The Story behind our Quince Paste

Young farmers Gloria and Tricia grow a variety of apples, stone fruit and quince in the small farming town of The Summit, 13 km outside of Stanthorpe. The summer season was going well, with good fruit development on all of their quince trees. Around Christmas a massive hail storm went down and their whole orchard was hit. 

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They expected to loose the whole quince crop, but the fruit hang on to the branches and kept growing. Came harvest time they were faced with a dilemma - yes, there was a lot of quince fruit ready for picking but no, there wasn't any first grade fruit that could go to the market. What to do now?

I heard about Gloria's farm from my friend Martin, a cider maker who had recently visited the orchard. I got in touch immediately and was able to purchase 300kg of hail damaged fruit that had nowhere else to go. These quinces were grown without any pesticides and got hand picked at their peak - it can't get any better than this, can it?

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The fact that the fruit was badly hail damaged meant we had to spend more time preparing them in the kitchen. Each fruit was affected differently and the only way to prepare these quinces was one by one by hand. There simply isn't a shortcut when working with imperfect fruit. But once the prep was done, we were rewarded with the most beautiful pink and fragrant quince paste. And knowing that all this delicious fruit would have gone to waste otherwise totally makes up for the extra work involved. 

Let's judge fruit by taste and freshness not superficial beauty. It's the inner beauty that counts!

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The Story behind our Preserved Lemons

Ugly Duck Preserves moved from Brisbane to Kandanga earlier this year. The move allowed me to be closer to farmers and spend more time in the country. As soon as I moved, I was introduced to Malcom from SweetAz farms. Mal and his wife Tay grow the most beautiful Eurika lemons, limes and Maccadamias on their sustainable farm in Dagun. They grow their fruit spray-free and use beneficial insects to control pest.

You would think that such quality fruit won't go to waste but unfortunately they do. Malcoms lemons grow so well, that they often end up too big for the consumer! In fact it's not uncommon to see lemons weighting in over 500g each.

giant lemon.

The lemon farm is only 10 minutes from my Kandanga kitchen. I often drop in on a Sunday afternoon to spend a few hours picking those giant lemons that nobody else wants. I take them back to the kitchen and we cut them up into bitesize pieces and preserve them in pure, Australian sea salt.

Let's be honest, Australian farmers work very hard and deserve our full support. And I believe, that fresh fruit ugly or not, is a valuable resource we have to respect and do everything we can to make the most of. Picking unwanted fruit and giving them a second life feels extremely rewarding and this is what we are all about:

Revealing the inner beauty!

preserved lemons.uglyduckpreserves.