Review Blog

May 30 2013

Berry Hill: Stories and recipes from Beerenberg Farm by Grant Paech with Sally Paech

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Wakefield Press, 2013. ISBN 9781743050934. (Age: All) Recommended. Non fiction. Australian agriculture and produce. Who can resist driving past Beerenberg Farm in the Adelaide Hills and not calling in to pick your own or buy some of the produce from the business that holds a place in all things South Australian? Here is a book which tells the history of this place, detailing the business itself along with a memorable family history. The tales of the first members of the Paech family, coming here from Germany in 1838, along with the original 52 families of settlers, naming their town Hahndorf, after the captain of the ship which brought them, takes the reader back to a time when life revolved around a few families within walking distance of your home. Beginning as subsistence farmers on their acreage, the family grew all they needed to eat, the women making jams, preserves and chutneys for the larder, with any spare being sold or traded.The history of the Paech family, paralleling the development of the strawberry farm, is also the history of the town of Hahndorf. The stories of many of the people involved are a treat to read, and the recipes and stories of using the berries fascinated my husband, a jam maker from way back. Forty years ago, Grant Paech began the strawberry business that we know so well today and this book reflects its success. From humble beginnings selling their wares at markets, to experiments with fruit wines and Worcestershire sauce, to the development of the little jars now seen everywhere, the history of Beerenberg is laced with a range of photographs underlining the family nature of the business. The book has a range of information to suit all tastes. A history, a loving account of the Paech family, a portfolio of recipes and a homage to the Adelaide Hills; all are a treat. The recipes given are those from restaurants in the Adelaide Hills, where the fruit is used. All are mouth watering and beautifully photographed, with a recipe index at the end of the book. Fran Knight

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