May 312017

Mac’s tip of the week

It’s probably time to cut back your asparagus. When the foliage has turned yellow, or even brown, it’s time to cut it back to ground level. If this has not happened already, expect it over the next few weeks. In late winter / early spring (I suggest Thursday, 17th August at 2.40pm), spread blood and bone or cow manure to feed the-soon-to-emerge spears. Until next time, remember: dirty hands are good hands.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

Helen Simpson interviews Julie French

Some of you will know Julie through her involvement in the Montmorency Community Group, the Montmorency Food Swap, her cooking classes or her time as a cook at the Little Organic Shop, Hurstbridge. Well, Helen has now interviewed Julie as a home grower. Here is the first paragraph: “Most people grow their fruit trees and veggies in their backyard but Julie, and her husband David, have gone against this traditional approach. Instead they have created a bountiful front garden full of produce, much to the delight of passers’ by who often admire their progress and stop for a chat. Julie tells me that she grew up eating lots of seasonal fresh food, with both her grandfather and mother growing fruit and veggies at home. With an interest in both food and cooking, especially with fresh, seasonal produce, Julie decided to start her own vegetable garden around 10 years ago.Read the full interview.

Brownie points for St Helena Secondary School students

I recently organised for some students from St Helena Secondary School to spend a day working at St Johns Riverside Community Garden, Heidelberg. Katrina Philip reports back that: “It was great having St Helena Secondary School students working in our garden – they are marvellous at digging holes for new fruit trees and spreading mulch. Their youthful and willing engagement with the garden brightened everyone’s day!” A fellow gardener added: “What a delightful group of young people. They did a great job – and were still hard at it when I left.

If you know of a school where the students do occasional voluntary days, email me and I’ll try and match them up with a nearby community garden.

Want to get involved in community gardening in Eltham?

I recently visited the community veggie garden at the Eltham Living & Learning Centre and spoke with the two main people involved, Trevor Roberts and Karyn Kamminga. As a result, there is now a page about the garden on the website and it is now 1 of 10 community gardens in the Local Food Directory. Thanks for the info, Trevor and Karyn!

The garden comprises several, large, raised beds. It is membership-based but membership is free. They meet every Thursday, 9.30-11am. Some of their longstanding gardeners have recently moved from the area and they are looking for new members. Regular attendance is not required; rather, you can drop in when you like. You can join at any time and they just need you to register once. If interested, or for further information, contact Karyn by phone (9433 3743) or email.


A new granola maker in the Local Food Directory: My Goosey Gander

My Goosey Gander, from Eltham, make granola using only certified organic ingredients, lightly toasted and slightly sweetened with maple syrup and rice malt syrup. The granola can be ordered online. They also make some baked goods which are gluten, dairy and refined sugar free and which can be bought at The Natural Food Market (Montmorency) or Platform 3095 (Eltham). Read their Local Food Directory entry. Welcome Jess!




A new pie maker in the Local Food Directory: Gourmet Pies

Gourmet Pies is a maker of pies who are based in Brunswick and sell their pies at a range of markets around Melbourne, including Carlton Farmers’ Market, Slow Food Melbourne Farmers’ Market and Yarra Glen Racecourse Market. Read their Local Food Directory entry. Welcome George!

Local food producer news

Australian Harvest / Bio Grape, from Coldstream, are now selling their products online.

Blue Pear Pantry, from North Warrandyte, are now offering a 10% discount to all ABN holders.

Eltham Deli now stocks Blue Pear Pantry’s meals.

Mama Bakes Naturally, from Ringwood East, now have a website.

Poppysmack, from Warrandyte, now have their sauces in Jefferies, Croydon Hills.

What to plant in June

Here is a list:
Broad beans
Mustard greens

The list continues to shrink. It’s your last chance to plant broad beans and garlic, and arguably too late for them.

‘Crowd harvest’ spices for the Solstice

What better way to keep warm than to add a bit of spice to life. We all buy spices, but do we use them all? How many times has your cumin, turmeric or paprika reached its used by date? Middle Eastern refugees in Melbourne would love your excess spices. From 14th June to 28th June, you can drop them off at any of The Alphington Community Centre, CERES or Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre. Any questions, contact Cath Lyons (aka Tiny Trowel) by phone (0401 814679) or email.

Kobi Ruzicka in the news

Of FoodService’s Next Generation Top Aussie Chefs, 2017, 10 are cooking in North East Melbourne. Most of these are from the inner city (1 Carlton, 1 Collingwood, 3 Fitzroy, 1 Richmond), but 2 are from Coldstream (both Oakridge), 1 is from Brunswick (Host Dining) and 1 is from Eltham (Little Drop of Poison). The Eltham person is Kobi Ruzicka and, as I understand it, he spends half his time at another restaurant, Dier Makr in Hobart. Anyhow, Kobi featured in this week’s Sunday Tasmanian.

Whilst researching this, I saw that Kobi’s Facebook page happens to include an extraordinary little video of some coffee dog art.

Joke of the week

Submitted jointly by Dave Richards and Lynne Gough (Blue Tango): Where do cantaloupes go for their summer holidays? John Cougar’s melon camp.

And, as a bonus, here is an Autumn joke submitted by Sue Sedelies: What did one leaf say to the other? I’m falling for you.

Read all of this year’s jokes.

New events

Seasonal cooking: collard greens with Monique

What: Monique Miller (market gardener at Joe’s Market Garden) will talk you though collard greens and give you a bowl of goodness at the end.
When: Saturday, 3rd June, 10-11am.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: $10 donation suggested.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Composting hub and worm farming workshop

What: Join the war on waste! PepperTree Place is a local composting hub where people from Moreland can bring their organic waste to be composted instead of going into landfill. Learn about the newly renovated composting hub and register as a participant. This is also a hands-on worm farming and composting workshop to learn about how you can turn organic waste into gardening gold.
When: Saturday, 3rd June, 11am-midday.
Where: PepperTree Place, Coburg.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Introduction to native bees plus making a bee hotel

What: This workshop, to be run by Buzz and Dig, will provide an introduction of local bees and how to create a bee friendly garden to increase pollination for your backyard flowers, fruit and vegetables. Particular topics will include great bee friendly flowers, making a bee hotel with participants, buzz pollination, how to ID a bee, and how to encourage them to stay in your garden.
When: Wednesday, 14th June, 7-9pm.
Where: Watsonia Neighbourhood House.
Cost: gold coin donation.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Winter solstice celebration: make your own seed bombs

What: Celebrate the coming of the sun again by creating your own seed bombs that will grow and flourish as the days grow lighter again. Seed bombs can be used to create bright places in waste areas, make lovely gifts, be sprouted in your own garden or window sill, or be planted in your local bald-spot-on-the-nature-strip. Learn a little about seed germination and seed saving during the process.
When: Saturday, 24th June, 11am-midday.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: $5.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Herbal teas

What: What you will learn: learn about herbal teas; understand how to grow your own tea; and learn about using native plants for herbal teas. What you will get: tastings of several of the teas. Presented by Karen Sutherland, of Edible Eden Design. Herbs have been used for centuries for health benefits and one of the most common ways of taking them was through teas. Karen will guide you through their cultivation requirements and how to use them in herbal teas. Sip your way through some teas during the class to discover some new favourites, including some Australian native herbs.
When: Saturday, 1st July, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Winter fruit tree pruning workshop

What: Go along to learn the basics of Winter fruit tree pruning. Facilitated by experienced grower (and pruner) Justin Calverley.
When: Sunday, 23rd July, 9am-midday.
Where: Murundaka, Heidelberg Heights.
Cost: $5.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Mooroolbark Growers & Weeders present: “the secret is in the mix”

What: Over the years, methods of creating the ‘best’ mix of soil for seed-raising have changed and evolved. Peter Douglas, from Scotsburn Nurseries, will let you into some of his ‘secrets’ of successful plants in pots & hanging baskets – great for the balcony or small backyard. Bookings essential (by phone). Refreshments provided.
When: Tuesday, 25th July, 2-3pm.
Where: Mooroolbark Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (9800 6480).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Safe preserving techniques: preserving with citrus

What: What you will learn: how to use the seasonal abundance of citrus in a variety of preserves; how to select and re-use suitable jars and how to sterilise them; and how to make marmalades, preserved lemons and citrus curds. What you get: recipes all of the preserves made; fruit prepared on the day to take home and continue the processes learnt in the workshop; and jars of all the preserves made on the day – simple orange marmalade, lemon curd (butter) and preserved lemons. Winter brings an abundance of citrus so now is the best time to make preserves that will see you through the rest of the year. You will be using a variety of techniques with seasonal citrus. No preserving background is assumed as you go through how to prevent food spoilage using the preserving methods. You will cover the jars and lids to use, safe storage and use. The workshop is fully hands-on, where you will be involved from the processes from start to finish.
When: Wednesday, 26th July, 10am-1pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $75.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Smarter living – why we should ‘give a fork!’ about waste

What: Cassie Duncan is the Co-founder and General Manager of Sustainable Table, a not-for-profit organisation that empowers people to use their shopping dollar to vote for a food system that is fair, humane, healthy and good for the environment. Cassie is passionate about building a resilient local food system and believes that providing people with the tools and information to support their local producers, reduce food and packaging waste, reduce meat and seafood consumption, grow a little at home and embrace the seasons is a gigantic step in the right direction. Cassie will share her insights on the state of the planet’s food systems, mindful meat eating, sustainable seafood and practical things you can do to reduce your environmental impact through the food you eat.
When: Wednesday, 26th July, 7-9pm.
Where: Manningham Civic Centre.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Winter fruit tree maintenance

What: What you will learn: how to look after your fruit trees when they are dormant; Winter pruning of deciduous fruit trees to balance fruiting and tree size; and how to prepare sprays and organic techniques for the control of insect and fungal pests. It’s hard to learn how to look after trees from diagrams and descriptions in books so come along to this suburban garden which boasts over 30 fruit trees of different varieties, all in varying stages of maturity. You will help prune various trees as you start to recognise unproductive wood, fruiting spurs and cross-overs, so you get to take home this experience to work on your own trees at home. See how to make up sprays and learn how to use them for maximum effectiveness in conjunction for caring for the soil. You will also discuss the difference between pruning in winter and in summer and when to do what.
When: Saturday, 29th July, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $60.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Beekeeping Q&A

What: Join Sue Zuber, from Buzz of the Bees for this question and answer session on beekeeping. Bring along your questions on the legal requirement and practical aspect of keeping bees.
When: Saturday, 29th July, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Whittlesea Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Organic market garden tour with Emily Connors

What: Want to know more about Joe’s Market Garden and the history of the garden? Want to know what we are growing and how we go about it? Want to know what our plans for the future are? Join head market gardener Emily Connors for a farm tour. 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, 29th July, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summary of upcoming events

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 event of a given type, such as markets).

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