Oct 282015

Your local salami champion

On Sunday 18 October, a team led by LFC News subscriber Barbara Marshall was named the 2015 Melbourne Salami Festa overall winner for its unique duck and pork salami. “There was a lot of debate among the judges, but this one won because it was an unusual combination with a simple flavour, that was perfectly cured and packed” said festa director, Carlo Mazzarella. Congratulations Barbara!

In passing, the Eltham Wine Show on Sunday, 15th November, 10.30am-12.30pm, is likely to include a demonstration of how to make salami by Home Make It.

basilHelen writes about basil

Another month and we’re lucky enough to have another article from Helen, of the Mushroom Shed! This time, she is writing about how to grow basil. As she says in her introduction: “One of the most popular summer herbs is basil – well known for its wonderful flavouring properties and aroma. It is the key ingredient in pesto and also mixes well with tomato based dishes. It originally came from India, where it was a sacred plant, with Holy or Tulsi Basil being highly revered and thus planted around temples and homes. There are many types of basil, including various hybrids. Most are annual, with a few being perennial.” She then goes on to discuss the different varieties, perennial basil, growing from seed, aspect, harvesting and storage. Read the full article.

Helen tells us that she will be bringing around 10 different varieties of basil to Eltham Farmers’ Market on 8th November. So, if you have ever wanted to grow, taste or eat a variety other than sweet basil, now is your chance.

Home delivery of fruit & veggie boxes

There are at least 11 local organisations who home deliver fruit and veggie boxes around North East Melbourne:

  • Anges Fresh Fruit & Veg (Kinglake).
  • From The Earth Fruitnveg (Ringwood North).
  • Go Fresh Fruit Shop (Mooroolbark).
  • Greenline Organic / Victoria Organic Delivery (Thomastown).
  • Johnny F’s Fruit & Veggies (Alphington).
  • Kew Organics (Kew).
  • Lime Fresh Produce (Heidelberg).
  • Micky Booth Fruit and Vegetable Home Delivery (Ringwood).
  • Organic Angels (Box Hill).
  • Organic Empire (Mt Evelyn).
  • Organic Origins (Warrandyte South).

Each organisation has its own delivery areas. Someone suggested that it would be useful to provide a tool which allows people to type in their postcode or suburb and then be told who will deliver to them. A bit of googling plus a touch of programming and voilà – see the new section on home delivery of fruit and veggie boxes on the website.

If you know of any other organisations that should be included, please email us. Ditto any corrections, comments or suggestions.

food swap signHurstbridge Food Swap

As you may remember from a previous newsletter, the Hurstbridge Food Swap has been on hold for the last few months. The issue is that, whilst Arja (Toivanen) would like to continue with it, she doesn’t want to do so on her own. Is there anyone out there that would be willing to have a go at running the food swap with Arja? If so, please email her.

For the time being at least, consider that the Hurstbridge food swap is now permanently on hold.

Some of the other food swaps (Eltham, Diamond Creek, Greenborough and Warrandyte) are also in need of people to help out. For those of you who go to any of these food swaps: if you could offer to help out a few times a year on the admin side, that would really be appreciated. Email us and we’ll put in contact with the right person.

(The picture on the right is of a new A-frame that has recently been acquired to advertise the Greensborough swap. A similar sign has also been acquired for Warrandyte.)

Watercress soup + peach and tomato gazpacho

Some of you might remember our very successful campaign to popularise watermelon skin pickle. Well, incredibly, there are still two recipes on our website that nobody (apart from me) has ever read. Correct this situation immediately by clicking on one or both of the following:

  • Watercress soup (it is actually more interesting than it sounds).
  • Peach and tomato gazpacho (a real surprise, particularly given that its author is arguably the best cook in the whole of Nillumbik).

plant deficiencyIdentifying plant deficiencies

A useful graphic and article from the Grow Real Food website.

Another useful table and short article (pdf) on the same subject.

New events


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Oct 212015

Where to buy Certified Organic compost

I have recently had some difficulty finding Certified Organic compost. Many nurseries do not sell it and, unfortunately, some of them try and pass off their compost as the equivalent by saying something (moronic) like it is “100% organic”. So, I have done something of a survey. A list of the local outlets that I now know do actually sell Certified Organic compost can be found at the compost section of the local resources page. In summary:

  • Diamond Creek: Nillumbik Nursery.
  • Doncaster East: Beasley’s Nursery & Teahouse.
  • Doreen: Sertel’s Nursery.
  • Eltham: Webster Farm and Garden.
  • Ringwood North: Branch Out Nursery.
  • Ringwood North: Oban Trading.
  • Any Bunnings (there are 7 in our area).

If you know of any others, please email me.

In passing, when I referenced the horse manure section of the local resources page in a newsletter, it immediately became one of the most clicked links of any newsletter(!). I have now added four other sources of horse manure, all free and all from Banyule Horse Riders.

little drop of poisonNew planter box in Eltham

Nathan Ezard has begun to adorn the outside of The Little Drop of Poison with vertical gardens, such that they can be seen from both the road and the railway. The first (see picture) contains succulents.

The comparative costs of fruit & veggies

How do you think that the costs of the food at Eltham Farmers’ Market compare with a) the local small shops and b) supermarkets? Well, I didn’t know so I decided to do a survey to find out. The survey took place in August 2015 (i.e. at the end of Winter) and all the shops surveyed were in Eltham. It focussed on veggies and fruit, but also covered other staples (eggs, bread, etc). The results can be found at the Eltham Farmers’ Market section.

In summary (from a cost perspective only):

  • The market was generally a good option for both veggies (10% cheaper than the supermarket) and fruit (14% cheaper than the supermarket).
  • For veggies on average, the supermarket was the most expensive, the small shop was the cheapest, and the farmers’ market was between the two.
  • For fruit on average, the farmers’ market was the cheapest, with the other two roughly equal.
  • For other staples, the comparisons were a bit all over the place, with the farmers’ market prices being competitive for some items (e.g. free range eggs and camembert) but more expensive for others.

Read the full results here.

New events

Warrandyte Community Garden open day

warrandyte_1What: Everyone welcome. This is the location which also hosts the newly established Warrandyte Food Swap, which is on the previous day.
When: Sunday, 8th November, 10am-1pm.
Where: Police Street, Warrandyte.
Cost: free.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The art of food forest gardening

What: Angelo, from Deep Green Permaculture, will discuss how make your garden more productive by utilising the sustainable ecological principles of a natural forest.
When: Tuesday, 17th November, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Diamond Valley Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Dione Fisher by phone (9434 3809) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Darebin Backyard Harvest Festival

What and when: A week long series of events celebrating local food gardens, sharing food, and growing knowledge & skills across generations and cultures.

Where: Various events in Northcote, Preston, Reservoir and Thornbury.
Cost: Each event is $10 / $5 Concession (children free).
Bookings: Eventbrite.

Summary of all upcoming events

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Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events.

Oct 142015

More on how to keep your worms cool

In last week’s newsletter, Fay gave some tips about how to keep the worms in your worm farm cool. Jane Trikojus responds: “Another simple way to get worms through heat waves is to remove the bottom liquid-collecting tray and place the worm farm on the soil. The worms will travel down into the much cooler dirt when necessary and up again to feed. Should be in the shade for summer.

mangosBuy some delicious mangoes and support a worthy cause

Each year Hurstbridge Learning Co-operative organises a mango fundraiser. In a nutshell – $25/box, each box 6kg, delivery some time in December (confirmed closer to the time). $5 from each box sold goes to Hurstbridge Learning Co-operative Primary School).

whitehorseNew ‘urban harvest share-meet’ at Box Hill South

Whitehorse Urban Harvest are starting a new, monthly ‘urban harvest share-meet’ at Box Hill South – take your homegrown produce, plants, seedlings, etc to share with other local food gardeners. 11am-12.30pm, every 3rd Saturday in the month, Neighbourhood House, 47 Kitchener Street, Box Hill South.

They will also be continuing at Forest Hill: 10am-midday, every 3rd Saturday in the month, Horticulture Centre, 82 Jolimont Road, Forest Hill.

New events

Angelo Eliades free talks

What: Throughout October and November, Angelo Eliades, from Deep Green Permaculture, will be giving a free talk every Thursday at 11am: Oct 15 – succession planting; Oct 22 – achieving a bountiful harvest; Oct 29 – tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes (and basil); Nov 5 – growing herbs indoors; Nov 12 – maintaining beneficial insects in the garden.
When: Each Thursday in October and Novermber, 11am-midday.
Where: Bulleen Art & Garden Nursery.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: BAAG by phone (8850 3030).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Moreland Community Gardens mega tour

What: Tour 6 quite different community gardens and see a variety of approaches to growing food in the community. At each stop on the tour, you will hear about the garden setup, people and story then have a wander around and a chance to ask questions. The 6 gardens are: Mulberry Garden, Glenroy; West Brunswick Community Garden and Food Forest; Saxon Street Community Garden, Brunswick; Luscombe Street Community Garden, Brunswick; CERES Community Garden, East Brunswick; and Merri Corner Community Garden, East Brunswick.
When: Saturday, 24th October, 10.30am-3pm.
Where: Mulberry Garden, Glenroy.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: by email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

wonga parkFood swap at Wonga Park primary school fair

What: This once-off food swap is part of Wonga Park Primary School’s School Fair which is, in turn, part of the school’s 120 Year Celebration. The swap will be held in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden area. The fair itself will have an extensive market area, other food stalls, plant stall, preserves stall, rides, circus entertainment, children’s craft activities, pony rides and will culminate in a beautiful lantern parade. As it is the celebration of their 120th anniversary, there will be lots of historic photos and memorabilia.
When: Saturday, 24th October, 3-5pm.
Where: Wonga Park Primary School.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Jenny Kelly by email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Growing vegetables in your garden

What: Presented by Maria Ciavarella from My Green Garden. Learn to put your garden to good use to grow some delicious summer vegies. Maria will give you advice on how to get your veggie patch started as well as tips on the best vegies to grow over the warmer months. Be prepared to get your hands dirty as you will take home some seeds to get growing in your own garden.
When: Monday, 9th November, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Thomastown Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Thomastown Library by phone (9464 1864) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of all upcoming events

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Oct 072015

Open Farm Day

More shaking than a Zumba class …

A great time was had by all last Sunday. The picture is of an olive harvester, which shakes the tree trunk until the olives drop off and fall into the catcher. Whilst it only gets 80% of the olives, it takes just a few seconds per tree.


warrandyte 1Volunteer opportunity at the Warrandyte food swap

Last week, I told you about the new food swap at Warrandyte. See the picture (right) from last Saturday’s successful swap. They are now looking for another volunteer to be part of the team. If interested, please email Carol.

How to keep your worms cool

Fay Loveland has volunteered to provide some occasional words of wisdom about things she has been thinking about. Thanks Fay! Here is her first offering: “This week in the garden I’ve been trying to keep the worm farm cool. As I write this, the worms in my worm farm are enjoying slices of chilled watermelon! To keep the worm farm cool, it is positioned in a shady spot under a large tree. During the past few days, I’ve added a couple of plastic bottles of frozen water (think of a cold version of a hot water bottle). The worms ‘snuggle’ up to the chilly bottles. At night, I open the worm farm lid for a while and rinse the farm with fresh cool water. I have also sprinkled the worm farm with a little lime to keep the pH higher and to reduce odour. Finally, I’ve soaked many layers of old newspaper and laid that over the top of the worms. It might sound like a bit of work, but it’s worth it to keep the worms working, and nobody likes finding stewed worms after a few, hot, neglectful days.

Food Know How – a recipe for taste, not waste

If you live in Darebin, Maribyrnong, Moreland, Whittlesea or Yarra Ranges council areas, you can, at no cost, join the Food Know How program to learn how to reduce food waste, save money and make a positive contribution to the environment. Food Know How members will have exclusive access to:

  • Free workshops to learn handy tips on preparing, cooking and storing food to avoid waste.
  • Handy tools to help reduce food waste: kitchen food caddies, menu planners, food storage guides, etc.
  • Contribute to the online Food Know How members’ recipe book.
  • Share food saving tips and ideas with the Food Know How community.

Find out more about Food Know How by email or visit their website.

feastRegister for the Home Harvest Feast 2016

Grower registrations for the Home Harvest Feast 2016 are now open. In its fifth year, the Feast is a celebration of home grown produce and local food. All growers are invited to celebrate in the harvest and the joys of local food by sharing a community meal created by trained cooks using your home or community-grown produce. Tickets to the Feast are free for growers and their guests.

New events

Home composting and worm farming

What: Learn the art of successful home composting and worm farming and how to overcome common composting and worm farming problems.
When: Wednesday, 7th October, 7-9pm.
Where: Mill Park Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Sylvia Turk by phone (9401 0509) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Biodynamic compost making

What: Workshop run by Biodynamics in Community.
When: Sunday, 11th October, 10am-midday.
Where: The Michael Centre, Warranwood.
Cost: $10 (member rates).
Enquiries/Bookings: Celia Cornick by phone (0433 677106) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Garden gathering at St Pius X

What: With the ok given to create a community garden at St Pius X, you are invited to attend their first gathering, under the delightful peppercorn tree. Share a meal, live music and conversation. Bring along any ideas that you have. Please bring food to share (a BBQ will be fired up), friends, family and a musical instrument.
When: Sunday, 11th October, midday-3pm.
Where: St Pius X, Heidelberg West.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Sharon by phone (0414 322915) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Biodynamic farm visits

What: Visits organised by Biodynamics in Community.
When: Saturday, 24th October, starting at 9am.
Where: Mornington Peninsula, locations provided upon booking.
Cost: $10 (member rates).
Enquiries/Bookings: Celia Cornick by phone (0433 677106) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Wicking bed workshop

What: A hands-on demonstration on how to build a wicking bed from a fruit crate. 6 wicking beds await construction. The afternoon will conclude with afternoon tea and there will also be an opportunity for attendees to register their interest in the St Johns Community Garden if they wish. There is a limit of 30 places at the workshop, so please RSVP by email or phone.
When: Sunday, 25th October, 2-4.30pm.
Where: St Johns Anglican church, Heidelberg.
Cost: gold coin donation.
Enquiries/Bookings: Katrina by phone (0422 735213) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Lalor Community Garden plants sale and open day

What: Come along and purchase seedlings which have been lovingly grown from seed by community garden members. Every dollar you spend will go directly back into the community garden for future projects, tools and equipment.
When: Saturday, 31st October, 10am-2pm.
Where: Peter Lalor Secondary College, Lalor.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Steve by phone (9465 0416).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Hurstbridge Garden Club

What: Richard Lee, from KABUU, on growing and using Asian greens.
When: Tuesday, 3rd November, 7.15-9.15pm.
Where: Community and Family Centre, Hurstbridge.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Cheryl Lowe by phone (9438 1563) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Bat and snake night

What: Learn about the microbats that inhabit the local area. Rob Gration will set up some traps and bring along some monitoring equipment on the night to hopefully identify some species. James Booth, from Council’s Land Management Team, will give a presentation on some of the local species of snakes that you may encounter this summer. BBQ dinner provided. Bookings are essential.
When: Friday, 20th November, 7.30-10pm.
Where: Location provided upon booking.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Whittlesea Council Land Management Team by phone (9217 2323) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of all upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events.