It seems I can’t keep away from the “apple Isle” for too long. Trout, cane rods and baking beckon….
It was that time of year when some of us cane rod makers get together at Peter Hayes’ on Brumby’s Creek at Cressy for the Cane Rod Makers weekend. But I had decided to combine it with a research tour to see Gareth Shapiro of the “The Grain Family of Tasmania” fame in Moltema TAS.
But that wasn’t all… Having had the good fortune to have met not only Gareth among others at grAiNZ 2017, but also, Ian Lowe as well as Nick Boskell and Ian Pope of Apiece bakery in Launceston. In fact when I heard these blokes were not far from Cressy I rubbed my hands together and under my breath said to myself…. “you beauty!” I won’t be making bread at the Cane rod gathering this year. So I ordered baguettes and croissants from the clever bakers at Apiece.
But as it turned out I also got an opportunity to visit in the small hours to see what they got up to, hopefully learn a few things and help them a little before the days Cressy Cane workshops started.
Zoe my 12 year old daughter came with me this year to further expand her own horizons too. So we planned to have a few days before sightseeing and perhaps a little fly fishing too. But as Sydney traffic would have it we missed our early morning flight. It appeared that from the crowd at the service desk we weren’t the only ones!!
Early arrival the next day meant leisure time before the gathering began so I had time to go to Moltema to see Gareth and his organic farm. Zoe stayed at Cressy for a casting lesson with Lachlan, then deciding to try casting in the pond with a fly.
Don Urquart – a cane rod and sourdough enthusiast – came with me to Moltema. Not exactly knowing what to expect, excepting that Gareth was farming organic grain we discovered that this farm was a true mixed farm.
As it happened Gareth was preparing some paddocks for planting wheat, rye and spelt this spring by spraying the field with liquid manure from the dairy herd. We discovered that the dairy, also managed on organic practice, produces a select variety of organic Bavarian cheeses. The manure from the dairy is captured in a settling pond to mature and used to fertilise fields for grain and pasture. As well as this crop and pasture rotation were normal practice.
My visit to Apiece bakery was interesting, they took me in and showed me their ways and methods as if we were both trusted members of a baking guild. I decided I was going to be useful so I helped to mould the baguettes, scale and tin the dark rye. As well as including a few other mundane tasks. It was great speaking and listening to Ian and Nick about baking and the idiosyncratic methods artisan bakers employ.
This bakery is really out of the way on the edge of Launcestion. Essentially its a wholesale bakery with a retail outlet at the Launcestion Harvest Community Farmers Markets but their baked goods are excellent.
Don and I resolved to get to the market early Saturday morning. Don is a Tasmanian living nearby so it’s not new to him but I was keen to see for myself what was there. Besides we wanted to get some of the Bavarian alpine cheese from Gareth.
But there was no time to tarry as we had presentations to participate in and even present at Cressy so we didn’t stay long.
By now the rod makers were looking forward to some excellent bread and croissants to savour.
The Cressy Cane weekend next year is looking promising with the best bamboo rod makers in the country and an international guest maker on the cards. Like Don, many of these cane rod makers are not only cane enthusiasts but sourdough enthusiasts also. In fact the food at Peter’s lodge at Cressy is exceptional.
But be sure that I’ll be searching out more artisan bakers on the apple isle as I’ve heard there’s more to sample.