Andrew Smith

Organic apple grower

by Huon Valley

Not all 4th generation farmers are willing to make the big decisions, that to some people may seem like a risk. This is not the case with Andrew Smith.

“The industry when I started was in demise and production was under threat from emerging economies. (I’ve) Simply been moving and changing to stay in the game.”

Over the last 26 years, Andrew has continually innovated the family business, which now lays claim to being the largest organic apple grower in the country. It also turns out with a bit of know how, lots of passion and some of that trademark determination, you can make an amazing cider.

Willie Smith’s

Keeping a very keen eye on a category that is experiencing a major resurgence, Andrew and his business partner Sam Reid set out to create Australia’s first certified organic cider. With Andrew’s foresight, he had already converted the same orchard that his great grandfather had established in 1888 to organic practices. To be organic, Willie Smiths grows and processes its apples without the use of any synthetic chemicals or GMOs.

Willie Smiths cider is made from fruit grown on the family farm – which is also where the crushing, fermenting, ageing and bottling takes place.

At the Cider Australia Awards 2015, the Willie Smith’s ‘18 Varieties Cider’ took out the 3 top awards – Best in Show, Best Cider & Best Australian Cider or Perry.

The Apple Shed

The best place to taste Willie Smith’s Cider? That would be The Apple Shed – the cider-maker’s cellar door and apple museum located on the main highway as you enter the Huon Valley.

Originally built in 1942, the building was restored by Willie Smith’s and remade into a place where you can enjoy some of Tasmania’s best food and drink, then take in the Huon Valley’s incredible apple history.

The Apple Shed also plays host to the Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival in July each year. With event partners including MONA, The Apple Shed and surrounding property is transformed into a weekend of feasting, entertainment and wassailing – that is traditionally to ensure a bumper apple crop for the season ahead.

Do yourself a favour and check out the following channels:
The Apple Shed on Facebook
Willie Smith’s Organic Cider on Facebook
Willie Smith’s Organic Cider on Instagram

I believe… Farmers have a responsibility to feed the world, food must be as good as it can be but ultimately safe.

- Andrew Smith

More articles

Michelle Crawford

A flavoursome life

by Huon Valley

Michelle and her family left the bright lights of inner Sydney in 2007, in search of a new place to call home. There were some strict prerequisites – access to amazing food, beautiful surroundings and a great place to raise children. The Huon Valley was a perfect fit.

“I moved to Tasmania to pursue a career in food, the Huon has allowed that dream to flourish with its outstanding produce and the passionate people who produce it.”

Now working freelance within the food industry, there is always an interesting project that Michelle is working on. It could be food styling for a magazine photoshoot, organising a pickling day with Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans at Fat Pig Farm or helping out her friend Asher Gilding’s new venture, The Port Cygnet diner.

If variety is the spice of life, then Michelle’s life is flavoursome.

A Table in The Orchard

Soon after settling into their beautiful old weatherboard farmhouse, Michelle started an online blog to help document her transition to the Huon Valley. Stories of gardening, cooking, foraging and exploring with her family.

“I loved the creative outlet it provided and gave me the opportunity to hone my photography and writing skills.”

After many years of documenting her life in the Huon, an amazing opportunity came right out of the blue that helped bring Michelle’s journey to life.

“The head of publishing from Random House called one day and said they loved my blog and would like to turn it into a book, 2 years later “A Table in the Orchard” was born! A memoir with recipes and photos from our life in the Huon Valley. It’s been an incredible experience.”

What attracted you to the Huon?

“The potatoes! Well, actually it was the apple sheds nestled right alongside the winding roads of the valley. I’d never seen such gorgeous rustic buildings, so honest and simple in their design, but built to last. I think these historic treasures are unique to the Huon”

Can you share with us a trade secret?

“I believe the secret to the perfect apple crumble is to be generous with the butter and cook the topping on a baking tray first, till it’s all crunchy and delicious, then generously pile onto cooked fruit.”

Do yourself a favour and check out Michelle on Instagram.

I don’t think I would have done as many amazing things if I wasn’t so inspired by the beautiful surroundings and magnificent produce.

- Michelle Crawford

More articles