A sunny day drive to the countryside…We never know what we’ll find…

Green/spring onions were being processed for wholesale distribution.

While driving often throughout the countryside, we are often surprised by what we have found along the way. Whether its an exquisite view of the ocean, horses and colts in a field or a kilometer of roadside wild flowers, we often stop for a better look and to take a few photos.

We have rarely found a region as rich in diversity and landscapes as we have seen since arriving in Tasmania a month ago today. Not only are the views of the ocean, mountain and green hills breathtaking, but the people are some of the warmest and friendliest we’ve ever met in the world.

The farm, Dendra Market Gardens, seemed to be inaccessible to the public.

With 13 days remaining until we depart Penguin to head to the Huon Valley, a 45 minute drive from the capital of Hobart, we’re taking advantage of every opportunity to explore, especially on sunny days, treasured here in the summertime.

When we stumbled upon Dendra Market Gardens a few days before Christmas, we weren’t surprised we weren’t able to arrange a tour when the owner and his workers were obviously swamped preparing produce to be transported for the busy holiday season.

This particular farm cultivated a wide range of products.

We met the owner, chatting with him for a few moments as he approved of our photography and wandering on our own. Respectful of the busy holiday processing, we only spent a short time walking around the beautifully planted and arranged farm located in the small town of Cuprona, Tasmania.

And small town, it is indeed! With a population of 308 based on a 2011 survey, we have never seen a “city center” that could hardly be the case, for a city of this size. Instead, locals travel no more than 20 minutes to gain access to Burnie the closest larger city as shown in this map below:

Later, in researching online, we discovered the following information about Dendra Market Gardens from this site:

“Tasmanian Dennis Davis used to work in the shipping industry, and grew lettuces out-of-hours.

But somehow the leafy greens drew him away from shipping altogether and now he’s a full-time market gardener employing 30 workers.
He doesn’t grow lettuces anymore, but has parsley, snow peas, tomatoes, silverbeet, Asian greens, leeks, and radishes.  (And more since publication date of this online post).  Although he no longer grows lettuce, he has parsley, snow peas, tomatoes, beets, Asian vegetables, leeks and radishes.
It’s summer in that part of the world, which makes agriculture more common during the right season.
“They’re all niche crops that we’re growing,” he said.
“Some of them have happened primarily to keep people employed through the winter time so that we can maintain a stable, experienced workforce.”
And that experience is important because all the vegetables are hand planted and weeded.”
“We do a lot of hoeing.”
“We average probably 1.6 million plants in a year and they’re all planted by hand because it’s much more accurate and efficient.” Continued below.
Produce grown under a cover for protection from sun and rain.
In the 14 years Dennis has had Dendra Gardens at Cuprona in the north-west he’s seen a significant change in consumer tastes.
Asian vegetables are growing in popularity, and he now grows five varieties. “We’ve had a gradual increase in Asian migrants coming to live in Tasmania. But the general population seems to be being educated toward new kinds of food.”
Zucchini is a popular crop in Tasmania, which is referred to as cogent in many parts of the world.

So far, we’ve found many local businesses in Tasmania such as this farm to be less sophisticated in their use of the technology and the Internet for the promotion of their products. But, owners and staff are savvy and aggressive in their efforts to grow their businesses with integrity and passion for their products and services.

By coupling years of hard work, dedication and old country values seem to be working for each of those we’ve highlighted in our posts over this past month. It’s an amazing place, this Tasmania. We look forward to more discoveries over these remaining days on this special Australian island.

Soon, we’re taking off for a visit to Ulverstone and who knows what more awaits us! Happy day to all! 

Photo from one year ago today, January 3, 2016:

One year ago today, we posted favorite photos of our time in Pacific Harbour, Fiji as we prepared to leave. This photo of Tom was on the night of his birthday last year when we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at the Pearl Resort’s gourmet restaurant, Seduce, definitely deserving of a five star review. For more details, please click here.

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