A lot in this post!
We are big fans of u-pick or pick your own fruit and berries. U-pick means you go to the farms and pick the fruit yourself. It is good in many ways:
- buying locally
- the freshest produce
- reducing rubbish (with byo containers)
- money goes direct to the farmer, no middleman
- fruit tastes great without time spent in refrigerators
- low food mileage attached, provided you don’t travel for hours to the farms
- great outing and fun for the kids
- cheaper produce – buying in bulk.
Farmgate buying is similar: you buy fruit or veggies at the farm, but already picked, mostly freshly that same day. We usually combine u-pick and farmgate.
Our two favourite areas for u-pick in Melbourne region are the Dandenongs (blueberries, cherries, peaches, beans, raspberries) and Kinglake (raspberries, strawberries).
If you are a reader from Australia, you might have guessed the connection between frozen raspberry yogurt and bushfires. As mentioned, we often went to Kinglake for raspberries u-pick. Kinglake is a small town burned in the February bushfires. The famous Kinglake raspberry farm has been partly destroyed, but several plots have survived and now have autumn raspberries for u-pick.
We went there last week. The idea was to support farms and business that have survived and/or reopened. We had to brace ourselves for what we were about to see: vast areas of burned trees and houses. Hard to describe. We were the only people picking on the farm that afternoon: weird feeling knowing that on such a beautiful, school holiday day the farm would be so busy. However, people still aren’t sure if it’s OK to come.
Talking to the locals, they would love to see more people coming, to boost the local business activity. So, if you live in the Melbourne area, it would be great to visit the bushfire affected communities and spend some money: pick the fruit, have a lunch or coffee, support business running. See on the internet or call first to check if the roads are open to where you intend to go. For more info about Kinglake raspberries visit their website:
The freshly picked raspberries at our place have almost disappeared: we ate most of them, froze some and made a batch of frozen raspberry yogurt.
Homemade raspberry frozen yogurt recipe:
- 1 1/2 cup natural yogurt
- 300 g (0.6 lb) fresh raspberries
- 150 g (0.3 lb) caster sugar or icing (confectionery) sugar
- Mash or puree the raspberries. Sieve to remove the pips, optional
- Add sugar and yogurt to the raspberries and mix together.
- Pour into the ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer instructions.
- Optional: add grated white chocolate when the mixture starts to freeze.
- Transfer to a freezer safe container and keep in the freezer.
Frozen yogurt is healthier alternative to ice cream. Our kids love it as much as ice cream and are happy with a serve of frozen yogurt (especially if it has white chocolate bits). If you don’t have the ice cream machine, you can freeze the yogurt in the freezer, but have to mix it several times during the freezing process with a hand blender or fork to break the ice crystals. Use frozen raspberries if fresh aren’t in season.