Welcome to another instalment of The Foodie Files! This month I’m chatting to the lovely Jo from Country Life Experiment! Jo’s blog is a new find for me and I’m absolutely loving reading about her adventures on the farm, drooling over her gorgeous looking recipes and reading her simple living tips and ideas. I have a feeling you’re really going to love her blog too, so I’m so happy to have her here on I Spy Plum Pie!
Do you have a philosophy towards food?
On our farm we grow nearly all our vegetables, meat, and eggs, as well as a lot of our fruit. We believe that the best food is fresh, seasonal and local. Whatever food we cannot grow ourselves, we try to source either locally or buy Australian brand name products. As commercial farmers ourselves (on our farm we raise sheep for wool and meat), we know how important it is for Australians to support local producers. The recent focus on buying brand name milk is just the tip of the iceberg.
So far as nutrition goes, I’m a fan of balance, moderation, and variety. By making most of our food ourselves, we aim to achieve this most of the time, but I also think food is for enjoyment, so I’m all about a little bit of butter, or a sprinkle of salt to lift the food.
What’s your favourite food memory?
Growing up in suburbia, my parents always grew a few vegetables, and had a big strawberry patch and several orange trees. Every night during the winter, it was my job to go and pick the oranges and then squeeze them to make a jug of fresh juice for dinner that night. I still adore fresh squeezed orange juice, and it always brings back memories of family dinners around the table.
Do you have a go-to food of choice?
My go to food really does depend on the season. Whatever we have growing in the garden tends to form the basis of our meals. So in spring we have lots of broad beans, while in summer it’s tomatoes, cucumber, and corn. In Autumn and Winter we have lots of potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, and cabbage.
What’s your favourite meal of the day?
Dessert. Not that we have it that often. Both my husband (The Country Boy) and I grew up in families where desserts were an essential part of every celebration. When the family got together, you could guarantee there would be several choices. I guess that I equate dessert with time spent with family and I do enjoy a sweet treat. As I work full time as a teacher, breakfast is usually a hurried meal, and lunch is usually eaten on the run between students and duties, so on a regular basis dinner is usually the one meal of the day I get to relax over a little (as much as you can with three kids).
What’s the strangest food you’re ever eaten (and would you eat it again?!)
I can’t think of anything particularly unusual. We travelled around Europe for a year before we had kids, and I ate haggis and black pudding, both of which were delicious, and I would happily eat them again. When we visited my sister who lives in China, we ate quite a few unusual things, though I can’t really remember anything in particular now. I’m fairly adventurous and will try anything once.
If you were showing a visitor around town for a weekend where would be your must-eat destinations?
We live on our farm, north west of Canberra so is quite a distance to go anywhere to eat out. When friends come to visit we like to show them the good life right here on the farm, with our home grown, homemade food. Having said that, there are plenty of great places to eat in nearby towns. Terracotta On Fire in Yass which does delicious South American food together with pub classics. Try the Moqueca Brazillian Hotpot – you won’t be disappointed. While you’re in Yass, Thyme To Taste, is a café that is meant to do the best coffee in town, and also has a deli that specialises in locally produced food.
If the farmers markets are on in town, we will always stop there for fresh baked breads, and other treats. Farmers markets are fun for the whole family, and they are supporting small local businesses – both good reasons to go.
Poachers Pantry, just off the Barton highway between Yass and Canberra smokes their own meat on the premises. They have a great restaurant with tasting plates, and dishes that show case their smoked foods, which are divine. They also have a little shop so you can take home some treats for later. They also have vegetarian, and gluten free options.
I have been wanting to go to the Long Track Pantry at Jugiong (just off the Hume Highway) for a few years now. Maybe this will be the year!
The Arboretum in Canberra can’t be beaten for its’ views, and it also has an awesome playground for kids. Having said that there are so many great cafes and restaurants around Canberra. We often try somewhere new when we head over there to go shopping.
Where can people follow your food (and other!) adventures?
On my blog, Country Life Experiment, I share the best of our simple country life. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram