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Under the Chestnut Tree

April 05, 2011

Sinemage Chestnuts On The Ground

I was elated. We were finally on the way to the chestnut orchard.

Since last year and our first experience with picking fruits and vegetables I was dreaming to go and collect fresh chestnuts. At that time it was too late when I started to investigate where we could do so, but this year there was no way we should miss it. It was not as easy though. Most orchards open to public are based in Auckland and Waikato regions, a pretty long drive -eight hours- from Wellington. So it took a while to find an orchardist nearby.

When we got the phone call at the beginning of last week to confirm that chestnuts were falling, I directly checked the weather forecast for the week-end...

Sinemage Chestnut Cupule Sinemage Chestnut cupule open and mushroom Sinemage Basket of Chestnuts and chestnuts on tree

So on a beautiful Sunday, we took the road, direction north. Graeme, kindly accepted to open the door of his orchard located one hour from Wellington.

And what a pleasant place ! The trees lined up were forming an arch, nicely filtering the light and providing shade. The ground was already strewn with countless chestnuts. And a gentle breeze was refreshing us on this warm sunny day.

It felt so charming, I would imagine having a picnic there.

We spend a couple of hours collecting with gloved hands chestnuts, chatting with Graeme about the different varieties and ultimately having a peek at the workshop where the crop is processed.

Sinemage Chestnuts & Scale Sinemage Chestnuts Sinemage Chestnut Trees

We came back home happy. A basket full of fruits. And now the schedule is boil, roast, crumb 4Kg of chestnuts...

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J'étais remplie de joie et d'excitation. Nous étions enfin sur la route vers la châtaigneraie.

Depuis l'an dernier et notre première expérience de récolte de fruits et légumes dans les vergers, je rêvais de pouvoir ramasser des châtaignes. A l'époque, il était trop tard lorsque je m'étais renseigné où nous pourrions le faire, mais cette année il n'y avait pas moyen de râter la saison. Cela n'a pas été évident néanmoins. La plupart des châtaigneraies ouvertes au public se situent dans les régions d'Auckland et du Waikato, une longue route -huit heures- depuis Wellington. Donc cela a pris un certain temps pour trouver un verger dans le coin.

Lorsque nous avons reçu le coup de fil au début de la semaine dernière pour nous confirmer que les châtaignes commençaient à tomber, j'ai tout de suite regardé les prévisions météo pour le week-end...

Donc par un beau dimanche, nous avons pris la route direction nord. Graeme, avait gentillement accepté de nous ouvrir les portes de sa châtaigneraie , située à une heure de Wellington.

Et quel endroit agréable ! Les arbres alignés formaient une voûte, filtrant doucement la lumière et procurant de l'ombre. Le sol était déjà jonché d'innombrables châtaignes. Et une douce brise nous rafraichissait par ce jour chaud et ensoleillé.

C'était si plaisant, j'imaginais bien y faire un pique-nique.

Nous avons passé quelques heures à ramasser, les mains gantées, les châtaignes, à discuter avec Graeme des différentes variétés et à la fin jeter un coup d'oeil à l'atelier où est traitée la récolte.

Nous sommes rentrés contents. Un panier rempli de fruits. Et à présent le programme est de bouillir, griller, émietter les 4kg de châtaignes...


 
For more Pick Your Own Episodes:

Blueberry Picking Apple & Vegetables Picking


Comments

This is glorious - I spent a long time gazing at these photos, imagining I was there. Sally

What a beautiful post. Your photos are stunning and the warm colors remind me on autumn rather than spring. I’s say this is the perfect place for a picnic. Look forward to see what you make with your 4kg haul. Sukaina

Beautiful¨I love chestnuts. Cheers, Rosa Rosa

How lovely! I love chestnuts, wish I was there! ciao Alessandra Alessandra

Beautiful images. I have never seen a real, live chestnut still in the spiky skin up close. Sounds like a fun day out. I am so excited about chestnut season. I’ve been buying heaps, and just eating them plainly roasted for now. Soon it will be time to experiment, yes? Looking forward to hearing what you do with your chestnuts. shaz

Belle promenade, jolies couleurs, et le billet bilingue me permet d’améliorer mon anglais! Bises… Dominique (De vous à moi…)

Sukaina, thank you. I already have a couple of ideas. I’ll share them with you soon hopefully. Rosa, me too ! Shaz, yes with this quantity there will be a part for sure that will be simply roasted, but I’ve already turned one part into a chestnut cream ;) Dominique, il en va de même pour moi ! Millie, it’s true that some how I tend to give more value to food that can be purchased at the source, plus the bonus of spending time open air. Alessandra, I wish you were there too ! Sally, thank you. Hope you had a good time ;) Vanille

Oh my gosh. These are breathtakingly beautiful. Chestnut trees are so regal and the chestnuts themselves, encased in little spiky robes… I must find this place if there are any left! (failing that, I did see chestnuts at Moore Wilson’s yesterday, but you know, not as exciting ;) milliemirepoix

I guess I walked under many chestnut trees in an Auckland park, and did not realise they were chestnuts. barbara

A chestnut orchard!! i feel like repeating this over and over again just like I feel like going over your photographs time after time. We barely get to find chestnuts here, and you visited an orchard. Incredible! I wish I got my hands on some. They look like little fuzzy creatures:-) Soma

What a beautiful spot, I see Autumn really has arrived. Stunning pics as always. Mairi @ Toast

Chestnuts! How lovely! I adore chestnuts, which is a shame because they seem to be rare here in the Bay Area, and I have certainly never seen a chestnut tree before. I had no idea that they had such spiky armor. That, alone, makes me want to take a flight out there. What a gorgeous post. Liren

Gorgeous pics Vanille! We had a discussion on facebook the other day about beloved chestnuts… Sheryl

This post is pure poetry. Cynthia

Barbara, that’s pretty cool, chestnuts in the park ! In France it is common to find a kind of chestnut tree in public park, but it’s usually not the one that produce edible chestnuts. Soma, I wish I could send you some, but they would loose quickly their freshness on the way… Mairi, thank you. Yes Fall is settling down slowly but surely. Liren, I adore chestnut too, but was not that familiar with the tree either. Always good to see where your food comes from, right ? Delphine, et oui le retour de la lumière pour vous alors qu’elle se tamise un peu chaque jour par ici… Profite des beaux jours ! Sheryl, thank you ! I should check that conversation. Cynthia, thank you very much. Vanille

alors qu’ici le soleil et la chaleur s’installent, toi tu rentres dans l’automne et c’est magnifique quand je vois tes photos gros bisous Delphine delphcotecuisine

What a dream day that is, I would be elated to spend the day like that. I’ve loved everything chestnut since I was little. Hopefully you’ll be saving some of your bounty to make chestnut jam. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

Beautiful! I love chestnuts!! Such a wonderful post! mycookinghut

Bon courage pour préparer toutes ces châtaignes, et merci pour tes billets toujours si délicats et élégants. celui sur les figues, mmmmm. Très bonne fin de nuit de l’autre côté de la terre :) flo makanai

c’est toujours surprenant de voir les saisons inversées. nous avons le printemps le plus chaud depuis très longtemps en France, le muguet est très en avance et le lilas finit sa floraison. Même en Angleterre il faisait un temps magnifique… marie