They grow an impressive range of fruit and vegetables and then sell everything at farmers markets across Sydney. Plus, Katie's father John is one of Orange's most experienced orchardists and growers. He even has a section on their website where you can ask questions about what to grow where, when to harvest or where to find certain tree varieties and John will answer online. Nifty.
At this time of year the whole family is busy pruning, sowing spring crops and harvesting winter vegetables, including Jerusalem Artichokes. We recently dropped in for some veggies, and though it was a bitter three degrees and he had long day of work ahead, Beau couldn't have been more friendly or generous with his produce and time. Like Father-in law like son!
Having limited experience with this particular vegetable, I turned to Maggie Beer's website for advice and this beautiful, slightly nutty soup was the result. In my virtual travels I also discovered that Jerusalem Artichokes are actually part of the sunflower family and not at all related to artichokes, and that they love to be paired with sage, thyme, cream and bacon. Other than soups, they are also great roasted with some thyme and garlic or tossed through a salad like this one by Jamie Oliver.
Jerusalem Artichoke soup with apples and hazlenutsServes two as a main or four as a starter
5 large Jerusalem Artichokes, washed and really well scrubbed
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp lemon thyme leaves
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 tbsp creme fraiche
1/2 cup hazlenuts (we love the roasted hazlenuts from Fourjay Farms)
1 pink lady apple, sliced into matchsticks
Slice the scrubbed but unpeeled Jerusalem Artichokes into little discs and cook in the melted, frothing butter over medium-high heat for about five minutes or until they are just starting to caramelise. Add the stock, thyme, zest and lemon juice and bring to the bubble. Reduce heat quite low and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the Jerusalem Artichokes are tender. Blitz the whole lot until nice and smooth then stir through the creme fraiche. Pour soup into bowls, top with the apples and hazlenuts and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.