Kiss off-piste! No Grasslands Sommerlad poultry this week...
Ok, I admit it. That headline (Mr Bone's contribution) was a craven attempt to get you in. But Brian Kiss did actually go off-piste and it's a serious story about the challenges farmers have to deal with in their efforts to supply us with the gorgeous food we eat each week.
Above are photos of our three favourite things at the moment.
1. Our new Chilli Oil made with organic Cayenne peppers, organic purple Italian garlic and Karrabool olive oil. (Delicious on pasta with rocket, lemon and shaved parmesan.)
2. Porchetta (or any cut, really) from the new delivery of Tanglewood Large Black pigs.
3. Sift Produce's technicolour tomato offering, available each Saturday.
These three are just a fraction of all the lovely things - round and otherwise - we're lucky enough to handle, specially at this time of year.
But it's not always like this.
FEAST AND FAMINE ~ NO SOMMERLAD CHICKENS THIS WEEK
As we lurch from one gorgeous product to another, punch-drunk on summer's bounty and our good fortune, it's easy to be blase about the seemingly-endless supply of beautiful food. But every now and then something happens to give us a swift, wake-up slap across the chops and remind us: 1) how tough farming is; 2) how lucky we are to work with these farmers ; 3) never count our chickens before they're delivered.
Last Wednesday, as he was driving back to Grasslands farm from the abattoir with a refrigerated container full of Sommerlad Heritage chickens ready for local and Sydney customers, Brian Kiss accidentally swerved off the road and crashed his truck. Saved from injury by the air bag, he managed to get out of the cab and get to a safe distance before the truck caught fire. As if this wasn't enough, as he watched his truck and chickens going up in flames, Brian realised that sparks from the burning truck were flying into the surrounding scrub, tinder-dry from months without rain, setting off a minor bushfire that would take the local fire brigade a day to contain.
That afternoon, Kim Kiss, Brian's wife, told me all this in her usual cheery and matter-of-fact way on the phone when she rang to let us know that they wouldn't be turning up with the chicken delivery on Friday because they had no chickens and no truck. She was worried about disappointing us and our customers and wanted to tell us as soon as possible. As I spluttered in sympathy, Kim, dealing with smoking bush, trucks and chickens, reassured me that she and Brian were ok and I was struck again by how resilient farmers have to be. Next time I set my car alight, I want Kim Kiss to be in charge.
In the meantime, we'll be without Grassland Sommerlad Heritage chooks for a few weeks while the Kisses get back on-piste. No doubt we'll all appreciate the chooks and the effort that goes into them so much more when they do return.