Fresh Culinary Herbs For Hospitality

February 2012

Visit our next destination... Click on Eco Abode above or to the right of page in LINKS below. Please note NWHT business will not continue there. But join us as we start our new edible garden & home from scratch. Share your garden ideas, help others as we learn & grow together.

August 10, 2011.

How quickly plans change...

It is with much disappointment that we have decided not to continue selling herbs this season because we are moving to Launceston.

Although the business won't continue there, herbs will be the first thing to go in along with a new orchard & veggie garden. We only wish we could relocate everything from here.

We have had a great time growing fantastic herbs & meeting many friendly people passionate about Tasmanian fresh produce. Thank you to all who have been so
inspiring & supported us.

Rob & Fiona.


Fresh Culinary Herbs grown @ Somerset. We are privileged to live near the coast with sea views, breezes and a mild climate in the beautiful red soil farmland of North West Tasmania.

Our passion for herbs has been addictive for over 20 years. Establishing in 2008, we're selectively growing the most popular culinary herbs along with a few unique ones & continue to trial. Cutting our herbs, we get a buzz knowing that our best has been done to provide the freshest quality with care taken to wash, pack & deliver within the shortest time possible.

We aim to produce a good selection & consistent supply as the business grows. Bunches are cut fresh to order & are large catering /restaurant quantity. Our season runs from around October through to May. All is dependent on the weather but that doesn't mean we stop ...We do have a rest over Winter & do all the exciting paperwork etc but we're also preparing for the coming season.

The herb garden is evolving and we are always learning and making improvements. We are environmentally responsible using biodegradable & or compostable packaging & use farm practices as close to organic as possible.

Contact us Email

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Summer... oodles of Basil ,Tomatoes & Garlic on the way.....

Basil Sweet Genovese
Heirloom Tomato
Rouge de Marmande

After a cool & not overly sunny Spring, averaging about 16 degrees in November some herbs are slow, mainly parsley. But with the temperature rising & good rain, zoom zoom.......the basils are off to a good start, some are ready to cut. We have chosen Sweet Genovese, Thai  Siam Queen & East Indian Clove, great aromas & good varieties.

The heirloom tomato plants have large sized fruit on the vines already, so hope to start picking mid Summer or earlier. Some Spring purple garlic was lifted last week. The shed already has a  garlic aroma as it dries. Everything else is growing well - Mints , Thymes , Sage, French Tarragon  &  Rosemary with some being cut back for fresh regrowth.  

Unique aromatics we have in small amounts are doing well too. Horseradish, Cardamom, Sawtooth Coriander, Kaffir Lime & Curry Leaves, still being patient.......
English Lavender will flower well late December after some were ravaged by a rogue rascally rabbit  (Rob would like to be Elmer Fudd). Late February on it will be chilli fest..

A quick  trip to Hobart again to a  growers / producers market we found by accident.
Tasfarm Gate held every Sunday (link top right of page). A small excellent market.
After a preview of stalls before trading .....the bell rang @ 9AM !.....stampede.... couldn't wait to get to each stall like all the other keen customers. The stalls  had brilliant presentation, a great variety, the freshest you could get. The friendly producers were all very passionate about their niche products.

The facilitator & stall holders are to be congratulated. Would be great to see this type of market state wide in each region.  Needless to say we came home with esky full again plus some plants as usual...Well worth the trip to Hobart to see this market alone (plus some girl shopping & the hardwares for the boys of course).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Spring has sprung.......we still have a chilli hang over..

How fast did Winter finish !
One of the signs Spring's almost here is when the native frogs start to appear in the tunnel.We're busy putting up a new tunnel this month for basil & seeds & seedlings in for an October start.
Rob made his sweet chilli  & tabasco sauces, most have gone now so more to make soon.

This season we have some early  heirloom tomatoes to go in. The seedlings  are already well advanced. Rouge de Marmande & Evergreen, so really looking forward to those.

The last month of Winter we had a bumper crop of  lisbon lemons but we never run out of uses for them. Latest is almond, lemon & mandarin cake & many lemon roasted chickens. Next, preserved lemons & lemon butter.

With an abundant choice of herbs you are always looking for different ideas to try. I know you can't eat soap but after years of  frustration with the choice, expense & unappealing supermarket soaps full of unpronounceable chemicals, I decided to have a go at making some.

Olive Oil Soaps.. Lavender & Oatmeal, Rosemary & Wheat Germ
...mmm..Chilli soap,  I don't think so !

It helped being inspired by some beautiful  handmade soap here  &  in  Hobart.
After googling, reading & following recipe instructions carefully, I came up with the first attempt. Olive Oil, Rosemary & Wheat Germ handmade soap.The first basic batch was ok but could be improved in colour & texture.

After some recipe tweaking, the second & third batches were  100% better. Family are the guinea pigs at the moment. The lather is good & the  wheat germ   exfoliates well. Everyone knows how good olive oil is & the infused rosemary is a scent that men will happily use. They don't smell like flowers, more like a lamb roast. I kept it simple, adding castor oil & jojoba for emollients.

I also made a Olive Oil, Lavender & Oatmeal batch for my daughter, she was pleased with her soft skin. I have used rosemary infused rinse for conditioning my hair in the past & like the soap it comes up squeaky clean with a subtle scent. The rustic look of the bars of soap I like and they are  a natural attractive colour. I am pleased with the  result & will never go back to  using supermarket soap again..

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hobart......All The Legends... & so many talented people.

Costa from SBS - Costa's Garden Odyssey .....What a buzz !

How lucky were we having just returned from Hobart after a few days away. Staying on a vineyard & olive grove makes you so hungry.....

First stop Grandvewe Sheep Cheese, half an hour south of Hobart many cheeses to choose from...yum & so pleased that we aren't the only ones who name & talk to our sheep. A paradise.

Next stop Bunnings, Mitre 10...Glad we have a ute.....

Then, our first ever trip to Salamanca Market. Walking through the market gardener's stall , inhaling the freshness of Asian greens & herbs gives you such a buzz. (I'm sure they thought that I was crazy). Then onto The Gourmet Farmer's stall - Matt Evans learning all about his dried pine mushrooms & the art of trying wild mushrooms ! We took home some of his pork & fennel sausages (should have bought more !) - a really friendly guy & more cheese from Bruny Island. Apples, Apples, Apples & Pears...salmon, sourdough ,walnuts, hazelnuts, blueberries, tea, natural soaps & heirloom vegetable seeds. Rob chose a green tomato 'Evergreen' to try & I, more wild rocket seed. So much to choose from, we brought home two eskies full of goodies. All the stall holders were so friendly.

Then onward to The Botanical Gardens Tread Lightly Festival. A beautiful warm, sunny day  4 - 14dc to stroll the gardens. We arrived super early 8.30am not knowing the gates didn't open until a hour stroll around to Corneilian least we got our day's exercise & a parking spot !

How exciting....we were in awe in the presence of Peter Cundall, Tino Carnevale & Costa Georgiadis . They all embraced  a few metres away from us & had such respect for each other, their passion inspiring. Nervously, (I) we met & chatted to Tino about banana's & Costa kindly gave us a photo with him, both so generous with their time & so cool ! Unfortunately we missed their presentations as we had to leave early for home but we were lucky to see Peter's.....just brilliant !   Tino & Costa are the next generation full of knowledge who will inspire & be here for our children & I hope I am here for the next 60 years to follow them too.

The gardens had fantastic plants on sale.We were able to bring back more native grass tube stock for around the ponds to increase the habitat for frogs & stabilize the banks. Also some King Edward  & Dutch Cream seed potatoes & saffron. So I hope we don't run out of potatoes this year.

There were many displays including complete sustainable living /solar conversion which we hope to do before we retire. There was  a Barnevelder breeder also passionate about his boys & girls.
I didn't realise how big the rooster would become... Ours, Jeremy (now 15 wks old) will tower over James (our rescued English game bantam rooster) . He is becoming quite used to being handled now. The Barnevelders are a beautiful addition to the garden along with the coffee coloured eggs in Spring & hopefully future offspring.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Winter's here... but that makes you appreciate Spring, Summer & Autumn more.....

The season ends for us this week as Winter sets in, although some herbs like Chervil,Corianders & Chillies are still doing  well in the tunnel. The tunnels have extended the Basils almost 6 mths - December to early May. Coriander has been available as much as possible & Sawtooth Coriander has grown surprisingly well..

Some herbs are slow growing so won't be available all the time during the season but we always advise when they are. We try to have a good choice or alternatives available. Next season we aim to add different herbs & garlic with more available through Summer /Autumn. All the unique herbs are progressing well, just patience now.

An early start next season with a new tunnel going in, so we are looking forward to Spring and recommencing around October.
During the growing season we are pleased to meet with local chefs and anyone interested in fresh local herbs for restaurants & cafes....By appointment, you are welcome to view & try samples, please email.

Thank you to all the friendly people we have met & who have supported us this season. 

Rob & Fiona

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

All Things Lemon !

Zesty Citrus Herbs & Aromas

I have just a bit of an obsession with anything citrus. I love anything with the aromatic citrus zing. Lemon Thyme, Lemon Grass, Lemon & Lime Basil, Lemon Verbena, all Citrus Trees & Lemon Myrtle to start.

Really looking forward to our lemon tree (now laden with fruit), Limes - Kaffir / Tahitian & Kumquat trees maturing.....patience !

Our kaffir lime leaf trees are young at the moment but we hope they grow well in the tunnel.We freeze our leaves when they are at their best, so easy to throw into curries / Thai recipes from the freezer (they keep for what seems a long time without deteriorating). There's some fruit on the trees now so looking forward to using the zest & juice.

Preserved lemons & limes, curds, together with marinades & dressings are always an option but my favourite is lemon & lime plenty of those coming up. Always a good way to use our excess free range chook eggs up too. May even try one with the duck eggs. Lately the ducks have been laying under the sage row & one is sitting on eggs on pumpkin hill. Every morning is like Easter seeing where the eggs pop up next.The new ponds are almost full so a paradise for the ducks.

The Lemon Grass is doing well after being flattened in last years  storm and some will be recovered & big enough by this coming Summer. I have babied the Lemon Scented Myrtles grown from seed (3% germination rate) quite precious now, just over a year old. So I hope they cope with the coming Winter in the tunnel. Great dried & ground for fish & chicken. I sprinkle over a roast chicken, good with fish, in marinades, with game - wallaby etc, use fresh as a tea.........(Lemon Verbena can be used in the same way). 

The aroma reminds me of orange coloured twisted barley sugar lollies I had as a child, a strong sweet lemony scent. We can only wait now ...I know they will never grow as fast or as big as the one in our old backyard but we're just very lucky to have some in Tasmania. It's always good to try different flavours & not to stick with the norm. You often hear people say "I don't like that" food but most have never even tried it ! (they don't know what they are missing) on way.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sawtooth Coriander - Culantro

Accurately describes this herb from Mexico known by many names. But it looks nothing like ordinary coriander except for the vibrant green colour. The sword shaped  leaves have spiky sharp prickles around the outside edge.The shiny, soft, thicker leaves are  flexible & feel waxy, more robust. Cut or shredded finely they have a stronger pungent aroma than regular coriander, so only a small amount is needed. Great for  Asian recipes.

Sawtooth / Mexican Coriander

In hot, humid & part shade conditions it grows well so it can be a good alternative when regular coriander bolts to seed over Summer. In our old backyard it grew well & self seeded like a weed. The first plants in our tunnel  have grown slowly but matured well so far this past Summer . I  have cut the savage seed heads off with the added protection of tongs ! The seeds are way smaller than a pinhead & take some time & added care to germinate. Next season we hope it progresses well..


Vietnamese Mint
Curry Leaf Tree

 The Curry Leaf Trees are growing slow but doing well along with Chervil. Vietnamese Mint bounces back well after being cut & kept watered . Luckily the bugs leave it alone.. the smell is strong & exotic..but not for the feint hearted. Must love Asian food to appreciate it...(sometimes I accidentally bump into it to get a hit !)


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's Sweet Chilli Time !!!

Evacuate the house & neighbourhood..... it's Sweet Chilli Time...
The chillies have grown well so we hope to have more next season. Thai, Jalapeno & Cayenne.
The colours are amazing & soon the smell will waft over Somerset...

Rob makes a mean Sweet Chilli Sauce. In years past the house would fill with the firely eye stinging aroma with more than a hint of ginger & spice. The coughing & spluttering would indicate a great vintage....
It must have been pretty good because most of it went to the teachers at our daughter's school...there were no casualties and they kept coming back for more ! (luckily the school didn't need evacuating).

To be continued......Photos & recipe to come.
                                                                Rob's Sweet Chilli Sauce

1kg Mixed Chillies Thai, Jalapeno & Cayenne (or chillies of your choice)
250 g Garlic
1 Large Knob Ginger
2 Lemon Grass Stems
6 Kaffir Lime Leaves
1 kg Sugar White
500mls Water,  Fish   &  Soy Sauce to taste

Wash  & cut stems off  chillies. Remove seeds & membrane if you don't like too hot.  Peel garlic & ginger, chop roughly. Slice lemon grass & lime leaves. Put into food processor with about 200mls of the water . Process until  well pureed . In a thick bottom pot add remaining water & sugar. Bring to boil & wait until  sugar  has dissolved , add puree , bring back to boil . Reduce, check consistency, add soy & fish sauce. Check setting quality as desired like jam on a saucer, add more water for a thinner sauce. Bottle in sterilized jars/ bottles.                                               

Friday, February 26, 2010

Basil & Garlic

With the last few days of Summer, the basil is in full swing, great for pesto. Sweet & Thai have done particularly well & we hope to extend them slightly this season with the tunnel & cloches. It's  trial & error.

The garlic is graded & will be ready to go in at the end of next month so hope to have more available next season. The chillies have just started to ripen and we are trialing chervil through Autumn. This time of year is great because it's not so harsh on  the herbs and  slows things from going to seed, so a bit easier and more coriander possibly. This week I found native frogs amongst the coriander, usually they're in the mint. But it has been pruned at the moment...either place they get a good spa. Much more pleasant than cane toads !

 Bronze Fennel, a favourite......

Rob has almost completed the shade tunnel & the ponds for the ducks / frogs as well....just need rain now & a bit more landscaping. Over Winter / Spring we hope to put in another poly tunnel ready for next season.  

Being born in a subtropical climate & with part Asian heritage I am slowly getting used to slower growing in a cool climate and enjoying it....In my backyard as a child we had mostly tropical herb/ fruit / nut trees/ grasses including banana, paw paw, macadamia, loquat, mulberry, mango, guava, lemon, mints, bamboo & chillies all on a house block. 

Dad cooked great curries. Often ginger, turmeric, Vietnamese mint & chillies amongst other aromas would fill the house.We had the Bowen mango for table fruit, Kensington Pride I think they're called now.Green mango chutney was an annual event. As kids we'd scale ours or our neighbour's huge old turpentine mango tree to pick the biggest green ones. It was a race to see who would get there first, the resident possums or our tin can on a stick ! The pungent sap was like super glue but worth it. I still have the recipe somewhere along with other ones from Burma.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Summer ?
Compared with last year's constant heat, the weather is yet to fire up with only a few "hot" days. So some of the Mediterranean herbs are on a grow slow at the's hoping for a hot February.

 But the basil is doing well under cloches/ tunnel. We continue to sow coriander, it goes to seed rapidly as every one knows but it  is still good to use at the feathery stage. And I don't mind too much because it increases our seed stock. Lots of jobs at the moment collecting, drying & sorting seeds. Grading garlic is on the to do list  by  the end of the month.

I can't complain about anything...  we live & eat by the seasons, that's what makes Tasmania a great place to be. There's always something different & yummy to choose from. Spoilt really !

Sunday, January 10, 2010

From horse paddock to garden in 2 years. A great place to spend the morning with a cuppa as the sun comes up. Most early mornings are spent watering. With the unpredictable weather from 19-34 dc the past weeks, every day is different. Nothing goes to waste, the prunings go to the cow, sheep & chooks. We always say our cow will be well pre-marinated ! The ducks are always on patrol for slugs & bugs but I've seen even less this year, so they are doing their job well. Rob is making a larger pond to keep them happy.


The shade tunnel is going up now then another poly tunnel in Winter for next season's basil & coriander. Unfortunately we lost the brand new 15 x 5m one in September's horrendous wind storm (the doors were the only things left to go on, then it was just flattened ! ). A bit of a set back but we continue on.

                                          HAPPY DUCKS.....

Friday, January 1, 2010

Garlic, Basil & Coriander

With the warm weather finally here we have just dug up some great Purple Stripe Garlic. Only have to wait a little longer now to dry, cure & grade, but well worth it.. Also some fantastic Sweet Genovese Basil & Coriander ready. We have tried some different Basil varieties - Lime & East Indian Clove - I like the spicy ones, especially Thai.....Photos to come soon...