This month on The Food Farm is more of a hurtle towards summer than a gentle meander through spring. November seems awfully close to the end of the year, and that crazy deadline that is Christmas.
Locally we use Show Weekend (2nd weekend of November) as the supposed ‘end of the frost season’ measuring stick, and the overflowing tunnel houses sigh with relief as their baby seedlings are released into the garden.
Every year I try to cheat the system by a week or a few days at least, one careful eye on the cycle of the moon. A full moon seems to increase the chance of a frost, and I don’t dare mess with that kind of mojo.
So now it is all on. Beans, potatoes, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, melons, basil, sunflowers, pumpkins, squash, tomatillos, chillies and gherkins all cast mercilessly into the elements.
Only capsicums, eggplants and cucumber remain cosseted in their snug tunnel house homes. Despite my most optimistic moments the season here really is too short to ripen these vegetables consistently.
The grapevines are also thinking about flowering over the next week or so, pushing the season ceaselessly forward.
I am my own worst enemy though, and have added to the hurtle by deciding to co-ordinate another Summer of Riesling with Duncan Forsyth from Mount Edward Wines in Central Otago. This will be the third summer we’ve decided to contribute to the increasing interest in Riesling by creating an umbrella promotion for the variety. It’s warmly embraced by about 50 New Zealand wineries and an equivalent number of restaurants and independent wine retailers.
I’m working with some wicked trade in Wellington to create a Summer of Riesling Street Party as well as creating a national Riesling tasting in North Canterbury. Throughout the country other wineries & establishments are hatching plots to make sure Riesling is front of mind every time we consider a glass of something nice.
So it’s time to strap in for the crazy ride that is this time of year, hold on tight and embrace the hurtle.