A Sunday Drive up to Toowoomba

I took a drive up to Toowoomba yesterday, a picturesque city at the top of the Great Dividing Range with wonderful views over the Lockyer Valley.

This was a treat organised by my friend Tatiana and the idea was to travel through the beautiful Lockyer Valley and visit the wonderful farmer’s markets on the way.  The Lockyer Valley is the fruit and vegetable farming area that was absolutely devastated in the floods of January 2011.

Tatiana picked me up at 7am and went on to collect Judy who made the third member of our party. And off we set. The day was perfect for a drive out, warm and sunny and we tootled along enjoying the wonderful scenery on the way.

We had a great time filling up the car with plants, fruit trees (yes, trees), bags of fruit and veggies all at a most amazing price. $1 for a beautiful cauliflower. And it was wonderful to be buying locally from the folk who grow the stuff. I couldn’t resist a red cabbage, so solid and heavy and just waiting to be turned into pickled cabbage!  Also couldn’t walk past a huge bag of beetroot just asking to be pickled. (It’s Monday morning now, guess what I’ll be doing in the kitchen all day?)

It has been years since I went to Toowoomba, it’s such a pretty city and at the end of September it’s the annual Carnival of Flowers so the blossoms were already out. The last market we visited was in Toowoomba itself – by the time the car was packed up to the gunnels I don’t know how the three of us fitted back into the car.

But then it was time for lunch. There are some great pubs in Toowoomba (I’m sounding like a travel guide) and we found one right next to the market that served a grand steak. And time for a glass of wine for the lucky passengers as the driver looked on!

A relaxed drive back to Brisbane and then it was the opportunity for me to check out Tatiana’s veggie garden. I had heard all about it as she worked on setting up her raised beds and establishing fruit trees. The plants were bursting with life. Naturally, out came my camera.

Raised beds in Tatiana’s garden

It was a grand day, thank you Tatiana.  I really should make the effort to get out of town more often, but I suppose then it wouldn’t be a treat.

So I’m back to the kitchen now to get out that vinegar and the pickling spices.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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