Feb 052020

Judy interviews Mel and Mick Sheard, gin makers from Research (Imbue Distillery)

If you went to Eltham Farmer’s Market on 12th January, you might well have seen Imbue Distillery selling their gin and gin liqueurs. Ditto if you have been any of the South Morang Farmers & Makers Markets. Imbue Distillery is the invention of local couple, Mick and Mel Sheard, and Judy Vizzari recently interviewed them at their distillery in Research.

Nowadays, gin is all about botanicals. As Judy says about Imbue Distillery, “Amongst their foraged botanicals are prickly pear fruit, wild fennel, dandelions and berries and the traditional flavourings include juniper berries, citruses, ginger, vanilla and honey.” Here is how Judy describes her first taste of one of their gin liqueurs: “It’s quite thick, not sweet. It starts with melon and ends with citrus flavours which linger in my mouth long after my glass is empty. It’s delicious and I imagine it would be perfect mixed or sipped cold on a lazy, warm afternoon.” And here is how Judy summarises Mel and Mick’s venture: “This young family has a dream and they are chasing it with both energy and commitment. It’s not an easy life, but it seems they wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m heartened to see their enthusiasm and delighted with their product.

Read Judy’s full write up.

You can try or buy Imbue Distillery’s gin Hurstbridge Market on the 1st Sunday of every month, Eltham Farmer’s Market on the 2nd Sunday of every month, South Morang Farmers & Makers Market on the 3rd Saturday of every month or Kingsbury Drive Community Market on the 4th Sunday of every month. You can also buy it online, at Eltham Deli or at Nillumbik Cellars in Diamond Creek.

Why not go to this coming Sunday’s Eltham Farmers’ Market (9th February) to talk to Mick and Mel, and sample some of their products?

Our biggest ever giveaway competition

Mel and Mick would like to give away a bottle of their gin (value $80) to a randomly chosen newsletter reader. As usual, it will be a random draw of everyone who emails me, but you only qualify for the draw if you have read Judy’s full write up and, to demonstrate this, you will need to correctly answer the following question in your email: “What gives Imbue’s First Fleet liqueur its colour?Email me with your answer.

Community gardening news

West Brunswick Community Garden and Food Forest has a new sign courtesy of one of its members.

At Day’s End by Fee Sievers

Newsletter reader Fee wrote this poem some time ago but it has only just come to my attention.

Diced beef in a wok
Ice in a fat-bottomed glass
I prolong the pleasure of the pour
TV blares as dog barks and kids bicker
Feet scream for a rest while I
Lay out dinner on the bench
Chop carrots and snowpeas
For stir-fry and fresh lime for gin
Just the one but today it’s a double
I splash sauce on red meat
Gin in the glass
Add tonic as ice cracks
Like stepping on egg shells
Add lime slice fresh as summer
Reminds me of hot nights
Like a life time ago
With ice-cold lemonade
Crayons and a grazed knee
No lemons for me
Too often they’re bitter
As am I

Read more food-related poems by newsletter readers.

Yes, you do know!

In last week’s newsletter, Meera Govil asked: “Does anyone know how to dry oregano and mint so that they remain green when dry?“..

Tracey Bjorksten’s answer: “All herbs are going to fade a bit when dried so it all depends what shade of green you are aiming for. Here is a picture of my peppermint and oregano, which were dried in a Miele oven at 80 degree C, fan-forced, for probably somewhere between 30 min and 1 hour. Time will vary between batches according to the water content of the leaves, the quantity being dried etc so they need to have an eye kept on them. I consider these to be a good shade of green. The flavour is also excellent.

Robyn Currie’s answer: “I just gather bunches of oregano, about a half inch in diameter, tie and hang upside down in an out of the way place in the kitchen (usually a cupboard doorknob). After a couple of weeks or more, the leaves are dry and a dark green.

Anyone else want to ask any questions? Email me.

Pop up garlic farmer program 2020

Registrations for the 2020 pop up garlic farmer program have now opened. “From February to November 2020 as a pop up garlic farmer you can take a crop of garlic right through from seed to harvest and market with a load of learning experiences and farm tours across the year to teach you everything you’ll need to know. Throughout the program, you’ll meet experienced farmers, visit established small-scale farms, and hear from experts across a diverse range of fields. Each site will have a site manager to support you each step of the way and at least three other fellow pop up garlic farmers to share the experience.Read more and apply

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The permablitz article on ginger.

Joke of the week

What did the grape say when he got stepped on? He let out a little wine.

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

Introduction to permaculture – mushrooms: 4 sessions on consecutive Mondays, from 10th February to 2nd March, each 10am-2.30pm; Brunswick.

What: This course is for Centrelink concession card holders only. You will: learn about basic principles of permaculture and sustainability; create your own take home mushroom grow kit; and grow oyster mushrooms on coffee grounds and waste paper. You will take home a mushroom home-grow kit.
Cost: free.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Eating carbon – regenerative agriculture in the climate crisis: Wednesday, 19th February, 6.30-8.30pm; Kathleen Syme Library, Carlton.

What: This mock Citizens’ Assembly is the third of four assemblies looking at how ordinary people can make policy decisions to tackle the climate crisis. While factory farming has come under fire for its carbon footprint, agriculture can play an important role in drawing down carbon, keeping water on the landscape and feeding the nation. How can policy support a shift to regenerative agriculture? Go and learn how sortition works and how we can all contribute policy answers to this complex problem.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Native bee and insect hotel family wide workshop: Saturday, 22nd February, 1.30-2.30pm; Rushall Community Garden, Fitzroy North.

What: Join Katrina Forstner, from Buzz and Dig in Rushall Community Garden, as she introduces you to the amazing world of native bees and how to attract them into your garden. This workshop will demonstrate methods for pollination and planning for bee habitat, including bee-attracting plants. You’ll learn about the co-evolution of bees and native plants, what common bees look like, native bee nesting behaviours. You’ll also get to make a bee hotel to take home! Bring along a 400ml empty tin (no meat) and some secateurs.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Community growing spaces workshop (City of Yarra): Tuesday, 3rd March, 6.30-8pm; Richmond.

What: This workshop is for anyone wishing to establish a planter box, laneway garden, nature strip garden or productive tree in the streets of Yarra. You will learn how the process works and receive advice to help you submit a successful application. The workshop will include: how to apply for a public growing space in the City of Yarra; an opportunity to learn about council resources on growing your own food; and a chance to meet other community members interested in growing their own food.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Incredible Edible Eltham – Winter vegetable planting workshop: Sunday, 22nd March, 2-4pm; Old Eltham Courthouse.

What: It’s time to think about your Winter veggie planting. As a prelude to the early April Winter planting at the Incredible Edible Eltham planter boxes at the railway station and outside healthAbility, presenters Guy Palmer and Evan Gellert will discuss what could be planted and why. They will compare and contrast public bed planting with what they will be planting in their home veggie patches. The discussion will include broad beans, garlic, peas, brassicas, root vegetables and leafy greens, including particular considerations when growing some of these veggies. They will also demonstrate some of the tools that they use (soil blockers, moisture probes, etc). The history, and possible future, of Incredible Edible Eltham will be touched on. Refreshments will be provided. Click here to read about Incredible Edible Eltham.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Nutrition gardening – growing nutrient dense food in any space: Wednesday, 25th March, 10am-midday; Edendale.

What: Presenter: Donna Livermore. Topics to be covered will include: selecting crop varieties; understanding and transforming your soil; an introduction to soil minerals; focusing on the soil food web; creating nutrient rich composts; fertilising your plants for maximum nutrition; and harvesting and preparing produce to maintain nutrients.
Cost: $75 ($15 per hour).
Bookings: TryBooking.

Composting with Nina Bishop: Saturday, 28th March, 1-3pm; Rosanna.

What: Nina is passionate about supporting people to send zero organic waste to landfill. In this workshop, learn how to compost all your household organic waste using a variety of methods to suit every situation.
Cost: Gold coin donation.
Bookings: their website.

Growing fruit and veggies in small spaces: Sunday, 29th March, 9.30am-12.30pm; Bulleen Art and Garden.

What: What you will learn: which produce plants are suitable to grow in small areas; coping with shade and sun for produce growing; and how to make the most of any available space for growing produce. Presented by Angelo Eliades. Do you only have a small garden or no garden at all? Would you still like to grow your own food? This class will inspire you to get started. Topics will include fruit, vegetables and berries for small spaces, growing produce in pots and containers, maximising productivity in any size space and plant selection.
Cost: $50 ($17 per hour).
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

DIY Mushrooms: Sunday, 29th March, 10am-4pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: Presenter: Brendan Morse. you will be shown the secrets to successfully growing mushrooms at home. You will learn the growing methods for oyster and shitake mushrooms, including inoculation and sterilisation, and be introduced to basic mycology. You will undertake practical sessions and learn how to start master cultures and how to make liquid mycelium.
Cost: $165 ($28 per hour).
Bookings: Humanitix.

Waste, organic recycling and life cycle analysis: Tuesday, 31st March, 10am-4pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: Presenter: Lauren Kaszubski. Topics to be covered will include: how to reduce your waste, 4Rs; e-waste & life cycle analysis; organic recycling & food waste; simple actions, big impacts; litter and plastics; waste campaigns and actions; how to teach about waste; and create your own waste education activity.
Cost: $120 ($20 per hour).
Bookings: Humanitix.

Seed saving: Thursday, 2nd April, 10.30am-midday; Whittlesea Community Garden.

Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (9716 3361) or email.

Native edibles for companion planting: Thursday, 2nd April, 6.30-9pm; Bulleen Art and Garden.

What: What you will learn: a range of edible natives that are easy to grow in Melbourne; basics of companion planting; and which plants to choose in your garden planning, and how to grow and care for them. Presented by Karen Sutherland, of Edible Eden Design. Non-indigenous Australians are waking up to the edible plants around us and wondering why we didn’t use them before. Knowing what will grow and also produce a harvest, as well as how to use it, is difficult as most of us aren’t yet familiar with apple berries or native mint. In this class, you will learn how to incorporate some easily grown edible native plants into your garden so that they work in harmony with your existing plants, as well as a variety of ways to use these plants in your kitchen.
Cost: $50 ($20 per hour).
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

New events – cooking

Persian cooking: Saturday, 15th February, and again on Saturday, 29th February, both 10am-12.30pm; Lower Templestowe.

What: Learn to cook a three course Persian menu. Take your own apron.
Cost: $55 ($22 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Kids cooking club: Tuesday, 25th February, 4-5pm; Thomastown Library.

What: To celebrate their new kitchen garden, they will be teaching kids how to make their own salad and salad dressing. BYO containers to take your food home.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Become a junior chocolatier: 8 occurrences on Saturday, 29th February (9-9.45am), Saturday, 21st March (9-9.45am), Tuesday, 31st March (10-10.45am, 11-11.45am and midday-12.45pm) and Wednesday, 1st April (10-10.45am, 11-11.45am and midday-12.45pm); Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, Yarra Glen.

What: In a 45 minute ‘parent-free zone’, children aged 6–12 years can learn from their chocolatiers how to make their very own chocolate creations. Includes personalised badge, chef’s hat and apron, graduation certificate plus take home three chocolate creations to enjoy.
Cost: $40 ($53 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Easter biscuits workshop: Saturday, 29th February, 11am-midday; Watsonia Library.

What: Get hands-on with Irene Williams to create and decorate Easter bunny, chick and Easter egg biscuits.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Chocolate discovery class: 4 occurrences on Saturday, 29th February and Saturday, 21st March, 11.30am-12.30pm and 1-2pm; Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, Yarra Glen.

What: This class includes indulging in a range of chocolate and truffle tastings, the chance to learn about how chocolate is made, and finding out about the inspiration behind each of their specialty ranges with their European Chocolatiers. Your chocolate education concludes with the chance to create your own personal chocolate bar and delve in giant lollipop making fun.
Cost: $48 ($48 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Preserving: Saturday, 7th March, 9am-1pm; Kinglake.

What: Explore the magic of preservation. You will create three different preserves on the day for you to take. The greatest advantage of preserving is the fact that you know where the raw ingredients came from and you control what goes in.
Cost: $40 ($10 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Bread making basics: Saturday, 14th March, 10am-12.30pm; Lower Templestowe.

What: Bake your own bread with Nadine Kemp. Take a 4 litre container and an apron. You will be supplied with bread starter, recipes and dough to bake at home.
Cost: $50 ($20 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Sourdough bread making: Saturday, 21st March, 10am-12.30pm; Lower Templestowe.

What: Learn a simple, reliable technique to bake your own sourdough bread. Take a 4 litre container and an apron. You will be supplied with bread starter, recipes and dough to bake at home.
Cost: $65 ($26 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Easter egg decorating demonstration for adults: Monday, 23rd March, 10.30-11.30am; Thomastown Library.

What: Irene Williams, from the Victorian Cake Decorating Society, will show you how to decorate your own chocolate eggs for Easter.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Sourdough workshop: Saturday, 28th March, midday-4pm; Kinglake.

What: The Fermented Mumma will break down this traditional bread making method into simple easy-to-follow steps. You will take home a ready-to-bake sourdough as well as instructions, electronic and hard copy, a jar of bubbly starter (natural yeast), a proving basket and ongoing online support from The Fermented Mumma.
Cost: $90 ($18 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Summary of upcoming events – not cooking

Over the next week
Over the next month

Summary of upcoming events – cooking

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

Read some help on how to view the calendar selectively. For example, search for events in a given suburb or set of suburbs. Or search for events of a given type (such as markets).

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