Jan 242018
 

Mac’s tip of the week

If you have not done so already, all your fruiting crops would probably appreciate another dose of potash or other fertilisers high in Potassium (except, of course, those stonefruits whose fruit has already been harvested). This will maximise your plants’ flower production and fruit quality (and also strengthen cell walls to fight off disease). Note that regular watering over summer can often leach out some nutrients that have not already been taken up by your plants.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

Pip pip onk onk!

The winner of last week's random draw for the free annual subscription of the PIP magazine was Rebecca Oates.

45 people entered the draw, up from 30 in the previous week. Given the level of interest, I have decided to offer yet another year’s free subscription this week. It will work as before: if you have previously entered, you are automatically entered for this week; if you haven’t previously entered and want to enter this week, simply email me some time today (Wednesday) with the word ‘PIP’ or equivalent.

Thanks to Ken Johnson’s two-year-old daughter for the “pip pip onk onk!” reference.

FareShare’s kitchen garden manual

Abbotsford-based FareShare have written a manual to share their experiences of urban food production at their Melbourne garden locations. Subjects covered include: crops grown and yield; soil; composting; integrated pest management; crop rotation; and companion planting. Click here to download.

One thing that struck me was their list of ‘top priority’ vegetables to grow: capsicum, carrot, celery, eggplant, leek, parsnip, pumpkin, sweet potato, turnip/swede and zucchini. Rather a surprising list. I thought I would go through the discipline of choosing my top 10 vegetables to grow and comparing it with theirs. Here is my list: bean, carrot, garlic, lettuce, onion, potato, pumpkin, silverbeet, tomato and zucchini. Only two in common with their list.

No Grainer

No Grainer, from Reservoir, are now in the Local Food Directory: read their entry. They make grain-free bread (and scrolls), which is also free of pseudo grains and starches. Read their Local Food Directory entry. Welcome Jo and Sally!

You can buy No Grainer’s bread at Apples and Sage Organic Wholefoods (Balwyn), Aunt Maggies (Fitzroy), Chirnside Park Health & Wellbeing, Go Vita (Greensborough), Ivanhoe Health Store, La Manna Fresh (Brunswick), Organic Fix (Eltham), Organic Wholefoods (Brunswick), Pachamama Wholefoods (Brunswick), Rhubarb Rhubarb Organics (Preston), Terra Madre (Northcote), Toscano’s Kew and Wild Things Food (Fitzroy North).

News about local food producers

Rivers of Yarrambat are looking for both a pastry chef (full- or part-time) or a chef (full-time or casual) If interested, call Karen Moad by phone (0409 436800) or email your resume.

Arthurs Creek Garlic’s fusions and olive oils are now available at A1 Bakery (Fairfield), Fairfield Delicatessen, Psarakos Market (Thornbury) and Renaissance SUPA IGA (Hawthorn – both IGAs), as well as Bolton Street Deli & Liquor (Eltham), Quintons SUPA IGA (Warrandyte) and Eltham Farmers’ Market.

Blue Pear Pantry’s ready-to-eat meals are now available at Yarra Valley Farmers’ Market as well as Eltham Deli, Eltham Farmers’ Market, FoodWorks Research, Lettuce Inn (Hurstbridge) Gourmet Living (Templestowe), Panton Hill General Store, Quintons SUPA IGA (Warrandyte), Renaissance IGA (Hawthorn), Switchback Cellars (Chirnside Park), Warrandyte Riverside Market, Wonga Park Farmers’ Market and Yarra Glen Racecourse Market.

Have you seen a good film recently?

Chris Kent has written in to recommend the film Gardening With Soul, which he borrowed from Eltham Library.

Have you ever thought about going to Sri Lanka?

If you have ever been to Eltham Farmers’ Market on the 2nd Sunday of the month, you will know that Pete’s Travelling Pans’ ready-to-eat food is one of the highlights of the market. But you are unlikely to know that the stall’s proprietar, Pieter Siebel, has a second job as organiser and guide of tours to Sri Lanka. The two pages of the flyer below provide an overview. I understand that the next tour is in July. If you’re even slightly interested, contact Pieter by phone (0419 365609) or email for a chat.

 

Joke of the week

What did the corn chip say to the cheese that was caught stealing? “Hey, that’s nachos!”

Read all the jokes.

New events

Young gardeners

What: Join your youngsters in learning to successfully grow your own food. Children enjoy eating food they have produced.
When: Saturday, 3rd February, 10am-midday.
Where: Macleod.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: by phone (9444 7427 or 0408 733683).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Organic market garden tour

What: Learn the history, present and future of Melbourne’s last remaining urban market garden. Meet the market gardeners and see what’s happening at the garden during peak season. You can read about Joe’s Market Garden on the CERES website. They hold a farmgate stall each Saturday which stocks their produce grown onsite and a few other local organic producers.
When: Saturday, 3rd February, 10.30am-midday.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: $10.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Weed foraging workshop

What: Weeds by definition are unwanted, but some of the most common are edible, nutritious and delicious. Take a walk, identify and learn about local edible weed with Claire Dunn, Re-wilding Facilitator and Author of My Year Without Matches, and Taj Scicluna, the Perma Pixie. Weeds collected will be served as part of The Great Local Lunch on Sunday 11th February.
When: Friday, 9th February, 10.30am-midday.
Where: Merri Creek Trail.
Cost: $22 ($15 concession).
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Become a junior chocolatier

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.
When: Saturday, 10th February, Saturday, 3rd March and Saturday, 17th March, all 10-10.45am.
Where: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, Yarra Glen.
Cost: $40.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Beginners’ guide to growing veggies

What: Be guided through the basics including: soil and plant nutrition; pest control; traditional and no-dig veggies patches; and easy herbs and veggies to ensure first time success. The focus will be on low or no-cost organic methods and on growing in pots for renters and people with courtyards or balconies.
When: Tuesday, 13th February, 6-9pm.
Where: Fitzroy North.
Cost: $25.
Bookings: by email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Edible weeds of Melbourne

What: Learn the most common edible weeds of the season, how to prepare them and some of their medicinal properties. Monique Miller will walk you through the weeds at Joe’s Market Garden and down by the nearby Merri Creek.
When: Saturday, 17th February, 10-11.30am.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: $12.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Farmer to table dinner II

What: The format is simple: 3 farmers, 3 courses, 1 exceptional experience. The dinner comprises 3 courses which highlight 3 ethical local producers. Beverages will be available to purchase at the bar. The evening will include a panel Q&A with the three producers, so come prepared with some good questions.
When: Saturday, 17th February, 6.30-9.30pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $65.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Introduction to natural beekeeping (two-day)

What: Suitable for beginners, and ideal for the backyarder, this two-day event is designed to provide participants with the information they need to start natural beekeeping with confidence. It will cover such subjects as: boxes, equipment, legislation, choosing the location, ongoing maintenance and harvesting. It will also hive manipulations and some honey tasting. After the course, for those that need it, the course organisers may be able to provide bees for your hive at no cost during swarming season. The event is being run by the Natural Beekeeping Group of Permaculture Victoria.
When: Saturday, 17th February and Sunday, 18th February, both 10am-5pm.
Where: Mitcham.
Cost: $200 for members of Permaculture Victoria; $250 for non-members.
Bookings: email them.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Seeds!

What: Collecting, drying and storing vegetable seed. February and March are ideal times for seed collecting – both seed that has dried on the plant and wet seed which has to be extracted, washed and dried from tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, capsicum and other vegetables. Learn which seed will be pure and which will be cross pollinated, how to store saved seed, and when to use it by.
When: Monday, 19th February, 1-3pm.
Where: Macleod.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: by phone (9444 7427 or 0408 733683).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Indigenous plants for food and medicine

What: What you will learn: traditional Indigenous lifestyles and healing practices pre European settlement; traditional ways of using various Indigenous plants for medicinal purposes; and promising new research into their potential medical applications. What you will get: comprehensive course notes; 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: Thursday, 1st March, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Tomato passata – the traditional way

What: What you will learn: the traditional way to preserve the seasonal bounty of tomatoes into bottles of preserved tomato passata; about preserving safely for long-term storage; and how to use different types of equipment for best results. What you will get: lunch of pasta with sauce made from the first pressings of the tomatoes; and a box of tomatoes each to process on the day and all the resulting bottles or jars of passata made with the contents of the box – usually 12-14 bottles. The annual ritual of processing boxes of tomatoes into delicious and versatile tomato passata used to be a common sight throughout the backyards of Italians across the country. This was through necessity as Italian immigrants clung onto the traditions that they had in the ‘old country’. However, with the advent of good bottled passata available now in delicatessens and supermarkets, the traditional ritual is dying out with the original people who kept it alive for decades. You are invited to join them in their family home in “doing the tomatoes”, as the day is affectionately known. It’s not just learning and taking part in all aspects of the process, but about keeping the tradition alive – the fun, the laughter, the stories, the coffee, the shared lunch and glass of wine as we do it exactly the same way Italians have been doing it in their backyard since coming to Australia.
When: Saturday, 3rd March and Sunday, 4th March, both 9.30am-2.30pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $165.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Home Harvest FEASTival

What: Celebrate local food and the summer harvest at the Home Harvest FEASTival. Register as a grower to supply produce to be turned into a shared harvest meal. Your donation of homegrown produce = your ticket to attend. As well as the shared harvest meal and socialising, there will be an opportunity to learn from others and swap gardening tips, tricks and seeds plus taste some more unusual foods. Growers will be asked to provide their produce in labelled ‘picnic’ baskets to the drop off locations prior to the event. On the day of the feast, attendees will be able to collect their picnic basket which will have been filled with goodies made from the donated produce before finding a place to have their picnic on the lawn.
When: Sunday, 4th March, 4.30-8pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.

Growing veggies is easier than you think

What: What you will learn: the basics of growing your own fresh produce at home; how to prepare your garden for planting veggies; and how to choose the right produce for you and your family. Presented by Maria Ciavarella who will show you how to turn your hand to the practice of gardening to eat. Experience the taste and freshness when you can pick something organic and easy-to-grow to eat from your very own garden.
When: Thursday, 8th March, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
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, 15th March, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Reclaiming wellness, vitality and happiness – why gut health is so important

What: With Dr Tom Connor, acupuncturist and doctor of traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Poor gut health has been associated not only with digestive complaints, but with a range of other health issues such as hormonal imbalance, weight fluctuation, headaches and skin disorders. This talk will also benefit anyone suffering from low energy or the effects on the body of stress and a busy life. Tom will address ways to repair and restore gut health.
When: Friday, 16th March, 1.30-2.30pm.
Where: Lilydale Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Whittlesea Community Festival

What: The activities will include children’s activities, live music, rides and roaming entertainment.
When: Sunday, 17th March, 10am-5pm.
Where: Whittlesea.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The Herb and Chilli Festival

What: A two-day festival celebrating all things related to herbs and chillis. The festival brings together a variety of cuisines and cultural elements from around Melbourne and beyond. Visitors to the festival will see, smell, taste and imbibe food and wine in a multitude of forms. They will meet and talk with passionate producers who will teach them about their cuisine. There will be demonstrations, talks, tastings, music, dance and even competitions to enter. Activities for all ages. They will have 40+ varieties of chillies and a large range of herbs for sale.
When: Saturday, 17th March and Sunday, 18th March, both 10am-5pm.
Where: Wandin North.
Cost: $24 per adult per day (children free).
Bookings: Trybooking.
Further information: their website.

Planting for a changing climate

What: Learn how to adjust your autumn/winter planting schedule in line with climate change. Was your garlic small, did your broccoli and cabbage run to seed soon after planting? This is the effect of climate change. Learn how to identify the ‘Autumn break’ and when and how to plant after that for successful winter vegetables.
When: Monday, 19th March, 1-3pm.
Where: Macleod.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: by phone (9444 7427 or 0408 733683).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Japanese tea workshop

What: Enjoy freshly brewed Japanese tea and paired sweets with Harumi Oshitani from Okei-san. Learn how to brew your own tea at home.
When: Tuesday, 20th March, 2-3pm.
Where: Coburg Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

International street foods

What: Bec, from Bowl Full of Soul, will provide a variety of dishes from her menu with Asian influence.
When: Wednesday, 21st March, 3-4pm.
Where: Whittlesea Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Preparing for the Winter harvest

What: What you will learn: crop rotation after summer veggies; growing common and uncommon winter veggies; and seed sowing techniques for winter veggies. Presented by Maria Ciavarella. It might seem a bit strange to be thinking about winter vegetables while the heat is still with us, but now is the time to start planning. This workshop will go through soil rejuvenation after your summer harvest, types of veggies that grow well over the cooler months and seed sowing in anticipation for planting.
When: Thursday, 22nd March, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summer preserves

What: What you will learn: how to preserve fruit and vegetables for use in the future; how to bottle preserves; and the selection and sterlisation of jars. Presented by Lucy Marasco. Join Lucy to learn the basics of preserving, including the importance of sterilisation techniques, as well as the opportunity to try out some traditional and modern preserving recipes.
When: Saturday, 24th March, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Gardening 101

What: Answering all those questions about growing successful vegetables. How deep do I plant seedlings? When do I plant? How deep should seeds be planted? How far apart should I plant? How do I prepare soil for vegetables? What can I plant together? Bring your questions along.
When: Saturday, 24th March, 10am-midday.
Where: Macleod.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: by phone (9444 7427 or 0408 733683).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sourdough bread making workshop

What: Tutor Jenna Farrington-Sear. This workshop will cover basic theory as well as the tactile pleasure of all the steps of making bread from milled flour. Suitable for both novices and those who want to expand their bread making repertoire. Topics to be covered: the essential ingredients and tools of the trade; the principal steps of bread making; Baker’s percentage and hydration; mixing, kneading and folding dough; shaping loaves, scoring and baking; and maintaining a starter. You will take home: a piece of dough which can be baked at home; and a sourdough starter.
When: Saturday, 24th March, 10am-1pm.
Where: Living & Learning Nillumbik at Panton Hill.
Cost: $59.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Improve your gut health

What: Learn how to make fermented vegetables and young green coconut kefir. Give yourself the opportunity to get healthier.
When: Saturday, 24th March, 1-3pm.
Where: Alphington Community Centre.
Cost: $15.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

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