Nov 302013

Join a vibrant food culture, growing and eating local

Covering all matters food across North East Melbourne

Whether you are a local food producer, want to eat local food, grow veggies in your garden or just want to meet like-minded folks, Local Food Connect is for you. Join now.

Eltham Farmers’ Market, a Local Food Connect initiative, is held every Sunday.

The purpose of this website and associated newsletter is twofold: to promote all aspects of local food around North East Melbourne and to make people around North East Melbourne feel part of a local food community.

The material is centred on 5 databases:

  1. Upcoming local food-related events: all the upcoming events of various types, around 400 per month.
  2. Local food producers: pages on each producer, both farmers and makers.
  3. Local community gardens: pages on each of the 60 community gardens in the area
  4. Local food swaps: details of the 30 food swaps in the area.
  5. Local food justice organisations: including ‘food is free’ sites, free food distribution organisations and free community meals.

These databases are brought together into an overall Local Food Directory which contains pages for each of 300 or so local food organisations.

In addition, there are articles written by a variety of local people on:

Apr 162021

Thanks to all the people who have contributed to this week’s newsletter: Ann Stevens, Giuliana Priolo, Kayla Blackmore, Miranda Sharpe, Ramesh Dianat and Vasundhara Kandpal.

We would love to hear from more of you and include some of your words about any food-related matters in future newsletters. Email us with your contribution(s)!.

The top left box of every newsletter

People sometimes ask me how many people the newsletter is sent to. My reply is that the number of recipients is always given in the top left of every newsletter (and is currently 3,262).

This is the same box as the hyperlinks for unsubscribing and for switching between weekly and monthly newsletters.

And, from this week onwards, it is also the same box as an acknowledgement to the traditional owners of the lands that most of us live on. Thanks, Giuliana Priolo, for suggesting this. Maybe it will start a trend for other newsletters.

Re-opening/closing news

Northcote Food Swap has “gone into hibernation“.

What’s in season for you to buy in April?

[I’m pleased to welcome Kayla Blackmore as a (hopefully!) regular contributor to this newsletter. Kayla is the market manager of Coburg Farmers’ Market. Our current plan is that she will write a monthly article on what is in season for you to buy at farmers’ markets and elsewhere. Kayla’s first contribution is a slightly belated article for April.]

What’s in season for you to buy in April:

  • Fruit: apples, figs, raspberries, melons, tamarillos, grapes, strawberries.
  • Vegetables: sweetcorn, pumpkins, beetroot, shallots, spring onions, beans, cabbage, broccoli, chillies, potatoes, parsnips.

Mid April sees the start of the pine mushroom season. “All the mushrooms that we get and bring to market are wild mushrooms. They cannot be cultivated. That’s what makes them unique and that’s why they’re only at farmers’ markets for a short period of time.” (Vlad, owner of Melbourne Pine Mushrooms). According to Vlad, the best way to store them is on paper trays, which should then be put in paper bags and refrigerated. Tip: pine mushrooms will oxidise and turn a greenish colour when bruised or damaged so handle them with care; however, they are still perfectly fine to eat if they have turned green. They love salt, oil and butter (don’t we all?) and are amazing on toast for breakfast or in a hearty stew or pasta sauce.

Want a job (kitchen activator)?

Part-time (0.6) for 6 months. $29.26 per hour. Working for Melbourne Farmers Markets and based in Alphington. “A hands-on position, leading the activation of our newly completed registered commercial kitchen on site at Alphington.” The closing date has past but they have just re-advertised it. Read more and potentially apply.

A new meals delivery service in Eltham

Kitchen 55 are a new meals delivery service based in Eltham who deliver to postcodes 3088, 3094, 3095, 3106 and 3109. You order meals online and then they deliver around 48 hours later. Their menu includes both classic and Persian dishes, with a total of 25 different offerings. Welcome Ramesh!

Interested in Japanese fermentation?

Yoko Nakazawa, from Cooking With Koji in Preston, was recently interviewed by the ABC on Japanese fermentation and the magic of ‘koji’.

Another new video from Karen Sutherland

Karen, who lives in Pascoe Vale South, specialises in growing native bush tucker. She has recently a video on harvesting and pruning native oregano/thyme/mint. It is the 7th in a series about harvesting and pruning native edible plants.

In a food business?

The Love Food Hate Waste Business program is a free Sustainability Victoria initiative to help cafes and other food businesses reduce their environmental footprint. You sign up for a four week program during which you receive materials to guide you on: tracking where food waste is happening in your business; planning how to take action to prevent waste; and measuring success. Read more and potentially sign up.

Fun facts – oobleck

If you follow American politics, you will know that the Dr. Seuss books are rather topical over there at the moment. One such book is Bartholomew and the Oobleck, which follows the adventures of a young boy named Bartholomew Cubbins who must rescue his kingdom from a sticky green substance called ‘oobleck’. Oobleck (named after the book) is actually a real liquid which has the extremely unusual property that it becomes more viscous (i.e. more solid) under pressure.

Usually a liquid remains a liquid no matter how hard you stir it. By contrast, oobleck temporarily becomes more solid when you stir it. Technically, it is called a ‘shear thickening liquid’. Wikipedia lists only two other substances that behave in this manner, namely silly putty and (bizarrely) chilled caramel ice cream topping. It is effectively the opposite of quicksand, which is normally a solid but which liquefies if, for example, you walk on it.

Oobleck is really easy to make at home, comprising just cornflour and water. Simply put some cornflour in a flat-bottomed bowl and slowly add water until the mixture becomes a liquid. It is then easy to feel its weirdness: if you drag your fingers along the top of the liquid, that part which is under your fingers temporarily becomes solid. Here is a relevant video. Something to try out with your grandchildren?

Here is a video of people walking on oobleck. Here is a video of oobleck ‘dancing’ on a speaker cone.

Read more food-related fun facts on our website.

Every newsletter needs a good picture

Alonsa Guevara paints hyperrealistic paintings of fruit, such as the orange pictured right.

Vasundhara’s recipe of the week – veggie cream cheese


1½ cups raw cashews (soaked in water for several hours or overnight, drained and rinsed)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2-3 tablespoons water
¼ cup carrots, shredded
¼ cup capsicum, diced
2 tablespoons green onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped


Don’t let the prep time for this recipe scare you! It’s all hands off.

Be sure that your cashews have soaked for several hours or, ideally, overnight. The longer that they soak, the creamier your cream cheese will be. After soaking, drain and rinse the cashews.

Add the soaked cashews, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, onion powder, paprika and garlic powder to the bowl of a food processor. Start to process to break up the cashews. You will need to stop the food processor frequently and scrape down the sides to keep the mixture moving. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together into a smooth spread. Be patient as this could take 5-10 minutes.

Once it’s smooth, transfer to a mixing bowl and add the carrots, capsicum, onion, parsley and dill. Stir to combine.

Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt or a tiny splash of vinegar or lemon juice, if necessary.

Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and store in the fridge. It will set up and thicken slightly as it sits in the fridge and gets cold. You could eat it right away, but it’s better cold.

Read more of Vasundhara Kandpal’s plant-based recipes on our website.

Vasundhara is a professional cook who operates a meals delivery service called Green Karma in Briar Hill, Eltham, Eltham North and Montmorency. Read her menu and order.

The history of this newsletter and the website: 2020

2020 was, as you know, a year like no other. In February, there were around 350 local food events around North East Melbourne but, by April, this had plummeted to around zero. I was minded to put the newsletter (and website) on hold until the end of the pandemic but wiser heads prevailed and, instead, it partially re-invented itself as a more interactive publication where readers asked/answered questions about food-related matters, offered tips, sent in photos, provided recipes and wrote articles. Surprisingly, many more people clicked links in the newsletter than in previous years (almost 30,000 links clicked in 2020) and many more people subscribed to the newsletter than in previous years (almost 1,000 new subscribers in 2020). So, rather than being a victim of Covid-19, the newsletter actually became a beneficiary.

Read the earlier history.

That concludes the history of this newsletter and the website since I got involved. I hope that you have found it of some interest. Next week, I’ll summarise the major sections of the website and then we will move onto something else.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The most popular link last week was the guided tours of the Edible Forest in Dixons Creek.

Joke (or pun) of the week

The Black Eyed Peas can sing us a tune, but the chickpeas can hummus one.

Read more jokes.

Upcoming events – introduction

Website calendars

By type of event: All once-off events, Cooking, Everything else, Garden tours, Free.

By Council area: Banyule, Boroondara, City of Yarra, Darebin, Manningham, Maroondah, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whitehorse, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges.

Upcoming events – not cooking

Newly announced

Upcoming events – cooking

Newly announced
In Richmond

Read about more cooking classes in Richmond.