The Hobart

Living Life Sunny Side Up

by Ollie Benson
Living Life Sunny Side Up

To many, eggs are seen as a year-round source of protein, however did you know they are seasonal? And right now, as all keepers of backyard chooks will testify, eggs are back on the menu!

As daylight hours continue to increase, our feathered friends begin regularly laying again. And after slowing down during the darker winter months, the welcome ritual of checking the nesting box to find a warm, freshly laid egg has returned.

For two young farmers, Inês Mendonca Santos and David Simmons, the morning routine now has them collecting not one or two, but dozens of eggs. Inês and David run Sparrow Foot Farm, a farm located above the fog line in the hills outside of Franklin in the Huon Valley. As the name suggests, Sparrow Foot Farm is a farm that carries a small footprint, however it does a lot of heavy lifting. The couple produce food through their expanding market garden and a growing flock of laying hens, finding purpose and passion in growing healthy food that connects them and their community to the land they share.

Inês’ passion for animals and the planet comes from an early age. Then, while traveling the world for work, she grew tired of witnessing over-consumption and lack of community and seeking an alternative path, she discovered permaculture. She moved to NSW to study for her Permaculture Design Certificate and met David, a Tasmanian also on a journey to learn more about living a richer, more productive life.

David grew up in Southern Tasmania and has always had a strong connection to the land here. Keeping that connection close to him and gaining skills along the way, he started the journey of wanting to become a producer. After their time in NSW, first studying, then working at Winderong Farm in the Kangaroo Valley, they moved to Tasmania with the aim to sustain themselves and their community from the land they live on.

Since settling in Franklin, the market garden has always been the priority. Aligning regenerative farming techniques with the simple goal of building healthy soils and growing delicious, nutrient-dense food, they have been busy expanding the size of the garden, introducing several polytunnels and increasing the number of beds they grow in. They have been strengthening their presence in the local community and later in the year hope to begin selling produce at Farm Gate Market.

However, while vegetables are the focus, chooks are a crucial part of the setup. Inês is a self-confessed chicken whisperer. Since moving here, the farm has always been home to a motely crew of heritage birds, and recently her and Dave decided to take their chicken business up a notch by purchasing 50 layers. The chickens have several functions around the farm: they help turn mill waste from David’s timber business into compost, they free range on pasture, adding fertility and character to the paddocks and helping build soil, and of course, there are the delicious, nutritious eggs.

So, whether you have a couple of backyard beauties, or like Inês and David you’re more serious about your poultry, or if you just prefer to seek out the best eggs you can find, remember eggs are just another reason to enjoy the seasonality of food.


For the pastry:

200g wholemeal flour

6 tbsp (85g) cold butter

4 tbsp cold water

Pinch of salt

Add the flour and butter in a bowl and mix it all together with your hands until the butter is well mixed in. Slowly add the cold water and salt to taste and combine it until it comes together. If necessary, add more water.

For the filling:

1 thinly sliced onion

2 thinly chopped garlic cloves

5 or 6 eggs

150ml double cream

Any veggies you like, get creative! Inês and David like the combo of greens + broccolini + grated cheese,

but you can use anything that is in season. Whisk the eggs together with the cream and set aside. Add butter to a frying pan and cook the onion and the garlic. Add your veggies to the pan once the onion is golden and cook until soft. Roll out the pastry, and place it in your quiche dish, then spread your cooked veggies. Pour the egg and cream on top of it, covering it evenly. Bake for around 40 minutes at around 180º.

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May 2024

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