Name - Tony Scherer and Joyce Johnston
Location - Penna, Tasmania
Size of land - 200 acres
Crops - Garlic, lamb and market garden produce
Rocky Top is hilly land that runs behind the original Frogmore Creek Vineyard in Penna, just outside the Coal River Valley. The soils are black cracking clay, produced from parent rock called dolerite which produce soils which are very rich in nutrients and high in most minerals.
Our main crop currently is garlic which is organically grown. Our main nutrient is compost made on site coupled with about 4 applications of a mixture of kelp and seaweed. We plant about a half to one acre a year with allows us to manage all weeding by hand.
In 2003 we brought 14 garlic varieties as tissue culture into Tasmania from our friend whose life work has been to produce disease free allium. These tiny bits of tissue were then grown out at Quarantine. After 3 years they were proven to be no threat to the Tasmanian garlic industry and were returned to us as cloves no bigger than a kernel of corn. We grew these in plastic pots for 2 years until they were big enough to be planted in a paddock. Two varieties worked best in our location and those were Rojo and Blush.
Rocky Tops Rojo is a Creole variety. The bulb wrappers are a lovely deep rose colour and the more layers you peel off, the prettier they get. The paper covers, which are easy to peel are a delicate burgundy colour. Rojo tastes as good as it looks. A mild yet full flavoured garlic with just moderate heat.
Rocky Tops Blush is a beautiful large garlic blub which has an amazing flavour. The thick almost parchment like blush coloured paper wrappers are easy to peel. Blush has hot taste when raw but cooks to a mellow flavour with a pleasant aftertaste.
Although we keep trying other varieties These 2 clones were chosen not only because they grow so well on our site but also for their flavours.
We have just under 100 Border Leister cross ewes that are bred with our Southdown Rams George and Mike, at Rocky Top. They are moved across our 200 acres of hilly land that runs behind the original Frogmore Creek Vineyard in Penna, just outside the Coal River Valley. The native plants and grasses that grow on these hills are rich with minerals and nutrients from the black cracking clay soils that are produced from parent rock called dolerite. We have found that ewes that graze on these native perennial grasses produce an abundance of milk and that the lambs do very well.
This year our ewes produced 85 lambs that were finished on barley pastures in March and April. We hope you enjoy the flavour and texture of Rocky Top lamb.
We are currently planning to set up a market garden area in order to produce many other varieties of fruits and vegetables for local sales.