Trevor and Joanne Courtney are third generation residents of the Koo Wee Rup/Dalmore area. They are small specialist growers who currently grow 20 acres of premium organic asparagus and rhubarb at their property, Bridge Farm.
“At Bridge Farm, we specialize in the production of fresh organic green asparagus and we are also developing our rhubarb line. Our product is certified with the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture (NASAA) and our property is inspected annually to ensure we satisfy their stringent standards for ‘chemical free’ farming. To preserve the crispness of our asparagus, and to ensure it is sent to the market in pristine condition, it is harvested at night and processed early in the morning,” says Trevor.
Trevor and Joanne, and their 14 year-old son Darcy, enjoy the idyllic countryside at Dalmore and the alternative lifestyle ‘living on the land’ provides. “The rich black peat soils and Lombardi poplar tree wind breaks are unique to our region, which is reminiscent of parts of the Tuscan countryside in Italy. With views across the Dandenongs and the Strezlecki Ranges - as well as Westernport Bay - we believe the area is quite often under valued,” Trevor explains.
“Our favourite ways of cooking asparagus are with Parmesan cheese, and cooking it on the barbecue with butter. For Asparagus with Parmesan: simply bend the base of each asparagus spear until it breaks; arrange the spears in a frying pan, cover with water and slowly bring to the boil; Drain and serve the asparagus with a little olive oil, some Celtic sea salt, cracked pepper and shaved Parmesan cheese. For Barbecued Asparagus: arrange asparagus spears in aluminium foil, dot with butter and season to taste with a little salt and pepper; preheat the barbecue to medium heat and cook the asparagus in the foil until tender, 5-7 minutes, then enjoy it at once,” says Joanne.
Bridge Farm organic asparagus is available to retailers from Peter Podalinsky of Biodynamic Marketing at the Melbourne Markets in Footscray. It is available to the public from organic fruiterers around Australia. It is also available direct from Trevor and Joanne at Collingwood Farmer’s Market, Hawthorn Farmer’s Market, Red Hill Market, Mornington Market and Yarra Glen Craft Market. Green and white asparagus spears preserved in olive oil (with chilli, garlic and oregano), and crimson rhubarb, lemons and heritage artichokes are also available at these markets.
Trevor and Joanne can be contacted by phone or fax on (03) 5998 8115 or 0409 041 416.