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 of around 130 producers, 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:

Jun 162021

Thanks to all the people who have contributed to this week’s newsletter: Angela Chung, Ann Stanley, Bruno Tigani, Deb Thomson, James Petty, John Jenkins, Marcela Santos, Pam Jenkins and Toni Myers.

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).

Pam Jenkins discusses some vegetables which re-sprouted

In mid summer, I chopped my broccoli off to ground level when it was past its prime. It had an aphid infestation and was only growing very small side shoots. I had expected the root to die and thus feed the soil. In autumn, however, when I was ready to use that part of the garden again, I discovered a group of what looked like broccoli seedlings. On closer investigation, I discovered that the root had re-sprouted and that many of these plants had their own root systems. I hadn’t planned to grow broccoli this year but volunteer plants can’t be just tossed into the compost! So I prepared a bed, transplanted them and they are now well established young plants. They are, indeed, larger than the other brassicas that I grew from seed.

Yesterday I found something similar had happened with the florence fennel that I had allowed to go to seed over summer. I chopped it down to ground level in late summer and it has also re-grown. The fennel that I grew over summer had been a disappointment because it didn’t develop a bulb before going to seed. This latest fennel has developed a couple of bulbs from the old roots. I have already harvested one small fennel bulb and hope that the one that I left will continue to develop into a bulb closer to the size that you can buy in the shops.

The fennel that I planted in late summer is also going up to seed without producing a bulb (see photo). I wonder if I should cut it off early and try to get it to develop a bulb in the cooler weather.

Until I read up about it yesterday, I wasn’t aware that florence fennel is a perennial. It just goes to show that you are never to old to learn!

Silvertine Farm

From time to time, Ann Stanley writes articles about particular stallholders at Eltham Farmers’ Market. Her latest article is about Silvertine Farm (pdf). Silvertine Farm grow vegetables according to biodynamic principles and practices. They have a one acre farm at Wesburn (just out of Warburton) and another two acres at a local family farm by the Yarra River. Their Wesburn farm is at Yarra Valley ECOSS, which is a not-for-profit community organisation based on a 18 acre permaculture-designed farm at Wesburn. Read the full article (pdf).

This is the third of Ann articles, the other two being about Apted’s Orchards and Sugarloaf Produce (pdf).

Yes, you did know!

Controlling whitefly

Last week, Michelle Kohle asked for organic methods for controlling whitefly. A number of you have responded.

Bruno Tigani: “Use kaolin clay (which is also effective against Queensland Fruit Fly). I think you can buy it as a wettable powder, then mix with water in a spray unit. Take all usual care when working with fine powders as, whilst it’s organic, it can irritate eyes and lungs.

Deb Thomson: “Follow the instructions from the Eco organic garden website.” [This includes releasing green lacewings, eco-oil and eco-neem.]

James Petty: “You can try making an organic horticultural oil to spray – ¼ cup organic cooking oil (vegetable/peanut/olive) plus ¼ cup organic/natural laundry or dish soap to five litres water plus (optional, for extra oomph) a few drops of organic eucalyptus/peppermint oil. Such a spray will, however, also kill other insects on the plants (including whitefly predators). Another option is giving everything a brutal prune – in my experience, the most effective response to whitefly is getting rid of what they are eating. It’s sad but effective.

Michelle also asked whether she should compost the infected leaves. James’ answer: yes, especially if have enough for a hot compost which will kill the eggs.

Harvesting pumpkins

Last week, Patsy and Paul Hemsworth asked if they should harvest their remaining pumpkins. James Petty’s response: yes, and put the pumpkins somewhere dry and warm (and sunny if possible). Ripening pumpkins make a great dining table centrepiece. [Editor: I think that pumpkins will only continue to ripen off the vine if they have reached a certain stage on the vine, for example if they have started to turn to their mature colour.]

The Food Collective’s food drive; now until end July

The Food Collective is an initiative by Diamond Valley Community Support, who are based in Greensborough. They supply basic non-perishable food parcels of everyday necessities to those who are experiencing financial crisis and needing emergency relief assistance. They relay on donations of food and money.

As per the graphic right, they are currently seeking donations of tuna, meal bases, instant meals, long life milk and instant noodles. You can drop off items at their headquarters at Shop 378a, Level 3, Greensborough Plaza, 25 Main Street, Greensborough, Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm.

Some suggested reading on tomatoes

Toni Myers has written in to suggest that you read this article entitled Are tomatoes good for you? by someone called Ocean Robbins.

If you like the article, Mr. Robbins has written lots of others.

Some new food outlets in Eltham

A new cafe – Agnes & Alban

Covid-19 has caused a certain amount of carnage amongst the cafes in Eltham, as elsewhere. Bean Alive at 132 Bolton Street recently closed but it has now been replaced by Agnes & Alban. They are open 7am-3pm weekdays plus 8am-4pm Saturdays and, best of all, they do food as well as coffee, etc.

A new market

Library Place Market will take place every 3rd Sunday of the month, 8.30am-2pm, at Panther Place. It is being run by the same people (Diamond Valley Community Support) as both Hurstbridge Market and Kingsbury Market.

Marcel the Poodle (our Gourmet in a Beret)A poem by John Jenkins from Kangaroo Ground

Marcel the poodle
Ate oodles of noodles
And haute cuisine
From his fork.

 He wolfed down croissants,
Soufflé and poulet
 And duos of baguettes
 Served with pork.

“It’s a mere bagatelle
To dine out so well,”
Said stylish Marcel
Looking great.

 A true gourmet like me
 Has éclairs with tea
 Plus a big pile of snails
 On his plate.

“And I’m fond of fondue
Or a gateau or two
With a bowl of French fries
Till I’m sate.”

With a glass in his paw
Marcel poured himself more
Bordeaux red and some fizzy champagne,
Then he sniffed and he licked AND HE ATE!

This is just one of the many poems in a book a book of silly scribbles and nonsense poems that John has just written, illustrated and published called A Half-Baked Fruitcake of Nuts and Nonsense: Silly Stuff for Kids of All Ages.

Read more food-related poems by newsletter readers.

Neither local nor food-related but still interesting

The photo is of a type of sea slug called a leaf sheep (Costasiella kuroshimae). It is green because it retains the chloroplasts from the algae that it feeds on. And these chloroplasts remain functional, so they can photosynthesise and provide the leaf sheep with nutrition when times are hard or when it leaves the algae in search of mates.

Easy garden kimchi by Angela Chung


20-25 leaves of cabbage (or 1 whole small wombok)
1 cup of coarse sea salt
1 apple, peeled and grated
½ medium onion, grated
2-3 spring onions, sliced to 1cm length
3 tablespoons fish sauce
½ cup of Korean chilli powder
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 cup of water



Wash the cabbage leaves in running water to remove any dirt. Slice the cabbage widthways and set aside.

Place the cabbage in salty water by mixing 1 cup of sea salt and 4-5 cups of water. Mix and soak well together. Leave for 3 hours. Wash, draining the water, and set aside.


Mix all the seasoning ingredients in a large bowl.

Add the brined cabbage to the bowl and mix well together until all of the seasoning covers the cabbage. Taste and add more salt if needed.


Place the kimchi in clean jars using tongs and make sure to press down the kimchi so that it is covered by the liquid.

Screw on the lid and clean any excess kimchi liquid on the outside of the jars with a damp cloth (packing kimchi in the jars can be tricky and messy!).

Leave at room temperature for 1 day and then store in the fridge. It will be ready in 2 weeks.

* * * * *

Angela runs a small business called Pop-Up Pantry, which is an online store delivering pantry and household cleaning products direct to homes within 10km of Macleod. She is also at Macleod Market on the 3rd Saturday of each month, 9am-2pm. She also has a popup pantry in Macleod, at 5 Melrose Avenue, every Wednesday and Saturday (except Macleod Market days), 11am–2pm plus another in Rosanna, at 39 Finlayson Street, every Tuesday, 11am–2pm.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The most popular link last week was Judy’s visit to Jian Liu’s garden in Camberwell.

Joke (or pun) of the week

Let’s eat grandma!” No, “let’s eat, grandma!” Punctuation saves lives.

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.

In the list below, events costing $10 or less are in bold.

For Covid-related reasons, some of the events below may have been cancelled or deferred.

Upcoming events – not cooking

Newly announced

Upcoming events – cooking

Newly announced
In Richmond