Jun 192019

Have you got trouble with fruit bats eating the fruit off your trees?

Nina Gormley is now writing occasional short articles for this newsletter. We are calling them ‘vignettes’, which means “small, graceful literary sketches“. Here is her vignette about how to scare off fruit bats.

Hans & Maria Hoffman, from Just Picked, a fruit orchard in Yan Yean, have found a solution to deter fruit bats without harming them. A few years ago, Hans realised that there were fruit bats feasting on the ripe fruit at the farm during the night. They were damaging around a third of the fruit just as it was ready to be picked, causing a great deal of frustration and loss of productivity. Hans was already successfully using an ultrasonic bird scarer to deter the birds from eating his fruit during the day and, as an experiment, he set up the bird scarer device for all 24 hours. It worked wonders and the amount of fruit being damaged by the fruit bats is now down to a tenth.

Ultrasonic bird scarers are electronic devices which produce high pitch emissions known as ultrasound. Ultrasound is too high-pitched for most people to hear but it does fall within the hearing range of most birds. The purpose of the device is to deter the birds using noises which they find unpleasant and irritating. The scarers only consume around 10 watts of electricity and are usually maintenance free. But be warned, some women and young children can sometimes hear the noises, and this can cause headaches, so check with your neighbours first! If you want to learn more about how to deal with fruit bats, you can talk to Hans at the Just Picked stall at the Eltham Farmers Market or you can read this article.

Would your school or workplace like an indoor vertical farm?

Farmwall, who are based in Alphington, are an “urban farming startup on a mission to transform our cities into food producing ecosystems. [They] design and implement technology enhanced, food producing solutions in urban spaces, with the goal of enhancing the built environment with positive social and environmental outcomes“. Their main business appears to be leasing out indoor vertical, aquaponic farms to hospitality, workplaces and schools. They also grow and sell microgreens – view/download their catalogue. Thanks for the heads up, Fay Loveland!

The Bearded Bee – a new, local maker of honey

The Bearded Bee, from Forest Hill, sells raw, unheated, local honey. Their aim is to enable people to eat honey produced as close to their home as possible. They believe in making a bee’s life as peaceful as possible, with minimal interventions, a lifetime in the same place and lots of good plants to forage. They place their hives with avid gardeners who respect the contributions of the humble bee. In return, the bees give them honey – but not at their own expense. You can buy their honey online. They also provide bee and swarm removal services. Read their Local Food Directory entry.

The Bearded Bee is actually Adrian O’Hagan of Permablitz fame. He has also recently given me some technical advice about the website. That’s one busy and helpful man. Thanks, Adrian!

There are now a total of 7 makers of honey in the Local Food Directory.

Community gardening news

SEEDs Communal Garden are holding their annual Winter Soup Festival on Sunday, 30th June, 11am-6pm. See their Facebook event page. This event is a way to celebrate community, by coming together in an enriching, creative and family friendly space, enjoy a wholesome meal, share stories around a fire, and listen to live music. All money raised will go toward helping grow the garden. SEEDs is still looking for more stallholders for the day. The types of stallholder they want are people passionate about growing/making/creative/healing crafts. A stallholder fee is only payable if you make a sale. If you are potentially interested in being a stallholder, email Jo (seeds@milparinka.org.au).

The new community garden at Hurstridge Community Hub is holding a meeting to discuss its forward plans on Thursday, 27th June, 9.30-10.30am.

Food swap news – Watsonia

The Watsonia Food Swap on Saturday, 13th July has been cancelled – the organisers are apparently off to sunnier climes.

Long Winter food drive

Montmorency Asylum Seekers Support Group (MASSG) is trying to help re-stock the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s (ASRC’s) Foodbank, which provides meals and food basics to around 700 people seeking asylum and refugees each week, most of whom have no income. As listed in the graphic on the right, they need both non-perishable food and essentials. There are drop off points all over Banyule and Nillumbik including in Eltham (Earthbound Bolton Cafe or Vicki Ward’s office), Hurstbridge (Nature’s Harvest or Hurstbridge Deli & Larder), Ivanhoe (the library), Montmorency (52 Looker Road), Rosanna (the library) and Watsonia (the library). All food collected will be delivered by MASSG to the ASRC.

Chop and drop gardening

Newsletter reader Angelo Eliades has just published an article entitled chop and drop gardening (sheet composting).

Read more of Angelo’s food growing articles.

Yet another update to the North East Melbourne veggie planting guide

Chris Newman has written in to suggest that it would be good to shade the monthly columns with the season and referred me to a website which discusses possible colours.

I have chosen green for Spring, yellow for Summer, orange for Autumn and grey for Winter. See the revised guide.

In passing, the planting guide is the most popular page on the website, with around 150 unique views every day.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Ann’s visit to Warrandyte Food Swap.

Joke of the week

What do you call a person who poisons corn flakes? A cereal killer.

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

The Edible Hub Community Garden meetup (Hurstbridge): Thursday, 27th June, 9.30-10.30am; Hurstbridge Community Hub.

What: See how the Edible Hub Community Garden is growing, brainstorm ideas and discuss future plans over a cuppa with like-minded souls.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Patient Wolf Gin Distillery open day: Saturday, 29th June, 1-6pm; Brunswick.

What: Free tastings, look inside the Patient Wolf Gin distillery, drink specials and bottle purchases.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Pruning and care of fruit trees with Therese Scales: Sunday, 14th July, 10am-3pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: how to grow a variety of fruit and nut trees in your backyard; pruning techniques; and pest and disease management. Presenter: Therese Scales.
Cost: $100.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

The art of espalier: Sunday, 17th August, 9.30am-midday; Bulleen Art and Garden.

What: What you will learn: growing espaliered fruit trees; different techniques to make the most of all available space for espalier; and improve your general gardening skills. Presented by Diana Cotter. “Go vertical” is the cry when garden space is limited. Gardening in two dimensions is what espalier is about and this class will cover the different types and how to get them started and then continue to train them into the desired shape. Topics covered include suitable fruit trees, pruning and training techniques.
Cost: $55.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Kitchen gardens for schools and the community: Sunday, 18th August, 10am-3pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: how to create kitchen gardens; more about sustainability; and how to design your own edible garden. Presenter: Carol. Learn where to start, challenges, rewards, educational benefits and financial sustainability. This workshop would benefit those schools and other groups looking to create edible kitchen gardens for multi use.
Cost: $100.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

New events – cooking

Healthy home baking: Saturday, 29th June, 10am-3pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: work with seasonal ingredients; and improve your culinary skills. Presenter: Emma. Learn how to make: wheat-free savoury crackers; spelt pizza dough; healthy sweet treats; lunch-box ideas; and dairy/wheat and sugar alternatives. You will create your own pizzas for lunch.
Cost: $100.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Pasta e basta!: Sunday, 30th June, 10.30am-3pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: how to make fresh pasta from scratch in a variety of forms; how to use traditional pasta machines to roll and cut pasta; and the basics for authentic pasta sauces to pair with your pasta. Presenter: Sandra del Greco from La Cucina di Sandra. This is a beginners’ level workshop with the objective of giving you the basic skills for making your own fresh pasta; from selecting ingredients to the correct techniques for mixing, kneading and rolling. You will learn to make pasta sheets for lasagna, tagliolini, fettuccine and pappardelle. You will also make filled pillowy ravioli and smaller tortellini. Finally, you will eat lunch of pasta made by your efforts.
Cost: $100.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Vegan brunch cooking class: three occurrences on Sunday 30th June, Sunday 28th July and Sunday 25th August, all 11am-3pm; Smiths Gully.

What: Learn how to create healthy, practical, everyday vegan dishes that look as good as they taste. It will include such dishes as plant-based milks, creamy lemon dream porridge, waffles, pancakes, scrambled tofu, chia puddings and smoothie bowls.
Cost: $100 (includes brunch).
Bookings: their website.

Winter warm up: Saturday, 6th July, 2-5pm; Eltham.

What: Expand your recipe repertoire to create quick and easy meals. For busy people who want to eat healthy food without opting for takeaway on the run. Plant-based cooking workshop. Menu: tofu butter masala, another curry, two snacks and 1 dessert. Take your aprons and knives.
Cost: $35.
Bookings: their website.

Family friendly vegan cooking class: two occurrences on Sunday 7th July and Sunday 11th August, both midday-4pm; Smiths Gully.

What: There will be 5-8 dishes in total. Everything will be vegan, based around the core staples of fruit, veg, starches, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Cost: $100 (includes sit down 3-course meal).
Bookings: their website.

Vegan cheese making with Nase Supplitt: Sunday, 14th July, 10am-3pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: how to make your own vegan cheese; and how to make vegan milks, creamy spreads and dairy-free desserts. Presenter: Nase Supplitt.
Cost: $100.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Cooking master class – ‘chicken, prawns & more…’: Thursday, 25th July, 7-9pm; Gourmet Living, Templestowe.

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: chicken satay; coconut prawn curry; and vanilla pannacotta.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Cooking master class: Thursday, 1st August, 7-9pm; Gourmet Living, Templestowe.

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: chorizo & roast eggplant salad; roast pumpkin penne; and orange bread & butter pudding.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Cookie cake and fondant cookies with Emelia Jackson: Thursday, 15th August and again on Friday, 16th August, both 7-9pm; Gourmet Living, Templestowe.

What: You will learn: how to make a love heart cookie cake; how to make the perfect sugar cookie that won’t shrink; about fondant – how to colour it, roll and cut it out to perfectly fit your cookie; how to make your own stencils and cut out a large cookie cake; and how to decorate and fill a large cookie cake.
Cost: $91.
Bookings: Eventbrite (Thursday).

Knockout gnocchi: Saturday, 17th August, 10-11.30am; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: Time to broaden your culinary expertise and meet pasta’s famous pillowy brother: gnocchi! They will show you how to make gnocchi at home through simple ingredients. From traditional potato to creamy ricotta and spinach, learn every nook and cranny that makes this classic Italian dish a favourite.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Handmade pasta workshop: Saturday, 17th August, midday-1.30pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: They will show you how to make pasta dough by hand and turn it into a variety of pasta types. They may even throw in sauce-making secrets for good measure.
Cost: $30.
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.

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