Sep 192018

Tomato: know, sow, grow, feast

Tomato: know, sow, grow, feast is a new book about Australian heirloom tomatoes. One of its authors is newsletter reader Karen Sutherland, with the others being Penny Woodward and Janice Sutton. Here is what the back cover says: “Heirloom, organic, Australian. Karen leads you through organic heirloom tomato growing, from seed sowing to feeding, pruning and training. She outlines a variety of ways to grow, tells stories of some passionate growers, and helps you to keep problems at bay with an extensive illustrated pest and disease section. Penny chronicles the history of heirloom tomato varieties in Australia and explains how to breed your own heirloom tomatoes. She also details why tomatoes are so good for you, and why a red tomato is red! Finally Penny lists, and describes in detail, more than 220 different heirloom tomatoes that can be sourced in Australia today. Janice explores the enticing and diverse range of heirloom tomato flavours, describes in detail how to select, prepare and cook heirloom tomatoes, and explains how to create the perfect tomato passata and paste. Finally, she shares more than 60 delectable tomato recipes from renowned chefs from all over Australia.” Booktopia says: “What [sets the book apart] is the extensive list and descriptions of heirloom tomato pests and diseases, painstakingly researched by gardening expert Karen Sutherland, that includes an indispensable pest and disease chart to help gardeners identify and control them.

Karen is offering a free copy of the book to a randomly chosen newsletter reader(!). To enter the draw, simply email us. If you don’t win, you can buy the book online at Booktopia for $45.

Talking about people who have written books – here’s something that you don’t know (and probably don’t want to know): I (Guy Palmer) am an erstwhile book author and you can still buy some of my books online at Amazon. For example, my 2006 book on housing and my 2002 book on poverty & social exclusion.

Small-space intensive tomato growing

Read this article by newsletter reader Angelo Eliades.

A new local chocolate producer – Manuko

Manuko, from Thornbury, sell a range of chocolate slices and truffles, all made from Certified Organic ingredients, and all raw, gluten free and dairy free. You can buy their chocolate online or from East Elevation (Brunswick East), Hoppa & Joe (Fairfield), Hurstbridge Deli & Larder, Little Woodpecker (Blackburn North), One Plus Piece Cafe (Balwyn) or Wild Things Food (Fitzroy North). And, later in the year (from 25th November), they will be a stallholder at Eltham Farmers’ Market. Read their Local Food Directory entry. Welcome Inga and Matt!

There are now 9(!) chocolate producers in our Local Food Directory

Community gardening news

The Garden of Plenty at Diamond Valley Library has opened its ‘Maker Space’ (see picture right). Click here to read more: “The Garden Maker Space is equipped to facilitate hands-on learning about gardening and food for all ages … As a Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden participant, the Garden Maker Space is developing a new range of programs focussed on healthy eating, seasonal produce and food education for local schools, kindergartens and childcare centres.

There is now a ‘Grow Free’ cart at Links Community Garden Lalor.

Sometimes a visit to a community garden helps the process of getting information about them for our website. Last week, we visited Jolimont and Rushall Community Gardens (see the second and third pictures below).

The Garden of Plenty (Greensborough)
Maker Space Opening
Jolimont (Forest Hill) Rushall (Fitzroy North)

Want a job?

Panton Hill Winery are looking for an additional member of staff. They would prefer a mature person who could work front of house in the tasting area sometimes, and in the kitchen at other times. They need you especially on a Sunday afternoon between midday and 4pm.
Experience useful but training provided on the job. Text Dorothy on 0408 101523.

A picture from the Snowy Mountains

Newsletter reader Helga Hill, who recently moved from Diamond Creek to Lake Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains, has sent in a picture of the outlook from her balcony.

Not food, but interesting

October is Seniors Month and there will be events throughout Victoria throughout the month. Your local authority will probably have made a program of the local events available online. For example, click here to download the Nillumbik program.

Many of the events are being organised by local University of the Third Age (U3A) organisations. And there is substantial overlap between membership of a U3A and subscribers to this newsletter; for example, around 70 members of Nillumbik U3A receive this newsletter. In this context, here are three of the events being organised by Nillumbik U3A:

  • A Musical Afternoon with ‘The Don’t Think Twice’ Trio. Sunday, 14th October, starting 2pm. Book:
  • Eltham High School String Quartet Music Afternoon. Sunday, 21st October, starting 2pm. Book:
  • Diamond Valley Open Door Singers Community Choir. Sunday 28th October, starting 2pm. Book:

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Is honey vegan?.

The author, Ben, writes other unusual articles. For example, read his recent blog posts: is honey kosher? and do bees poo?

Joke of the week

How did Reese eat her soup? Witherspoon.

Read all the jokes.

New events

Sustainable gardens for small spaces

What: From small plots to productive pots, a sustainable garden can fit anywhere. Being space-constrained is not a barrier to having a beautiful, productive and functional sustainable garden. This workshop, run by Nicole Griffiths, will give you many tips, tricks and simple solutions to make your garden seem bigger, to overcome constraints and grow a garden that is good for you and the environment.
When: Thursday, 20th September, 6.30-7.30pm.
Where: Box Hill Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Connecting your kitchen garden community – with Stephanie Alexander

What: The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, along with Stephanie Alexander, is holding a session to discuss how to connect kitchen garden schools, centres and supporters. You will learn about your local kitchen garden community, share news, swap resources and explore how we can all work together to change food culture in your area.
When: Monday, 24th September, 4.30-6pm.
Where: Fawkner Bowls Club.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (0401 155828).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Make sense of food labels

What: Tour a supermarket and learn how to accurately read and understand food labels and choose healthy foods that are suitable for the whole family. You will also receive a show bag with information sheets and a healthy shopping guide booklet. The tours are led by healthAbility’s qualified dietitian and open to anyone interested in healthy eating.
When: Wednesday, 3rd October, 9.30-11am.
Where: Eltham.
Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (9430 9100).
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Julie’s garden

What: The garden uses both front and backyards to grow a mix of fruit, vegetables and herbs, as well as some ornamental and native plants. The design has had to contend with site constraints that include shade and occasional flooding and has been guided by permaculture principles. The most productive part of the garden is in the front, facing onto the street. Julie says “It’s a great way to interact with neighbours and passers … it inspires people to grow something and it makes people happy.” A key element of interest is the way that Julie has built the soil using on site materials such as compost, worm castings and mulch. Read an interview with Julie about her garden.
When: Saturday, 6th October, 2-4pm.
Where: Montmorency.
Cost: $10.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Kevin Heinze GROW Spring plant sale

What: Fruit trees & seedlings, veggies & herbs, cakes & preserves, BBQ, Devonshire tea, cut flowers, pots and books.
When: Saturday, 13th October, 9am-3pm.
Where: Doncaster.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Bees in the ‘burbs

What: Join the team from Backyard Honey to learn about bees and their crucial role in our eco-system. Talk with the beekeepers, handle apiary equipment, enjoy a cup of herb and honey tea and purchase pure raw, locally-sourced honey.
When: Saturday, 13th October, 3-4.30pm.
Where: Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre.
Cost: $10.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Bee hive tours

What: Your tour, led by Nathan Stewart, a professional Doreen-based beekeeper from Maya ‘Xala Honey, will include suiting up in protective gear, lighting a bee smoker, and spending two hours as real life beekeeper. Initially, Nathan will give you some tips on what to look for inside a hive including how to spot the Queen and where to look to potentially witness the birth of a new worker bee. Then, together you will lift the lid of a busy hive, watch bees at work creating honey, pull out a frame of honey ready for extraction, and get up close with more than 100,000 bees! After the lid is closed, you will sample some of the honey direct from the hives while enjoying a refreshing honey tonic.
When: 4 occurrences: Saturday 13th October, Sunday 28th October, Saturday 24th November and Saturday 8th December, all 10.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Rivers of Yarrambat.
Cost: $50 ($79 for a family).
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Practically Green Festival

What: The Practically Green Festival celebrates sustainable living and all things green with activities for the entire family. This year’s festival will include a number of talks: 11am – plant-grow-eat-repeat; midday – backyard chooks for beginners; 1pm – home composting; 2pm – set up and maintain a worm farm; and 3pm – organic gardening for beginners. The market stalls will include Heidi Honey Hurstbridge and Organic Fix.
When: Sunday, 14th October, 10.30am-4.30pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Raspberry winemaking

What: Gary Campanella, Danny Cappellani, Wayne Harridge and Mario Fantin from Eltham and District Winemakers Guild will introduce the basics of country winemaking and demonstrate the steps to make a raspberry wine. Come along and learn how to make wine with a tried-and-true recipe using principles which can be applied to anything organic which grows in your garden.
When: Tuesday, 16th October, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Diamond Valley Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Festive inspired cooking master class

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: chilli zucchini tart; lamb wellington; and berry crostata.
When: Thursday, 18th October and Friday, 19th October, both 7-9pm.
Where: Gourmet Living, Templestowe.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite (Thursday, Friday).
Further information: LFC calendar entry (Thursday, Friday).

Open Cellars of the Artisan Hills

What: On both 20th and 21st of October. Visit any or all of the family-owned wineries in Nillumbik, each with an individual style, where the grapes are hand-picked and hand-crushed by family and friends in the traditional style, with wines developed on site. This is a chance to sample wines at wineries not always open to the public. You will also find food to complement the wine, as well as live music and artworks from local artists at some venues. There is no entry fee, or tasting fee, at any of the venues. The participating wineries include: Buttermans Track, Hildebrand Ridge Organic Vineyard, Kings of Kangaroo Ground, Naked Range Wines, Nillumbik Estate, Panton Hill Vineyard & Winery, Punch, Shaws Road Winery, Wedgetail Estate and Yarrambat Estate Vineyard.
When: Saturday, 20th October and Sunday, 21st October, both 11am-5pm.
Where: Various wineries in Nillumbik.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

RetroSuburbia with David Holmgren

What: David Holmgren will advance permaculture ideas as a creative framework for applying vital retrofits to our homes, gardens and, most fundamentally, our behaviours. In particular, he will highlight the importance of household food growing and shared neighbourhood activity in our everyday lives.
When: Sunday, 21st October, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $20.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Hobby beekeeping

What: Christos Tonovich, a hobby beekeeper for 20 years with 40 hives around the Yarra Valley, will present on how to set up a hive in a courtyard garden.
When: Tuesday, 23rd October, 10.30-11.30am.
Where: Collingwood Library, Abbotsford.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Mexican – aguas frescas and kombucha

What: Ana and Gaby are Mexican Aussies with a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience in cooking Mexican dishes. Immerse yourself in Mexican cooking techniques and culture. This workshop will cover: how to brew, care for an grow your kombucha scoby; second fermentation; and flavouring your drink.
When: Saturday, 10th November, 11am-1pm.
Where: Living & Learning, Diamond Creek.
Cost: $58.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Bush foods & herbs for courtyards & balconies

What: What you will learn: which native produce-plants are suitable for growing in pots and small spaces; what to harvest and when; and how to use bush foods and herbs to flavour your dishes. Presented by Karen Sutherland, of Edible Eden Design. Australian native plants have flavour and aroma profiles unlike any others, and can be easily incorporated into your kitchen. Also, a wide range of them can be grown in Melbourne in pots or small and difficult spaces. In this class, which is ideal for those with limited garden space or even just a courtyard or balcony, you will explore the world of edible native Australian plants that are easy to grow in such spaces, attractive to look at and can easily add flavour and interest to your home-cooked dishes. All plants covered are suitable for Melbourne’s climate, and will be discussed in terms of how best to use and grow them in your garden.
When: Thursday, 15th November, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $55.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
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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