EAT MORE HERBS TARANAKI - the real health supplement! by Carl Freeman

I felt inspired this morning to write a little blog encouraging our customers to eat more herbs.

I think we should aim to start replacing some of our lettuce consumption with bulky herb salads and dressings. Herbs are really good for you, all that flavour come from the fact that the plants have a deep root systems that reaches down and draws on more diverse and rich soil nutrients. Most herbs are perennial (meaning they just keep growing back) which is good for the soil and planet as there is less bare soil between crops.

Here are a couple of my favourite parsley recipes chimichurri and tabbouleh.

What your favourite herby recipe? Head to our Facebook page and make a post.


7 gourmet ways to use Taranaki grown Mizuna! by Carl Freeman


Salad. Wash and chop the salad into bite size pieces. Mix with lettuce or any greens for salad. Try spinach and arugula, or even by itself.

Pasta. These greens can be tossed with pasta and fresh parmesan. Or blended into pesto.

Risotto. Another Italian inspired use for mizuna! Stir chopped and cleaned mizuna into a batch of risotto at the end of cooking. It will wilt perfectly. Try pairing with mushrooms for an earthy dish.

Stir-fry. Asian greens are of course perfect for stir-fry! Pair with any vegetables in your share, lots of garlic and ginger, and your protein of choice.

Soup. We love greens in miso soup, but feel free to toss them into any vegetable soup at the end of cooking. Mizuna would also pair well chicken noodle or lightly creamy soups.

Grain Salads. Mizuna Quinoa Salad with Vinaigrette is sure to be a crowd pleaser! Toss raw mizuna with farro, quinoa, rice, barley, or any grain for fresh salad perfect for picnics and potlucks.

Sauté. The simplest is last! Wash mizuna and then toss in a pan with garlic and olive oil. Leave whole like in this side to local pork chops or chop into bite-size pieces.

Taranaki garlic shoots - the real healthy option for the garlic gap by Carl Freeman

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Any garlic bulbs you buy between Sept-Nov will be imported from the other side of the world. It is just the reality of how garlic grows, you can’t have garlic bulbs all year round. The imported stuff has likely been fumigated with methyl bromide, is often bleached and if not organic then will still have residual harmful chemicals from the fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. YIKES!

But you can have local garlic all year round with garlic shoots (pictured above) filling the gap when you can’t get NZ garlic, so we can all breath a long garlicky sigh of relief. If you are anything like me you probably use garlic daily in your cooking, and garlic shoots are a perfect solution to fill the garlic gap.

Garlic sprouts are harvested by pulling the whole plant from the soil, they are then washed and the roots trimmed and are now ready for use. We will be selling a bunch of garlic shoots for $5. Each garlic shoot is equivalent to about 2 large cloves, so you will be able to keep the flavour in your dishes while also staying healthy. Just dice one up and throw it into any dish the same as you would a garlic clove. They also last really well in the fridge, no big hurry to use them.

Please help us spread the news about this great garlic alternative by sharing this blog with your friends and whānau.

And of course, come visit us at the Taranaki Farmers Market on Sunday and try them for yourself!

Farmer Carl's Pasta Sauce by Carl Freeman

A top Italian chef in Melbourne once told me that the secret to most great meals is a base of onion, carrot and celery. That night I went home and was inspired to pimp up my spaghetti sauce. 

Unfortunately I didn't have and celery or carrots in the garden, but I did have lots of parsley. So I grabbed a very generous amount and headed for the kitchen. This is the very simple recipe I created and that I have kept cooking ever since. You'll be surprised at the flavour parsley brings to the sauce. 

1) Chop one large onion and fry it in a deep frypan or saucepan in some oil or ghee until it is golden brown.

2) Add one can of organic diced tomatoes (or bottled preserved tomatoes if you've made the best of your Summer bounty) and 1 cup of water (rinse the tomato can/bottle so you can capture every last drop of that tomato goodness.) 

3) Thinly dice a generous bunch of parsley from stem to leaf (i.e. use the whole lot, there's lots of flavour in the stalk) and throw it all in to the pan. 

4) Add a good pinch of salt, some pepper, and some fresh finely chopped chilli. olives or thyme if you have those ingredients lying around.

5) Simmer for 15 minutes to reduce the sauce and deepen the flavours. Then pour over plates of freshly cooked pasta and top with grated cheese and pepper. 

Easy as that! A tasty and quick meal with just a handful of ingredients.

We are aiming to have parsley available throughout most of the year at the Farmers Market, and will have tasty fresh tomatoes in Summer.