Sunday, March 16, 2008


Welcome to Cromwell, the stone fruit capital of the southern hemisphere!

Peach cobbler, peach crumble, peach ice cream, peach scones, peach muffins, peach smashes, even peaches with pancetta and pasta! (You can find this recipe in the food section of my new website: Shameless plug, I know, but it's not like I'm making money on it. It's just a weird and lovely recipe for your personal enjoyment.

Cromwell, where the Brown family (my sister and co.) and I reside is located as far inland as one can be on New Zealand's South Island. So about twenty years ago the enterprising townspeople (who originally came here for prospecting for gold) decided to go ahead and make themselves a lake, right in front of the old town. Skinner calls it Cromifornia, due to the booming development that has ensued since.

Here it is as seen from my mate Willy Cook's helicopter, which he took me for a ride in the other day. It's not only an awesome way to travel, but also handy for sheep-herding, which we did a bit of before sneakily setting her down in town for a coffee then walking away like,
"Whose chopper is that?"

Here they just call them "machines," which sounds even more bad-ass than calling them choppers.

Here's Bella with some ice cream in a coffee cup (melting popsicle crisis averted) in front of the Grain & Seed Cafe, which some of you may remember Sara owning, before there was a Bella.

That particular afternoon, Bella had her popsicle-in-a-cup and then we sat on the edge of the lake and threw stones in it, much like in the days of the gold prospectors, except they would have just thrown stones into the dust as there was no lake then.

Until recently (as southern summer is coming to an end) there was a farmer's market every Sunday in old town. At the market one could buy delicacies like local cherries, thyme honey, mini courgettes (kiwi for zucchini), bootleg hooch, lamb and mint sausages, freshly-caught blue cod, heaps of peaches, and freshly baked apricot rosemary focaccia. It's a wonder that one (though only one) of the pairs of jeans I brought still fit.

There's also music at the farmer's market, compliments of vineyard workers from Vanuatu.
The money sent home from New Zealand's vineyards (small by wine industry standards) is actually Vanuatu's largest source of income. Sara really likes to tell people that at home they have to take a plane to get to the supermarket, which is probably true. It's one of her favorite facts.

Anything you can't find at the farmer's market in Old Town is probably available at New World, incidentally, in the new part of town. Doug calls it Third World, but believe me, New Yorkers would drool just at the size of the aisles. And it's so CLEAN! The novelty of the foreign grocery store just never wears off. Sara won eighty bucks from her first lottery ticket of 2008 there the other day. This photo is really for the benefit of the New York peops, I know no one in the suburbs really cares about the grocery store.

Sigh...the point is, that it's gotten to be home over the last three months.
I go swimming in the lake, shopping at the store and ride my sweet bike around ringing my bell at birds, unwittingly trailing yarn from the knitting sitting in my basket. That's no metaphor, it actually happened the other morning, witnessed by a small mob of school-kids as well and our friend Clare before I realized I left half my charcoal grey worsted wool unraveling down the block behind me. I turned around and picked it up, but maybe I was meant to leave it so I can find my way back to these babes.

Bella is totally faking it here, by the way.

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