Category: On Location


Under the Chestnut Tree

Sinemage Chestnuts On The Ground

I was elated.
We were finally on the way to the chestnut orchard.

Since last year and our first experience with picking fruits and vegetables I was dreaming to go and collect fresh chestnuts.
At that time it was too late when I started to investigate where we could do so, but this year there was no way we should miss it.
It was not as easy though. Most orchards open to public are based in Auckland and Waikato regions, a pretty long drive -eight hours- from Wellington. So it took a while to find an orchardist nearby.

When we got the phone call at the beginning of last week to confirm that chestnuts were falling, I directly checked the weather forecast for the week-end…

Sinemage Chestnut Cupule
Sinemage Chestnut cupule open and mushroom
Sinemage Basket of Chestnuts and chestnuts on tree

So on a beautiful Sunday, we took the road, direction north. Graeme, kindly accepted to open the door of his orchard located one hour from Wellington.

And what a pleasant place !
The trees lined up were forming an arch, nicely filtering the light and providing shade. The ground was already strewn with countless chestnuts. And a gentle breeze was refreshing us on this warm sunny day.

It felt so charming, I would imagine having a picnic there.

We spend a couple of hours collecting with gloved hands chestnuts, chatting with Graeme about the different varieties and ultimately having a peek at the workshop where the crop is processed.

Sinemage Chestnuts & Scale
Sinemage Chestnuts
Sinemage Chestnut Trees

We came back home happy. A basket full of fruits.

And now the schedule is boil, roast, crumb 4Kg of chestnuts…

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From the Farm

Sinemage Blueberry

Let’s go back to last week-end.
While some were egg hunting, Paprika and I went for blueberry picking.

Not having the chance to own an [edible] garden, I really enjoy the pick your own experience: A way to be in contact with nature and to know the source of what feed us.

The Blueberry Farm is located in the Akatarawa valley, 45 minutes drive from Wellington, in a very quiet surrounding, along a river.
And this organic farm seems to be a popular place with families.

Sinemage blueberry farm pukeko

Going there at this time of the year was like a pleasant sensory experience.

Smell the fresh air.
Walk on a thick and damp grass.
Hear children, bucket in hand, happily babbling while picking fruits.
Peck like birds and taste the sweet -and sometimes slightly acid- berry.
Look at the light on shrubs that already turned into a nice shade of red and collect lovely blue pearls delicately dangling from branches.

Sinemage Blueberry picking

At the end, our bucket weighed more than 700g.

Posted along the driveway leading to the farm, little signs suggest many different ways to eat or prepare blueberries. We have already tried some of them, but the oven being still faulty, I won’t make the tart I wanted to…

Anyway, I’m coming back soon with something blue…

Sinemage Blueberry branch

To learn more about the team behind the Blueberry farm, please read the article from Life and Leisure magazine.

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In the Orchard: Penray

Penray garden Otaki New Zealand

Instead of going to our usual Sunday farmers market, we went to Penray garden on Saturday.
The initial idea was to go and pick up seasonal fruits such as apple and pear, but our basket got filled with much more goodies along the way…

I don’t remember exactly how the idea came out. On Friday, I reminded Paprika to get more information from one of his colleagues about the location and on Saturday morning we hit the road, direction Otaki.

After a late breakfast, we quickly got ready and drove along a rough sea and under an overcast sky on Kapiti coast.

apple and pear orchard

We nearly missed the entrance of the orchard along SH1. It was midday when we arrived and the parking was quite full.

Basket and bucket in hands we made our way in the orchard. Apple trees were loaded with fruits. We had too much to choose from ! A real pleasure to pick apple and pear directly from the tree.

Afterward we moved on to a big warning sign reading ‘no eating strawberry‘ !
Indeed, the sweet scent of strawberries was like an invitation to swallow them right away. We started to pick one or two and finally the basket got filled with these fruits too…

tomato and Hungarian pepper

The rest of the garden is planted with vegetables: tomatoes, roma and beefsteak; pattypan squash, zucchini and even their flowers. What a treat ! I cooked them in the evening fried and filled with ricotta and fresh herbs. A delight !

A big part of the garden was also allocated to chillis and peppers. Any kind, colour and shape.
I smiled while looking at my very own Paprika happily picking Hungarian peppers in the field and few steps away an Indian family busy filling generously their bucket with hot chillis.

Strawberries and zucchini basket

Simple yet that was enough to make us happy for the day.

And now, I have to go and make a good use of all these apples…

apple orchard

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