I felt a bit like Charlie Bucket opening a Willy Wonka's chocolate bar and finding a golden ticket when I received the invitation to 'The Shady Baker' , otherwise known as Jane's annual Fire and Flour Day.
I get so excited about this day. I am not a natural baker or cook. My garden does not have an abundance of produce and I devote much more of my time to my passion, Early Childhood Education, than I do to food, growing, making and creating. This being said, Fire and Flour day incorporates all the things I truly enjoy. There is beautiful food that we get to make, bake and cook while learning from Jane herself. There is beautiful produce grown to eat on the day or to take home from the swap table. There are friends and, in my case, family to catch up with and enjoy the company of and every year there are new friends to meet and make. There may even be a cheeky red or two!
This year we arrived to the sight of a long trestle table in the paddock, ready for feasting. There was a big fire to congregate around, an absolute must at an outdoor event in July, and there was a coffee van! Yes a coffee van. Summa and Nathan were busy firing up the coffee machine, ready to share their mobile barista skills with us for morning tea. Jane has the BEST friends!
Waiting for us before our departure was the swap table where everyone had contributed something from their garden, kitchen or craft room. We were all excited to see what others had brought and chose from garden cuttings, preserves, things lovingly stitched or crocheted, oranges, lemons and quinces, seedlings and many more treasures to take home. There is a real spirit of sharing and generosity surrounding the swap table and every time I enjoy someones stewed quinces and homemade marmalade in the weeks after it brings a smile to my face.
Goodbyes mingled with thank you's, "See you next year" and exclamations of how we have known each other through social media and now we know each other in 'Real Life'. I went home, happy to have once again spent time with my Fire and Flour family and excited to have made new friends I might get to see this time next year.