit rotting on the ground when it could be chopped up and stewed or crunched on while whistling your way home.

My final pick for the Tassievore saviours list is the lesser spotted Japanese Ginger (Myoga). I grabbed some from the lovely couple at the Little Red Hen stall at Farm Gate market in Hobart and, while no match for the feisty punch of traditional ginger, it was great to have something completely new to try. The ginger looks 2013-03-19_19-20-59_257[1]more like a bulb than a rhizome and has only a delicate ginger flavour and a gentle punch of spicy heat. It works best finely shredded over salads or gently fried and sprinkled over stir-frys. Apparently it has a reputation in Japan for making you forgetful or stupid so perhaps i won’t over indulge (I don’t need any help with forgetfulness and stupidity most days!).

Otto enjoying the new Mathers Lane Park in Hobart

My other non-food cause to be happy today was discovering comfy pink bean bags and fun magnetic words in the new park in Mathers lane Hobart. It was lovely to see such a great use of public space and my little boy loved interacting with the metal sculpture by sticking on and taking off the magnetic letter and words. Let’s hope that they are respected by all the park users and stick around (pun only retrospectively intended) for many months to come.

Have a great International Day of Happiness Tassievores!

It’s harvest time!

Well, it is officially Autumn…not that it feels like it today at 33 degrees!  I love autumn…it is a time of reflection, grounding and harvesting lots from the garden!  Below is a sample of my pickings the other day: necterines, hazelnuts, zucchini, apples (4 varieties), bush beans, scarlet runner beans, chilies, cucumbers, kale (2 varieties), tomatoes (at least 3 varieties) and plums.

IMG_0086While I love the bounty in the garden, how can one household of 1.5 people get through it all?!?  By sharing the fresh produce (my bike basket was overflowing with zucchini’s for my work colleagues this morning); cooking feasts and inviting friends over to share it; and preserving (& fermenting) it!

IMG_0134I have gotten quite into homebrewing this year with Cherry Stout, Rhubarb Ginger Beer and Cherry Mead earlier in the season and yesterday, I racked some Blueberry Wine and Necterine Mead.  The only problem with the wines and meads is that they have to age for up to 2 years before I can drink them…the ultimate exercise of my patience….

The most recent Tassievore event was a flurry of preserving activity at the Sally Wise Cooking School in Molesworth. A half day workshop in which we made: raspberry jam; piccalilly; tomato relish; apricot and raspberry tea cake; hawthorn and mixed berry cordial; plum sauce; preserved plums; apple and rhubarb shortbread; spelt bread and labne.  It was amazing!  you can see lots of photos of the workshop on our facebook page, but here is a couple to whet your appetite

IMG_0128 IMG_0132 IMG_0119 IMG_0126

I will share one of Sally’s recipe’s with you.  It is for Piccalilli, which is great, because basically you can make it with whatever you are feeling overwhelmed with from the garden 🙂


1kg diced veggies (beans, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, etc)

2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
¼ cup salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups Tassie apple cider vinegar
2tsp mustard powder
2tsp turmeric
2tsp cornflour
2 tbls apple cider vinegar


  1. Place the vegetables, onions and capsicum in a bowl, add salt and mix well. Leave to stand for at least 1 hour. Drain well.
  2. Combine sugar, vinegar, mustard powder and turmeric in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add veggies adn bring back to boil and cook approximately 25 minutes.
  3. If the mixture is too thin, mix cornflour to a paste with extra vinegar and stir through. Cook two or three minutes more.
  4. Spoon into warm sterilised bottles and seal. Eat immediately or store for up to 1 year.

Sally also made a yummy dip by combining this with sour cream or cream cheese (the only Tassie cream cheese that I know of is from Red Cow Dairy in the NW, but there are several Tassie sour creams available) that we got to dip the warm spelt bread into…yum!

If you are feeling sad that you missed out on this fantastic workshop, don’t worry, there are still several more Tassievore events coming up, including the Tassievore cook-off this weekend in Moonah!  Learn how to use all sorts of Tassie ingredients and try 9 different Tassievore dishes made while you watch and ask questions.  It will be lots of fun and there are still tickets available, so please get your ticket now!

The Living Local Feast is also coming up (13 April).  A gourmet 3-course fundraising dinner for Sustainable Living Tasmania, featuring 100% Tasmanian ingredients.  Below are some photos from the last 2 years feasts.  It is pretty amazing and there are still tickets available, but they are going quick!  Don’t miss out!

57 42 Main course dessert

We are also planning workshops in the South, North and North West in May to share some of our tips and tricks for incorporating more Tassie goodness into your daily life.  These workshops have been made possible by an Earn Your Stars Grant that we recieved from the Tasmanian Climate Change Office. Details to be confirmed over the coming weeks.  We also got funding to collate a “where to get it” resource to help finding Tasmanian food easier for people.  Do you have a local shop or market that has a great range of Tassie goods? if so, please let us know about it by commenting below or email

I hope you are enjoying the challenge!


Northern Launch of the Tassievore Challenge!


The Tassievores were excited to partner with the Northern Suburbs Community Centre for the Northern launch of the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge.

With the support of Denise, Jane and the rest of the wonderful staff and volunteers, the launch was held amongst the Rocherlea Peace Garden. More than sixty community members and guests, including Michelle Byrne, Bryan Wightman and Mayor Albert Van Zetten enjoyed a tasty lunch using fresh seasonal produce from the community garden.

“There was a great deal of interest in the Challenge, and individuals along with the Peace Garden staff and volunteers signed up on the day to participate, said Ms Delphin, Manager of the Community Centre.

Community Development Officer and Garden Coordinator, Jane Chapman says “having the launch of the Tassievore Challenge at the Peace Garden was a great opportunity to promote local produce and the activities we run at the Centre.

“The Peace Garden has a huge range of fresh vegetables and fruits grown in the garden by our community volunteers, and the community lunches are a great opportunity to showcase the Challenge and eating locally”, says Ms Chapman.

Veggie Boxes, fruit boxes, fresh garden produce jams and relishes, and free range eggs are all available from the Centre, sourced from the garden. Volunteers are always welcome and required in the garden, and it’s a great opportunity to learn some new tips about growing your own vegies.

The Tasseivores would like to give a HUGE thank you to wonderful Neighbourhood Centre staff and volunteers for their support for the Tassievore Challenge and look forward to hearing how the community members and staff go with the Challenge.


Grown in Tasmania: interview with Owen and Emma Kate of TomBoys


This interview came about due to a question from a reader on our blog a few months ago – where can we source local tomatoes!?  I did some searching and got in contact with TomBoys, a grower in Bridgewater.  We got talking about their product which led to me popping across the river to check it out for myself..

Quick! Who are you and what do you do?

We are TomBoys: tomato growers based in Bridgewater. We’ve been growing tomatoes in Tassie since 2006 and are slowly increasing our stockists and retail venues around Hobart, to provide the market with fresh, local and tasty toms.

That was quick, you are good at this.  Tell me a bit more?

Sure, we are a family run business, growing in greenhouses using sustainable methods.  When we bought the property, the greenhouses needed a lot of maintenance.  We actually only use 1 of the 3 greenhouses here for all the tomatoes because it’s such a big job to fix them up and plant them out.  In the future we hope to expand and diversify the business, but for now it’s mainly toms.  We pick from November to Juneish and employ around 10 locals on a casual basis to cater for the really busy times.

IMG_3242       IMG_3239       IMG_3246

Nice one.  You mentioned sustainable practices, care to elaborate a bit on that?

Well there are some inputs that are unavoidable, we do save some seed but find the strike rate (number of seeds undergoing germination) variable and there is always the possibility that over generations the breed will lose characteristics over time.  We recycle our water and fertilizers which go through a UV filtration system.  Much better than chemically treating everything or letting it go to waste that’s for sure!  We recycle our grow bags (coconut husk by-product, highly recommended) for up to 4 years as well, we recycle a lot actually. We don’t use pesticides or fungicides pre-emptively.  Sure if there was a major bug problem we’d have to consider it, but there are better ways to keep the crop healthy.  One of our ongoing pests is the Greenhouse Whitefly, we are certain to encounter this every year.  We combat this with a biological control called Encarsia Formosa, a tiny wasp that targets the Whitefly – this means we don’t need to apply any chemical solutions.

We would probably be certifiable as fully organic if we didn’t use mineral based fertilizers, but that would complicate things as tomatoes are a hungry crop and we don’t want to sacrifice our quality.  When we have to heat the houses (rarely) we have a boiler that burns foreshore driftwood and offcuts from a local mill.  Our summer cooling is greatly assisted by our riverfront location; generally the breeze coming across the water helps to keep our temperature in check.

The fact that we only stock locally also reduces the crops carbon footprint by keeping our food miles low.  Crops are picked in the morning and delivered that afternoon and we never ever gas ripen: what you see is what it is with us.

Okay. That was impressive.  Why tomatoes?

We ask ourselves the same question sometimes!  We kind of dove right in without doing the research and learnt as we went along.  Luckily nothing went wrong with those early crops and we’ve now built up the experience, our product is getting better and better every year.  Perhaps next time we’ll plan it a bit more carefully, but we do love growing tomatoes!

Where can I buy your tomatoes?

We stock various grocers around Hobart, most of the big name gourmet ones as well as smaller neighbourhood options, ask them and they’ll tell you if they are currently stocking us!  We have our own little road-side stall which we love, we sell our toms and produce from the garden or other Tassie growers (lettuce, cucumber, herbs, potatoes etc.) at the end of Wallace Street in Bridgewater.  We really want to expand and have a presence at farmers markets such as the New Norfolk Farmers Market.  We’re also happy to deal directly with restaurants and the public.

IMG_3249        IMG_3250

What should backyard growers do with their summer glut of tomatoes?

Eat them! Pickle them, chutney them, sauce them.  Make a basic sauce with just some onion and herbs, maybe red wine and a bay leaf and bottle that, you can use that as a base for soups, bolognaise, chili con carne, veggie roasts, sauces…..  Eat with grilled cheese, use with seafood, cook rice in it, toss pasta through it, add to mash potato, shepherd pie, serve with quiche.  You can make just about anything with it.


tomato milkshake

Never say never!

Fair enough.  Thanks for your time

No worries.  Take some tomatoes with you when you go..

IMG_3240       IMG_3260       IMG_3245

TomBoy farm is located on Wallace Street, Bridgewater, Their phone number is 0408107950.

Spending a few hours on a Sunday morning checking out TomBoys farm in Bridgewater was great, good to see passionate growers willing to work hard to get results.  The pickers started at 7, but I certainly didn’t get there pre 9:30!  Nevertheless they left me a token row so I could satisfy my need to get amongst it all, I love the smell of tomato plants: spicy, savoury and fresh.  You’ll see the orangey-red colour in my picture of the bucket of toms? That even colour means the tomato has taken what it needs from the vine, only requiring time to develop its full colour and flavour.  After picking, the tomatoes are passed through a bubbly water system to wash, graded by weight by a machine, then graded for quality by eye before being packed away.  All this happens not 20 meters from where the vines grow!  Packed boxes are transported by truck to various grocers around Hobart that afternoon, such a short/ minimal processing required food chain.

Grocers determine at what point the tomatoes hit the shelves – in the box the colour deepens within hours to a deep red, due to the fruits release of Ethylene, a plant hormone that promotes ripening (benefits of a MSc in Food Science and Technology: nerdy facts!).  Texturally, given they were picked that very day grocers are able to store the toms until required- just like fruit in a fruit bowl.

I ended up taking 20kg of sauce tomatoes with me..  And a few things from the TomBoys road-side stall, including a young Bay tree.  Side note: does anyone know if native wildlife will nibble down Bay trees like they have been my kaffir limes? Anyway –  I’ll share success, failures, results and recipes with you in the next blog!