Friday, 27 April 2007

20 years of Hot Roasted Chestnts

-20 years of roasted chestnuts

Autumn is hot roasted chestnut time and will be the twentieth year that Quentin Jones will be setting up his colorful stall in Stirling village. It all started in 1986 at the Aldgate Autumn Leaves Festival. That first year was a big learning curve and the chestnuts were cooked very, very slowly in a kettle bbq. After a bit of practice the nuts were cooked and a legend was born. The current rotating cooking basket was developed in 1987 over a few beers in a neighbor’s back yard. The basket is ideal because it can cook a lot of nuts in a short time. Over the years Quentin has received much advice from the many nationalities making up our diverse culture. “You have to burn them a bit so they are easier to peel”. This advice was accepted and adds to the color and smell as smoke from the nuts wafts up and down the street. Cars screech to a halt and whole families burst from the doors to purchase their weekend treat. Walkers and window shoppers are also enticed by the smell and movement. There are some people who have never tasted chestnuts and they can have a free sample if they ask. They too may be seduced by the subtle sweetness and soft, warm texture of the humble chestnut.
Quentin says that he loves meeting people and the regular customers have become firm friends, sharing their last year’s experiences as they scoff their cone of hot nuts. The cooking of the chestnuts also gives Quentin a reliable guide to how the rest of the crop is fairing in the cold room, a sort of quality control for his fresh nut sales at the farm gate.
Quentin cooks chestnuts in Stirling Village on Saturdays from 11am and Sundays and public holidays from noon. The season usually goes from Anzac day to early July.
For more info call Quentin or Deb at Nirvana Organic Farm Ph/fax 8339.2519 or
184 Longwood Road Heathfield. Exit S.E. freeway at Stirling, turn right at the roundabout and travel 3.3 km.

P.S. Nirvana farm is having a guided tour of the property on April 22nd at 2pm sharp. Adults $8 accompanied children free. Bookings essential or book a tour to suit. This tour is an ideal opportunity to gain access to a successfully run Bio-dynamic orchard. See free range poultry, five composting systems, fruit, nuts and berries. There is the start of Scott Creek and restored native habitat, firewood forest, cottage garden and home veggies. This is life in the slow lane that many people envy.

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