Aug 162017

Mac’s tip of the week

With the wattles in bloom signalling a change of season from winter to spring, it’s a good time to start sowing your tomato seeds. They will still need protection from possible frosts so indoors on a window sill, or in an igloo or glass house, is ideal. Or you can use the bottom half of a soft drink bottle over a 14cm pot. Seed raising mix makes all the difference.

Also, a last reminder to spray your peaches and nectarines to prevent curly leaf – copper spray residue needs to be present at bud burst and bud burst is pretty much now. Until next time, remember: dirty hands are good hands.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

Yarra Valley Gourmet Foods

Yarra Valley Gourmet Foods, from Mount Evelyn, bring together the freshest local produce in a collection of gourmet salad dressings, jams, jellies, mustards, cordials, chutneys, mayonnaise, vinegars, and infused oils. Their brands include Yarra Valley Preserves, Yarra Valley Larder and Mad Dog. More than 60 outlets in North East Melbourne sell their products so there is bound to be one near you. You can also buy their stuff online. Read their Local Food Directory entry, which includes their list of outlets. Welcome, Jacqui!

A new ‘food justice’ section on our website

I am increasingly aware of both the number and the vibrancy of organisations in Melbourne concerned with ‘food justice’.

Previous newsletters have mentioned The Food Justice Truck, The Community Grocer, The Darebin Fruit Squad, Foodbank Victoria, SecondBite, FareShare and The Really Really Free Market Preston. These discussions have now been brought together in a single page on our website.

Similarly, the discussions about the food giveaways at Reservoir Neighbourhood House and Watsonia Neighbourhood House, plus the ‘food is free’ initiatives at Reservoir, Ringwood East and Warrandyte, have now also been brought together in another page on our website.

Anyhow, this week I would like to highlight some organisations who provide free community meals. These include: Reservoir Neighbourhood House; Span Community House (Thornbury); All Saints Anglican Church (Greensborough); Mill Park Baptist Church; Food Not Bombs Melbourne; and The Salt Foundation (Heidelberg West). See the page on our website discussing these meals. If you know of any others, email me.

Finally, a map (plus contact details) of all these initiatives (plus a few more) can also be found on our website.

Plants at various Metro railway stations

Following the article in last week’s newsletter, Jenny Shaw has been scouring the Metro railway network to find other stations which have planter boxes. Here are four that she has found. Thanks, Jenny!

Burnley Camberwell East Camberwell Surrey Hills

Creamy mushroom soup with rosemary croutons

As part of healthAbility’s Eat Well for Health programme, Mimi Biggadike demonstrated how to make creamy mushroom soup with rosemary croutons at the last Eltham Farmers’ Market. Here is her recipe.

Local food producers in the news

PoppySmack, from Warrandyte, and Blue Pear Pantry, from North Warrandyte, and Asterisk Kitchen, from Ringwood, all featured in the August edition of The Warrandyte Diary.

Nature’s Harvest, in Hurstbridge, have released a YouTube video starring Craig Usher.

Need some cheap seeds for your community or backyard garden?

Joke of the week

As seen by Lynne Gough and Dave Richards: this is the awning of the cage of asparagus.

For those of you who were not listening to music in the late 1960s, this sign is a play on words from the original song, this is the dawning of the age of aquarius, made famous by the musical Hair. It was first released as a single by a group called The 5th Dimension (see video)but subsequently covered by many others, including Andy Williams, Cilla Black, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Engelbert Humperdinck and The Osmonds.

Read all the jokes.

New events

Convivial Kitchen’s sourdough breadmaking demo

What: Join Kat Lavers for a slow food afternoon as she demonstrates sourdough breadmaking, from preparing the grain to baking bread.
When: Sunday, 27th August, 2-5pm.
Where: Northcote.
Cost: $15.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cooking master class

What: Enjoy 3 tasting size courses cooked by chef Bek McMillan, from Gourmet Living, who will demonstrate step by step. All recipes are included. Menu: sweet potato and spinach tart; spiced lamb fillets; and raspberry scones.
When: Monday, 28th August, 11am-1pm and Thursday, 31st August, 7-9pm.
Where: Templestowe.
Cost: $42.
Bookings / Further information: 28th August and 31st August.

Mooroolbark Food Festival

What: Mooroolbark’s food outlets will be offering tastings outside their venues throughout the shopping precinct; along Manchester Road, Brice Avenue and inside The Terrace Shopping Centre. 30 food outlets ranging from Italian and Chinese to Burmese and Thai; pub fare, fine dining and ‘paddock to plate’. Inside The Terrace Shopping Centre at 66-74 Brice Avenue, you’ll learn some handy tips at food demonstrations and find stalls from home-based businesses, community groups, sports organisations and local schools. Live music and roving performers will add to the atmosphere on the day.
When: Saturday, 2nd September, 10am-2pm.
Where: Mooroolbark shopping precinct.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Feastival – food demonstration

What: Join in the FEASTival! Join in for a cooking demonstration and tastings.
When: Saturday, 9th September, 11am-midday.
Where: Thomastown Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Australian plants expo 2017 (two-day)

What: Organised by the Australian Plants Society – Yarra Yarra. Sales of native & indigenous plants, books on related subjects, native flower displays, environmental displays, talks, giftware and refreshments. The plant sellers include: APS Yarra Yarra growers (see plant list); Friends of Melton Botanic Gardens nursery (see plant list); La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary nursery; Natural Plantscape nursery (see plant list); Sunvalley Plants nursery; and Vaughan’s Australian Plants (see plant list). On 9th September, the talks are: at 11am, drawing & painting from nature by Hannah Noorda; and at 2pm, bonsai with Australian natives by Kevin Ritchie. On 10th September, the talks are: at 11am, drawing & painting from nature by Nancy Johnson; and at 2pm, wildlife garden seasons by Brian Bainbridqe.
When: Saturday, 9th September and Sunday, 10th September, both 10am-4pm.
Where: Eltham Community & Reception Centre.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Artisan pasta – homemade ravioli

What: What you will learn: how to make a basic egg pasta to use for filled shapes; how to make ravioli using free-form techniques, as well as molds for a more uniform shape; and how to freeze excess pasta and techniques to cook from frozen. What you get: all the ravioli made on the day will get taken home by the participants; and handouts with recipes and techniques for the pasta and the fillings. Cook like an Italian when you join them to make home made egg-based pasta and then use it to make ravioli. You will start from scratch with just some basic ingredients. The ravioli will be filled with a variety of fillings, including vegetarian options; and take on different shapes when you see how they are made free-form or using special molds.
When: Wednesday, 13th September, 10am-1pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $75.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

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. What you will get: comprehensive course notes; and recipes and a chance to taste a number of Indigenous plant. 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 September, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art & Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Edible weeds walk

What: What if many of the weeds in our garden were just as edible as the vegetables we tend beside them? What if some of these these free, all-too-easy-to-grow uninvited guests were so nutritionally dense that they are just about the healthiest things you could possibly eat? What if many of them also had medical traditions dating back centuries? Well it’s all true! And if you know what to choose, they also taste great. Join Adam Grubb, co-author of The Weed Forager’s Handbook, for a fascinating walk on the wild side.
When: Sunday, 17th September, 11am-1pm.
Where: Merri Creek Trail.
Cost: $25.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Vino and pizza master-matching evening

What: Learn how to match every kind of pizza with just the right wine by following the simple guidelines demonstrated by Anthony Nania.
When: Wednesday, 20th September, 6.30-9.30pm.
Where: Northcote.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Designing a productive garden

What: Ian Culbard will talk about how to design a productive food forest garden using permaculture principles.
When: Saturday, 23rd September, 11am-midday.
Where: Watsonia Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

How to make traditional moon cakes

What: It’s Autumn Moon Festival! Go along to a moon cake demonstration at Box Hill Library, followed by a Chinese cooking demonstration at Doncaster Library.
When: Saturday, 30th September, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Box Hill Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

How to make sense of food labels

What: Tour a supermarket and learn how to accurately read and understand food labels and choose healthy foods that are suitable for the whole family. You will also receive a show bag with information sheets and a healthy shopping guide booklet. The tours are led by healthAbility’s qualified dietitian and open to anyone interested in healthy eating.
When: Thursday, 5th October, 9.30-11am.
Where: Eltham.
Cost: $15 (includes a healthy shopping guide booklet).
Bookings: by phone (9430 9100).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The joy of backyard chooks

What: What you will learn: how to get started with keeping chickens in a suburban backyard; how to house and protect chooks from predators; and how chooks can be used to improve your garden and soil. Presented by Maria Ciavarella. A couple of chooks in the backyard were once a staple part of the suburban quarter acre block and their eggs a healthy part of the diet. Smaller backyards needn’t mean an end to keeping these most versatile of creatures. Join their class to find out how easy it is to keep a few hens as pets and as the ultimate garden recyclers in a sustainable household. They will cover housing, protection, feeding and varieties, as well as practical ideas on how to live harmoniously with them in your garden.
When: Thursday, 12th October, 6-8.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art & Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Vegan and vegetarian food truck event

When: Friday, 13th October, 5-10pm; Saturday, 14th October, midday-10pm; and Sunday, 15th October, midday-9pm.
Where: Preston Food Truck Park.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: Facebook event.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events

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