Pepper isle news

Pepperberry harvest 2020

It would be remiss of me not to mention something about our 2020 pepperberry harvest. It was not a big operation this year. Four of us went out picking for a total of around three weeks. This post is just a few random snapshots from this time. I have to say we all immensely enjoyed getting out picking this year. The ever changing beauty and immersive experience of the forest was a stark contrast to the changing outside world as the Coronavirus pandemic emerged. It was as if the forest hadn’t even noticed the unfolding drama!

Well the first random picture is of me and my old basket belt! This is a belt I lost in the forest in 2017 and found this year (thanks Adrian). Hand made by my father John, some 50 years ago – this was a special find!

Chris finds his old belt – lost in 2017

The next pic is of the picking crew. Pedro, Adrian and myself, all out picked by Anna! Obviously the boys were too busy posing for photos while Anna did the work. But hey, wouldn’t this make a great cover shot for our first album…. should we ever form a band! Corinne is not pictured here but played a heavy hand in cleaning the berries and holding the fort back at Pepper Isle headquarters – someone had to!

Chris, Pedro, Adrian and Anna

More evidence of gratuitous posing. This next photo is actually a really good one! Such a beautiful place. Captures a good moment.

High moment – Adrian and Pedro taking in the sunset after a big day picking

The next photo ain’t that great but it tells a little story. Did you know that it is possible to eat pepperberry every day?? We tested the theory out. It is true. You can eat pepperberry every day. We even had a camp side kitchen bush that no one was allowed to pick! Try fire roasted spuds with butter, garlic and pepperberry. Oh that purple colour!

Roast spuds with pepperberry!

Finally, I simply had to include a picture of the biggest mushrooms I ever did see! Oh oh, and of course some pepperberries – it was a pepperberry harvest trip afterall!

The biggest mushrooms you ever did see… and pepperberries!

Follow this link to know more about our wild harvest operations.

Female Tasmanian Pepper plants need a mate!

So you got yourself a female Tasmanian pepper plant and are looking forward to harvesting berries from her in the coming years.
Sorry to tell you that you will be waiting a while!

Whilst true that the female produces berries she still needs a male plant to pollinate her flowers. Without a male her berries will be small, if any at all, and sterile (unable to reproduce)

So if you want bountiful bunches of black berries you need to make sure you have both a male and a female plant!

So how do you sex a Tasmanian pepper plant?

Well the obvious would be wait to see if it produces berries. However if you have bought one plant and need to find out the sex then another way would be to inspect the flowers.

A female Tasmanian pepper has smaller flowers and fewer petals than the male , but the main difference is that it has one fat superior carpel right in the middle of the flower

Female Tasmanian pepper
Female Tasmanian pepper

The male Tasmanian pepper has larger flowers with more petals and several long skinny stamen coming out the middle.

Male Tasmanian Pepper flower
Male Tasmanian Pepper

They get lonely by themselves, so plant them in pairs in a sheltered shady spot out of direct sunlight and plenty of moisture!

Once you have your bountiful harvest then check out our Recipe page on the things you can do with pepperberry

Tasmanian Bushranger’s former orchard re-established with native plants

Tasmanian Bushranger Martin Cash's Orchard is being re-established with native plants

Did you know that our Pepperberry farm was formerly owned by Tasmanian bushranger Martin Cash?

Martin Cash was Van Diemen land’s most notorious and charismatic bushrangers of the nineteenth century . This famous Irish convict was first to escape Port Arthur penal colony by swimming across the shark infested waters of Eaglehawk Neck! TWICE!!!
He lead an adventurous life of crime as an outlaw bushranger. He was on the run, evading capture for years until he was finally caught and trialled for murder. However, his Irish charm saved him from execution and instead served out a lengthy sentence on Norfolk island.
His 1870 autobiography The Adventures of Martin Cash, ghostwritten by James Lester Burke, a former convict, became a best seller in Australia. Highly recommend it!

The retired Tasmanian bushranger married and lived out his days peacefully on a small farm north of Hobart until his death in 1877.
The orchard has a few very old pear trees remaining that have been verified as over 100 years old. So it is possible that Cash himself planted these!

We are re-establishing the old orchard and planting a native Tasmanian pepperberry orchard as well.

You can read the full article and interview with Sally Dakis here. http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-09-15/pepperberries-growing-on-former-bushrangers-farm/8863980

Heritage orchard restored in Montrose

We are feeling a tiny bit famous after making page 3 of the Saturday Mercury (01/07/18)! 
We are in the early stages of restoring an heritage orchard on our property in Montrose, which once belonged to Tasmanian bushranger Martin Cash.  Read all about Martin Cash here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Cash .

We also named out Slatherin Sauce after him!

We had an apple tree ring counted by an arborist and he put them at over $100 years old.
That means there is a small possibility that some of the ancient fruit trees still standing may be the remnants of the old orchard planted by Martin Cash himself! 
That would make them 140 years old!