‘Visiting Italy had always been a dream. My passion for cooking fresh, homegrown food won me a trip there. I loved being immersed in the Italian culture.’ We hear from Blogger and Author, Kyrstie Barcak of Highton. ‘I started my blog https://afreshlegacy.net/ Grow fresh, Cook Fresh, 6 years ago. My passion sparked from wanting my children to grow up without eating the additives and preservatives that are present in food. I’m part of the ‘go back to basics’ movement.’
‘We lived in Melbourne when my first son was born and I spent 3 years trying to grow vegies. We had 2 acres in the Yarra Rangers but nothing would grow there because the gum trees sucked all the goodness out of the soil.
‘This block where we live now was a blank slate apart from a couple of fruit trees. The soil is rich and fertile. I love being in the garden and cooking homegrown organic produce for my kids. I started sharing recipes and planting information and practised my love of photography on the blog. Recipes for brands paid to keep the blog going. After 3 years of blogging I won the trip to Italy. My husband and I were in Florence for my Birthday, it was magical and we enjoyed a month over there being immersed in the culture. I’d studied Italian at school and going to Italy had always been my No 1 dream.
‘I found the blog built from there. The more I shared, the more people wanted to know so I ended up writing a book 2 years ago. “Grow Just One Thing”. It’s been surprisingly successful, I’m up to my third print run.
‘I’ve been sharing my knowledge with Scout and Kinder groups. I like to teach the kids about seasonality and how eating fruit and veg in season not only increases the nutritional benefits but it helps lower the impact on our environment because we don’t need to import produce from interstate or overseas.
‘I’ve also created a kitchen garden box for busy Mums. It gives them the opportunity to grow something easily with their kids. It removes the guess work. People sometimes become overwhelmed with too much choice, so simplifying things and making them super easy works.
‘People share their successes and all the positive feedback inspires me. I hear about amazing transformations, in the way they shop, cook or compost. One customer told me she now teaches all these concepts to kids at her local school. Another client told me her kids now eat lettuce.
‘We’re able to eat from our garden every night in Summer and I know my family aren’t consuming products littered with chemical residual. We have quality time outside together, working in the garden and the kids help me with food preparation. It is a magical experience for kids to see something they’ve planted and nurtured, grow.
‘We can all make a difference, just grow one thing.’
After interviewing Kyrstie in her beautiful garden, I went home with an armful of fresh produce, the delicious smells and amazing tastes of these freshly grown gems has inspired me!
Story: Jacqui Bennett Photo: Supplied