A highland fling

our wee adventure on the Black Isle

Casa Tyr style detox

Every year after the Christmas season is over, Kenton and I try our best to have a bit of a detox, Casa Tyr style. We’re not big on diets, or starvation diets, or feeling hungry and cranky – but we do like to aim to be a bit healthier.

This year is no exception. So as January has already begun, so has the healthy living! It’s nothing too serious, just less wine, more fruit and veg, more exercise and no sweets. That’s not too hard for us, especially as it is the exercise season here on the farm! Sure, the olive harvest is over, but now it’s time to cut wood, rotovate the garden, plant the potato crop and the spring veg, weed, cut down trees, prune the olive trees, and so on.

It’s easy to eat lots of fruit and veg in our area. What we don’t grow ourselves, is cheap to buy. I know we’re lucky in that regard, as we don’t need to buy from supermarkets – we buy very fresh fruit and veg from the wholesaler, who buys direct from the farmers in the area. But we have to actually make the effort to shop at 2 different places to buy  supplies – not an onerous chore, but it often is enough to make shoppers lazy.

So today’s haul from the wholesaler included:

  • 14 kilos grapefruit
  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 kilo mushrooms
  • 1/2 kilo cucumbers
  • 1 kilo lettuce
  • 1/2 kilo broccoli
  • 1 1/2 kilo tomatoes on the vine
  • 1 1/2 kilos onions
  • 1 kilo alles
  • 1 cabbage
  • 1 kilo peppers
  • 16 kilos oranges
  • 1 kilo carrots

How much was this feast? €25, which for you not in the eurozone, is $32 or £20. Not bad for a month’s worth of fresh produce. When was the last time you bought from a local produce store rather than the supermarket chain? Try it, fruit and veg just might be worth eating again!


Fresh from the garden


The fruits of our labour

It is getting to be that wonderful time of year for us.


Cherries picked at Casa Tyr

We’ve worked hard for months, clearing out the gardens and rotovating in well-rotted manure. Then comes the planting of seeds in the greenhouse, nurturing them, hardening them off, and planting them out. I worry about my little seedlings – in the dark hours of the night, if the wind picks up, I worry that they will be damaged, or eaten by mice, owls, foxes, wild boar, or some other wild creature.

Then, they blossom and start to produce fruit and vegetables, and a whole host of other worries arrive! The fruit can be eaten by mice or those huge squishy green cricket-type insects you see in the garden – they are voracious. Or, the plants can be attacked by the dreaded “hongo” (generic Yunquerano for any fungus !) Then there is the risk from other insects and worms. You just cannot protect them from everything, even with weekly use of neem oil (a great natural pesticide).

But now, I’m feeling slightly more optimistic. Although we must remain vigilant, the plants are starting to produce their yummy goodies. This week, we’ve harvested fresh raspberries, yet  more cherries, lettuce, green beans, crookneck squash and cucumbers. The tomatoes are looking healthy and well on their way to producing tons of tomatoes – Black Russian, plum, Raf, and Italian beef varieties. They will combine to produce the best puree, salsa, ketchup and jarred tomatoes you’d ever eat.

Daughter Peggy

Darling daughter Peggy looking happy after eating fresh cherries! (and yes, she’s pregnant, not just stuffed full of cherries!)

Yunquera cherries – a sweet treat!

Anyone out there like cherries? If you do, you must come to Yunquera!

The climate here is perfect for cherries – mild winters, lots of spring rain, and loads and loads of sun. It’s well known that cherries do not grow in the villages that surround us, only is our micro climate suited to these luscious bits of fruit.

And they’re good for you, too. Aside from providing fiber and vitamin C, new evidence links cherries to many important health benefits – from helping to ease the pain of arthritis, to reducing risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and more. Cherries also contain melatonin, which has been found to help regulate the body’s natural sleep patterns, aid with jet lag, prevent memory loss and delay the aging process.

Wow. I can hear you say

I just gotta get me some of them little baby fruits !! 🙂

Here at Casa Tyr, we have several types of cherry trees. I don’t know the varieties, but we have red ones, bigger red ones, yellow ones with a pink blush, and so on. (come on guys, I know there is a cherry expert out there who can tell me what the real names are!!)

Cherries are also special because they are the first fruit that we pick. Today, we picked 5 kilos of the early red variety, and friends picked another five or six kilos for themselves. We also gorged on them while we picked! The cherries have now been sorted, washed, and are in the freezer, ready to be eaten one cold, winter’s day. Ahhhh….the taste of spring!

Casa Tyr cherries

Casa Tyr cherries (photo by Kenton@imagenary.co.uk)