What one food producer sees as waste, Mick and Cassie Real see as top ingredients for fermented or dehydrated food products. They established the Shedhouse Farm label two and a half years ago at Homeleigh where they live on 18 acres.
An ever-increasing range of pickles, rubs and brews is emerging from the Shedhouse Farm where Mick passionately strives for sustainability. He sources local organic harvest and by-products from food processing to minimise food miles. The Shedhouse Farm tag line is ‘Real food, low travel’ and the goal is no-waste processing.
For example, Mick salvages the residue remaining after producers press pecans for oil. The ‘waste’ is full of protein and carbohydrate which Mick dehydrates and grinds to a powder used in two products.
First he makes cold brewed coffee left to drip for 10-12 hours, then adds pecan powder. The result is a delicious pecan-infused iced coffee without milk or sugar; vegan friendly. The remaining coffee grounds are dehydrated and combined with pecan powder, smoked habanero chilli and some South Australian salt to produce a punchy rub for meats, fish or vegetables.
Shedhouse Farm pickles are fermented using solely brine. This gives a flavour profile more similar to the original vegetable than using vinegar. With Silver Slicer cucumbers from a friend’s farm, Mick makes sandwich pickles with the best cucumbers, usually fermented for about two months.
The remaining cucumbers are fermented with dill seeds and chilli. The liquid is used as a drink, tonic or mixer. The solids are dehydrated and ground into Chilly Dilly pickle salt.
The ingenious Shedhouse Farm products can be purchased online, at a few local retailers and at the Rotary Kyogle Bazaar. And there are plans for fermentation workshops to help “preserve preservation” says Mick.