Day 252 of 400: Port Macquarie – NSW, Australia

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After a nice…lazy…sleep in morning, we finally threw some clothes on and drove around to check out the area.  This place was a 5 minute walk to the beach and there was a cute little village area as well as random restaurants and cafe’s nearby.  We needed to get groceries for the week, so set out for a place called Ricardoes Tomatoes (www.ricardoes.com) .  It consisted of several huge greenhouses which are known for their juicy red tomatoes and ripe strawberries.  Since they are all grown through hydroponics (only water and nutrients…no soil needed) and inside a greenhouse, they are in season all year round. As we pulled into the driveway, we saw they also had a cafe and little store selling their goods as well as other local specialties.

We sat down and ordered a salad and bruschetta and then looked around the store at all the different jams, honey, tomato sauces and salsa etc..  They also grew different kinds of lettuce which looked perfect and still had their roots attached…so like a flower, as long as we put it in a vase of water at home it would last much longer than usual.  We decided we really couldn’t resist the strawberries.  They handed us each a pair of scissors and a bucket and pointed to one of the greenhouses.

We heard massive bees nearby which they obviously use to pollinate their strawberries as well as jar the honey.  Once inside, we saw rows and rows of red strawberries growing out of pipes full of water.  We spent a good half hour cutting our berries and plopping them into the bucket until it was overflowing.  We bought tons of tomatoes, a salsa, some lettuce and a few other things and got back in the car.

As we started driving, we realized…this too is a small wine area and we were very close to a winery.  Who are we not to stop at a winery?  It’s almost like our duty at this point, so we pulled into the driveway of Cassegrain (www.cassegrainwines.com.au) .  We did some wine tasting and learned about the cool climate wines of the area.  We bought a bottle and then stopped at the grocery and butcher.  We picked up the remaining groceries we needed as well as some meat and were back at our place.

We made a yummy pasta with the juicy red tomatoes from today as well as the fresh sausage from the butcher.  We accompanied that with a healthy salad made with the lettuce we had just purchased and drizzled it with the balsamic and olive oil we had gotten direct from a local farmer.  We of course opened a bottle of wine we had picked up at a winery along the way and sat down to enjoy our feast for the evening.

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