Nov 112015
 

watsoniaA new gardening group in Watsonia

The Watsonia Home Gardening Group will meet monthly at Watsonia Neighbourhood House on the first Saturday of each month, starting 7th February, to share practical information and to gain hands-on experience on a range of topics relevant to the home gardener. You don’t need to be an experienced gardener. They will have activities that both children and adults can do, whilst they discuss how to help their gardens grow easily and cheaply.

More food swap news

I’ve just found out that the Rivers Community Produce Exchange at Yarrambat is no longer happening (not enough local interest). But it may well be that a new food swap is starting at St Andrews: as discussed under new events, there will be a pilot swap at St Andrews Community Centre on Saturday, 5th December, 11am-1pm.

The food swaps: when and where are they page provide a list of the currently active food swaps.

Have you registered for the Home Harvest Feast 2016 yet?

As per a previous newsletter, the feast will be on Sunday, 28th February 2016 at Edendale in Eltham. It is a celebration of homegrown produce and local food. All growers are invited to celebrate in the harvest and the joys of local food by sharing a delicious community meal created by trained cooks using your home or community-grown product. No matter your level of experience or how green your fingers are, everyone is invited to take part and get growing. If you want to participate:

  • Register to grow and supply the produce for the feast.
  • Spend the summer growing produce and, in the week leading up to the feast, donate some produce in return for your tickets.
  • Attend the feast on the day.

wineriesNillumbik wineries in the news

In the Leader (4th November).

Almonds, cherries and more stonefruit

Following last week’s words about citrus, I thought I would say something this week about the taxonomy of stonefruit:

  • Stonefruit refers to the fruit of the prunus genus.
  • Unlike citrus, stonefruit species are normal species and don’t naturally hybridise much.
  • 7 prunus are commonly eaten: almond, apricot, cherry (2 species), peach and plum (2 species).
  • Whilst Sweet Cherries are eaten raw, it is usually a different species – Sour Cherries – that are used in cooking.
  • Surprisingly, the European and Japanese plums are different species (with the former being a polyploid and the latter a diploid).
  • Nectarines are ‘just’ varieties of peach, where the skin is smooth.
  • A plumcot is a plum crossed with an apricot. Pluots are 25% apricot and 75% plum. Apriums are 75% apricot and 25% plum.

cabanel - Cleopatra testing poisons on those condemned to death (1887)But the really interesting species is the almond. The wild almond is both bitter and poisonous (it contains cyanide). So, how come prehistoric humans decided to domesticate it? How did they know that if they spent years breeding the cyanide out of it then it would taste yummy? How many people died before the modern day almond came into being? Was there a series of Cleopatra equivalents who tested poisonous almonds on slaves and some survived and reported back that almonds were potentially edible if only the bitterness were removed?

Melbourne good food month (November)

I haven’t been covering this on the grounds that it is not local, but this interactive graphic is, in some ways, quite cool.

New events

Cooking from root to tip – waste free cooking

What: With Emma Dean, cook, forager and winner of 2013 Masterchef winner. Emma’s passion for food began in the paddocks and kitchen of her regional Victoria childhood home. Her parents instilled a love of growing and cooking farm-fresh produce in Emma and from her youngest years she was taught to knead bread, grow veggies, and collect freshly-laid eggs. Emma will share her love and expertise of food with the audience and see firsthand how to get the most out using whole ingredients.
When: Wednesday, 11th November, 7-9pm.
Where: Box Hill.
Cost: free.
Bookings: eventbrite website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Permablitz 176

What: The Murray Family are excited to be hosting a day of building, planting and learning on their Lower Plenty property. Come and learn about water catchment and management, as well as planting out a food forest, constructing a pond, cultivating water ecosystems, improving soil and construction of raised kitchen garden beds. They will be hosting workshops from some expert Permies, providing delicious morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea and providing activities for kids, so bring them along!
When: Saturday, 14th November, 9.30am-4.30pm.
Where: Lower Plenty.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Permablitz website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Guided tour – Mim and Paul’s garden

What: see how Mim and Paul have created an attractive, functional garden which caters for many aspects of their lives: their growing family, entertaining and their passion for producing as much food as possible as sustainably as possible. By bookings only.
When: Saturday, 21st November, 10.30-11.30am, 1-2pm and 3-4pm.
Where: Heidelberg.
Cost: $15.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Discover heritage fruit & the heritage fruit society

What: John Pinniger of the Heritage Fruits Society has been promoting heritage fruits for over 20 years. He runs regular grafting and apple tasting events and works in the heritage apple block in Petty’s Orchard. Come and hear John talk about the importance of heritage varieties.
When: Tuesday, 24th November, 10-11am.
Where: Watsonia Library.
Cost: free.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Turning a small space into a large harvest

What: With Indira Naidoo, broadcaster, author, chef and urban gardener. Indira has transformed her tiny thirteenth-floor balcony into a bountiful kitchen garden. Her garden demonstrates that growing produce has nothing to do with space; rather, it is about sunlight. Her 20 square metre garden produces over 70 kilograms of ever-changing selections of fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables every year. Join Indira as she inspires you to become a ‘seasonal performer’ with the guiding principles of how to set up your own small-space edible garden.
When: Wednesday, 25th November, 7-9pm.
Where: Manningham.
Cost: free.
Bookings: eventbrite website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

St Andrews Food Swap

What: This is a once-off food swap with a view to making it a regular event in 2016. It will take place at the same time and in the same place as the St Andrews Makers Market.
When: Saturday, 5th December, 11am-1pm.
Where: St Andrews.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Carla Perry by email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Delicious Suburbia Open Studio

What: Local artist Felicity Gordon, will open her Watsonia studio for an afternoon art workshop. It is an open garden with a difference – visitors will create their own drawings and ink washes inspired by the permaculture veggie garden. No art experience is necessary as this will be a fun opportunity for adults to try a different medium while enjoying the unique beauty of the plants that sustain us. All art materials will be supplied.
When: Saturday, 5th December, 1-3.30pm.
Where: Watsonia.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Carla Perry by trybooking website.
Enquiries: Caitlin Armstrong by email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Guided tour – Cara’s garden

What: Are you interested in how to have a productive garden in the modern home space – the 450 sq.m block on a new estate, how to grow attractive plants with low water use and how to cope with builder’s rubble and poor draining soils? Cara’s garden is testament to the fact that smaller gardens can be highly productive and attractive while still allowing for family space. By bookings only.
When: Saturday, 12th December, 10.30-11.30am and again at 1.30-2.30pm.
Where: Epping.
Cost: $15.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The Melbourne Tomato Festival 2016

What: The Melbourne Tomato Festival 2016 will be a gathering of local farmers selling produce, speakers, agriculturalists, cooking demonstrations, Italian food, artisan producers, special guests, history, workshops, entertainment and passata making, all celebrating ‘National Italian Day’. Passata making is an Italian tradition aimed at preserving tomatoes for their use throughout the year. The Melbourne Tomato Festival is the key event of the ‘Melbournese Movement’ and is committed to this preservation of food, authentic cooking, customs and traditions.
When: Sunday, 2nd February, 10am-4pm.
Where: Edendale, Eltham.
Cost: $25 per adult and $10 per child (6-13).
Bookings: trybooking website.
Further information: The festival website.

Summary of all upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events.

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