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:

Jul 212021

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).

Lucinda makes simple sourdough bread

Lucinda Flynn’s latest article on our web site is about how to make sourdough bread. Here’s her introduction: “There must be hundreds of ways to make sourdough, all with different methods, tips and tricks. Being someone who generally goes for the quick and easy version, mine is so simple I can literally make a loaf in 5 minutes.

As with many of Lucinda’s articles, she provides a step-by-step process, with photos accompanying each step. In this case:

  1. Get yourself some sourdough starter.
  2. Feed the starter every day for a few days until full.
  3. Re-activate the starter (if you forgot to feed it).
  4. Mix the starter with flour and water and then set aside overnight.
  5. Add flour and salt to taste, knead and put into bread pans.
  6. Set aside to rise double.
  7. Cook.
  8. Eat.

Read the full article.

Jaimie’s edible plant of the month – aronia berries (chokeberries)

For the month of July I couldn’t go past the aronia berries, probably because the red variety is still hanging on the tree through winter looking stunning.

The common name for aronia berry is chokeberry because they can be quite astringent with a sharp drying affect in your mouth. But don’t let this deter you as they are packed full of nutrients, with more antioxidants than blueberries. The health benefits include anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, organ health, artery and blood vessel health. They are also packed full of vitamins and minerals.

Aronia berries are really hardy in our climate, having originated in North America and being grown extensively in East Europe. There are three species:

  • Aronia melanocarpa (aka Photinia melanocarpa), black chokeberry.
  • Aronia arbutifolia (aka Photinia pyrifolia), red chokeberry.
  • Aronia prunifolia (aka Photinia floribunda), purple chokeberry

We have the black and red species in the Edible Forest and are in the process of acquiring the purple species.

The black species fruits first and has more astringent qualities but we find that this species is the best for using in recipes. Some recipes we have made so far include a vinaigrette, cordial and (when mixed with blueberries) a great jam! Once cooked, the astringency goes away and the flavour is quite nice.

The red species fruits much later and holds onto the shrub through winter, giving us fresh fruit for smoothies, etc. It is much less astringent than the black species and can even be eaten raw with ease. It also puts on a great autumn colour show.

I’m looking forward to working with the purple species and seeing the differences.

I would definitely recommend this hardy unique shrub in any Melbourne garden, especially for those that like to preserve and be more self-sustainable.

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Watch Jaimie’s video about aronia berries.

Jaimie Sweetman is Head Gardener of the Edible Forest located on the Yarra Valley Estate in Dixons Creek. Tours of the Edible Forest, often led by Jaimie, take place on all days except Sundays – read more and book your place on a future tour.

A new video about the Food is Free initiative in Ringwood East

Whilst some people like to read words, others like to watch videos. For the latter, Food is Free Ringwood East organiser (and newsletter reader) Naomi Walsh recently published a short video about the Food is Free initiative in Ringwood East. For the former, we have an introductory page about Food is Free on our website.

Some possible new adventures for you

Organic Fix is up for sale

Organic Fix, the organic, health store in Eltham, is up for sale. If you are interested in potentially taking it over, ring Lynn-eva on 9424 1861.

The Monty Hub Project needs some more investors

The Monty Hub Project is a not-for-profit venture to try and establish a community hub at the old St Andrews Uniting Church in Montmorency. The idea is that it will be community owned and operated as a co-operative. The members already include Local Food Connect, Montmorency Community Group and Montmorency Biodiversity Group. The next step is to buy the property, which they have an option to do on 18th August. But, to achieve this, they need to raise some more money. Read their investment prospectus. If you want to support this project financially, there are two options. First, you can join the co-operative as a founding member, whereby you purchase a $5,000 share; read more about this option and potentially apply. Alternatively, you can donate any amount that you want.

Going Green Solutions is still up for sale

This is a well-known, local eco-business (shop in Hurstbridge plus e-commerce site). “This is your opportunity to step into a fully functioning, award winning and highly regarded business in the eco-retail space. Work at something you love with awesome customers who share your passion!” $280,000 ONO. For a chat or for more information, contact Lucinda Flynn by email (

What do you suggest?

Uses for excess grapefruit

Julie Martin has lots of spare grapefruit. Other than make (yet more) marmalade, what should she do with them? Email your answers.

Uses for fragrance water from boiled limes?

Hanh Truong has written in: “I’m pickling limes for the first time and, to remove the zest and the bitter taste, I cook them in boiling water for 2 minutes. After I take out the limes, the water smells beautiful and zesty. It seems such a waste to pour the water down the drain. What else could I do with the fragrance water?Email your answers.

Guess the leafy greens

Chloe Thomson recently posted on her Facebook page a photo of the leaves of 10 leafy greens that she is currently growing and asked her readership to name them. Click the leftmost picture on the right to look at the 10 leaves, then try and name them, then click the rightmost picture to see how many you got right. FWIIW, I got 8 out of 10 right.

Some suggested reading

Richard Kottek suggests that you read this article about grafting tomato plants onto native kangaroo apple shrubs.

Flourless orange and almond cake (by Jen Willis)

This recipe is by Jen Willis from Heidelberg and originally appeared in the Sustainable Macleod newsletter. It is timely because of the great citrus season that some of us are having this year.


2 whole oranges (washed)
5 eggs
2½ cups of almond meal or 250g of raw whole unsalted almonds blitzed up
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
1¼ cups of white or caster sugar


Cover the whole oranges in a pan with water. Boil for 15 minutes.

Pour off the water and replace with fresh water. Boil for another 15 minutes. The double boiling of the oranges removes some of the bitterness from the peel.

Drain and wait until the oranges are cool enough to handle.

Pre-heat your oven to 170degC and grease (well!) a large cake tin.

Cut the oranges into chunks and remove any visible seeds. Place into a food processor and blitz until smooth (scraping down the sides if needed).

Add the other ingredients to the food processor and pulse enough just to mix them together.

Pour into a cake tin and bake for an hour.

Rest in the tin for at least 20 minutes before turning out so it can firm up.

Garnish with orange rind, icing sugar, slivered almonds or serve plain. In a cafe that I (Jen) once worked in, we used to simmer orange rind in a saucepan with orange juice and sugar to make a syrup and pour it over the cake while it was still in the tin cooling.

Keeps well for at least 4-5 days in a sealed tin.

If you don’t have a large cake tin you could use two smaller ones and reduce the cooking time.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The most popular link last week was Angela Chung’s article on creating a beautiful, functional and plastic-free pantry.

Joke (or pun) of the week

What did the apple skin say to the apple? I’ve got you covered.

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