Roasting in Mildura

It was a wilting 40-degree day in Mildura, northern Victoria. Nothing for it but a cooling dip at dusk in the Murray, the sagging sun lighting up the red gums and the smell of roast pork beckoning from our barbie. Mark and the kids are still down there, sitting in the sandy river shallows until I call them in for dinner. While I wait for the pork skin to crackle I’m stealing a moment with you guys…

We’ve been on the road for nearly three weeks. On day one, as we drove away from the farm with Anna, Sol and Sniff waving us off in the rear vision mirror, each of us had to nominate a personal challenge or wish for the journey ahead. Buddy declared he wanted to visit the worlds on the Gold Coast (as in Dream World, Sea World etc…). Mark would like to tick off 300 bird species, including a Gouldian finch (a pretty bird that’s becoming increasingly rare). Rosie wants to do lots of bush camping. And I’d like to avoid supermarkets for the next six months and eat as locally as possible.

Hence the roast pork on a 40-degree day. A couple of days ago we visited the wonderful Tammi and Stuart at their free-range pig and beef farm, Jonai Farms, just out of Daylesford. In her quest to champion ethical meat production, Tammi has gone from vegetarian to butcher. (She butchered her first steer at home on the verandah with nothing but a how-to book and video beside her.)

We chatted while they trimmed hams and added sage to sausage, and left with the shoulder roast, a bag of snags and a barrowload of admiration. And so despite the heat this was one roast we were going to cherish. And eat with apples from Harcourt and cabbage from Kyneton. With our hair dripping down our backs with water from the Murray.

(And because I promised my aunty in Scotland that I would, here are some pictures from our own farm, and the two lovely weeks we had at home between adventures…)

Sunrise farm



Picnic with the girls

Raiding the hives


The magic tree

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