Jun 012016

The comparative costs of fruit & veggies

How do you think that the costs of the food at farmers’ markets compare with a) small shops and b) supermarkets? We have now analysed our fourth, and final, quarterly Eltham survey (i.e. for late Autumn). For the detailed results, click here.

For an overall summary of the four surveys combined, click here. Whilst the results differ a bit between the surveys, the results of the latest survey confirm our previous overall conclusion: the supermarket is NOT generally cheaper than either the farmers’ market or the greengrocer for veggies and fruit.

Are you surprised by this? I (Guy) certainly am. Before doing the surveys, I had (without thinking about it too much) simply assumed that the supermarket would be cheaper than both the farmers’ market and the greengrocer. I now know better.

In passing, I have come to the conclusion that some market sellers of veggies and fruit undersell themselves when they say things along the lines of “our costs should not be compared with those of supermarkets because our produce is tastier, fresher and freer of chemicals“. As our surveys demonstrate, there is no need to cede the cost argument and, indeed, I suggest that the farmers’ market movement should be devoting some serious effort to researching the subject and then publicising the results.

A bonus byproduct of the surveys is documentation of the seasonal availability of fruit and veggies at the market. Click here. Key points:

  • For both fruit and veggies, a full range of seasonal produce is available at the market throughout the year.
  • More than half of all veggies (26 of 45) are available throughout the year.
  • The availability of fruit is highly seasonal, with only apples and lemons being available throughout the year.

Helen Simpson writes about how to grow raspberries

raspberryHelen’s article for the month of June is on how to grow raspberries. As she says in her introduction “The intense flavour of a home-grown raspberry picked fresh from the bush encourages many people to plant raspberry canes. The downside is the space and structure required to grow the canes and their maintenance. However the home-grown raspberry’s superior flavour compared to those bought in plastic-wrapped punnets from supermarkets makes it well worth the effort. Being able to feast on raspberries, rather than use them sparingly due to cost, is also a treat.” She then goes on to discuss: getting started; number of canes; types of raspberries; maintenance; some common varieties; and pests and diseases. Read her full article.

Do you currently have any home-grown surpluses?

At the next Eltham Farmers’ Market, on 12th June, we plan (as usual) to have a community market stall, where one or two people sell their surplus produce at a stall provided by us. However, we don’t currently have anyone organised to do this. If you currently have a surplus, and want to combine some conversation with the public with making a bit of money, contact me by phone (0416 203067) or email. Read about the initiative here.

How to find all Sustainable Gardening Australia’s (SGA’s) food-related posts

SGA often has posts by guest authors on edible gardening and, for example, it has just published an article on how to have pumpkins all year round. Something you might not know is that you can find all of their edible gardening posts listed on the following three pages:

New events

Just Eat It (film)

What: This is a World Environment Week special screening of Just Eat It, a documentary film about food waste and food rescue. We all love food. As a society, we devour countless cooking shows, culinary magazines and foodie blogs. So how could we possibly be throwing away 50% of it? Light refreshments provided. Bookings essential.
When: Thursday, 9th June, 10am-12.30pm.
Where: Preston.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Darebin Council by phone (8470 8440) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Hot composting workshop

What: Hot composting is a great way to make lots of rich compost in as little as 30 days. The technique also kills weeds and weed seeds, pathogens and unwelcome bacteria. Brian Koop, an experienced and passionate vegetable gardener, will deliver the workshop.
When: Sunday, 19th June, 11.30am-1pm.
Where: Heidelberg.
Cost: Free for members of St Johns Riverside Community Garden; gold coin contribution requested from visitors.
Enquiries: Katrina Philip by phone (0422 735213) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Mindful eating

What: Our relationship to food is a central one that reflects our attitudes toward our environment and ourselves. Jacinta Sherlock, Dietitian and Nutritionist specialising in eating behaviour and eating disorders, will explore why weight loss diets don’t work in the long term and the person centred approach to wellbeing and mindful eating.
When: Tuesday, 26th July, 7-8.15pm.
Where: Ivanhoe.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Contact Ivanhoe Library by phone (9497 5780).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events.

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