Oct 102017
 

Mac’s tip of the week

When it comes to fruit trees, it is often a case of less is more! Now that your fruit tree flowers are ending and the fruit is starting to form, it is a great time to remove some of the fruit! When a tree is carrying a very heavy crop, the fruits are often small and of poor quality. Fruit thinning can improve fruit size and quality on many fruit trees, including apples, pears, plums, peaches and nectarines. Simply remove some of the fruit by hand. Thinning will also stop your fruit trees bearing biennially (i.e. a heavy crop one year is followed by a light crop the year after) plus you will prevent branches breaking from bearing too much fruit and allow better air flow (which helps protect your fruit against both fungal disease and insect attack).

Read all of Mac’s tips.

Are you, or can you be, a budding journalist?

Helen Simpson has decided to go back to University (Spatial Geography). With this, plus her day job(s), she will no longer have the time to write for the website and newsletter. So, after two years and 24 articles (with 2 more to come), she is retiring. I’d like to thank Helen for all her efforts: her growing guides have added both substance and visitor volume to the website; and her more recent home grower interviews have been widely acclaimed. If, by way of tribute, you would like to say anything about Helen’s articles, Email me.

I really would like us to continue with the home grower interviews. Ideally, we would find a Helen substitute but this might well prove difficult. Rather, I think the way forward is probably to have 2 or 3 interviewers to share the load, with these people covering different geographical areas within North East Melbourne. Would you be willing to interview some home growers in either your local area or further afield? Email me.

Incredible Edible Eltham news

The edible food garden at Eltham railway station will be officially opened on 13th November at 4pm by Vicki Ward, MP. Meet the builders of the wicking beds, the artist of the murals and other key figures in Incredible Edible Eltham. After the opening, retire to Platform 3095 cafe and bar for complementary tapas, coffee and a free drink. Everyone welcome. Register here.

When seedlings are first planted in wicking beds, they need a bit of time to grow their roots before the wicking actually starts working. So, some of the volunteers have been watering them manually. Watering cans and hoses have been acquired and are being stored by the railway staff.

Visit the Facebook group to keep in touch with developments.

Eltham Farmers’ Market is going weekly (from 5th November)!

In case you missed the announcement in last week’s newsletter.

So, from 5th November, when you wake on a Sunday morning you will know it is market day without having to check your calendar.

A new food swap – Watsonia

The Diamond Village food swap will take place on Saturday, 14th October, 10-11am at the Diamond Village Shopping Centre (beside the Cruze Lounge cafe). If you want more information, contact Ken by phone (0434 906773) or email. Welcome Ken!

Vegan Mini Market – a mini review

The Vegan Mini Market is held on the first Saturday of each month at Abbotsford Convent. I went to the October market (the market only started in September). There were 19 stalls, 13 selling food and 6 selling other things (shoes, soap, etc). Of the 13 selling food, 8 were primarily selling food to take home and 5 were primarily selling ready-to-eat food to eat there.

It wasn’t very busy. Whilst this might not be good for the stallholders, it is good news for the punters as it makes the experience more enjoyable. And, as you will know if you ever go to the Slow Food Melbourne Farmers’ Market, the convent grounds are a nice place to stroll around. The one downside is that car parking costs money: $3 for the first 30 minutes, and then $2 per hour.

Dogs are allowed and there were quite a lot of them. My dog Oscar was very interested in a bag that a woman was carrying. Then she unzipped the bag and out popped … a chihuahua! There were a number of chihuahuas at the market – is this a vegan thing or an inner city thing?

A new maker of chocolate – Girl Made Chocolate

Girl Made Chocolate, from Northcote, produce handmade, raw chocolate blocks which are vegan, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. They use Certified Organic ingredients and their flavours include salty walnut, chilli, goji berry and mint. Currently, you can only buy their chocolate at Eltham Farmers’ Market, The Vegan Mini Market and The Food Repository in Fitzroy. Welcome Sanela and Adam!

Community gardens in Moreland

I’m in the process of adding the community gardens in the eastern part of Moreland to the website. It’s taking some time because there are quite a lot of them but the first 5 are now up (Brunswick Neighbourhood House, Fawkner, Merri Corner, Pentridge and SEEDs). Another way of viewing the material is via the community gardening section of the Local Food Directory. They have also been included on the map of where all the community gardens are. Thanks to Mark Sanders who maintains the Moreland Food Gardens Network website, which is where I got the initial information.

Local food news

You can now buy Top Hundred Acres eggs at the Health Bar Melbourne in Research.

Thrive community garden (Diamond Creek) have produced a newsletter.

Macleod Organic Community Garden fundraiser: you can place a pre-bid any time from now until 8am, Friday, 20th October at www.myminiauction.com/sustainablemacleod.

Planning controls for animal industries

The Victorian Government is proposing some reforms “to simplify planning requirements for animal-based farming, to improve the consistency of how the rules are applied, and to make the land use planning process clearer for farmers, councils and the community.” They are inviting public feedback by 14th November. Go to their website to read the proposals and to provide feedback. The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) aren’t very happy with the proposals – read their response.

Which link was clicked most times in last week’s newsletter?

The Incredible Edible Eltham Facebook group.

Joke of the week

As overheard at the vegan mini market: Why don’t cannibals eat clowns? Because they taste funny.

Read all the jokes.

New events

Buzz inn – make a bee hotel and learn more about native bees

What: The workshop will include an introduction to native bees, how to spot a native bee, the nesting types, buzz pollination, what materials are great to get you started with your own bee hotel, hands on building a bee hotel using natural and recycled materials, and how to set up a bee-friendly garden.
When: Saturday, 14th October, 10.30-11.30am.
Where: Thornbury.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Surrey Hills Foodie Festival

What: Celebrate the love of food and lifestyle. Watch local talent light up the stage throughout the day, join in food preparation workshops or simply sit back and let your tastebuds be ignited with flavours from around the world. Whatever your thing, they have it covered: food trucks Manhatten Pizza, Meat up Grill, and Taco Junction; tastes from local restaurants St Barry, Red Cup, Vegie Bar and Grill’d; homemade cakes & preserves; wine & cheese, and (of course) amusement rides for kids and adults alike. It is free to go but you can also purchase wristbands for $35 which entitle the wearer to all day unlimited rides, including bungee challenge, rock climbing, big slide, animal farm, dart ball, potty toss, bullzeye, face painting, crazy hair, and nails.
When: Saturday, 14th October, 11am-4pm.
Where: Surrey Hills.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Preparing a pesto from your own garden produce

What: Be involved in a presentation on preparing a pesto using simple, available, garden produce.
When: Saturday, 14th October, 12.30-1pm.
Where: Thornbury.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Spring herbs for health

What: When it comes to culinary herbs, they certainly pack a punch, both nutritionally and medicinally. In this workshop Tess will take you through: herbs that grow well during Spring; their nutritional benefits; the health conditions they can help with (including hayfever); and how to include them in your diet. You will also get to explore the herbs growing at Koonung Cottage and Tess will demonstrate how to make a spring pesto and infused oils.
When: Wednesday, 18th October, 12.30-2pm.
Where: Blackburn North.
Cost: $33.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Introduction to horticulture (7 weeks)

What: Learn how to grow plants in their multicultural food garden. Prepare healthy soil for garden beds, pots or planter boxes. Raise healthy plants and maintain garden beds. Develop composting skills. Use garden tools and understand occupational health and safety. Develop the language and lieteracy of basic horticulture. Have the opportunity to work as a garden volunteer.
When: A 7-week course, each Thursday from 19th October to 7th December, each 1.30-3pm.
Where: Carlton North.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: contact Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre by phone (9347 2739) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

A wild food foragers guild session

What: Ingrid leads weekly foraging and cooking workshops in the Castlemaine / Chewton area. She will teach you some easy and practical recipes using whatever is foraged on the day.
When: Sunday, 22nd October, 11am-midday.
Where: Brunswick.
Cost: $10.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Humanscape – therapeutic horticulture in the workplace

What: In this workshop, presented by Kevin Heinze GROW, participants will gain knowledge and skills necessary to apply evidence-based therapeutic horticulture practices to enhance well being outcomes in the workplace. Practical and relevant content, hands-on activities and facilitation of shared lived experiences across a diverse range of health services will collectively ensure applicable and meaningful learning outcomes.
When: Wednesday, 25th October, again on Thursday, 16th November, and again on Friday, 8th December, all 9am-4pm.
Where: Doncaster.
Cost: $185 ($125 for students/volunteers).
Bookings: Trybooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Bellfield Community Garden open day

What: Go along explore the community garden space and try some freshly made pizza from their newly completed wood-fired pizza oven. The Ivanhoe Garden Club will also be running their annual Festa with demonstrations, plant and product sales and Devonshire tea.
When: Sunday, 29th October, midday-4pm.
Where: Bellfield Community Garden.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cheese and wine masterclass

What: Let Spencer & Co Wine Bar Provedore’s resident cheese expert take you on a cheese appreciation journey. You will enjoy a selection of six cheeses, each matched with selected wines by Phil from The Wine Despository.
When: Wednesday, 1st November, 6.30-8.30pm.
Where: Carlton North.
Cost: $65.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Kimchi 2.0

What: Lentil As Anything is bringing you more kimchi than you can handle. 6-8.30pm: a kimchi-making workshop where you learn how to make your own kimchi. You will get: hands-on knowledge of how to make kimchi; a jar of Kimchi to take home; notes on how to make basic kimchi, as well as variations; and all the green tea you can drink. 8.30-9.30pm: a 5 course kimchi themed dinner – soup, pancakes, dumplings, assorted vegetable dishes and ice cream. This event will be hosted by Chase White and Joel Joseph James who, together, have previously run several kimchi workshops.
When: Wednesday, 8th November, 6-9.30pm.
Where: Preston.
Cost: $59.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Night Market at Chatham Primary

What: 50 stalls along with gourmet food, BBQ, cake stall and more. All funds raised will go towards school upgrades.
When: Thursday, 9th November, from 5.30pm.
Where: Surrey Hills.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Incredible Edible Eltham food garden – official opening

What: The edible food garden at Eltham railway station will be officially opened on 13th November at 4pm by Vicki Ward, MP. Meet the builders of the wicking beds, the artist of the murals and other key figures in Incredible Edible Eltham. After the opening, retire to Platform 3095 cafe and bar for complementary tapas, coffee and a free drink. Everyone welcome. But, to help us plant the catering, you need to register. Visit the Facebook group to keep in touch with developments.
When: Monday, 13th November, from 4pm.
Where: Eltham railway station.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Thermomix open house Melbourne

What: Facilitated by Grace and Bianca Mazur. You’ll learn how to make food from scratch using the Thermomix and the Cook-Key with their interactive stations, master new skills, shop TheMix Shop, and see live demonstrations from local chefs and special guests. Go for an hour or spend the whole day.
When: Saturday, 18th November, 9am-4pm.
Where: North Melbourne.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Kombucha workshop – make your own probiotic drink

What: Presented by Shakuntla Gondalia. You will learn all the ins and outs of obtaining great gut health. This workshop will cover the history of kombucha, how to make it, what can go wrong with it, and how to fix it. You will also cover how to make it even healthier and more delicious with secondary fermentation flavours and health benefits such as detoxification, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and more. You will receive your own ‘scoby’ with starter tea and a pack of black tea, so you can get started brewing at home.
When: Sunday, 26th November, 2-3.30pm.
Where: Box Hill South.
Cost: $49.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Christmas cupcake decorating

What: Amaze your family this Christmas with your own handmade cupcakes. Learn how to decorate with fondant and butter cream and create a special work of art.
When: Thursday, 7th December, 1-4pm.
Where: Coburg Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Bush foods & herbs for courtyards & balconies

What: What you will learn: which native produce-plants are suitable for growing in pots and small spaces; what to harvest and when; and how to use bush foods and herbs to flavour your dishes. Presented by Karen Sutherland, of Edible Eden Design. Australian native plants have flavour and aroma profiles unlike any others, and can be easily incorporated into your kitchen. Also, a wide range of them can be grown in Melbourne in pots or small and difficult spaces. In this class, which is ideal for those with limited garden space or even just a courtyard or balcony, you will explore the world of edible native Australian plants that are easy to grow in such spaces, attractive to look at and can easily add flavour and interest to your home-cooked dishes.All plants covered are suitable for Melbourne’s climate, and will be discussed in terms of how best to use and grow them in your garden.
When: Thursday, 7th December, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art & Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Raw living whole foods with Valentina Rise

What: What you will learn: basics of raw food; make guilt free treats; and learn what super foods are. You will discuss the nutritional benefits of superfoods, and how introducing more raw (natural plant-based) foods into your daily eating regimes can assist in your over-all health. Eating the right foods can help with reducing stress, anxiety and depressive states of being, increase your immunity and gut health and bring greater clarity into your lives. You will learn raw food cooking skills and get to feast on many different foods from savory to sweet healthy treats (e.g. raw pad thai, raw stir fry, raw caramel slice, raw ice cream, raw lemon slice and raw cheesecake). No refined white processed sugars or products will be used. You will gain knowledge on the best natural sweeteners and produce to use to assist in optimal health.
When: Saturday, 9th December, 3-6pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $70.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Indigenous plants for food and medicine

What: What you will learn: traditional Indigenous lifestyles and healing practices pre European settlement; traditional ways of using various Indigenous plants for medicinal purposes; and promising new research into their potential medical applications. Presented by Gaby Harris. Indigenous Australians have been using native plants and animals for tens of thousands of years as sources of food and medicine. With European settlement much of this knowledge was lost or ignored, but there is now growing interest in relearning these traditional healing methods. More research is being carried out to see how we can grow, harvest and utilise our Indigenous plants for foods, medicines, cosmetics and more. This class will introduce you to some of the well-known, as well as some more obscure, Indigenous Australian plants, teach you how they were once used, and how you can use them now. You will be able to see, smell and taste a variety of these amazing plants and learn where you can find them and how to cook with them.
When: Saturday, 16th December, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art & Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

During October
During November

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.