Nov 302013
 

Join a vibrant food culture, growing and eating local

Covering all matters food in North East Melbourne

Whether you want to eat local food, grow veggies in your garden or enjoying your local community life, Local Food Connect is for you!

Check out:

Eltham Farmers’ Market, a Local Food Connect initiative, takes place every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month.

Feb 082017
 

Mac’s tip of the week

If you have not done so already, all your fruiting crops would probably appreciate another dose of potash or other fertilisers high in Potassium. This will maximise your plants’ flower production and fruit quality (and also strengthen cell walls to fight off disease). Note that regular watering over summer can often leach out some nutrients that have not already been taken up by your plants. Until next time, remember: dirty hands are still good hands in 2017.

Click here to view all of Mac’s tips.

Home Harvest FEASTival – volunteers wanted

They are seeking volunteers for the Home Harvest FEASTival at Edendale, with the majority of the food prep and cooking taking place at Eltham High School.
If you or a friend have an interest in cooking then maybe you’d like to spend a few hours in the kitchen on Saturday, 25th or Sunday, 26th February with their caterers Michelle and Duang to help prepare the harvest meal. If being in the kitchen isn’t your thing, they also need volunteers to help set up, serve and pack away. Everyone who volunteers gets a ticket so it’s the perfect opportunity to be involved in the FEASTival if you don’t have any produce to donate. For more information or to volunteer, contact Kirsty Bromfield by phone (9433 3206) or email.

Local government networking

Local Food Connect recently facilitated a meeting attended by several local council officers and community health professionals working on food-related projects. In attendance were Nillumbik and Whittlesea council officers plus healthAbilty (formerly Nillumbik Health) staff and some Local Food Connect committee members. The aim was to exchange information, to learn from each other’s experiences and to establish potential areas for co-operation. This was the first time such a gathering has been organised locally and all attendees agreed that it was time well spent. The discussions covered a broad spectrum of local food-related activities and uncovered areas of potential co-operation ranging from food relief to tourism. It was agreed to meet again in three months’ time, when it is hoped to extend the attendance to other adjacent municipalities.

Vale Glenda Lindsay

Glenda passed away in January. Chris Ennis writes: “Over many years, Glenda was a vocal and practical supporter of both CERES and Cultivating Community. She was also a founding member of both the Fitzroy Urban Harvest Food Swap and MADGE. Glenda was a singer and was never afraid to sing in public. At a large public meeting, Glenda famously roped reluctant Yarra councillors and staff into a sing-a-long about tropical fruits and climate change after she and her gang of guerrilla gardeners gained approval for City of Yarra residents to install raised garden beds in their parking spots instead of cars. Intelligent, caring, driven and generous to a T, she threw open her own backyard to neighbours, creating a community garden known as ‘Luscious Lane’. Our hearts are with her family.

Cultivating Community is a local (Abbotsford) organisation which “offers a range of services to assist in the development of sustainable community food projects” and whose mission is “to work with diverse and low-income communities to create fair, secure and resilient food systems”. MADGE is a local (Fitzroy) organisation which “researches the food system to allow people to choose food that is good for those who eat it, grow it, produce and sell it.”.

Another zucchini recipe

Italian veggies sott’olio (pickled veggies under oil) by Maria Ciavarella. Maria will actually be demonstrating how to make Italian veggies sott’olio at Eltham Farmers’ Market on Sunday, 12th February.

Joke of the week

Thanks to the newsletter reader who wrote in to say that last week’s yam joke was “first rate content”(!). In his honour, this week’s joke is: If fruit comes from a fruit tree, where do eggs come from? A poul-tree!

The Eltham Glasshouse has just changed hands

Since my survey of Eltham cafes a couple of weeks ago, The Eltham Glasshouse has changed hands and will not be open again until around end February.

Some links

Someone asked if I knew of any free booklets about seed saving. Voila: A Guide to Seed Saving, Seed Stewardship & Seed Sovereignty.

Sabi Buehler recommends the 1 million women blog on food waste.

Chris Chapple recommends the article Take Three Zucchinis and Call Me in the Morning: The Power of Produce Prescriptions, which is about getting American healthcare providers to write prescriptions for fruit and veg.

Amelia Robinson recommends the article The Ultimate Compost Guide: Sure Fire Ways to Improve Plant Growth.

New events – Harvest Month

Following the Home Harvest FEASTival on Sunday, 26th February, March is Harvest Month in the Nillumbik and Banyule Council areas and many ‘tasty’ activities will be taking place. Click here to view the calendar of all the events.

The events include guided tours of a number of local gardens. I might even see you at mine(!) on 5th March.

Robin and Paul’s garden

What: Robin and Paul’s garden is a highly productive back and front yard fruit, berry and vegetable garden designed on permaculture principles. It features raised bed, wicking beds, chooks running in the orchard, a 3 bay compost system and a mudbrick potting shed.
When: Sunday, 5th March, 10-11am, again at 11.30am-12.30pm, and again at 1-2pm.
Where: Macleod.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Guy and Susan’s garden

What: Guy and Susan bought their property in 2012, with the garden being their main reason for choosing it. Their first move was to turn the tennis court into a veggie patch: a regular and flat area, with no trees, and easily irrigated. The veggie patch now comprises 24 raised beds. 9 of these are in crop rotations (a 5-year rotation of legumes-brassicas-roots-cucurbits-solanums and a 4-year rotation which excludes brassicas). 3 are for perennials (asparagus, globe artichoke and rhubarb), 3 are for herbs, 2 are for things that Guy wants to grow that Susan doesn’t(!), and the final 2 are overflows/spares. Fruit trees are planted throughout the 1¼ acre garden, some in a purpose-built set of terraces. There are currently 47 fruit trees, 34 berries, and 11 vines. Collectively they cover most of the types of fruit that are commonly grown in Melbourne. All the veggies and fruit are irrigated, mostly from tanks. Other points of potential interest: 15 different species of eucalypt; a battery-based solar system which means they are effectively off grid for 8 months of the year; various artwork, mostly by local artists; and a fox-proof chook house and run.
When: Sunday, 5th March, 11am-midday and again at 1-2pm.
Where: Eltham.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Stuart’s garden

What: Stuart’s garden is the result of 35 years of planting and soil improvement to grow fruit and vegetables for his own family’s use in a setting of trees and grassland on about 1 acre. The land was an orchard before subdivision so the soil had already been worked to some extent. Stuart started with permaculture ideas but up until he retired he didn’t have a lot of time to devote to the garden, so he is still trying out ideas and learning about things like companion planting and soil improvement (so essential in Eltham). He doesn’t like to use a lot of town water so he is trying to deepen the soil and use tanks, mulching and making water-holding amendments to make the most of rainfall and the little tap water he does use. He doesn’t use sprays or chemical fertilisers (any more) so, to boost fertility, he recycles, and brings in manures, lignite (brown coal), wood shavings, stone dust and, most recently, coffee grounds. He also plants green manure crops in autumn. When something does succeed, he usually ends up with surplus which is then preserved for his own use. Any further excess is distributed to family, friends, the localfood swap and through RipeNearMe, or it is given to people from whom he gets manures etc. His selection of fruit and vegetables is designed to maximise the harvesting season and provide many varieties.
When: Sunday, 5th March, 11am-midday and again at midday-1pm.
Where: Eltham.Cost: free.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Success with a dehydrator

What: Learn the basics of how to dehydrate foods easily and safely without preservatives. Bountiful summer crops of fruit and vegetables can be home-dried for use all year and to provide healthy snacks for the family.
When: Tuesday, 14th March, 7-8pm; Thursday, 16th March, 10.30-11.30am; and Thursday, 23rd March, 11am-midday.
Where: Various libraries.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Macleod Organic Community Garden tour

What: Macleod Organic Community Garden was established in 2015, making productive use of two disused tennis courts at Macleod College. It is gardened communally by members of Sustainable Macleod. It is a water conservation garden with an emphasis on water efficiency and (eventually) self-sufficiency. There are a numerous garden areas including 8 wicking beds, a citrus orchard, a ston fruit and apple orchard and an orchard of miscellaneous fruit trees plus kiwifruit and passionfruit trellises. There is also an extensive bank of crate tanks, a 6 bay compost system and a 7 metre polytunnel.
When: Saturday, 18th March, 2-3pm and again at 3-4pm.
Where: Macleod.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Duang and Rob’s garden

What: Situated on an 18-acre bush block, Duang and Rob compost horse manure for their garden soil and use only rainwater from the dam to irrigate their productive garden. The compost heap is about 150 metres from the vegetable garden on the tennis court, while the dam is about 100 metres away. There are around 40 fruit trees and 40 apple crates containing a large variety of seasonal vegetables. The produce supports Real Food Catering, with any surplus going to a local cafe.
When: Sunday, 19th March, 11am-midday, again at 12.30-1.30pm, and again at 2-3pm.
Where: Research.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Monsalvat garden tour

What: Enjoy a guided tour of this extensive and productive garden including the orchard, lower garden and nursery areas.
When: Sunday, 19th March, 11am-midday, again at 12.30-1.30pm, and again at 2-3pm.
Where: Eltham.
Cost: $10.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Beales Road Farm

What: Beales Road Farm is a privately operated community food system conducted under a landshare arrangement. They grow a range of seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs that are sold via a basket scheme at a local office and via farmgate sales.
When: Monday, 20th March and Monday, 27th March, both 11am-midday.
Where: St Helena.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Growing garlic

What: Learn how to successfully grow your own big, juicy organic garlic with this talk from Helen Simpson, local horticulturist.
When: Tuesday, 21st March, 7-8pm.
Where: Eltham Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar.

The Sugarloaf story

What: Isabella Amouzandeh, and her partner Warren McKimmie, from Sugarloaf Produce, are building a new horticulture enterprise on organic principles in Strathewen. The farm is on the site of the stonefruit orchard which was in the family for four generations until it was burnt out on Black Saturday.
When: Wednesday, 29th March, 7-8pm.
Where: Eltham Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Thrive Community Garden open day

What: Thrive community garden is situated on disused flat land quite close to the Diamond Creek. The first planting of fruit trees was in winter 2015 and other beds of berries, seasonal vegetables and a native area have followed. The community working in the garden consists of a dedicated group of keen gardeners, environmentalists and community minded people who want to see Diamond Creek respond to a changing world and thrive in it. They have been working to create a communal space producing fruit, vegetables and gardens for people to enjoy. In addition, a core goal of the garden is to provide an opportunity for people to meet and discuss something they love, namely gardening.
When: Sunday, 26th March, 10am-3pm.
Where: Thrive Community Garden, Diamond Creek.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Chute Street planter boxes open day

What: Take a walk along Chute Street and see how their 9 wicking beds are surviving the summer. These wicking beds were established in 2014 by the Diamond Creek Traders with support from Nillumbik Shire Council, the NICE fund, Local Food Connect and Thrive Community Garden. The aim is for the community of Diamond Creek to be able to grow, pick, share and eat fresh, locally grown herbs, vegetables and small fruits from the boxes as well as to add some colour to the otherwise urban looking street scape. The beds are looked after in a sustainable manner by a small group of volunteers (with occasional assistance from the students at Diamond Creek Primary School) utilising permaculture principles where possible.
When: Sunday, 26th March, 1-2pm.
Where: Chute Street, Diamond Creek.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Creating and maintaining a wicking bed

What: In an area of poor shallow soil, low rainfall, wind and thirsty native trees, wicking beds can be the answer for people wishing to have a productive and beautiful garden. Wicking beds have lower water requirements and potentially less maintenance as they include a reservoir of water which wicks up to hydrate the roots of the plants above. Join Pam Jenkins to learn more about creating and maintaining these potentially useful additions to your garden.
When: Sunday, 26th March, 2-3pm.
Where: Chute Street, Diamond Creek.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Preparing your garden for winter and improving your soil

What: Learn the best ways to prepare your garden for winter using tried and proven organic gardening techniques. Angelo Eliades, from Deep Green Permaculture, will explain how to prepare your garden to maximise its productivity over winter, and the various strategies you can use to improve your soil over the winter period for better productivity in the following warm season.
When: Sunday, 26th March, 3-4pm.
Where: Thrive Community Garden, Diamond Creek.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Local Food Connect by email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

New events – other

Apple tasting at Petty’s Orchard

What: Their first tasting of early apple varieties: taste 15 varieties over a 2-hour period. Orchard tour included. Coffee and nibbles included. Booking essential.
When: Sunday, 12th February, 5-7pm.
Where: Petty’s Orchard, Templestowe.
Cost: $15.
Enquiries: Heritage Fruits Society by phone (0449 508318).
Bookings: Heritage Fruits Society website.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Just Eat It (film)

What: Just Eat It is 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?
When: Wednesday, 15th February, 6.45-8.30pm.
Where: Carlton.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

CERES permaculture drinks

What: Practice your social permaculture skills and hear from some inspired and inspiring practitioners while drinking beers (or wine or soft drink) and meeting new friends. Two speakers: Kat Lavers and Justin Calverley.
When: Thursday, 16th February, 6.30-8.30pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $10.
Enquiries: Sieta Beckwith by phone (9389 0180) or email.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar.

The Chocolate Case (film)

What: This film follows the incredible journey of three intrepid Dutch journalists, who after uncovering child slavery in the cocoa production chain, try to persuade large corporations to end the use of child labour. Rebuffed by the industry, and after several failed attempts at self-imprisonment, they set out on a mission to develop the first ‘slave-free’ chocolate bar called ‘Tony’s Chocolonely’, now one of Holland’s leading brands.
When: Friday, 17th February, 8.45-10.45pm.
Where: Cinema Nova, Carlton.
Cost: $20.
Enquiries: Cinema Nova by phone (9347 5331).
Bookings / Further information: Cinema Nova website.

Raw (film)

What: Cancer survivor Janette and her partner Alan are an incredible demonstration of what is possible with the human body. This story follows the two raw food champions, in their 60’s, on an adventure around Australia, as they break and set world records by running 366 consecutive marathons on a raw plant-based diet. A story of Raw emotion, Raw determination and Raw diet!
When: Friday, 17th February and Saturday, 18th February, both 6.30-8.15pm.
Where: Cinema Nova, Carlton.
Cost: $20.
Enquiries: Cinema Nova by phone (9347 5331).
Bookings / Further information: Cinema Nova website.

H.O.P.E – What You Eat Matters (film)

What: A startling and moving documentary uncovering the effects of our typical Western diet, high in animal-based foods. It contrasts the limited interests of the pharmaceutical and agricultural industry with the interests of living beings on this planet. Featuring Jane Goodall as well as health and environmental experts, H.O.P.E shows the benefits of plant-based diets on both people and planet.
When: Sunday, 19th February, 12.30-2.30pm.
Where: Cinema Nova, Carlton.
Cost: $20.
Enquiries: Cinema Nova by phone (9347 5331).
Bookings / Further information: Cinema Nova website.

Making bee hotels for native bees

What: The City of Melbourne Park Rangers will be setting up their trailers to show you how to construct various types of bee hotels for Melbourne’s native bee populations. Come along and learn about the world of bees.
When: Wednesday, 22nd February, 10.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Carlton.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Jim Szonyi by phone (9658 9189) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Wastecooking – Make Food, Not Waste (film)

What: David Groß, a fun-loving and gregarious food activist and cook, travels through five European countries in a van that runs on vegetable oil, creating beautiful dishes out of food that would otherwise go to waste. A delicious way to fix a broken food system.
When: Friday, 24th February, 6.30-8.15pm.
Where: Cinema Nova, Carlton.
Cost: $20.
Enquiries: Cinema Nova by phone (9347 5331).
Bookings / Further information: Cinema Nova website.

The environmental chef with Ryan DeCoite

What: What you will learn: about the food industry; making environmentally sustainable food choices; and how to prepare your own low-impact lunch. In a world full of amazing indulgent recipes and glossy cooking television programs, ‘the environmental chef’ encourages participants to understand where their food comes from as well as creating awareness of what effects food industries have on the ecological environment that sustains us. Learn about the food industry with practical and interactive examples, create your own environmentally friendly lunch and take home ecologically sustainable recipes and information. The workshop will combine cooking with environmental consciousness. It is suitable for participants aged 12 and over with an interest in the environmental impact of where their food comes from. Lunch will be provided.
When: Thursday, 6th April, 10am-3pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $70.
Enquiries: CERES by phone (9389 0100).
Bookings: WeTeachMe.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the rest of February
During March

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events. Click here for help in how to view the calendar selectively (e.g. search for events in a given suburb).

Feb 012017
 

Helen’s second home-grower interview

Helen Simpson has now completed her second home-grower interview, this time with Chris Kent and Cathy Romeo from Eltham North. Here is the first paragraph: “Abundance is the first word that comes to mind as I sit with Chris and Cathy at their shaded outdoor table and we talk about their garden. From this vantage point, I can see their prolific vegetable garden, with fruit trees cascading with an abundance of fruit. I’m wondering how they use it all. A backdrop of treed hills as far as my eye can see completes the splendid vista.Read the full interview.

If you have any suggestions for people that Helen should interview, or would like to be interviewed yourself, email us.

Mac’s tip of the week

Whilst in the midst of your peak harvest period, take time to appreciate the ‘star performers’ in your veggie patch. If one of your plants is far more vigorous or productive than the others then, hey, why not collect the seed from that plant to sow in future years? Beans, capsicums, chillis, lettuce, peas and tomatoes are considered the easiest to save because they all produce seed in the same season as they are planted and all are self-pollinating. Only the seeds from open-pollinated, non-hybrid plants will produce a similar crop; in other words, they are the plants most likely to produce offspring (in the form of seed) that closely resemble their parents. Until next time, remember: dirty hands are still good hands in 2017.

As Mac points out, you should keep back the best seed for planting, rather than follow the obvious course of eating the best and planting the dross. Incidently, Richard Dawkins said (in The Ancestor’s Tale) that his father found this one of the hardest lessons to get across to farmers in Africa in the 1940s.

If you want to know more about seed saving, an excellent book is The Seed Savers’ Handbook. Both readable and comprehensive, it would be a nice gift for anyone at $32.

Click here to view all of Mac’s tips.

What to plant in February (click here)

Here is a list:
Beans
Beetroot
Broccoli
Brussel sprouts
Carrot
Cauliflower
Chives
Fennel
Leeks
Lettuce
Mustard greens
Onion
Oregano
Parsley
Radish
Shallot
Silverbeet
Sweetcorn

Click here for guidance on how each of these veggies/herbs should be planted (direct, in seed trays, etc); how far apart to plant them; their lifecycle (annual, perennial, etc); their moon phase planting quarter (for those doing moon phase planting) and their crop rotation group (for those doing crop rotation). Click here for a complete planting schedule for North East Melbourne.

The plan is provide a planting list each month. In so doing, I have two, quite distinct, purposes:
1. To help people decide what to plant, when.
2. To seek feedback from people on what should be planted when. Please email me with any comments.

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s (ASRC) food support

The Food Justice Truck is a mobile fresh food market that offers Victorian-sourced produce, grains, legumes, tea and bread at a 75% discount to people seeking asylum. It also welcomes general public shoppers, who pay local market rates. It alternates Tuesdays between Thomastown and Broadmeadows, and its next visit to Thomastown is on 14th February. Click here to watch a video about The Food Justice Truck.

The Truck is a social enterprise initiative by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) to tackle the growing food insecurity felt by the more than 10,000 people in Victoria who are on bridging visas. As such, it is part of their food support initiative, which includes a Foodbank in Footscray. The Foodbank is a free grocery store that provides fresh food to people seeking asylum and it gives out around $1 million worth of donated food donated each year. See their Facebook page.

You can donate food and goods to The ASRC Foodbank during working hours at any of CERES, Alphington Community Centre, Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre or Found Sound in Carlton.

Your Council’s policies on urban agriculture

In 2016, Henry Crawford, from Sustain, mapped out the plans, policies and strategies of various local councils across Greater Melbourne that relate to urban agriculture. The Councils include Banyule, City of Yarra, Darebin, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges.

Melbourne’s community food guide

The City of Melbourne’s Community Food Guide is a booklet for anyone who wants information about how to access affordable fresh and healthy food. ?Whether it’s affordable meals, food vouchers, community kitchens in which to cook in a supportive setting or community gardens to grow your own produce, the guide captures the services that offer these things within inner Melbourne.

Plant nutrients explained

Have a look at this article from the Sustainable Gardening Australia website. It explains the roles of not only N, P and K, but also Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Mn, B, Mo, Cu and Zn.

Joke of the week

What did the sweet potato say to the pumpkin? I yam what I yam.

Thanks for sending in the joke, Jenny Shaw!

An introduction to pizza tossing

Thanks to Marina Bistrin for introducing me (and now, you) to the previously hidden world of pizza tossing by sharing this amazing video on Facebook.

Someone called Tony Gemignani has apparently been ‘World Champion Pizza Acrobat’ a record 8 times. As well as pizza tossing tricks, his videos range from pizza tossing tutorials to hour long lectures about different types of pizza.

New events

Nourishing ferments & tonics – Kombucha and Jun

What: Learn how to nourish your body by learning the art and tradition of preparing delicious fermented beverages at home. This workshop will cover: health benefits of fermented drinks; making your own fermented drinks; infusing ferments with beneficial herbs, fruit & spices; advice and troubleshooting in home ferments; and tastings of a variety of fermented products. Kombucha and Jun are beautiful effervescent fermented drinks, rich in good bacteria for strong digestive health. In this workshop, you will focus on preparing these fermented teas and learn all about the techniques to make your own delicious tonics at home.
When: Saturday, 18th February, 2-4pm.
Where: Peppertree Gardens, Coburg.
Cost: $32.
Enquiries: Gemma Macri by email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Bokashi bucket DIY workshop

What: A DIY workshop enabling you to process kitchen waste into ‘Bokashi’, a highly vitalising fermented fertiliser that can be used directly in the garden, as a base for Terra Preta or as food for a worm farm. You will learn how to build and use Bokashi buckets and how to propagate and use the micro organisms for the fermentation process. You will take home 1-2 Bokashi buckets and the needed micro organisms. Facilitated by Niklas Wagner, an urban gardener from Germany. He learned about Bokashi from Ernst Hammes, one of the leading experts in Germany on effective micro organisms, and through years of home application and experimentation. They need 80 food grade buckets. If you have a source, please share it with them.
When: Saturday, 18th February, 3-5pm.
Where: Olympic Adult Education, Heidelberg West.
Cost: $15.
Enquiries: Mikoto Araki by phone (9450 2665).
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Nourishing ferments & tonics – water and milk kefir

What: Learn how to nourish your body by learning the art and tradition of preparing delicious fermented beverages at home. This workshop will cover: health benefits of fermented drinks; making your own fermented drinks; infusing ferments with beneficial herbs, fruit & spices; advice and troubleshooting in home ferments; and tastings of a variety of fermented products. Water and milk kefir are easy to prepare highly nourishing fermented drinks teaming with good bacteria to help with digestive cleansing. In this workshop, you will focus on preparing these fermented teas and milk and learn all about the ways to make your own kefir at home.
When: Saturday, 25th February, 2-4pm.
Where: Peppertree Gardens, Coburg.
Cost: $32.
Enquiries: Gemma Macri by email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Learn to make pasta

What: Hilda and Laurie will teach us how to make perfect pasta with the guesswork taken out. As first generation Italians, they are passionate about their traditional cooking style that makes their food truly mouth-watering.
When: Saturday, 11th March, 11am-midday.
Where: Nunawading Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Introduction to permaculture (two day)

What: A two-day workshop, with the first day being on 17th March and the second day being on 24th March. Developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, permaculture (permanent agriculture) is a whole system approach to ecological planning and design for sustainable living. This workshop, spread over two weekends, will be beneficial to both those new to the concept of permaculture and for those thinking of undertaking a permaculture design course.
You will be introduced to permaculture and gain a basic understanding of the principles and design methods associated with permaculture.
When: Friday, 17th March and Friday, 24th March, both 10am-4pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $115 for the two days.
Enquiries: Edendale by phone (9433 3711) or email.
Bookings / Further information: Edendale website.

Just Eat It – A food waste story

What: We all love food. As a society, we devour countless cooking shows, culinary magazines and foodie blogs. So how could we possibly be throwing nearly 50% of it in the trash? Filmmakers and food lovers, Jen and Grant, dive into the issue of food waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that have been discarded.
When: Thursday, 23rd March, 6.30-8pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Edendale by phone (9433 3711) or email.
Bookings / Further information: Edendale website.

Introduction to home wine-making

What: Are you interested in small scale wine-making? The Eltham & District Winemakers Guild will show you how to make wine using produce from your garden. Tastings will be on offer. Bookings essential.
When: Tuesday, 28th March, 6.30-8.30pm.
Where: Montrose Library.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Montrose Library by phone (9800 6490).
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Beginners’ Italian cheese making class

What: During this very hands on and interactive class run by Janelle, from Mad Millie, will make fresh mozzarella and warm fresh ricotta using the Mad Millie Beginners Italian cheese kit. The kit has all the equipment you need (except milk) to make your own ricotta, mozzarella, mascarpone, burrata, bocconcini and ricotta salata. Finish the class with a tasting of the cheeses created. Bookings essential. Places limited to 20.
When: Wednesday, 29th March, 6-8pm.
Where: Going Green Solutions, Hurstbridge.
Cost: $60 (includes a Mad Millie Italian cheese kit).
Enquiries: Going Green Solutions by phone (9450 2665) or email.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Smarter living – preserving the harvest

What: Presented by Maria Ciavarella, of My Green Garden. Making preserves is an excellent way to transform the bounty of the garden at its seasonal best into delicious jars to adorn your pantry and see you through the leaner months. Go and learn some techniques to safely preserve fruits and veggies – with all natural ingredients.
When: Wednesday, 29th March, 6-9pm.
Where: Manningham Civic Centre.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Manningham Council by phone (9846 0575).
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Love food, hate waste

What: Did you know Victorians waste 25% of the food they buy? Learn how to avoid food waste and use leftovers more creatively. Local chef Duang Tengtrirat from Real Food Catering will provide a cooking demonstration and tips’ session. Get creative, make the most of your leftovers and show them the love they deserve!
When: Wednesday, 29th March, 6.30-8.30pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Edendale by phone (9433 3711) or email.
Bookings / Further information: Edendale website.

Growing fruit and veggies in small spaces

What: What you will learn: which produce plants are suitable to grow in small areas; coping with shade and sun for produce growing; and how to make the most of any available space for growing produce. Presented by Angelo Eliades. Do you only have a small garden or no garden at all? Would you still like to grow your own food? This class will inspire you to get started. Topics will include fruit, vegetables and berries for small spaces, growing produce in pots and containers, maximising productivity in any size space and plant selection.
When: Saturday, 1st April, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art & Garden Nursery.
Cost: $45.
Enquiries: BAAG by phone (8850 3030).
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Yarra Valley Wine and Food Festival

What: A two-day (Saturday and Sunday) celebration of one of Victoria’s premium wine and food regions. 40 wineries, locally-produced beer and cider, the Yarra Valley’s finest food producers, top Melbourne food trucks, cooking demonstrations by well-known chefs from the Valley and beyond, tutored tastings by award-winning winemakers, live music and entertainment.
When: Saturday, 1st April and Sunday, 2nd April, both 11am-5pm.
Where: Rochford Wines, Coldstream.
Cost: $25.
Enquiries: Rochford Wines by phone (5957 3333) or email.
Bookings: their website, for the Saturday or for the Sunday.
Further information: LFC calendar.

The garden farmacy with Lisa Hodge

What: What you will learn: plant identification; medicinal uses for plants; and make your own remedy. What you will get: a remedy and a seedling. Take a walk through the CERES garden beds and bring the wisdom of traditional herbal medicines into a modern context. During this workshop, you will explore traditional and modern uses of the plants and ways that you can use these plants in self-healing and make an item to take home as well as a seedling. You will learn the basic ways of making your own medicines at home both topically and internally.
When: Saturday, 1st April, 2-4.30pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $70.
Enquiries: CERES by phone (9389 0100).
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events. Click here for help in how to view the calendar selectively (e.g. search for events in a given suburb).

Jan 252017
 

Joke of the week

Someone complained that my jokes were not labelled as jokes (and that sometimes it was hard to tell that they were actually jokes). Now corrected (at least the first part).

Turning vegan is a big missed steak.

‘Crowd harvest’ herbs for Australia Day

People are invited to donate their homegrown excess herbs any time from now until 31st January. The Green @ St. Columbs, a social enterprise cafe dedicated to equipping homeless youth with job ready and life skills, has agreed to receive such gifts before re-homing them. Open 7 days a week, 8am-3pm. 5 St. Columbs Street, Hawthorn. Any questions, contact Cath Lyons (aka Tiny Trowel) by phone (0401 814679) or email.

A map of Eltham’s cafes

One of my little side projects has been to frequent each of Eltham’s 27(!) cafes (Eltham being the suburb where I live). To mark the project’s completion, I have developed a map of where all the cafes are, their contact details and their menus. It also encompasses the 2 cafes in Research and the 1 cafe in Eltham North. The page includes downloadable menus for all except 3 of the cafes. Click here to view the page.

It is interesting to note how many of the cafes have changed hands recently. Eltham Tea House, Frio Cafe and Restaurant and The Common have all changed hands within the last month or so. Colin’s Place, Second Home and Shillinglaw Cafe & Restaurant have all changed hands in the last year or so. And Health Bar Melbourne, Melbourne Hotdog & Burger House, Old Evropa Bakery and Weidlich Food Store are all new(ish). So, a third of all the cafes can be thought of as new(ish).

If anyone wants to, I’d be happy to work with them to develop a similar map for their suburb. If you give me a comprehensive list of the cafes in your suburb, I’ll create a map of these cafes and put it on the website. As I have discovered, the best starting point for creating your list is Zomato.

In passing, I have found out that just about all cafes will serve my favourite coffee: a long black in a mug with both cold milk and hot water on the side. The milk on the side means that I can limit how much milk is in the coffee and the water on the side means that I can trade off volume against strength to suit my (as opposed to their) tastes.

Vale Locheilan Farmhouse Cheeses

Unfortunately, Locheilan Farmhouse Cheeses will no longer be a stallholder at Eltham Farmers’ Market. As the owners, Sue and Bruce McGorlick, edge towards a well-earned retirement, they have leased their business, and are hoping to sell it. Sue says: “The new people are going to farm ethically, with far fewer stock and leaving the calves with the cows after calving.

Sue and Bruce are precisely the sort of people who make visiting farmers’ markets such a delight. They are true professionals, devoted to their craft of cheese making. They are generous with their free tastings. And they are chatty, happy to discuss any aspects of cheese with anyone at their stall. They will be missed.

More zucchini recipes

Two more zucchini recipes, this time from Duang Tengtrirat: quick pickled zucchini and zucchini ricotta cheese bake.

Click here to view any or all of the 19 zucchini recipes now in our database.

‘Too cute to eat’ snacks

Here’s a video about how to make ‘penguin snacks’ (olives, cream cheese and carrots).

New events

What’s cooking (9 sessions)

What: Go along and explore new foods, share recipes, a laugh and lunch. Activities and guest speakers. Well behaved children welcome.
When: 1st & 3rd Thursdays of each month, from 2nd February to 15th June, all midday-2pm.
Where: Whittlesea Community House.
Cost: gold coin donation.
Enquiries: Whittlesea Community House by phone (9716 3361) or email.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Introduction to worm farming (Carlton)

What: Worm farming is a great way to reduce your household food waste. It is easy to do and creates nutritious plant food for your garden. Join Richard Thomas, Director of Wormlovers, for a talk on worm types, anatomy and behaviour, worms as a waste management process, worm farming as a critical sustainability action, the nutrient cycle and soil, plant and animal health. Richard will demonstrate different types of worm farms, practical worm farm management, and vermiculture outputs including ‘worm juice’ and how to use it. Bookings essential.
When: Saturday, 4th February, 2-3pm.
Where: Carlton Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Introductory cooking class (12 sessions)

What: Twelve Wednesday sessions, starting 8th February. This cooking club offers a fun learning opportunity to improve your cooking skills using simple and economic recipes. Participants not only learn to cook a range of yummy meals and snacks but they also get to share the meal they cooked with others in the group and also take home the recipe and another meal for home.
When: each Wednesday, starting 8th February, midday-2pm.
Where: The Bridge, Preston.
Cost: $100.
Enquiries: The Bridge by phone (9484 5806) or email.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Keeping quails with Kat Lavers

What: Keeping quails is a fantastic way to produce eggs in a small garden. They are quieter than chickens and hardy too. In this workshop, Kat will introduce you to her covey of quails and discuss their food and housing needs, including tips and tricks to reduce maintenance. Bookings essential.
When: Saturday, 11th February, 11am-midday.
Where: Collingwood Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Plan, buy, cook with Food Know How

What: The average household in Australia throws away $2,000 worth of food every year, and one out of five bags of shopping that is purchased is never eaten. Learn simple ways to reduce food waste and save you time and money with this presentation by Food Know How. Bookings essential.
When: Saturday, 11th February, midday-1pm.
Where: Collingwood Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Introduction to worm farming (Collingwood)

What: Worm farming is a great way to reduce your household food waste. It is easy to do and creates nutritious plant food for your garden. Join Richard Thomas, Director of Wormlovers, for a talk on worm types, anatomy and behaviour, worms as a waste management process, worm farming as a critical sustainability action, the nutrient cycle and soil, plant and animal health. Richard will demonstrate different types of worm farms, practical worm farm management, and vermiculture outputs including ‘worm juice’ and how to use it. Bookings essential.
When: Saturday, 11th February, 1-2pm.
Where: Collingwood Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cake art – fun with fondant (4 sessions)

What: Join them as they turn ordinary into extraordinary! Turn pipe dreams into piping dreams!
When: each Friday for 4 weeks, starting 17th February, all 1-3pm.
Where: Whittlesea Community House.
Cost: $60.
Enquiries: Johanna at Whittlesea Community House by phone (9716 3361) or email.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Summer planting workshop for children

What: This workshop is being organised by a partnership of Yarra Libraries, Richmond Community Learning Centre and Lynette from The Cubby House. Kids will get to pot up their own plant to take home. All materials provided. Age 3+. Bookings essential.
When: Thursday, 23rd February, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Richmond Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

FareShare kitchen garden

What: FareShare kitchen garden was created in 2016 on a strip of wasteland between Victoria Park railway station and Victoria Park oval to grow vegetables for FareShare – Australia’s largest charity kitchen. There are 70 beds created by volunteers. Visitors can tour the garden which is currently producing eggplant, zucchini, carrots, silverbeet, Jerusalem artichoke and a trial crop of sweet potato varieties. The Backyard Honey beekeeper will also be in the garden to remind us all about the important role healthy local bees play in supporting our productive edible garden.
When: Friday, 24th February, 12.30-3.30pm.
Where: Fareshare garden, Abbotsford.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: FareShare by phone (9428 0044) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Farmer Incubator’s 2017 garlic fiesta

What: Do you want to support local agriculture? Do you want to meet the young people who are helping grow your food? Do you want to get your hands on your 2017 supply of garlic? And do you like to boogie?! There will be live music, a dance floor to carve up, delicious food and drink, and of course lots and lots of organically and locally grown garlic for sale, so come along and support our young farmers.
When: Friday, 24th February, 6-11pm.
Where: SEEDs Communal Garden, Brunswick.
Cost: $27.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Chicken chatter

What: Learn about starting your own pen and basic care of chickens with Maria McCarter from Sunset Valley Chicks. Maria will show some of her own chickens on the day and will offer advice on the benefits of sustainable living and also chickens being wonderful pets.
When: Tuesday, 21st March, 11.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Diamond Valley Library, Greensborough.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Dione Fisher by phone (9434 3809) or email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The herb and chilli festival

What: A two-day festival celebrating all things related to herbs and chillis. The festival brings together a variety of cuisines and cultural elements from around Melbourne and beyond. Visitors to the festival will see, smell, taste and imbibe food and wine in a multitude of forms. They will meet and talk with passionate producers who will teach them about their cuisine. There will be demonstrations, talks, tastings, music, dance and even competitions to enter. Activities for all ages. They will have 40+ varieties of chillies and a large range of herbs for sale. Free entry for children under 14.
When: Saturday, 18th March and Sunday, 19th March, both 10am-5pm.
Where: Wandin North.
Cost: $24 (children free).
Enquiries: Clive Larkman by phone (9735 2962) or email.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: their website.

Healthy productive compost and worms

What: What you will learn: the importance of compost for soil health; how to fix common composting problems; and setting up and looking after a worm farm. Presented by Maria Ciavarella. Learn how to make great compost, the essential ingredient for a thriving and healthy garden. You will also look at worm farms and Bokashi as other options. You will also be shown how to make a DIY worm farm using recycled products.
When: Thursday, 23rd March, 6.30-9pm.
Where: Bulleen Art & Garden Nursery.
Cost: $45.
Enquiries: BAAG by phone (8850 3030).
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Planning your Winter veggie garden

What: Learn how to grow a bumper winter veggie crop. Includes a presentation, Q&A session and a walk around the Balwyn Community Garden.
When: Saturday, 25th March, 2-4pm.
Where: Balwyn Community Centre.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Diana Vidovic from Boroondara Council by phone (9278 4347) or email.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week

Zip.

Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events. Click here for help in how to view the calendar selectively (e.g. search for events in a given suburb).

Jan 182017
 

I always eat my tacos over a tortilla. That way when stuff falls out, BOOM, another taco.

The last word on the first ever Australian food swap

April Muirden, the organiser of the Urban Orchard Food Swap at CERES, has written in to confirm her agreement with the timeline presented in last week’s newsletter and to provide a link to a 2007 article for Sustainable Melbourne written by the Urban Orchard swap coordinator at the time (Brad Shone).

Click here to read a compilation of the various contributions about the history of the food swaps from the last few newsletters.

Want to dehydrate or preserve some of your fruit?

Just to remind you that there are two pieces of equipment that newsletter readers can borrow: a Fowlers Ultimate Dehydrator and a Fowlers Vacola Preserving Kit. Just follow the links and fill out the (brief) forms

You could also consider going to a free Fowlers Vacola food preserving workshop on Tuesday, 28th February.

Want to become involved with the Eltham Food Swap?

The Eltham Food Swap (held on the 4th Sunday of each month) needs some more helpers. They would be happy with people volunteering as much or as little time as they want. If potentially interested, contact Fay Loveland by email. If you don’t know what a food swap is, read about them on our website or watch Fay explaining them.

More zucchini recipes

From your reaction to the last few newsletters, it is clear that zucchini recipes are popular. So, here are 19 more recipes from Good Food. Not local, but still Australian.

Too cute to eat

A friend of mine shared this picture on Facebook. Then I noticed that it had been shared 250,000 times(!). So, I thought you might like it.

Doctor Google – a brand new poem about veggies by newsletter reader Gillian Essex

Gillian’s poem is actually rather good and it is well worth your time reading it properly. Or, even better, get someone to read it out to you.

It’s thanks to Dr Google
That I’m feeling no alarm
Though my symptoms are quite strange
They’re doing me no harm

I type and click and let
Doc G quickly diagnose
My complaints – she lets me know
Why I’m on the nose

I thought that eating home grown veg
Would mean a healthy life
But when I ingest artichokes
My belly’s in such strife

It makes me look quite pregnant
My gut is wracked with pain
In order to obtain relief
I fart and fart again

The trouble is when I grow veg
I eat them to excess
And my digestion cannot cope
In ways I now confess

Although it is embarrassing
To talk of wind and pee
Thanks to Doctor Google
I know it’s not just me!

Doc Google says it’s beetroot
That makes my pee turn pink
And also says asparagusGives it that awful stink

I’m missing certain enzymes
To help me cope with this
The evidence is damning
It’s right there in my piss

And eating carrots gives my skin
An obvious orange hue
So tell me Dr Google
What am I to do?

It seems the dietary guidelines
For me are topsy-turvy
I need to eat 5 fruits 2 veg
But at least I won’t get scurvy

If you prefer short poems, here is a Haiku from the 17th Century:

Coolness of the melons
flecked with mud
in the morning dew.

To celebrate Gillian’s poem, and previous poems from Pam Jenkins, we have established a food poetry web page. I happen to know that there are several other newsletter readers who are poets – why don’t you submit a local food poem?

New events

Making bread and butter cucumbers and pickling beetroot and carrot

What: Presented by Robin Gale-Baker, this workshop will teach you how to prepare the soil, choose what to grow, raise your own seedlings and provide information on how to have a successful autumn/winter vegetable garden.
When: Friday, 20th January, 1-2.30pm.
Where: Macleod Organic Community Garden.
Cost: $15.
Enquiries / Bookings: Sustainable Macleod by email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Summer pruning with Craig Castree

What: Go along and learn how to summer prune your fruit trees. Learn why pruning in winter is not a current practice. Glean gardening tips on how to reduce your water bills and increase the success of your garden at the same time. Keep your garden thriving over the warmer months to maximise production. There will be a food swap at the same venue from 10am to 2pm.
When: Saturday, 4th February, 10.30am-midday.
Where: PepperTree Place, Coburg.
Cost: $15.
Enquiries / Bookings: A. Watson by phone (0438 507694) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Palestinian cooking workshop

What: Led by nutritionist Rasha Tayeh. In this workshop, you will explore wild herbs and liver & digestive health. You will: cook a delicious vegan dish (tasting/light snack included) and discuss nutritional benefits of selected wild herbs, or ‘edible weeds’; and learn about traditional herbal infusions for detoxification, cleansing and good digestion. Participants will go home with: recipes of the meal shared on the day & notes on how to look after the liver and digestive system; and a deeper understanding and curiosity for delicious foods from Palestine and the use of wild edible herbs. The workshop is limited to 12 spaces.
When: Saturday, 4th February, 2.30-4.30pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $65.
Enquiries: Rasha Tayeh by phone (0403 843923) or email.
Bookings: Trybooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Indian Punjabi cooking workshop

What: Learn how to cook a healthy North West Indian vegetarian meal from scratch using authentic ingredients. The menu will include: daal (spiced lentils); raita (yoghurt based dip); basmati rice with peas and cumin seeds; dry roasted poppadums; a milk based dessert; aloo saag (spinach and potato); and chapatti (flat bread). Tutor Taariq Hassan. Taariq has travelled extensively in India and Pakistan and is proficient and enthusiastic at cooking traditional Indian cuisine. He enjoys sharing his skills and knowledge with others, is a qualified teacher and has also completed a Cert IV in training and assessment.
When: Wednesday, 15th February, 6.30-8.30pm.
Where: Living & Learning Nillumbik at Diamond Creek.
Cost: $92.
Enquiries: Living & Learning Nillumbik by phone (9433 3744) or email.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Italian cooking workshop (pasta)

What: A tasty three-course menu, including pasta, will be prepared in this hands-on workshop and enjoyed afterwards. Tutor Janice Mariani. Janice spent 30 years cooking for the locals and celebrities in a restaurant amidst the hills of Umbria, Italy.
When: Saturday, 18th February, 10am-1pm.
Where: Living & Learning Nillumbik at Panton Hill.
Cost: $72.
Enquiries: Living & Learning Nillumbik by phone (9433 3744) or email.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Extreme composting and Macleod Organic Community Garden tour

What: Presented by Marina Bistrin. Which weeds and prunings are easy to compost immediately? Learn various methods of pre-treating resilient weeds. Try coffee husk and coffee grounds compost additions to speed up the composting process. Plus a half-hour tour of Macleod Organic Community Garden included with a cuppa. View the polytunnel, wicking beds, compost bays, deep-ripped orchard beds, shelter roof water-collection and innovative gardening methods.
When: Saturday, 18th February, 1.30-3pm.
Where: Macleod Organic Community Garden.
Cost: $15.
Enquiries: Sustainable Macleod by email.
Bookings: Trybooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Preparing an autumn/winter vegetable garden

What: Presented by Robin Gale-Baker, this workshop will teach you how to prepare the soil, choose what to grow, raise your own seedlings and provide information on how to have a successful autumn/winter vegetable garden.
When: Saturday, 25th February, 1.30-3.30pm.
Where: Macleod Organic Community Garden.
Cost: $15.
Enquiries: Sustainable Macleod by email.
Bookings: Trybooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Sourdough bread making workshop

What: Tutor Jenna Farrington-Sear. This workshop will cover basic theory as well as the tactile pleasure of all the steps of making bread from milled flour. Suitable for both novices and those who want to expand their bread making repertoire. Topics to be covered: the essential ingredients and tools of the trade; the principal steps of bread making; Baker’s percentage and hydration; mixing, kneading and folding dough; shaping loaves, scoring and baking; and maintaining a starter. You will take home: a piece of dough which can be baked at home; and a sourdough starter.
When: Saturday, 4th March and Saturday, 1st April, both 10am-1pm.
Where: Living & Learning Nillumbik at Panton Hill.
Cost: $59.
Enquiries: Living & Learning Nillumbik by phone (9433 3744) or email.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Tomato passata – the traditional way

What: What you will learn: the traditional way to preserve the seasonal bounty of tomatoes into bottles of preserved tomato passata; about preserving safely for long-term storage; and how to use different types of equipment for best results. What you will get: morning and afternoon coffees with traditional Italian biscotti; lunch of pasta with sauce made from the first pressings of the tomatoes; fully hands-on experience for better learning; and a box of tomatoes each to process on the day and all the resulting bottles or jars of passata made with the contents of the box – usually 12-14 bottles. You are invited to join them in their family home in ‘doing the tomatoes’, as the day is affectionately known. Uou will experience the whole process as you take part and learn about the preserving aspect of ‘doing the tomatoes’ as well as take home at least 12 bottles of sauce once they have been processed.
When: Sunday, 12th March, 9.30am-3pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $150.
Enquiries: Maria Ciavarella by phone (0424 083057) or email.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Bees in the burbs…

What: A comprehensive and instructional demonstration facilitated by expert apiarist, Peter Dyer from Backyard Honey. The workshop will cover: what you need to know before you begin beekeeping; the equipment required; and detail on troubleshooting and how to manage healthy bee hives. Complete the experience with a custom-pairing menu of pure raw unheated Melbourne and Victorian honeys with The Craft and Co’s very own housemade wine, cheese and prosciutto.
When: Thursday, 16th March, 6-9pm.
Where: The Craft & Co, Collingwood.
Cost: $65.
Enquiries: Tarsha by phone (9417 4755) or email.
Bookings / Further information: Sticky Tickets.

Growing veggies is easier than you think

What: What you will learn: how to bottle fruits and vegetables for future use; how to make jams and pickles; and how to select and re-use suitable jars, and how to sterilise them. What you will get: recipes all of the preserves made; small jars of all the preserves prepared on the day; tastings; and preserving Basics booklet. Presented by Maria Ciavarella. Learn how to preserve fruit and veggies safely, using a variety of techniques. No matter whether you have a produce garden and want to do something with your excess or whether you want to make the most of the seasonal abundance at its freshest, learning how to preserve extends the taste and value of your home-grown produce. No preserving background is assumed as you go through techniques on how to prevent food spoilage using bottling, jam making, pickling and dehydrating. As well, there will be a hands-on component which will include making jam with frozen berries, a Middle-Eastern inspired vegetable pickle, and bottled seasonal fruit.
When: Thursday, 16th March, 6.30-9pm.
Where: BAAG, Bulleen.
Cost: $45.
Enquiries: BAAG by phone (8850 3030).
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Thai cooking workshop

What: A tasty three-course menu will be prepared in this hands-on workshop and enjoyed afterwards. Tutor Duang Tengtrirat.
When: Saturday, 18th March, 10am-1pm.
Where: Living & Learning Nillumbik at Panton Hill.
Cost: $69.
Enquiries: Living & Learning Nillumbik by phone (9433 3744) or email.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Kick start your Winter veggie patch

What: What you will learn: how to incorporate crop rotation and other techniques for pest control; how to prepare your soil for maximum benefit after summer vegies, including how to do pH tests and its significance; and great veggies to grow over winter and how to get them started from seed. What you will get: handouts with all the information covered in the workshop; seeds sown on the day to take home and nurture; and a bottle top waterer for watering seedlings. Learn how to maximise the productivity from your veggie patch using all natural techniques, including crop rotation cycles. Then look at the vegies to grow over the cooler months, how to start them from seed and how to look after them so that they produce well for you. You will be required to do a little bit of preparation for the workshop so that you get the most out of it on the day.
When: Saturday, 18th March, 1-4pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $50.
Enquiries: Maria Ciavarella by phone (0424 083057) or email.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

The Melbourne Tomato Festival

What: The Melbourne Tomato Festival is a gathering of local farmers selling produce, speakers, agriculturalists, cooking demonstrations, Italian food, artisan producers, special guests, history, workshops, entertainment and passata making.
When: Sunday, 19th March, 10am-4pm.
Where: All Nations Park, Northcote.
Cost: $25.
Enquiries: The Melbourne Tomato Festival by phone (0484 242604) or email.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Italian cooking workshop (gnocchi)

What: A tasty three-course menu, including gnocchi, will be prepared in this hands-on workshop and enjoyed afterwards. Tutor Janice Mariani. Janice spent 30 years cooking for the locals and celebrities in a restaurant amidst the hills of Umbria, Italy.
When: Saturday, 25th March, 10am-1pm.
Where: Living & Learning Nillumbik at Panton Hill.
Cost: $72.
Enquiries: Living & Learning Nillumbik by phone (9433 3744) or email.
Bookings: their website.
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. Click here for help in how to view the calendar selectively (e.g. search for events in a given suburb).