Today we have a guest post from Saskia’s dad, Mr J:
We first heard of the Otway Herb Farm on George Biron’s Sunnybrae blog.
We are always looking for specialty herbs as a change from the industrially produced herbs supplied around Melbourne. So we headed off to discover the Otway Herb Farm at Biddles Road. The farm is a little difficult to find, but is located between Skenes Creek and Apollo Bay, about 8 kms up Wild Dog Road. Coming from Melbourne toward Apollo Bay, as you drive through Skene’s Creek, you turn right at Wild Dog Road.
The road is a picturesque one way rural lane along ridges overlooking scenic valleys. Eventually, on the left side of Biddles Road, you come to the small green sign: Otway Herbs Nursery and Cottage Gardens, Open Daily.
Running down the hillside, the cottage gardens are spread around a series of pathways containing a wide variety of mixed plantings along the walk ways – ranging from vegetables, such as artichokes and leeks to flowers, such as nasturtiums mixed with a full range of herbs and fruits.
On our visit, Judi showed us around and explained the history and source of many of the plants. She has collected many seeds from overseas and propagated them.
After being stimulated by the health and pungency of all the plantings and the herbs, we staggered back up the hill to feast on the punnets and the pots for sale. The punnets are arranged on benches in groups such as Medicinal, Perennial, Fragrant, Ground, Culinary Herbs, Rockery and Salvias, which are varieties of sage. There were about 8-10 different varieties available.
They were priced around $3.50 per punnet.
Further on there is an area containing pots of more advanced specimens of the same plants:
On our visit, we asked for some samphire, but Ken said that they were all sold out and to come back in about a month for the next round of samphire. There are a wide variety of sages, thymes, mints and interesting vegetables such as welsh onions. There are many exotic edible plants such as the samphire, purslane and winter and cretan savory. The full plant list is on Ken and Judi’s web site.
On this journey, we bought some birds eye chilli, dwarf greek oregano, French tarragon and winter savoury:
We have always found the Otway Herbs plants are hardy and water tough. They are strongly flavoured herbs. It is always good to throw some winter or cretan savory into salads in the place of the usual basil/parsley combo. We find it great to use different flavour thymes and sages to replace the standard flavours. We are looking forward to getting some purslane and samphire to work with.
Judi and Ken Forrester, Otway Herbs
Biddles Rd, Via Wild Dog Creek Rd,
Apollo Bay Vic
Ph: (03) 5237 6318