Michau Gathering 2016 – Clash Of Clans

The eccentric Dr Ingram Anderson was the spark that ignited and inspired the gathering of the Michau family. We met him in 2014 when he came to Cradock and visited us on Orange Grove in search of information about his ancestors (his mother was Michau). This culminated in a massive gathering of the clan two years later over two days. The organizers as below from left to right: Paul Cecil Michau, Dr Ingram Anderson, Toby Michau, Johan Michau, Mike Michau.

Mike Michau from Somerset East has spent the last 25 years of his life studying Michau ancestors and provided a wealth of family information and anecdotes. The family tree was put up for display, it wrapped around the entire conference room! Various speakers gave interesting talks and family members brought along memorabilia to share. The day was concluded with a banquet dinner at Victoria Manor Hotel. Many thanks to the Antrobus family and staff of Victoria Manor Hotel – the food was absolutely out of this world and the attention to detail was appreciated by all.


Sunday morning was spent exploring historical graves and visiting Doornhoek grave sites. The NG Moederkerk was also visited where a Michau ancestor donated the pulpit.

Sunday lunch was on Orange Grove in true Karoo style, half a kilo steaks and good times spent getting to know distant relatives. The venue was the shed which is home to Cradock’s monthly farmers market and long table lunch. A great weekend was had by all! There is a CD available for anyone wishing to obtain a copy. I have documented the weekend in photographs and historical memorabilia and old photos. Also included is historical Michau grave sites. Contact traceymichau@gmail.com

Country Life Karoo Cooks Tour Vist Orange Grove

   

The evening kicked off with Pomegranate Mojitos at the windmill. 

    
    
    
    
 The starter was Venison Carpaccio – a combination of Mountain Reedbuck fillet and Fallowdeer sourced from the farm. This was accompanied by a Shiraz Peach chutney, Gruyere and Melba toast. 
   
  Mementos to take home.   
The pigs and chickens had no problem munching the left overs!

    Follow the lights and the music to the Top Shed. This is also where our monthly Farmers Market takes place. 
 

 Toby and Gideon preparing the Earth Pit Oven.   
Tequila tasting.

    
 Homemade panzerotti filled with biltong, ricotta and basil, served with a butternut soup.

   
 Thank you Country Life Magazine and Karoo Cooks, it was an honour and privilege to share our world with you! 

Pilgrimage to Schreiners Sarcophagus

  It was great to host the Rhodes Honor students on Orange Grove for their annual pilgrimage to Olive Schreiner’s sarcophagus. After a scrumptious breakfast they headed off…It was a strenuous hike to say the least…Toby led them up the mountain to the Sarcophagus site and then to view the fossil site.  
   Some history on Olive Schreiner…

The famous South African authoress, who, amongst many other literary works, wrote “Story of an African Farm”, lived in No. 9 Cross Street, Cradock, South Africa, in her youth. A pictorial display of her life can be seen in the house. 

Olive, her husband, Samuel Cron Cronwright, their baby and dog, were buried in a sarcophagus on top of Buffelskop Hill which lies between Orange Grove farm and Buffelshoek. 

From the top of Buffelskop Hill one gets a beautiful view across the Great Fish River Valley, the sight which so impressed Olive Schreiner herself, and the reason for her decision to be buried here. 
The walk up the mountain and visit to the gravesite is only recommended for those that are reasonably fit. A full half day is needed to complete this trip.

Story Of An African Farm

  
Toby and I have often spoken about hosting an artist retreat weekend. A getaway for artists and aspiring artists alike who need a little R & R and who wish to escape the stresses of everyday life. To enjoy the scenic beauty of the Great Karoo, the hospitality, the people and 5 star food and art in a relaxed environment. Our wish is for this to be more than just art classes… we would like people to leave inspired and to take a part of the Karoo back home with them.

By chance we came into contact with Theresa Hardman, a talented architect and artist living in Port Elizabeth currently working towards her PhD. Theresa has strong links with the Karoo as she spent two years researching the origin of Karoo farmhouses in the Cradock district for her Research Masters Degree in Architecture.

The programme of the weekend 8 – 10 April 2016

  • Friday meet and check in at ‘Die Tuishuise’ which will be the accommodation for 2 nights.
  • Friday Afternoon Art Class at Orange Grove Farm 14h00 – 17hoo. Drinks on the patio and dinner at 19h00.
  • Saturday Art Classes in the veld and lunch.  Dinner under the stars.
  • Sunday Morning Classes and lunch.

 

   
  

         


For more info contact Tracey Michau orangegrovekaroo@gmail.com

Growing Great Garlic

   There is something immeasurably rewarding and addictive about growing garlic. Since we planted that first kilogram we were bitten by the garlic bug and I think Keith Stewart says it best; “For me, it is the plant itself that is most remarkable: its stately appearance in the field, its fascinating life cycle and growth habit, its hardiness, its ancient lineage, the way it comports itself in this world.’ 

 

Hard-neck garlic has larger cloves that radiate out from a hard central stem. They peel easily and their flavour is outstanding. Hard-neck garlic is more demanding to grow than soft-neck, yields less per acre and has a shorter shelf life. Amongst real garlic lovers, it is the only thing to eat. Soft-neck garlics produce no hard central stalk and scape, this variety is most often found in supermarkets due to its longer shelf life. These bulbs typically have more cloves than hard-necks, with some of them being small central inner cloves. Soft-neck garlic can be braided whereas hard-necks cannot. 

 CLIMATE

Garlic needs a cold Winter, a moist Spring and a reasonable dry November and December. The cold triggers germination and develops the flavour. Beds should be in full sun and ammended with well aged compost. 

 SOIL

Like all Alliums, garlic is a fairly heavy feeder that appreciates high levels of fertility. Planting beds should be well ammended with compost or other well-rotted manure and thoroughly worked in before planting. Garlic will grow well in most soils but dislikes ‘wet feet’. If your soil drainage is poor it is advisable to grow garlic in raised beds. We plant late in March and harvest towards the end of November. 

 Seperate the garlic bulbs into cloves (not more than 24 hrs before planting). Each clove planted will produce a new bulb. 

Dig a furrow 3cm deep and plant each clove at least 15cm apart with a spacing of at least 25cm between the rows. Cloves must be planted withe the pointy end facing upwards as this is where the new growth will emerge from.

We mulch heavily with lucerne / alfalfa to retain soil temp, moisture and prevent weeds. Garlic detests weeds and if your patch is not kept weed free your yield will be reduced by at least 30%. 

If growing hardneck garlic, snap off the scapes that appear in late Spring. prepare them as you would asparagus…very similar just far better. The scapes make a wonderful Pesto. 

 HARVESTING

DO NOT water 2 – 3 weeks prior to harvest. Garlic is susceptible to mould and fungus, which will shorten its shelf life or destroy the bulb altogether. 

Garlic should be dug while there are still at least 4 green leaves on the plants, since these leaves are attached to the papery wrappers on the bulbs, which quicky deteriorate in the soil once the leaves die.

Wrapperless bulbs do not keep well, those with 4 – 5 wrappers can be cleaned properly and stored optimally. 

Garlic left in the ground too long tends to split, allowing soil, moisture and potentially disease to get in.

Pull the garlic out with a fork taking care not to damage the bulb. 

Bunch the garlic into groups of 10 – 15 and tie loosely together with twine. Hang to cure in a well ventilated room or shed. curing takes around 10 days – 4 weeks.

the purpose of curing is two-fold – to increase shelf life and most importantly to develop the flavour of the garlic. 

We test our garlic by checking the stems. If it snaps off easily then its done. After 2 weeks we braid some of our garlic, it is then further cured by 2 weeks. 

Once cured clip off the roots and tops at about 3cm above the head. Stored in a well ventilated cool room your garlic should last at least 8 months. 

   GARLIC SCAPE PESTO

1/4 cup pine nuts / cashews

3/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes *

Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon salt

A few generous grinds of black pepper

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

*Or use half scapes and half basil   

 In a small, pan set over very low heat, lightly toast the pine nuts, stirring or tossing occasionally until just beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Combine the scapes, pine nuts, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse about 20 times, until fairly well combined. Pour in the olive oil slowly through the feed tube while the motor is running. When the oil is incorporated, transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese. Bon Appetit!