Mar 312021
 

Thanks to all the people who have contributed to this week’s newsletter: Angelo Eliades, Choon Yeok, Helen Simpson, Karen Olsen, Linda Wall, Megan Goodman, Mick Sheard, Robin Gale-Baker and Stuart Rodda.

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)!.

Robin’s food growing tip – kaolin clay and Queensland Fruit Fly

Kaolin clay, best known by home gardeners as a spray to control gall wasp, has apparently proved to be successful in trials as a preventative for Queensland Fruit Fly infestation. Trials are ongoing.

Kaolin clay is an organically registered product, described as a ‘light spray oil emulsion’. It is made of clay (as the name suggests) and, when sprayed, provides a light, white covering for fruit, stems and leaves. It is effective on citrus, stone fruits, pome fruits (including apples) and tomatoes. The Department of Primary Industry has reported that sting marks on apples were reduced by 92% and that there were no larvae or maggots in the fruit in a trial run at Bathurst, NSW.

The spray is also ‘soft’ on beneficial insects. It deters grasshoppers, codling moth, leafrollers, mites, thrips, some moths and Plum curculio, as well as gall wasp. These insects are deterred from landing, feeding and egg laying by the unsuitable surface that the kaolin clay film creates. Note that it needs to be produced commercially to refine it to the correct particulate size as pure kaolin clay will kill trees.

To be effective, trees need to be fully sprayed and research thus far suggests spraying early in the season is essential. Spraying needs to be done three times, a week apart each time, and will not work unless all three sprays take place. To be effective, spraying should be to the point where the solution drips from the leaves. Rain will not wash it off until late in the season when its job will have been done.

Additionally, strong, healthy trees get the best results. This requires good soil and water management so that the trees are well fed and can draw on plenty of moisture. This in turn encourages the presence of beneficial insects and deters attacks by non-beneficial ones.

My experience is that I may have inadvertently protected the fruit on my 6 citrus trees by spraying kaolin clay from October to December to deter gall wasp. While many of my friends have citrus (particularly lemon trees) that have been devastated by Queensland Fruit Fly, my trees are completely free of this pest.

In summary, kaolin clay looks like a very promising treatment for Queensland Fruit Fly. I will be using it from August onwards but I will also be combining it with other methods including exclusion netting, pheromone and protein traps, and biodiverse planting under all my fruit trees to encourage beneficial insect predators.

Read more of Robin Gale-Baker’s fruit growing tips on our website.

A new group based in Moreland – Growing Farmers

Growing Farmers is a new group based in Moreland whose mission is “to support regenerative farming in urban communities“. Their main initial project, called Backyard Farmers, aims “to match aspiring urban farmers and volunteers with people who wish to maintain the productivity of their gardens“, starting in Fawkner. Click here to read a recent ABC article about the project.

Stuart’s not-so-small hand tool of the week – a power planter

Power planters are an auger-like digging tool for quickly making planting holes and are powered by an ordinary battery drill. You can dig many holes in a few minutes, including going deeper than most hand tools, to provide an easy growth path for roots plus the soil is broken up and piled around the hole ready to be packed back in around the plant. Also, they are fun to use! A robust version costs only $20 from Kogan (auger only, you supply the drill!) or you can buy one from specialist suppliers for upwards of $70. One drawback – if you hit a stone under the soil surface, there can be a strong kickback through your hands/wrist so be careful!

This brings us to the end of Stuart’s 7-part series on hand tools. Thanks, Stuart!

Read Stuart’s other articles about garden tools.

Yes, you did know

Sweet potatoes

Last week Mary Turner asked about the disease on her sweet potato leaves and when she should harvest the sweet potatoes.

Angelo Eliades has responded: “The photos are taken too far away for accurate diagnosis but if the brown patches have a yellow halo around them and they are on older leaves which eventually drop, then it’s likely to be the fungal disease Alternaria leaf spot. This disease is more prevalent when dry and rainy periods occur, or when plants are watered overhead wetting their leaves, especially in the evening. Harvest sweet potatoes when the leaves and ends of the vines begin turning yellow.

[Editor: I harvest when the vines die back but, if in doubt, I leave them a bit longer as most of the bulking up is done in the last few weeks.]

Custard apples

Last week, I asked where I could buy custard apples locally. A number of you replied.

Karen Olsen: “I have found custard apples at the Vic markets and several Asian food grocers. I discovered custard apple when I moved into my first share house at university. Every week, one or two housemates would do the weekly shop at the Vic markets – the variety of the whole market, including custard apples, was a food revelation!

Helen Simpson: “Many years ago I used to buy them in Coles. We used to have an ‘unusual fruit tasting’ every week and custard applies often featured.

Choon Yeok: “I have bought custard apples from Woolworth and Coles before.

My wife: “Woolworths sell them and currently have them in stock. You should have just asked me!

Prickly pear fruit

Last week, Cathy Romeo asked about where she could buy prickly pear fruit locally (as the picture shows, she has found a place but it is not local).

Mick Sheard from Imbue Distillery replied: “We use prickly pear fruit in our gin. It is very difficult to buy in the shops and we usually get ours by either foraging (e.g. in Wattle Glen) or from roadside stalls (e.g. in Melton).

Linda Wall also replied: “I’ve seen them for sale at Preston Market. I also have a prickly pear cactus in my garden and am happy to sell some of the fruit.

‘Crowd harvest’ – tomatoes for Easter

Gardeners with excess tomatoes are invited to give them to one of the not-for profit organisations listed below who will, in turn, preserve them as passata, chutney, sundried or dell’olio and then distribute through their food relief programs. The program runs until 12th April. DIVRS in Preston or STREAT in Collingwood.

Meg’s garden this month

The pumpkin stems have only just started to brown but I harvest them anyway – seven large Queensland Blue are sitting like sentinels under the porch at the front door. I leave a section of stem intact for longer storage. Traditionally you wait until the stems have fully browned and then harvest your pumpkins after the first really cool day in autumn, but our few will be used within the next few months. This enables me to finally clean up the long and rambling vines that had spread across the driveway and were looking tired with their dusting of white powdery mildew.

It is a month of lasts, with the last tomatoes, beans and other summer crops gathered. The chillies and capsicums are now standing alone, unripe as the crops get cleared around them. It is also a month of firsts, and we celebrate the start of the apples (golden delicious), pears (corella) and figs (unknown). Veggie beds are cleaned out, turned over and made ready for new plantings of broccoli, peas and winter greens. The passionfruit vine is still delivering and the kids demand Grandma’s passionfruit custard slice. This is a cheat’s version of vanilla slice using lattice biscuits but it works well and, more importantly, uses a few passionfruit!

Passionfruit custard slice

Base (and top)
1 packet of lattice biscuits

Filling
300ml of strained passionfruit pulp (no seeds)
2 cups water
¾ cup sugar
100g custard powder
1 teaspoon gelatine

Icing
1 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon soft butter
1 tablespoon passionfruit pulp (with seeds)
a little hot water

In a 20cm square tin, arrange a layer of the lattice biscuits as the base.

In a small pot, mix the custard powder with a bit of the water to form a paste then add the remaining water, sugar and strained passionfruit pulp and stir over gentle heat until it starts to thicken.

Dissolve the gelatine in a little water and add to the custard, stir well and pour over the base.

Arrange a second layer of lattice biscuits on top. Refrigerate until set.

Make the icing by adding the icing sugar to a bowl and the butter on top. Mix the icing ingredients together, being very careful with the amount of water you add – just enough to bring the icing together to a spreadable consistency.

Smooth the icing over the top layer of lattice biscuits and set. Cut into squares using the biscuits as a grid.

Read more of Meg’s recipes on our website.

Another new article from Angelo Eliades

The question is should eucalyptus leaves be composted or used as garden mulch?.

[The answer is no. No to composting because they release hydrocarbons which are harmful to earthworms. And no to mulch because they release allelopathic compounds which are harmful to many plants.]

Three new videos from Karen Sutherland

Karen, who lives in Pascoe Vale South, specialises in growing native bush tucker. She has recently published three videos:

What seeds to plant in April

Here is a list (see the planting guide for more detail):

Brassicas

Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Kale
Mizuna
Mustard greens
Pak choy

Cool season veggies

Broad beans
Coriander
Fennel
Garlic
Peas

Leafy greens

Lettuce
Rocket
Silverbeet
Spinach

Other

Beetroot
Carrot
Chives
Parsley
Potato
Radish
Shallot

If you didn’t plant your cool season veggies in March, April is a good month. So, plant those broad beans, peas, garlic and brassicas. Also, plant some leafy greens.

Read Robin Gale-Baker’s 2020 articles on growing broad beans, cauliflower and garlic.

Read Helen Simpson’s 2016 articles on growing brassicas and garlic. Also, autumn plantings more generally.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The most popular link last week was Open Gardens Victoria’s announcement of the results of its productive patch competition.

Proverb (or phrase) of the month

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade Meaning: be optimistic and have a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune.. This is one of those rare sayings which originated with a known person on a known date: someone called Elbert Hubbard invented the phrase (with slightly different wording) in a 1915 obituary about someone called Marshall Pinckney Wilder (who was both a dwarf and a successful actor). The idea is that, whilst lemons suggest sourness, making lemonade is turning them into something positive or desirable. In other words, negatives can be turned into positives.

Incidentally, Elbert Hubbard was a Christian anarchist. Christian anarchists believe that God should be the sole authority and therefore reject the idea of human governance. They tend to be pro Jesus but anti Paul. Pro the Sermon on the Mount but anti Romans 13. Pro faith but anti church. Pro ‘turning the other cheek’ but anti ‘eye for an eye’. Interpret “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” as ‘advice to free oneself from material attachment’ rather than ‘support for taxes’. Believers in pacifism and nonviolence. The most well-known Christian anarchist was Leo Tolstoy.

As Charlie Harper said to his less successful brother Alan in the sitcom Two and a Half Men: “The difference between you and me is, when life gives me lemons, I make lemonade. When you get lemons, you just bite into them and suck them inside out.

Or, as the narrator said in the game Battleblock: “When life gives you potatoes, make potato salad.

Read more food-related proverbs.

Gardening quote of the month

If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever.” by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Read more gardening quotes.

Joke (or pun) of the week

What room has no doors, no walls, no floor and no ceiling? A mushroom.

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
March
April
May

Upcoming events – cooking

Newly announced
March
April
May
In Richmond
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 1st April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Nonna’s comfort food (Italian): Tuesday, 6th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 8th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • La cucina della Puglia: Thursday, 8th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Gnocchi in tutta l’Italia: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 10th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Korean cooking master class: Saturday, 10th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 11th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Mexican cooking master class: Sunday, 11th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Spanish cooking master class: Sunday, 11th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pasta e basta!: Tuesday, 13th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 15th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • The cuisine of Central Italy: Thursday, 15th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia: Friday, 16th April, 2-4.30pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Friday, 16th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 17th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Saturday, 17th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indonesian cooking master class: Saturday, 17th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 18th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Italian cooking master class: Sunday, 18th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Sunday, 18th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pasta e basta!: Tuesday, 20th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 22nd April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • A night in Rome: Thursday, 22nd April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Friday, 23rd April, 2-4pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Friday, 23rd April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 24th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Saturday, 24th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Going native Australia: Saturday, 24th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • A seafood feast: Tuesday, 27th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 29th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Friday, 30th April, 2-5pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Friday, 30th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 1st May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Saturday, 1st May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia : Saturday, 1st May, 6.30-9pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 2nd May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Sunday, 2nd May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Sunday, 2nd May, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 6th May, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Friday, 7th May, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Friday, 7th May, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 8th May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Saturday, 8th May, 2-5pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Korean cooking master class: Saturday, 8th May, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 9th May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Mexican cooking master class: Sunday, 9th May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Spanish cooking master class: Sunday, 9th May, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 13th May, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia: Friday, 14th May, 2-4.30pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 15th May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Saturday, 15th May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indonesian cooking master class: Saturday, 15th May, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 16th May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Italian cooking master class: Sunday, 16th May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Sunday, 16th May, 6.30-8.30pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pasta e basta!: Tuesday, 18th May, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • La cucina della Sardegna: Thursday, 20th May, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 20th May, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Friday, 21st May, 2-4pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Friday, 21st May, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 22nd May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Saturday, 22nd May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Going native Australia: Saturday, 22nd May, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 23rd May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vegan cooking master class: Sunday, 23rd May, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
Mar 252021
 

Thanks to all the people who have contributed to this week’s newsletter: Cathy Romeo, Karen Olsen, Lee Hirsh, Mary Turner, Natalie Nigol, Robin Gale-Baker, Stuart Rodda 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)!.

Re-opening news

A new community garden, called Regent Community Garden, is starting in Reservoir. Their launch party is on Sunday (i.e. 28th March), 1.30-4.30pm.

Mooroolbark Urban Harvest (aka food swap). is celebrating 5th birthday on Saturday, 10th April, 10-11.30am. Red Earth Community Park, Brice Avenue, Mooroolbark. Wear your best party gear. There will be birthday cake and tea or coffee provided (but you’ll have to bring your own mug).

The Basin Food is Free Community Garden has resumed its working bees. 1st Sunday and 3rd Thursday of each month. Rear, 2 Liverpool Road, The Basin.

Yuck Ice cream FOOD

YUCK Ice cream FOOD, who are based in Croydon North, makes ice cream with fresh, raw vegetables. There are 5 flavours: celery & fennel, garlic & onion, peas & parsley, radish & zucchini and red chilli pickles. The vegetables are blended with sugar, honey, fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and double thick cream to make the ice cream. There is no cooking (hence all the nutrition from the vegetables is retained) and no use of gums (unlike most ice cream). It is a unique food which can be eaten at any time of day. You can buy the ice cream every week at Eltham Farmers’ market. Welcome, Jimmy!

Three new articles from Robin

The March newsletter from Sustainable Macleod contains three articles from Robin Gale-Baker:

Stuart’s not-so-small hand tool of the week – a flamethrower

As drastic as it sounds, a flamethrower can be used safely to quickly kill weeds without using nasty chemicals, and also destroy any seeds which the weedy plants have already made before they can fall to the ground and continue the cycle. If you can, use an existing LPG cylinder, cheap flamethrowers are around $50 and you can cover a large area quite quickly. This tool is not for the normal small home garden.

Read Stuart’s other articles about garden tools.

Want some kefir grains?

Karen Olsen, who is based in Eltham, regularly has spare kefir grains to give away (a batch every week or so). If you want some, email Karen with your phone number and she will put you on her list to contact when a batch is ready for you.

In passing, Karen would like to give a shout out to Robyn at Peninsula Fresh Organics, who gave her the grains in the first place – she finds that kefir grains can vary in flavour, depending on where they come from, and Robyn’s ones make a lovely brew.

Some more sources of free spent coffee grounds

A few new, local sources of free spent coffee grounds. If possible, you should ring them in advance.

There are now 29 local sources of free spent coffee grounds listed on our website.

You might have noticed that all 5 of the new sources are from within Darebin. Furthermore, 22 of the 29 sources listed on our website (i.e. 75%) are from within Darebin. This is not a coincidence. Rather, it is because Darebin is more organised than elsewhere when it comes to local food (which is also why there are more community gardens in Darebin than anywhere else) and it is also because Natalie Nigol from Darebin Council tells me when there are new cafes added to their Cafe to Garden program.

Do you know?

Sweet potatoes

Mary Turner has written in: “A disease on the leaves of my sweet potatoes started slowly but is gradually overtaking the whole plant. What is the disease and do I need to destroy the plant before harvest?“. She also asks, “How to I tell when my sweet potatoes are ready to harvest?”Email us with your replies.

Prickly pear fruit

Cathy Romeo has written in: “I recently bought some prickly pear fruit in Mount Beauty – I spotted them on the nature strip as I was driving, where an elderly couple had little fruit stall. Although I have bought some for now, I am interested in knowing where one can get them from in Melbourne. Can anyone suggest anywhere local where I can buy prickly pear fruit?Email us with your replies.

Custard apples

Inspired by Cathy’s question, I also have a question: “Can anyone suggest where I can buy custard apple fruit (not the plant, just the fruit)?Email us with your replies.”

And the winner is …

The winner of Open Gardens Victoria’s recent productive patch competition was newsletter contributor Jian Liu, who lives in Camberwell. “Boldly, the garden utilises aquaponics and, by recycling household waste, the Liu’s have developed a ‘closed system’ for nutrient collection and soil improvement.Read more.

Jian’s article about her pond is one of my favourite articles on our website. Her Instagram account is also incredible popular.

Vasundhara’s recipe of the week – beet wellington

Ingredients

3 medium beetroots
1½ cups walnuts
500g mushrooms
4 large sprigs of rosemary
1 x 320g sheet of dairy-free puff pastry
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200degC fan-assisted.

Peel and roughly chop the beetroot, then transfer it to a baking tray. Season with a pinch of salt and drizzle with olive oil, then roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the walnuts to a food processor and process them until they have completely broken down. Then add the mushrooms and rosemary to the food processor and process everything together until the mixture turns into a smooth paste.

Transfer the mushroom mixture to a frying pan on a medium heat. Fry for 12-15 minutes until most of the moisture has evaporated, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture sticking to the pan (add a splash of olive oil if necessary). When it’s done, transfer the mushroom mixture to a large mixing bowl and leave it to one side.

Add the beetroot to the food processor and blitz into gritty form. Then transfer the processed beetroot to the mixing bowl with the mushroom mixture. Add the apple cider vinegar and season generously with salt and pepper (give the mixture a taste to make sure you have seasoned it appropriately). Stir everything well to combine, then leave the mixture to cool completely (we leave it outside during the winter to cool down quickly).

Meanwhile, line a baking tray with baking paper and unroll the sheet of puff pastry on top of the baking paper. When the wellington mixture has cooled, use a spoon to transfer it down one side of the pastry, stacking it approximately 5cm wide and tall. You will need to leave approximately 3cm on one side, as well as above and below the mixture.

Next, carefully lift one side of the pastry and cover the mixture, pressing down around the edges to enclose the wellington tightly. It is important that the pastry is tight around the mixture to prevent the wellington collapsing when it is in the oven.

Trim any leftover pastry, then brush the wellington with olive oil. Use a sharp knife to cut slices along the top of the pastry to allow the moisture to escape, then bake the wellington in the oven at 200degC fan-assisted for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.

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: 2018

When I first joined Local Food Connect in 2012, the subject of local food producers was much discussed at Committee meetings and, when establishing the Local Food Directory in 2014, I simply assumed that the local food producers and their interactions with the public were, or should be, at the centre of the local food community that we were trying to foster. But this has turned out not really to be the case. This first became apparent to me through my involvement in setting up Eltham Farmers’ Market: there are lots of interactions at farmers’ markets between producers and the public but these interactions are basically the same regardless of whether or not the producer is local; and, as a corollary, some local food producers who do not participate in markets only have, and only seek to have, limited interactions with the local community.

Rather, I concluded that the centre of the local food community that we were trying to foster is more the numerous community gardens that exist in North East Melbourne together with the food swaps and workshops that are often associated with them. For those who have never been to a food swap or a community garden working bee, these are essentially social events involving people who have a common interest, namely growing veggies and fruit trees. It is also clear from my interactions with newsletter readers that many/most of the readership have a similar home growing interest. In other words, it is more the home growing of food that binds us together than the local commercial growing and making of food.

I therefore decided that I wanted to talk to, and hopefully visit, each of the 60 or so community gardens and work with each of them to develop material for the website. Hence the community gardening section of the website was borne. But I also recognised that this would be a major task so I waited until the other parts of the website were stable before commencing it. In the event, it took me from mid 2017 to mid 2019 to develop a proper database of all the community gardens, with pages on each of these gardens. I progressed Council area by Council area, starting with the most active areas (e.g. Darebin) and ending with the least active (e.g. Whitehorse).

In passing, some community gardens and food swaps are much more vibrant and active than others. If you want to get involved but have found that your local one is pretty dormant, you can drop me an email and I might be able to recommend some others near you.

Read the earlier history.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The most popular link last week was Lucinda’s article on preserving tomatoes.

Joke (or pun) of the week

Submitted by Lee Hirsh: My wife was going to make a batch of pancakes.
Then she wasn’t.
Then she was.
Now it looks like she is just waffling.

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
March
April
May

Upcoming events – cooking

Newly announced
March
April
May
In Richmond
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 25th March, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • La cucina Toscana: Thursday, 25th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Friday, 26th March, 2-4pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Friday, 26th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Nonna’s comfort food (Italian): Friday, 26th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 27th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Saturday, 27th March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Going native Australia: Saturday, 27th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 28th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vegan cooking master class: Sunday, 28th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Gnocchi in tutta l’Italia: Tuesday, 30th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 1st April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Nonna’s comfort food (Italian): Tuesday, 6th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 8th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • La cucina della Puglia: Thursday, 8th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Gnocchi in tutta l’Italia: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 10th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Korean cooking master class: Saturday, 10th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 11th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Mexican cooking master class: Sunday, 11th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Spanish cooking master class: Sunday, 11th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pasta e basta!: Tuesday, 13th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 15th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • The cuisine of Central Italy: Thursday, 15th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia: Friday, 16th April, 2-4.30pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Friday, 16th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 17th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Saturday, 17th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indonesian cooking master class: Saturday, 17th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 18th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Italian cooking master class: Sunday, 18th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Sunday, 18th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pasta e basta!: Tuesday, 20th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 22nd April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • A night in Rome: Thursday, 22nd April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Friday, 23rd April, 2-4pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Friday, 23rd April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 24th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Saturday, 24th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Going native Australia: Saturday, 24th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • A seafood feast: Tuesday, 27th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 29th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Friday, 30th April, 2-5pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Friday, 30th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 1st May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Saturday, 1st May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia : Saturday, 1st May, 6.30-9pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 2nd May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Sunday, 2nd May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Sunday, 2nd May, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 6th May, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Friday, 7th May, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Friday, 7th May, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 8th May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Saturday, 8th May, 2-5pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Korean cooking master class: Saturday, 8th May, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 9th May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Mexican cooking master class: Sunday, 9th May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Spanish cooking master class: Sunday, 9th May, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 13th May, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia: Friday, 14th May, 2-4.30pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 15th May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Saturday, 15th May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indonesian cooking master class: Saturday, 15th May, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 16th May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Italian cooking master class: Sunday, 16th May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Sunday, 16th May, 6.30-8.30pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pasta e basta!: Tuesday, 18th May, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
Mar 172021
 

Thanks to all the people who have contributed to this week's newsletter: Bruno Tigani, Jenny Shaw, Lucinda Flynn, Lyn Richards, Sean Flynn, Stuart Rodda 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)!.

Going green with Lucinda – preserving tomatoes

If you have never done it and want to have a go, it is not too late to bottle tomatoes to use throughout the year – though tomato season is soon drawing to a close.

Lucinda Flynn has written an article for our website on preserving tomatoes with a Fowlers Vacola. She provides a photo of each step together with an accompanying description. The 7 steps are:

  1. Get your bottle, rings, lids and clips clean and ready.
  2. Choose your tomatoes.
  3. Fill your bottles.
  4. Add the rings, lids and clips.
  5. Put the jars into your Fowlers.
  6. Lift the bottles out and let them cool.
  7. Remove the clips.

Read the article.

If you are a member of Local Food Connect, you can borrow our Fowlers Vacola.

Lucinda is the owner of Going Green Solutions, a local company based in Hurstbridge that sells eco-products (including the Fowlers Vacola).

Stuart's small hand tool of the week – a bulb planter

A bulb planter is the fastest and cleanest way to make a hole in the soil to put in a new plant or bulb. It simultaneously digs into the soil and removes a plug of soil ready to receive the seedling, then allows you to drop that soil and push it back around the new plant. This is because it is hinged to open and allow the soil to fall out of the planter. Get a stainless steel one because rust on a cheaper one will allow the soil to stick to it and not fall out easily when the handle is squeezed.

Read Stuart's other articles about garden tools.

Re-opening news

South Morang Farmers & Makers Market is re-opening this Sunday (20th March). This means that all the local markets have now re-opened.

Box Hill South will be holding their first face-to-face urban harvest (aka food swap) this Saturday (20th March). Just about all of the local food swaps have now re-opened.

There are a number of community gardens that I haven't yet heard from. Does anyone know whether or not any of the following community gardens have re-started their working bees, etc: East Reservoir, Living & Learning Eltham, Newton Street, Reynard Street, Watsonia or Your Community Health? If you do, email me.

8 new seed libraries across Banyule and Nillumbik

8 new seed libraries have recently opened, 4 in Banyule and 4 in Nillumbik. Read more about them.

Together with 5 in Darebin and 2 in Yarra Ranges, that makes a total of 15 seed libraries across North East Melbourne. Look at a map of these 15 libraries on our website, where you can click on any of the names to read more about that seed library.

All the seed libraries operate on a similar philosophy, namely:

  • Take – visit a seed library and take the seeds you would like to grow.
  • Grow – grow the seeds at home, but leave at least one plant to go to seed.
  • Save – save some seeds for next year from the healthiest plants.
  • Share – return some of the saved seeds to the seed library.

Yes you did know(!) – apple disease

Last week, Vicki asked what the disease was on her golden delicious apples. Bruno Tigani and Lyn Richards both wrote it to say that it is 'apple scab', which is a common disease caused by the fungus Venturia inaequalis.

Bruno referred Vicki to this web page.

Lyn added: "My guess is that golden delicious are vulnerable for just the reason that we grow them – thin skin, moist fruit, deteriorate rapidly off the tree. The good news is it's cosmetic only, doesn't harm the fruit, but pity the apple farmer who gets it. And it clearly can get nastier – if you Google 'apple scab' you get horrific images of far worse damage than you have, and to the leaves as well. Control measures are the usual for fungus – clear fallen leaves and fruit, keep base of tree clear, avoid overhead watering. Read this Agriculture Victoria page. Plant resistant varieties – I can't find a list of them, but one appears to be my heritage Rome Beauty apple – not a spot on its huge red fruit."

Vasundhara's recipe of the week – dairy-free parmesan

Ingredients

1 cup cashews, raw
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon sea salt

Method

Add all of the ingredients to a food processor.

Pulse until a fine crumb mixture forms. Literally seconds.

Use in just about any savoury dish you can think of.

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: 2017

The most important thing that happened in 2017 was that Helen Simpson, having run out of veggies to write 'how to grow …' guides for, volunteered to undertake a series of visits to the gardens of home growers and write up the results. In subsequent years, Ann Stanley, Greta Gillies, Judy Vizzari and Marina Bistrin have followed in Helen's footsteps. We now have around 40 garden visit writeups on the website and these include some of the more notable names in our local food community, such as: Adrian O’Hagan, Angelo Eliades, Bruce Plain, Chloe Thomson, Katrina Forstner, Lucinda Flynn, Maria Ciavarella, Olwyn Smiley, Pam Jenkins, Robin and Paul Gale-Baker and Virginia Solomon.

We also have around 10 interviews with local food producers and a further 10 interviews with community gardening people.

2017 was also the year when I finally started on what I knew would be a mammoth task, namely developing website pages for each of 60 or so community gardens in North East Melbourne. But more on that next week.

Read the earlier history.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The most popular link last week was Ann's visit to Jenny Husselbee's garden.

Joke (or pun) of the week

Submitted by Sean Flynn: What is the fastest liquid on Earth? Milk, because it’s pasteurised before you see it!

The pictorial joke has been submitted by Jenny Shaw.

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
March
April
May

Upcoming events – cooking

Newly announced
March
April
May
In Richmond
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 18th March, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • A night in Rome: Thursday, 18th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia: Friday, 19th March, 2-4.30pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 20th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Saturday, 20th March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indonesian cooking master class: Saturday, 20th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 21st March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Italian cooking master class: Sunday, 21st March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Sunday, 21st March, 6.30-8.30pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Naples and the Amalfi Coast: Tuesday, 23rd March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 25th March, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • La cucina Toscana: Thursday, 25th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Friday, 26th March, 2-4pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Friday, 26th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Nonna's comfort food (Italian): Friday, 26th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 27th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Saturday, 27th March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Going native Australia: Saturday, 27th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 28th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vegan cooking master class: Sunday, 28th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Gnocchi in tutta l'Italia: Tuesday, 30th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 1st April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Nonna's comfort food (Italian): Tuesday, 6th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 8th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • La cucina della Puglia: Thursday, 8th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Gnocchi in tutta l'Italia: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 10th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Korean cooking master class: Saturday, 10th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 11th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Mexican cooking master class: Sunday, 11th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Spanish cooking master class: Sunday, 11th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pasta e basta!: Tuesday, 13th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 15th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • The cuisine of Central Italy: Thursday, 15th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia: Friday, 16th April, 2-4.30pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Friday, 16th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 17th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Saturday, 17th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indonesian cooking master class: Saturday, 17th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 18th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Italian cooking master class: Sunday, 18th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Sunday, 18th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pasta e basta!: Tuesday, 20th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 22nd April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • A night in Rome: Thursday, 22nd April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Friday, 23rd April, 2-4pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Friday, 23rd April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 24th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Saturday, 24th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Going native Australia: Saturday, 24th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • A seafood feast: Tuesday, 27th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 29th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Friday, 30th April, 2-5pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Friday, 30th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 1st May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Saturday, 1st May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia : Saturday, 1st May, 6.30-9pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 2nd May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Sunday, 2nd May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Sunday, 2nd May, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.

Read about more cooking classes in Richmond.

Mar 092021
 

Thanks to all the people who have contributed to this week’s newsletter: Ally Price, Ann Stanley, Chloe Thomson, Lucinda Flynn, Pam Jenkins, Rachel Bishop, Samantha Patterson, Stuart Rodda, Vasundhara Kandpal and Vicki Jordan.

Ann visits the garden of Jenny Husselbee in Mooroolbark

A few weeks ago, we discussed Ann Stanley’s visit to Claire Smith’s garden in Mooroolbark. As the same time, Ann also visited to Jenny Husselbee’s 4½ acre block and she has now written up the visit and interview.

Jenny’s property is a model of permaculture zoning with an extensive, kitchen garden near the house, the enclosed orchard a little further away and wilder areas beyond that. There are ducks, bees, many fruit trees and lots of raised veggie beds. There is a large dam and 128,000 litres of water tanks. The wilder areas are important as Jenny is keen on indigenous and native vegetation, in particular edible plants, to support a wide range of wildlife such as birds, frogs and lizards. She is part of the Ribbons of Green program run by Yarra Ranges Shire which aims to plant 60,000 native plants each year.

Read the full interview writeup.

We need more people to come forward for Ann or Judy to visit their garden and interview them. If you are potentially on for this, please email me.

Stuart’s small hand tool of the week – a hook

A hook is a tool with a curved blade which can be used for slashing down vegetation, pruning, or harvesting leafy greens. It is like a small scythe and is far quicker than using secateurs, plus it keeps your hands away from prickles or other plant defences. Some care is needed not to cut yourself.

Read Stuart’s other articles about garden tools.

More on composting

In response to Lucinda’s article last week on the results of her composting of various things, Ally Price asked: “Do you also compost gum leaves? I have been looking for more carbon material to balance our compost and we have plenty of gum leaves and bark always falling but the information is a bit confusing about how you can use them in compost.” To which Lucinda’s answer is “I definitely add some gum leaves to the compost bays (the longer term, garden waste compost) … I have never added them to the black bins but I reckon you could get away with adding some so long as plenty of other carbon goes in there too.

Samantha Patterson has also written in: “It is great to hear that someone else puts everything (of organic origin) in their compost bin! Like Lucinda, sometimes the ‘everything system’ just means that, when turning or using the compost, some stuff gets thrown back in for another round (and sometimes another and another and another!). It doesn’t really bother me if it takes a bit longer to decompose, or if it requires a bit of sifting, or if the compost has chunks in it … good things generally take time and it’s all waste reduction in the end!

We also have what I call a ‘contaminated’ bin. It’s compost that I won’t use on food plants and generally just composts itself down to nothing eventually. But it’s where I put items like paper waste that I’m not entirely sure if it has a plastic coating or not … or the fabric from an op shop t-shirt that never had tags so I’m not quite sure if it’s cotton or not. When I turn the contaminated bin, I usually discover bits of synthetic thread/fabric from the clothes and small sheets of soft plastic from those questionable paper products – the worms have eaten all the paper off and left the film of plastic (which then gets thrown out if unsalvageable or, if I can clean it up, popped into soft plastic recycling). I grow comfrey around the base of the bin with the idea that it will help to clean up some of the nasties that might leach into the surrounding soil.

The Veggie Empire and Beales Road Farm

The Veggie Empire grow fruit, vegetables and herbs at Beales Road Farm in suburban Greensborough. They sell both seedlings and vegetables to the public, which you can buy at Alphington Farmers’ Market (2nd and 4th Sundays) or at Edendale Farm (seedlings only). They also provide vegetables and herbs to the Earthbound Bolton cafe in Eltham and to the food relief program at Greenhills Neighbourhood House in Greensborough.

Beales Road Farm is a small regenerative urban farm that operates under a landshare arrangement with local man Hayden Mclean, who generously shares his land with the team. The farm is closed to the public. The farm team comprises NDIS-funded team members Josh and Scott, plus supporting horticulturalists and other volunteers.

Local Food Connect has organised two tours of Beales Road Farm in the near future on Tuesday, 23rd March, 10-11am and on Tuesday, 13th April, 1-2pm.

Read The Veggie Empire’s Local Food Directory page.

Do you know – apple disease?

Vicki Jordan has written in: “Almost all of my golden delicious apples, but none of my jonathans, look like the photo. As you can see, the disease is only on the skin and does not penetrate into the flesh. Does anyone know what the disease is? Email your replies.

Growing new farmers

Farmer Incubator and Young Farmers Connect have just released a report entitled Regeneration – Growing New Farmers. The report discusses the challenges that new and young farmers face getting started as they attempt to farm regeneratively, address food and land justice, gain entry into the value chain and become viable. Read or download the report.

Harvest time in Chute Street, Diamond Creek

The Grade 3 and 4 students from Diamond Creek Primary School recently harvested the planter boxes in Chute Street in Diamond Creek. There was celery, rainbow chard, lettuce, carrots, yellow beetroot, spring onions, sage, thyme and, last but not least, some flowers. Everything was then delivered to the Food is Free table in the Manse Garden at Diamond Creek.

Enthusing your children to grow veggies

Watch this video (5 minutes) by newsletter reader Chloe Thomson on her tips for getting your children excited about growing their own veggies.

Say no or BYO

Many single-use plastics have just been banned from sale or supply in Victoria, namely single-use straws, cutlery, plates, drink-stirrers, expanded polystyrene food/drink containers and cotton bud sticks. Read more.

Vasundhara’s recipe of the week – creamy roasted capsicum pasta

Ingredients

3 large red capsicums
½ kg penne rigate pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups vegetable broth
½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2-4 hours
1½ teaspoons Himalayan salt, more to taste
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh
1½ teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
¼ teaspoon red pepper, crushed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 cup fresh basil, chopped

Method

The roasted capsicums

Broil the whole capsicums on a baking tray 2 inches apart. Broil until the skin starts to blister and blacken. Using tongs, rotate the capsicums a quarter turn until all sides are charred, about 5 minutes each side. The capsicums should be slightly collapsed and soft. The whole process takes 15-20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place the capsicums on a cutting board. Cover with a large bowl or pot to steam them, about 10-15 minutes.

When the capsicums are cool enough to handle, slice them vertically and spread them open to make a long strip. Remove the stem and seeds. Flip the capsicum over and remove charred skin. It should peel off easily. Set aside.

The pasta and sauce

Place the pasta in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water. Cook until al dente (usually 10-12 minutes). Drain and set aside.

Heat up oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Lightly sprinkle with a pinch of salt. When melted, add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano, and parsley and sauté for 2- 3 minutes until lightly brown. Stir often to prevent burning. Now stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Drain and rinse the cashews and the discard water. In a blender, place the sauteéd onions & garlic, broth, soy milk, roasted capsicums, cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt. Blend until the cashews and capsicums have completely broken down and the sauce is smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.

Pour the sauce back into the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat, until it slightly thickens up. Stir often to prevent burning (turn heat lower if necessary). Taste for seasoning, and add more if needed.

Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan. Toss with fresh basil and serve immediately. Top with fresh-cracked pepper.

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: 2016

The most important thing that happened in 2016 was that Helen Simpson, from The Mushroom Shed, volunteered to write a series of ‘how to grow …’ guides. These have proved to be immensely popular, with around 300,000 visitors between then and now. They also established the principle that it would be good for other people to contribute articles for the website and since then we have published articles from Angela Spencer, Ann Stanley, Bev Robertson, Dana Thomson, David Murray, Evan Gellert, Felicity Gordon, Fran Lennard, Greta Gillies, Jian Liu, Judy Vizzari, Kat Lavers, Lucinda Flynn, Marina Bistrin, Pam Jenkins, Paul Gale-Baker, Penny Grose, Robin Gale-Baker, Sabi Buehler, Stuart Rodda and Tracey Bjorksten.

The other thing that happened is that some of us ventured forth and actually visited most of the food swaps around North East Melbourne, with the end result being a proper database of these swaps.

Read the earlier history.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The most popular link last week was Lucinda’s article on the results of her composting of various things.

Joke (or pun) of the week

I’ve started telling everyone about the benefits of eating dried grapes. It’s all about raisin awareness.
Read more jokes.

Upcoming events – introduction

Emboldening of free events

Some people like the highlighting in bold of the free events in the lists below so it will continue.

Website calendars

Some people like the calendar of garden tours so it will continue.

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
March
April

Upcoming events – cooking

Newly announced
March
April
In Richmond
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 11th March, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Sicilian food: Thursday, 11th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Friday, 12th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Friday, 12th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • The cuisine of Central Italy: Friday, 12th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 13th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Korean cooking master class: Saturday, 13th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 14th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Mexican cooking master class: Sunday, 14th March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Spanish cooking master class: Sunday, 14th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • A seafood feast: Tuesday, 16th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 18th March, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • A night in Rome: Thursday, 18th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia: Friday, 19th March, 2-4.30pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 20th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Saturday, 20th March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indonesian cooking master class: Saturday, 20th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 21st March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Italian cooking master class: Sunday, 21st March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Sunday, 21st March, 6.30-8.30pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Naples and the Amalfi Coast: Tuesday, 23rd March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 25th March, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • La cucina Toscana: Thursday, 25th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Friday, 26th March, 2-4pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Friday, 26th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Nonna’s comfort food (Italian): Friday, 26th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 27th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Saturday, 27th March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Going native Australia: Saturday, 27th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 28th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vegan cooking master class: Sunday, 28th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Gnocchi in tutta l’Italia: Tuesday, 30th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 1st April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Nonna’s comfort food (Italian): Tuesday, 6th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 8th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • La cucina della Puglia: Thursday, 8th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Gnocchi in tutta l’Italia: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 10th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Korean cooking master class: Saturday, 10th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 11th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Mexican cooking master class: Sunday, 11th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Spanish cooking master class: Sunday, 11th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pasta e basta!: Tuesday, 13th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 15th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • The cuisine of Central Italy: Thursday, 15th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia: Friday, 16th April, 2-4.30pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Friday, 16th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 17th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Saturday, 17th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indonesian cooking master class: Saturday, 17th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 18th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Italian cooking master class: Sunday, 18th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Sunday, 18th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pasta e basta!: Tuesday, 20th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 22nd April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • A night in Rome: Thursday, 22nd April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Friday, 23rd April, 2-4pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Friday, 23rd April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 24th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Saturday, 24th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Going native Australia: Saturday, 24th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • A seafood feast: Tuesday, 27th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 29th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Friday, 30th April, 2-5pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Friday, 30th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 1st May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Saturday, 1st May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia : Saturday, 1st May, 6.30-9pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 2nd May, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Sunday, 2nd May, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Sunday, 2nd May, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
Mar 022021
 

Thanks to all the people who have contributed to this week’s newsletter: Charlotte Bartlett-Wynne, Geoff Smith, Jess Ness, Lucinda Flynn, Marjory Gardner, Robin Gale-Baker, Stuart Rodda and Vasundhara Kandpal.

Going green with Lucinda

I am really pleased to announce that Lucinda Flynn, from Hurstbridge, has agreed to become a regular contributor to both the newsletter and the website. The general theme of Lucinda’s material will be sustainable practices related to food and eating. This is a subject about which she is an acknowledged expert having run the Going Green Solutions website and shop, which sells eco-friendly products, for many years. Whilst you can buy all their products online, I would suggest that you also think about visiting the actual shop in Hurstbridge as it is unusual, interesting and a potential source of inspiration, both for yourself and for gift ideas. We are going to group Lucinda’s articles under the general heading ‘going green with Lucinda’.

Lucinda’s first article is entitled Compost bins: can you really put everything of an organic origin into them? As she says in her introduction: “We are one of those families that believes that we really can put everything that has an organic origin into our compost bins , and so our compost gets the lot. On top of the usual food scraps, we throw in natural fibre clothing, straw hats, meat scraps, hair, cotton buds, old feather down quilts, cardboard and even disposable cotton menstrual pads. But what is the actual end result? As I started to dig out our compost the other day, ready to spread it around the garden, I started discovering some residual items, and thought I’d share them with you. Our compost results are not perfect – but we are still thrilled with how much we can successfully compost.” She then goes on to discuss the end results of each of the items listed together with a photo of the end result of that item.

Read the full article.

Stuart’s small hand tool of the week – forks and rakes

It is debatable whether a hand fork is necessary if you have a trowel already along with a multipurpose tool like the delta hoe. Small hand forks serve a similar purpose to regular forks. Thus with straight-tined (aka straight-pronged) hand forks, you can dig with downward pressure to the length of the tines or more, and the tines (aka prongs) penetrate hard soil better than a trowel. For deeper cultivation, a full size fork would be better.

A similar hand tool is like a small rake, with down-pointing tips (see right hand photo below), which enables you to rake across the top of the soil, or press down while raking, to dig the soil to a depth of 10 cm or so with multiple strokes. These are great for roughing up the soil surface to kill small weeds and increase water and air penetration; do this when the soil is fairly dry and just before mulching and watering. As with trowels, a solid aluminium/alloy model is light in weight and should not break, rust or be affected by sunlight; and a moulded rubberised handle will give the greatest comfort. Stainless steel is also ok but I find that these are often flimsy and will bend or the welds will break under hard use.

 

Read Stuart’s other articles about garden tools.

Farm Raiser – a new farm in Bellfield

Farm Raiser is a not-for-profit urban, organic vegetable farm run by three young farmers (Charlotte, Kirsty and Patrick) on land behind Waratah Special Development School in Bellfield. Whilst not certified, they follow organic principles and don’t use any chemicals. Summer 2020/21 is their first season. They sell their vegetables in weekly mixed boxes. They deliver to the following suburbs: Alphington, Bellfield, Bulleen, Eaglemont, Fairfield, Heidelberg, Heidelberg West, Heidelberg Heights, Ivanhoe, Ivanhoe East, Kingsbury, Macleod, Northcote, Preston, Rosanna, Thornbury and Viewbank. Read their Local Food Directory page. Welcome Charlotte, Kirsty and Patrick!

More on wicking beds

Following Robin Gale-Baker’s article last week on wicking beds, Lucinda Flynn asked if she had any recommended brands. Robin’s reply: “We ourselves have converted to the corrugated beds and love them. The manufacturer is Rural Tanks and Garden Beds in Seymour and you can order them through either Bulleen Art and Garden or Nillumbik Nursery. You can also request that they come without a pre drilled outlet, and then put it in yourself at the top of the reservoir (where you want the highest water level to be).

Geoff Smith also wrote in to say that, as an alternative to corrugated beds, his company Wicked Wicking Beds, who are based in Echuca, make IBC beds and deliver to Melbourne. Each bed is supplied as a kit and includes a half tank (cleaned and cut to size), all required plumbing (inlet pipe, adjustable overflow outlet, length of slotted drainpipe, geotextile fabric) and a pallet (for extra height). Freight costs are substantially reduced if multiple beds are ordered.

Frankie Goes to Kindergarten

Newsletter reader Marjory Gardner is a children’s book illustrator. Her new picture book, Frankie Goes to Kindergarten, which was published this week, tells the story of a real life dog who accompanies his owner, Peta, to kindergarten. Young readers 0-5 years old will learn all about kinder as Frankie joins in reading, playing, gardening, dancing and singing. They will also enjoy searching for cheeky George the cat hiding on every page. Buy the book online. Got to Marjory’s website to see some of her drawings or to contact her.

The two pictures below are from the book. The first is the cover. The second has been chosen because of the small vegetable garden top right!

 

Photos from some of the recent garden tours

There have been quite a lot of garden tours recently. If anyone has any photos from any of the tours that they would like to share, email them.

In the meantime, here is one that I took at the garden of Dianne Wollaston and John Pender. From left to right: Stuart, Jane, Leo, Lauri, Pam, Jacinda, Leah, Geoff, Dianne and John.

Vasundhara’s recipe of the week – butternut dipping sauce

Ingredients

2 cups butternut squash, steamed/cooked
? cup cashews, soaked 6-8 hours
2 garlic cloves
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
¼ cup nutritional yeast
salt and pepper, to taste

If you forget to soak the cashews, just boil them in water for 10 minutes.

Method

Dice and steam your butternut squash until it is soft.

Add all the ingredients into your high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Use as a dipping sauce, curry base, pasta sauce etc. Add chilli flakes, pepper, steamed spinach and other veggies as desired.

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: 2015

This newsletter was originally started in mid 2012 by Robyn Currie, who then produced weekly newsletters for 2½ years until early 2015, when she decided to stop. My role had been largely limited to encouraging and supporting Robyn (plus putting copies of the newsletters onto the website). However, I had always viewed the newsletter as one of the most important things that Local Food Connect did and so, when Robyn stopped writing it and no one else came forward to take her place, I decided to volunteer for the role. Between us, Robyn and I have now written around 400 newsletters.

For me, the heart of the newsletter was (and is) the calendar of upcoming events. If, by advertising a local food event, we can increase the attendance at that event then that is a real, tangible achievement, with gains to both the attendee and to the organiser of the event. And that applies to any local food event, not just those organised by us or those which happen to interest us. So, from the start, I decided that I would treat all local food events equally and this is one of the things that I hope distinguishes what I do from that of many other newsletters and websites, which largely only promote their own events and select others.

The calendar of events follows similar rules to that of the Local Food Directory previously discussed: the geographic scope is ‘North East Melbourne’ and I proactively seek out events for inclusion. It took me some time to work out where to find out about all the events and I now visit around 400 websites each week to see if they have any new events listed.

By end 2015, the scope of the calendar was effectively what it is today and the standard template for the newsletters had been established. Also, the newsletter and the website had become much more closely linked, sharing the same calendar and with all the substantive articles in the newsletters being duplicated somewhere on the website.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The most popular link last week was Robin’s article on the do’s and don’ts of wicking beds.

Joke (or pun) of the week

What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple? Taking a bite and finding half a worm.

Read more jokes.

Upcoming events – introduction

Ringwood’s 3rd annual Local Sustainability Fair

Ringwood’s 3rd annual Local Sustainability Fair will be taking place on Sunday, 28th March, 10am-2pm at the Central Ringwood Community Centre. They are seeking more stallholders; if interested, complete their stallholder application form. They are also seeking more volunteers to help out on the day; if interested, complete their volunteer application form.

Emboldening of free events

As someone said, there is something special about events that are free. They have been highlighted in bold in the lists below.

Website calendars

By type of event: All once-off events, Cooking, Everything else, 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
March
April

Upcoming events – cooking

Newly announced
March
April
In Richmond
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 4th March, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • La cucina della Puglia: Thursday, 4th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Friday, 5th March, 2-5pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Friday, 5th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • La cucina della Sardegna: Friday, 5th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 6th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Saturday, 6th March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia: Saturday, 6th March, 6.30-9pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 7th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Sunday, 7th March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Sunday, 7th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Sicilian food: Tuesday, 9th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 11th March, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Sicilian food: Thursday, 11th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Friday, 12th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Friday, 12th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • The cuisine of Central Italy: Friday, 12th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 13th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Korean cooking master class: Saturday, 13th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 14th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Mexican cooking master class: Sunday, 14th March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Spanish cooking master class: Sunday, 14th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • A seafood feast: Tuesday, 16th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 18th March, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • A night in Rome: Thursday, 18th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia: Friday, 19th March, 2-4.30pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 20th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Saturday, 20th March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indonesian cooking master class: Saturday, 20th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 21st March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Italian cooking master class: Sunday, 21st March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Sunday, 21st March, 6.30-8.30pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Naples and the Amalfi Coast: Tuesday, 23rd March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 25th March, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • La cucina Toscana: Thursday, 25th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Friday, 26th March, 2-4pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Friday, 26th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Nonna’s comfort food (Italian): Friday, 26th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 27th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Saturday, 27th March, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Going native Australia: Saturday, 27th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 28th March, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vegan cooking master class: Sunday, 28th March, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Gnocchi in tutta l’Italia: Tuesday, 30th March, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 1st April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Nonna’s comfort food (Italian): Tuesday, 6th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 8th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • La cucina della Puglia: Thursday, 8th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Vietnamese cooking master class: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Thai cooking master class: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Gnocchi in tutta l’Italia: Friday, 9th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 10th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Korean cooking master class: Saturday, 10th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 11th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Mexican cooking master class: Sunday, 11th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Spanish cooking master class: Sunday, 11th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pasta e basta!: Tuesday, 13th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 15th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • The cuisine of Central Italy: Thursday, 15th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Street food of Asia: Friday, 16th April, 2-4.30pm; $168 ($67 per hour); Richmond.
  • Japanese cooking master class: Friday, 16th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 17th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Saturday, 17th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indonesian cooking master class: Saturday, 17th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Sunday, 18th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Italian cooking master class: Sunday, 18th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Sunday, 18th April, 6.30-8.30pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pasta e basta!: Tuesday, 20th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Thursday, 22nd April, 6.30-8.30pm; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • A night in Rome: Thursday, 22nd April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.
  • Pizza making party: Friday, 23rd April, 2-4pm; $127 ($64 per hour); Richmond.
  • Indian cooking master class: Friday, 23rd April, 6.30-9.30pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Dumpling party: Saturday, 24th April, 10am-midday; $111 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Chinese cooking master class: Saturday, 24th April, 2-5pm; $168 ($56 per hour); Richmond.
  • Going native Australia: Saturday, 24th April, 6.30-9.30pm; $189 ($63 per hour); Richmond.
  • A seafood feast: Tuesday, 27th April, 6.30-10.30pm; $105 ($26 per hour); Richmond.