Ever wondered if you are doing the right thing with your avos when you get them home?
Avocados are funny things when it comes to ripening. You see, avocados don’t ripen until they’re picked! Yep, it is the plucking them off the tree which kicks the ripening process in to gear. So this means ripening is not an exact science. They can take anywhere from 7 to 10 days to ripen and that’s at room temperature. So spare a thought for the poor shop owner next time your buying your avos – it’s REALLY tricky to get them ripe on the shelf for you!
So, say you buy an avo from the supermarket that is still quite firm, (which I highly recommend doing) you’ll be best to pop it in the fruit bowl so it can continue to ripen naturally. If it’s soft all over and you don’t want to eat it immediately, it’s probably best to pop it in the fridge as that will stop it ripening any further. Remember avocados won’t ripen in the fridge. Only put them in there if they are ripe and you are not ready to eat them. I’m guessing if they’re ripe they won’t last that long!
If you want to try to get it to ripen faster, you can try putting it in a brown paper bag with a banana as the ethylene from the banana acts as a ripening agent and can speed up the process. But, the main thing is really the temperature, keep it warm and it will ripen quicker. But, don’t let it get too hot and humid with no airflow as this can make it go brown and yucky! Tricky right?!
The best place for avocados to ripen is in the fruit bowl at room temperature, approx. 20C.
If your avo is ripe and you want to stop it ripening further and going brown and yuck- pop it in the fridge.
If you want to speed up ripening, keep the avo warm and try putting it in a brown paper bag with a banana.
Don’t let your avos get too hot and humid and don’t put them in a place with no airflow.
That’s it! If you keep the avos happy they’ll be good for you, not too hot, not too cold, just right.
Do you have any tricks for storing your avocados? We’d love to hear. Please comment below if do!
You may remember a previous post of mine where I shared my experience of losing my Dad to suicide and my own experience with a bit of depression and anxiety? Well since then I’ve learnt a ton of stuff about how to have good mental health and wellbeing.
I’ve learnt to meditate and now practice twice every day, I journal, I practice gratitude, I read loads of books, I’ve done courses, I’ve done the Miracle Morning, I do yoga and I exercise regularly and eat loads of avocados (of course, that actually hasn’t changed) and I can honestly say that it really has changed my life. Well, it hasn’t actually changed my life because my life is really just the same life, but the way I see life is different and that’s the key! It’s definitely a work in progress and sometimes I I have days were I drop off but I’m always learning and I can honestly say that life is good and I feel great.
All of this has also helped me to get way more focussed on our business and learning new things to do with that rather than being just chaotic and super busy and stuck on a treadmill of craziness. It’s pretty awesome and there is so much stuff I’ve learnt. But – I remember having no idea where to even start or that there was a whole world out there of helpful mindfulness tools, apps, workshops, books, podcasts, Ted talks etc etc. I didn’t know that there were ways to look after our mind and to exercise it. It’s actually just like physical exercise. There is so much you can do to have a healthy mind. So – I really want to share what I have learnt with you guys so that you can see what’s out there too!
I must say there really isn’t a one size fits all approach. Some things that have worked for me might work for you and others might not. It’s quite an individual thing, good wellbeing, which makes it tricky, but also fun. I just love trying new things and learning about what’s out there. So I’ll be adding a wellbeing topic to my blog and it’s going to be all about what I’ve learnt and tips and helpful links or people that have helped me on the path towards flourishing!
Does it all sound a bit weird? I remember I once thought that meditation was just so foreign and not for me as I would never be able to stop my crazy head and all the thoughts, or sit still for 5 minutes! And “gratitude” sounds so, I don’t know, weird or fluffy, but trust me it’s so bloomin’ helpful to practice gratitude. So if you are there going hmm, it all sounds a bit weird to me, I will never be able to meditate, then I hear you. I was there too. But if you’re keen to make some changes, then just start small. Like I said, good mental health is just like good physical health. If you are overweight, crash diets and big ambitions of losing 10kg in a month are unlikely to last and mental health is just the same. There is no quick fix, but it really can be fun and is totally life changing if you’re up for it. And seriously – who doesn’t want to love their life?
So are you flourishing or are you surviving? Martin Seligman explains that the “good life” is pleasant, engaged, meaningful, achieving, and connected. Is that you?
Here’s a couple of things to get you started..
The Power of Vulnerability – Brene Brown – Love everything this women puts out there and a good place to start is her amazing TED talk. I guess it’s what inspires me to share my story and to get stuff out there. By sharing our vulnerabilities and our stories, we help others so much. I know myself I LOVE hearing other people’s stories.If you’ve been wanting to share your story or start a blog or start anything – this will give you a kick start!
Happiness is not enough This is a great little article which is an excerpt from Martin Seligman’s book Flourish It gives a great insight into why we shouldn’t really be aiming for “Happiness” but rather flourishing.
Raw Beauty – I loved this book. I saw Kemi Speak at “Imagine the Possibilities” in Echuca last year and read the book straight after. It’s not too over the top and is just really good guide to how to nourish yourself form the inside out!
Thanks for reading and please send through any questions you might have about avocados, farming or wellbeing as I’d love to answer them. And just to note, I’ll just be sharing things that have helped me and my experiences. But if you think you might be seriously depressed or suffering from anxiety then it’s definitely best to go and see your GP or you can even call Lifeline or the PANDA hot line. Everything I share here is just my experience and what’s worked for me and I hope you might find something for you.
So, I thought I’d give you a little bit of background about the Bacon avocados and I’ve made this little video for you so you can see how to tell when a Bacon is ready to eat. The Bacon avos aren’t really found in the supermarkets any more so I thought I’d give you a little bit of extra advice with how to handle them.
The Bacon are a bit of a “sensitive” variety of avocado. They have a thin skin and they don’t go black when they are ripe, so it’s a little bit harder to tell when they are ready. But don’t worry I am here to help!
As you probably now know, avocados don’t ripen until you pick them so there is no exact time frame to when they will be ready, but with practice it get’s easy to pick it.
When you get your Bacon avocados they will be very firm because they are just picked and because they are picked mid Winter, they take a bit longer to ripen than one of the summer varieties. This is basically because temperature is the biggest factor in ripening.
So expect the Bacon to take 2 weeks to ripen from when they arrive with you.
The Bacon need to be really soft all over and not just at the surface level, they need to be soft all the way through. So if one part feels soft but another feels hard, keep waiting! I know this can be excruciating but its well worth it.
Remember avos don’t ripen till they are picked!
The Bacon will take around 2 weeks to ripen
Bacon do not go black when ripe they stay bright green
Don’t cut them too early, be patient! Wait until they are soft all over.
Oh and don’t forget if they all ripen at once just pop them in the fridge! The Bacon won’t last that long once they’re ripe!
Please let us know how you go with the Bacon, what do you think of the flavour and did you find this helpful for knowing when they were ready to eat?
For more articles like this, make sure you’re signed up here and if you missed out on the Bacon, dot worry – the Fuerte are ready so you can head to the shop and place your orders now!
Here’s my little video all about the Bacon – hope you enjoy it!
Thanks so much for watching and I’d love to hear if you have any more questions.
So excited that the 2017/18 season is almost here! I can’t wait to share lots of new things on the blog here and send you delicious avocados. Here’s a little video I made for you to check out a little bit behind the scenes at the farm. The shop is open for orders of Bacon Avocados and they will leave the farm from the 24th of July. Check out the shop here.
Hope you like the video x
Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think and if you’ like to receive fortnightly updates from the farm as well as other good stuff about avocados, wellness and things we love don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list here.
Last Thursday night The Riverina Collective came to Barham for a night of inspiration, laughs and good food. Sixty women at The Long Paddock – sooo cool!
Hayley Purbrick founded The Riverina Collective in Deniliquin last year. The aim was to create “A platform to connect women in Deniliquin and surrounds to showcase the beautiful minds which exist in our own backyard and if it suits, from further abroad”. I LOVE everything about what Hayley is doing.
You all know I am so passionate about community and I believe that when women support each other great things can happen. I love that The Riverina Collective is creating a platform for women to do just that – support each other!
The events have a different topic each time and the topic this time was “Dare to Dream”.
Wendy McDonald opened the night, telling us all about her journey from the city to the country after marrying a rice farmer and the amazing adventure she has been on to establish her art studio and become an award-winning artist. Wendy is incredible and her story is so inspiring.
Next was a panel discussion with myself, Rachel Robertson and Emily Wood of RemLifestyle.
We talked about what we’d done, what we’d overcome, the importance of community and the importance of taking care of yourself and getting yourself to thriving so you can achieve your dreams and support those around you.
Meg Durham finished off the night with a fabulous presentation about her journey and her quest to bring wellbeing education in to schools.
A key focus on the night was the need for self-care and to improve our own wellbeing so we can achieve our dreams.
I hope we have many more of these amazing events and I hope that you can start to take some steps on your journey to flourishing.
In terms of what my dream is, well I’ve got a few, but here goes:
I dream that we can develop a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that will propel rural Australia forward and ensure a sustainable future for all of us living in the country.
I dream that my kids will grow up surrounded by positivity in a community that celebrates success and encourages them to flourish and I am going to do my best to help make that happen.
If you don’t have a healthy mind it can affect you in so many ways and so many people these days seems to be affected by some form of mental illness. Whether it be anxiety, depression, weight issues, bipolar, manic depressive, alcoholism or drug abuse, and in all sorts of extremes people seem to be affected.
I was chatting with a friend the other day and she put it to me that she thinks that no one escapes it these days; everyone, at some point in their lives, will be touched by mental illness. I think she’s right and it makes me feel really sad and it makes me want to help.
As some of you know, my father died from suicide when I was young. His death has affected me throughout my life in various ways and probably more as an adult and as a mother than it did at the time. Last year I reached a point where I needed to get some professional help. I think Dad’s death effected my resilience and so things that shouldn’t have been a big deal became a big deal for me. I had a really difficult friendship that caused me a lot of anxiety and things had got to the point where I was feeling sad more than I was happy so I started meditating and I saw my GP and got a referral to a therapist. At the time I wondered if I was being paranoid, but to me that’s the point, who cares if I was! I think we all need to be a bit more paranoid and seek help earlier. We go to the doctor for a cold or a sore throat all the time and don’t even think twice about it, so why then is it such a MASSIVE deal to go to the doctor if our heads aren’t feeling right?
I’ve decided to share my story because of a new project called The Ripple Effect. For a long time I have wanted to get involved with advocating for good mental health and for prevention rather than cure and a holistic approach to treatment. A few months ago I found out about The Ripple Effect project and I applied to be on the steering committee. The Ripple Effect has been set up by the National Centre for Farmer Health and funded by Beyond Blue, to investigate whether a digital platform can help reduce the stigma around suicide in men in rural communities, “farmers helping farmers beat suicide.” The Ripple Effect is a platform for people from farming communities to share their experience of suicide. The idea is that by sharing what helped you, you can help others. I am so pleased to be involved with this project and I really hope that it can make a difference. For me it’s about helping make sure that no more Dads die from this terrible illness by helping make sure that that the stigma is reduced so that people seek help earlier. It’s also about the many flow-on effects that a project with this sort of awareness might bring for the wider community.
I have recently started having some great conversations with some beautiful friends about what we can do to build resilience and good mental health in our community. We really want to help as many people as possible to build mental resilience and to have good wellbeing and I want my kids to have healthy minds and good resilience so they can cope with whatever comes their way. I feel so strongly that prevention is so important when it comes to mental health and it’s about building resilience. The thing is it doesn’t matter how great your life looks or how many things you own or how much money you have, mental illness effects everyone. I am living the life I wanted to live, I have a beautiful family and wonderful friends, but I still became affected. My Dad, was the same – on the outside his life looked fantastic, he was into lots of things, a very social and outgoing person, but he just got sick. Maybe if we can all gain skills and tools for recognising when our minds are not quite right, we can all get help earlier and recognise when our friends and family aren’t quite right too.
It’s so awesome to see that the Federal Government has acknowledged how importat mental health is recently and the effect it has on productivity. Susan Ley is our local member and the Health Minister and she has said she really wants to help with the work that we are doing. She tweeted to me last week and I got quite emotional. This stuff is really important and it was so great to see that she wants to help.
With Christmas coming up it’s a good time to think about your family and friends and take a bit more notice of what’s going on with you or people around you. If you think there’s something not quite right with you or a friend or family member then do something. Go to the Doctor, have a conversation, just do something. You can’t do any harm by asking someone if they are OK. Sometimes just knowing that someone cares enough to ask if they are OK can help. The important thing is just to do something and not leave it.
It’s been 12 months since I went to the doctor and I now feel as though my mental health is in pretty good shape and my mind is healthy. I am so blessed to have a beautiful family and awesome friends who have helped me a lot and who I am so, so grateful for. I still meditate twice a day and I know this will be something I have to keep working on. Mental health is like physical health, you have to work at it and maintain it and you can improve it!
It’s Dad’s birthday next week, he would have been 61. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him and wonder what things would be like if he was here. Our family and our friends are so important, we are all important, so look out for each other and yourselves and let’s all help each other to have happy health minds so we can all live long and beautiful lives.
Please head over and check out The Ripple Effect website and “do your bit to turn the negative ripple of suicide into a positive ripple of support”.
I’m also looking for people to be community champions for the project so please get in touch if you’d like to help too.
Lately I’ve become even more aware of how important it is to surround yourself with positive-ness! It’s amazing how being around positive people and positive energy makes you feel so much better within yourself and how this reflects in your daily life. Going to see inspirational speakers or attending workshops or Q&A sessions in a field you are interested in can be really informative and uplifting and I think it’s a really important part of personal and professional development.
Last month I attended the “Imagine the Possibilities” workshop at the Moama Bowling Club. I was surrounded by a room full of amazing women doing incredible things and all yearning for information and skills to improve their businesses and lives. Lisa Messanger of The Collective was the keynote speaker and Kylie from “Of Kin” also made a keynote presentation. These ladies rocked. Their creativeness, courage and enthusiasm for what they do is just so inspiring. The whole day was all about supporting and nurturing each other and about being positive and having courage to do things and I came away feeling so fresh and inspired.
Last week I had the pleasure of being guest speaker at the Rabobank International Rural Women’s Day lunch in the Yarra Valley. It was such an honour to be asked to speak at this event and it I felt like it was my opportunity to spread that positivity on to the group of women that I was speaking to. I loved being able to share our story with these women and talk about what we have done to grow and develop our brand and our business and it was so lovely to speak with people afterwards and have lots of lovely feedback on what we were doing and hear stories from other people of all the wonderful thing they were doing with their businesses. I was also lucky enough to attend the Rabobank Leadership Awards dinner in Melbourne last week and once again I was in a room full of people who were looking to the future and who were positive about the field of agriculture and the future of the industry and it was really encouraging and comforting.
These sorts of networking events are so important for making you feel refreshed and giving you new insights into things. It’s good to be surrounded by inspiring people with positive energy and I really encourage you if you get the opportunity to get along to these kinds of events. Sharing knowledge and positivity is really important not only for you as an individual but also for your business development and you can come away with new and innovative ideas to explore.
Did you know that only 10% of Australians live in rural areas? So it’s probably fair to assume that many people have no idea what it’s like to live in the country or to be a farmer. So I thought I’d tell you what it’s like for me!
I love farming and I feel grateful every day that we made the decision to return to the land and for the opportunity we were given to take over my family farm. I love living in a small rural town and I love the community that we belong to. These days it’s really hard to get into farming – unless you are from one or have a small fortune, buying a farm is not an option for many, so it is a career that I see as a privilege and one I never take for granted. It is one of the most rewarding things you can do and it doesn’t feel like work to us. Everyday is enjoyable and challenging.
Farming is like any other business; you have to be innovative or you won’t survive. I often hear people talk of farming and how hard it is and how it’s getting so tough, but I think that’s the same as any business these days. Sure, we have the factors of the weather being unpredictable and water unreliability is a big issue in our area, but other businesses have other problems. Think newspapers and the introduction of online media; dvds and iTunes or Apple TV; taxis and Uber; Wotif and Airbnb. There are so many new and innovative technologies out there now that it doesn’t matter what you do, you have to be ahead of the game to stay in business.
That’s the philosophy that we have had since taking over the farm in 2011. We wanted to do things differently. We wanted to develop a brand around our avocados and connect with our community and our customers.
I think there are loads of opportunities for this in agriculture. There are opportunities everywhere to differentiate your product and value-add. Sure it’s more work and time but it’s worth it. You can have the best product in the world – the best wheat, the best avocados, the best carrots – but if people don’t know about it then it doesn’t matter. The market is so competitive now that we have to find ways to differentiate ourselves. What we have found is that people want to connect and they want to know about the food they are buying and they love feeling part of our journey and our community and we love that too. It is so rewarding to be able to connect with our customers and get direct feedback. By establishing a brand and building our community we are establishing loyal followers who will choose to buy our products over others even if they are more expensive. It’s not just because it’s the best product around – which, of course, it is – it’s because our customers know who grows it, picks it and sends it to their door.
We love farming. Sure it’s busy, but it’s so enjoyable and every day is part of a really fulfilling journey for us. We chose to be farmers and we are grateful every day for that choice. I’m sure there will be tough times in the future – we haven’t been through a drought since we’ve been on the farm – but I hope that when that happens we’ll find new ways to get through it and new ways to manage those conditions.
If you’re from a farm and have never considered it as an option for you I urge you to think again. If you’re not from a farm and you’d love to be a farmer then think outside the square: do your research find out where there’s a gap in the market and look at what other small producers have done to get themselves going and you never know what you might find…anything is possible.
Mr Frost has been visiting us a bit lately and while the kids love the sprinkling of white flakes over the back lawn and watching the ice melt slowly, it makes Tim and I very nervous.
Growing avocados trees in our climate has many benefits in terms of producing great quality fruit and lack of pests and diseases, but it also comes with risks, one of them being frosts. Frosts are not an avocado tree’s friend and they are one of our tree’s biggest threats, so this time of year is always a little bit anxious for us. There’s lots of checking of the weather forecasts, frost fan maintenance and seaweed sprays.
To protect the trees from frost as much as we can we have big frost fans which soar 11m into the sky. They have 2 large blades which are 5 ½ metres in diameter. The blades spin like helicopter blades and rotate around on their axis to move the air and to stop the frost from settling on the trees. We have three fans, each one covers a 6 ha radius.
The fans are set on a temperature sensor and they automatically come on when it gets below 0C. It’s all very techno these days and Tim has a special program on his phone so that he can see a satellite image of the orchard and each fan with the temperature reading at each fan and he gets alerts to tell him when each fan comes on or if there are any problems with them.
Basically the fans work really well as long as there is warmer air at the top of the tower. The fans work by mixing the warm air up higher which is generally about 4 or 5 degrees warmer than on the ground and pushing it downwards. As long as these conditions are right and the frost fans do their job, the big avocado trees can tolerate down to about -4C and the baby trees down to about -2C.
If the trees get frosted, it’s pretty serious. A severe frost can cause damage to the fruit on the tree and if it’s severe enough it can also cause the fruit to drop off.
If the frosts are late in winter it can also affect the emerging flower buds which will reduce the fruit set for the following season.
Fixing the frost fan
Last week we had a bit of bad luck to go with a pretty bad frost. First of all we had ants in one of the fan’s control panels, which meant we couldn’t set the temperature properly. Then Tim fixed that and the same fan “did a clutch”. Not great when a -2 frost was forecast for that night and there was no chance of getting the frost fan mechanics up to fix it in time. It ended up getting down to -3.3 that night. Luckily it was the fan that covers the highest part of the sand hill and the mature trees and we seem to have mostly got a way with it. We have had some fruit drop and some fruit damage but at this stage it looks like the flower buds are OK as they are not really emerging yet. So it’s not too bad, thankfully.
Managing frosts is just one of the many risks we have to manage on the farm and although it can be stressful, to us it’s just part of running the business. If you’re a famer you know there are risks and it’s about managing them as best you can. People often say “why would you be a farmer, when you have no control over the weather” and I always think, “well, that’s just part of the challenge”. All business have risks, all business face challenges and you can’t control everything and that’s the fun of it!
I am so looking forward to starting this season again. We’ve had a lovely off-season and have been busy with maintenance of the orchard and lots of planning for avos and houses!
It’s been nice to have some catch up time. On the work front I’ve been working on my time management; prioritising and planning for the next season; getting the website up-to-date; researching dips and other products; and working out how we can market the avo oil better. But it’s also been nice to have lots of lovely family time and just hang out with the kids.
Tim’s been busy in the orchard still getting things up to date and maintaining everything. The place just looks fantastic. We’re going to plant some more trees later in the year too, just replacement ones. We had to pull some of the original trees out as they were dying and not producing much. It was quite sad to see them go but it’s also going to be lovely to have more new babies. We left a couple of rows of the originals as we couldn’t part with all of them.
We’ve also been getting ready for the reno on the farm house. Mum is building a new house on the farm and it’s this super cool sustainable design from LifeHouse Design architects. It should be finished in about a month and then we are going to renovate the farm house a bit and move in there. We’re going to do a kitchen reno so I’ve been very busy choosing bench tops and tiles and ovens and it’s been heaps of fun! I love interior design and it is so lovely to be able to work on doing our own place. I cannot wait to move out the farm and get stuck into everything. I am imagining a beautiful kitchen garden, chooks, lots of cooking for friends and family and lots of laughing. The kids are going to love it too, they are so ready to be out there running around and jumping on the hay bales. Tim has made a start on their new cubby house in the trees and they are really ready to be out and about at the farm.
We’ve got a couple of exciting things coming up for later in the year too. Our Reed avos and the Avo Oil are finalists again in the Delicious Produce Awards which is very exciting – 4 year in a row! We’re also off to Peru in September for the World Avocado Congress which should be pretty awesome.
I can’t wait to send out avocados to everyone again this year for you all to enjoy and I’ll keep you up to date with our moves to the farm.
Here are some of my favourite kitchen inspiration ideas for our new kitchen at the farm, would love to hear what you think and who you look to for inspiration.
Last orders for Christmas must be placed by Friday 13th Dec.