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Friday, March 18, 2011

Wine Settlement Day, Farmers Friends or Cobblers Pegs, Sliced Fried Zucchini with Mint and Lemon Juice, Tough Snake Beans

Wine Settlement Day

Every vintage after the last grapes are picked and processed a date is set some weeks forward to visit the vineyard, go over the ins and outs of vintage and settle the account for the grapes picked. This date is usually in March when the vineyard has finished its picking and processing and all is relatively quiet. There is never any pressure to settle quickly as we have established a routine spanning seven years. During vintage we arrive with plenty of warning, don’t leave a mess, don’t create a fuss and ensure we work in with the vineyard and winery staff. Our faces are familiar to all and if the boss is not about all are only too happy to point us in the right direction. Maintaining good relations is important.
Discussion on settlement day covers what went well and not so well with the grapes, what changes may occur next year, whether we were happy with our lot and how it compared to previous years. The grapes are always perfect. The wine is handled and made to suite the conditions of that vintage. Each vintage is a new surprise and challenge but always interesting. The entire settlement process is over in 15 to 20 minutes. Some handshaking takes place, thanks for generosity of vineyard time and commitment to contact in the lead up to the next vintage. The last impressions are those that will ensure a warm response next time.
The final wash up was we purchased 390 kilograms of grapes and grew another 40 kilograms of our own. Yields varied from 53% to 70% resulting in an average of 60% overall for an outcome of 267 litres.

Farmers Friends or Cobblers Pegs

Wow, there are a lot about this year. They are a nuisance as the seed sticks the garment fabric with ease. Socks are the main recipient with the seeds working their way through the wool and providing an annoying scratching.
Farmers Friends/Cobblers Pegs
The Orchard was let go a bit while the renovations proceeded. The suspicion is that a lot arrived in the manure coming from the dairy farm which was spread around the fruit trees and covered with weed matting. The best solution appears to be a regular slashing with the edge trimmer to keep the plants from flowering.
The positive angle is that it provides an incentive to keep the orchard looking tidy.

Sliced Fried Zucchini with Mint and Lemon Juice

This is such a simple entrée or vegetable dish.
Slice the zucchini length wise. Not too thick to maintain the subtlety. Say no more than 5 mm thick.
Fry the pieces in a pan with olive oil until a few bits of colour appear.
Serve the dish warm drizzled with lemon juice and sprinkled with finely chopped mint. If to your taste you can add some chilli flakes.

Gee Whiz the Snake Beans are tough

Something has happened to the Chinese Snake beans. A broad spectrum of sizes was picked, topped and tailed and cut into 50 to 75 mm lengths. Steamed until they started to change colour and served with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. They are too tough to eat. Back into the steamer for some serious steaming until they really changed colour and still they are tough. Can’t be, they’re too young. These are not the old beans that have sat around on the vine to get woody. No idea what is happening.

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