It’s So Easy Peasy with Pears says Maggie!
Despite being blessed with a 100 year old orchard full of apricots, peaches and apples, South Australian Apple and Pear Growers Association member Maggie Beer says it’s the sheer versatility her humble pear block brings that really gets her excited.
“What I love about pears we grow ourselves in SA, is that you have such a great fruit to work with in so many ways. You can actually pick your pears before they ripen, allow them to ripen and control when you are going to have them. It’s just so easy- truly easy peasy with pears! I use them for so many things.”
Maggie’s love of using dried pears in many recipes (especially in her famous verjuice!) stems from her mission to always value add and utilise as much of the harvest as possible – a tradition inherited from the orchard’s previous owners, who were not only neighbours but also great friends of Maggie and Colin.
“The drying of the pears was something that was already done on the property, so we took it over and I found such a love for dried pears with all the different ways to use them. In fact, over the last six years we have planted even more pears in the orchard because I love drying them so much!”
Hand picking from her heritage orchard has been a passion of Maggie’s since her early days in the Barossa. The orchard’s picturesque landscape, a stones throw from her legendary Farm Shop in Nuriootpa, has inspired many a pear recipe including her famous cider. It’s here, Maggie says, she is given everything she could ever want to use in terms of fruit produce.
“The utilising of everything to hand is my reason for being – with local produce always the star! All my ideas, all of my product development still begins in my kitchen at the Farm Shop. ”
Watch Maggie from her Farm Shop Kitchen in Barossa Valley as she walks us through, step-by-step, how to whip up an absolute crowd pleaser this Spring: Baked Brie with Mustard Pears.
First opened to the public in January 1979, Maggie’s Farm Shop Is almost as iconic as she is and offers exclusive products like her Pear and Apple Ciders. Maggie says she never tires of witnessing the delight a visit brings to so many.
“The first real delight is visitors walk in not understanding the water is there; we are built on the side of a huge, huge dam. That’s the first surprise. The second delight is the warmth – just that feeling of real hospitality because I have such a beautiful team of people. That’s the most important thing for me, that people should be welcomed and get the feel for how it all started for us.”
And although the pear is a sentimental recipe favourite, Maggie always supports SA produce where ever possible when sourcing ingredients for exciting new ideas.
“If we are unable to make it ourselves we will always try to find a partner in South Australia to make it for us. Not that we have any problem with sourcing pears! There’s nothing more satisfying than tasting the goodness grown right here in SA!”