Seasons of the Barossa

The Barossa heart has always been tuned to the turning of the seasons, and the modern Barossa community continues to keep a watchful eye on the moon, the harvest and the long-term forecast.

Each season is important to the food cycle, from growing to harvest to preservation – all in the fullness of time – with markers that reveal the rhythm of traditional family values and traditions.

Spring

September – November
Average temperature range: daytime 17C – 24C; nights 6C – 10C
• Soft green buds unfurl on the dark wood of vineyards
• Bare fruit trees are covered in glorious blossoms of pink, white and red
• Air is thick with the scent of fruit blossoms and roses
• Milk is at its best from the verdant green grass and warmer weather, making cheese its creamiest
• Eggs are plentiful and egg noodles are made and dried for chicken noodle soup in the winter months
• Wild rabbits and hares are in ample supply in the vineyards and paddocks
• Warm weather = long outdoor lunches
• Artichokes and asparagus in early Spring, beetroot in late Spring

Summer

December – February
Average temperature range: daytime 26C – 29C (with frequent hot days of 30C – 36C); nights 12C – 14C
• Angaston Agricultural Show in February
• The paddocks change from green to golden as cereal crops mature. Harvest generally takes place before Christmas
• Orchards boast abundant stone fruits ripening under bright green leaves. Fruits include apricots, peaches and plums and the old varieties are favoured.
• Vines have a dense canopy of dark green protecting bunches of ripening grapes.
• The vegetable garden produces traditional mainstays of Barossa – tomatoes, cucumbers and beetroot – along with eggplants, capsicum, chilli, zucchini, rocket, lettuce and Mediterranean herbs such as basil and oregano.
• A frenzy of preserving, drying and freezing is in full swing for winter consumption.
• Yabbies are caught by the light of the moon, often poached from neighbours’ dams.
• Vintage begins in February, with all the characteristic sights and sounds of grapes being harvested and made into wine.
• Rote Grutze, an interpretation of a German sago dessert originally made from berries, is made from ripe red wine grapes; traditionally the maker follows along behind the grape pickers, taking the grapes missed at the end of each row. There is fierce debate on which grape variety is best.

Autumn

March – May
Average temperature: daytime 17C – 26C (with heat spikes); nights 7C – 12C
• A time of great abundance, the weather is mild and the nights are cool and still.
• Tanunda Agricultural Show in March.
• Biennial Barossa Vintage Festival begins Easter Weekend.
• The grape harvest is in full swing.
• Orchards yield Autumn favourites in abundance: quinces, figs, apples and pears are preserved for winter
• Cucumbers are preserved with dill, salt and vine leaves (the dill cucumber section of the Tanunda Agricultural Show is hotly contested).
• The last of the season’s tomatoes are picked, ready for cooking.
• Chutneys, sauces and relishes are made to each family’s favorite recipe.
• Field mushrooms abound in paddocks throughout the region.
• It is a great time to be outside enjoying the weather and the magnificent sunsets.
• With the first cold snap, leaves begin to turn to gold across the Barossa, the long awaited first rains fall and a green tinge appears across the Barossa ranges.

 

Winter

June – August
Average temperatures: daytime 12C – 16C; nights 3C – 6C
• Woodfires take the chill off homes, restaurants and cellar doors.
• The garden is sown with broccoli, peas, broad beans and kale, silverbeet, spinach and garlic.
• In the orchard, oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins and grapefruit are in ample supply.
• To ward off the winter chill, kitchens are filled with the aromas of yeast rising and freshly baked bread and cakes.
• Outdoor bonfires, old wood bake ovens and modern pizza ovens are fired up for breads, casseroles and local sausages.
• Winter is the season for smoking and preserving meats and some families still have a traditional pig kill to provide all manner of wursts, hams and bacon for the year.
• Olives are harvested for oil or pickling.
• Barossa Gourmet Weekend in August.

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