Aug 082017

Plants at Greensborough railway station

Last week, I briefly mentioned one unsung hero, Julie. This week, I’m going to mention another. His name is Graham Osborne and he is a ticket officer at Greensborough railway station. Four years ago, he started a 100m garden running parallel to the main track (see first picture). It mostly comprises drought tolerant plants, such as yuccas, pelargonium, salvias, euphorbias and various succulents, and Graham still maintains it. There are also planter boxes dotted around the platform (see second picture). Read an interview with Graham in the Leader from March 2016.

Darebin Backyard Harvest Festival

The Darebin Backyard Harvest Festival is mainly about tours of selected home gardens. This year it will be on 18th-26th November and the gardens will encompass Moreland as well as Darebin. To register to open your home garden, complete the online application form. For more information, contact Lee Tozzi by phone (8470 8392) or email. Garden registrations close on 1st September.

Yarra Valley Gateway Estate

I went to Yarra Valley Gateway Estate in Coldstream earlier this week and and owner, Tony Spurling, kindly pointed out which local food producers they are now stocking. By my count, it is an impressive 10: Australian Harvest / Bio Grape; Cunliffe & Waters; Healthybake; Kookaberry Strawberry Farm; Montrose Meats & Smokehouse; Unforgettable Products; Yarra Coffee; Yarra Valley Dairy; Yarra Valley Gourmet Foods; and Yarra Valley Tea Company. That puts them fourth in the shops’ league table.

As well as selling others’ local produce, Yarra Valley Gateway Estate are a major producer in their own right, growing strawberries, capsicums & basil, running a small beef herd, and making wine & strawberry products.

Although Coldstream is only a small place (population around 2,500), it actually has a large number of food producers, including: Adams Farms; Australian Harvest / Bio Grape; Coldstream Dairy; Cunliffe & Waters; Domaine Chandon; Garlic N More; Maroondah Orchards; Napoleone Brewery & Ciderhouse; Oakridge Wines; Pimpernel Vineyards; Punt Road Wines; Rochford Wines; The Functional Beverage Co.; Tokar Estate Winery; and Yarra Valley Tea Company.

Other local food producer news

The Mushroom Shed’s mushroom kits can now be purchased at The Natural Food Market in Montmorency.

The Really Really Free Market Preston recently featured in The Weekly Review.

Two recent articles in The Leader discuss the planned new fresh food precinct in Greensborough plaza: one about grocer Sculli Brothers and the other about chef Dani Venn. Other food-related articles in the Leader include: Thomastown food producers en masse; a new tram restaurant at Preston; the food activities at Findon Primary School in Mill Park; the food activities at Kingswood College in Box Hill; and a greengrocer in Fairfield ditching the use of plastic bags.

Joke of the week

What did the green grape say to the purple grape? Breathe dammit, breathe!

Read all the jokes.

New events


What: This workshop will cover tips, tricks and ideas that improve the success of food gardening at home. Ian Culbard (formerly of CERES) will facilitate. Take a notepad, garden sketches, seeds/produce to share, and your favourite reference books/magazines/websites.
When: Wednesday, 9th August, 7-9pm.
Where: Watsonia Neighbourhood House.
Cost: Gold coin.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Horticulture therapy – why we need more school gardens

What: Gardening is an engaging activity for children of all ages and abilities. Join them in visiting 3 special school settings where students enjoy the recreational, therapeutic and pre-vocational benefits of gardening. Starting at Waratah Special Developmental School, car pooling to & from Austin Hospital, and finishing at Croxton School, Northcote. Speakers: Margaret Sulikowski (Waratah Special Development School); Ellen Regos (Cultivating Community); Steve Wells (Austin Health); Richard Bellemo (school garden designer and landscaper); and Basil Natoli (teacher and horticulturist).
When: Friday, 11th August, 9am-3.30pm.
Where: Bellfield.
Cost: $30 including lunch ($120 for teachers).
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Asian cooking class (thermomix)

What: Go along to this class with a team of thermomix enthusiasts. Experience and taste a variety of dishes from across a range of Asian cuisines. The recipes include: lemonade; non-fried fried rice; Thai red chicken curry; chicken and sweet corn soup; roti bread; coffee pannacotta with chocolate sauce; and coconut pudding.
When: Friday, 11th August, 7-9pm.
Where: Blackburn North.
Cost: $22.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Edible weeds walk at The Patch

What: Weeds. Many spray them, some feed them to their pets and, to most, they are simply a nuisance. Those in the know, however, understand that weeds can be a nutritionally dense, medicinal and tasty guests in the garden. Join weed-expert Monique, from Joe’s Market Garden, for an edible weeds tour around campus to learn about all about the wonders of weeds and the best foraging tips. Afterwards, there will be a cook-up using some of the weeds that you foraged on the tour!
When: Thursday, 17th August, 3-6pm.
Where: La Trobe Community Garden, Bundoora.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fermenting workshop

What: What you will learn: gut health – why our gut and digestion plays such an integral role in our overall health and wellbeing; how to make sauerkraut and kombucha; easy steps that are achievable at home even if you have never fermented before; and choose your favourite spices and make your own sauerkraut. What you get: a starter kit including, your very own ‘scoby’, so you can get started brewing at home; and take home sauerkraut, scoby, recipes and instructions. Go along to learn about all things gut health plus a beginner’s guide to fermentation and what the benefits are to including this ancient food as medicine in our modern lifestyle. You will make your own sauerkraut, step by step, from scratch. They will also run you through how to make kombucha at home and give your own scoby to take home. Includes a glass of kombucha on arrival. Bring your favourite kitchen knife and a medium sized jar (500ml) for your sauerkraut.
When: Saturday, 19th August, 1-3pm.
Where: Eltham.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Melbourne Winter Donut Fest

What: Think hot chocolate, mulled wine, hot jam donuts, coffee, plenty of outdoor heating and cheery festoon lighting. The industrial warehouse venue will be partially inside and outside. They even have an official Donut Fest beer – a sessional amber ale with a touch of caramel malt developed by Kooinda Boutique Brewery. 36 vendors. Sweet vendors: Doughnut Time; St Gerry’s; Lukumades; Nuts About Tella; The Hungary Boy; Honey Dee; Ostrich and the Egg; Dip’d; Dandee Donuts; Uncle Donut; Jamm’d; Goldelucks; Krumbs; Penny for Pound; Jamm’d; Senor Churro; Holy Bombolina; and Downtown Donuts. Savoury vendors: Giant Springs; El Jefe; Hangi Boys; GF Gnocchi Bar; The Real Jerk; Twisted Mac; Yo India; and Ron’s Handburger. Beverage vendors: Manchuria Bar; Kooinda Brewery; SquareKeg; Gageroads; Stomping Ground; Odyssey Craft Brewing; Two Birds Brewing; Those Girls; Wimmera Hills; Welshman’s Reef; Koffee Kartel; D’lighted Mixology; and Chai Walli.
When: Saturday, 19th August and Sunday, 20th August, both 11am-8pm.
Where: Batman Royale, Coburg North.
Cost: $11.
Bookings / Further information: Eventbrite.

Winter garden party

What: They will harvest and cook some of their winter veggies and share a warm lunch next to an open fire.
When: Sunday, 20th August, 11am-3pm.
Where: Produce With A Purpose, Lower Plenty.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Everything you need to know about the paleo diet

What: Looking for a new (or a millennia-old) diet strategy? Here’s your primer on the paleo diet. Lindy Cook will explain the diet and give you a chance to taste some of her Paleo recipes. Find out why the paleo diet is so popular and go home armed with information and recipes for you and your family.
When: Wednesday, 23rd August, 6.30-7.30pm.
Where: Box Hill Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The effects of food on children’s behaviour

What: This presentation will cover the effects of problem food additives and natural food chemicals on behaviour, health and learning, for both children and adults. Presenter Jenny Ravlic is experienced in FAILSAFE, dairy-free and additive-free living with her family of boys (now all young men), solving many issues from rashes on faces and asthma coughs to disruptive behavioural problems and motor tics. Jenny will help you identify the nasty additives on food labels and highlight some safe commercial food alternatives.
When: Thursday, 14th September, 6.30-7.30pm.
Where: Box Hill Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

FEASTival – My Kitchen Rules

What: Go along to see a cooking demonstration by Karen and Ros from My Kitchen Rules reflecting one of the many cultures of Lalor. Taste a sample of the finished dish and take home a copy of the recipe to try with your family.
When: Saturday, 16th September, 10.30am-midday.
Where: Lalor Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Healthy productive compost and worms

What: What you will learn: the importance of compost for soil health; how to fix common composting problems; and setting up and looking after a worm farm. Presented by Maria Ciavarella. Learn how to make great compost, the essential ingredient for a thriving and healthy garden. You will also look at worm farms and Bokashi as other options. You will also be shown how to make a DIY worm farm using recycled products.
When: Thursday, 28th September, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Fermentation – an introduction to lactofermented fruit

What: What you will learn: all about lactoferments; improve your culinary knowledge; and how to ferment your own fruit. What you will get: recipes to take home; and samples of what you make. If you have tried your hand at sauerkraut and other vegetable ferments, fermenting fruits might be the next step in your fermenting journey. In this workshop, Monique will introduce you to next level fermenting. You will be sampling some fermented salsa/relish variations, discussing the subtle differences between fermenting low sugar vegetables and high sugar vegetables. You will be walked through the process before making your own batch to take home and ferment on your bench top.
When: Saturday, 7th October, 3-5pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $55.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

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