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 meet like-minded folks, Local Food Connect is for you!

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

May 232017
 

Mac’s tip of the week

It’s probably time to harvest your olives. Here’s how to tell: when your olives start to change colour from green to black, it’s time to harvest. Yes, you can wait until they go completely black but they are ripe when they start to go black. Here’s another way to tell: 20 corellas or parrots visit your tree, scoff all the olives and make a complete mess of your garden. Until next time, remember: dirty hands are good hands.

Editor’s note: there are several different ways of curing olives. For example, see wikiHow or My Green Garden. Or you can read on our website what the erstwhile doyenne of home growing in North East Melbourne (Robyn Currie) says on the subject.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

A new maker of meat products in the Local Food Directory: La Villa Salumi

La Villa Salumi, from Montrose, make pork sausages, bacon and smoked smallgoods which they sell at markets. Their sausages contain no preservatives, gluten, rice, rusk or filler; their bacon is slow-cured with maple syrup and brown sugar, then double-smoked in-house; their franks are made using the same quality pork as the sausages; and their kielbasa (polish garlic sausage) is made with pork, beef, fresh garlic, herbs and spices. They will be at Wonga Park Farmers’ Market on Saturday, 27th May. Read their Local Food Directory entry. Welcome Anna and Ben!

There are now 4 makers of meat products in the Local Food Directory.

Two newish markets on the upcoming weekend.

The second Wonga Park Farmers’ Market: Wonga Park Primary School, Saturday, 27th May, 9am-1pm.

The second Really Really Free Market Preston: Railway Reserve Bike Path, Sunday, 28th May, 10am-3pm.

Reservoir Community Pantry

I recently visited the Reservoir Community Pantry and was told all about it by Vicki and Angie. As a result, I have added the pantry to the Local Food Directory.

The phrase ‘community pantry’ means different things to different people. Some (e.g. Murwillumbah and Wollondilly) are not-for-profit shops. Others (e.g. Father Bob’s) are seemingly part of major food relief programs.

Reservoir Community Pantry is neither of these things. Rather, it is simply an open cupboard fixed to the outside wall of Reservoir Neighbourhood House to which people can either donate, or freely take, any non-perishable food. In practice, most of the food is bought from a local supermarket using monies from a local grant. It appears that most of the food is taken within a few hours of being placed there. In response, although the Neighbourhood House staff buy most of the produce on a Monday morning, they spread out the timing of its placement in the pantry. Anyone can take anything that they want whenever they want and they don’t need to interact with the Neighbourhood House staff to do so.

On Mondays and Thursdays, the Neighbourhood House also gives away free bread (some of which comes from Watsonia). In addition, on Mondays, there is free soup. And, finally, there is a free monthly lunch on the 4th Wednesday of every month, midday-1pm.

Thanks for all the info, Vicki and Angie!

Arguably, ‘community pantries’ are to non-perishable food what ‘food is free’ sites are to perishable food. The community pantry is therefore complementary with Food is Free Reservoir, which happens to be in the same street (Cuthbert Street).

Local producer news

Blue Pear Pantry meals are now available from the Lettuce Inn, Hurstbridge. Deb also had a stall at the recent Yarra Glen Racecourse Market.

Spice Fusion are back at Park Orchards Farmers’ Market

Sugarloaf Produce are now selling their veggies at Carlton Farmers’ Market and their mushrooms at St Andrews Market.

Wyldblooms are now at Carlton Farmers’ Market and Fairfield Farmers’ Market.

If you are a local producer and have some news that you would like others to know, email me.

An ode to local mushrooms

From Pam Jenkins:

There’s an amanita phalloides in my veggie patch,
A coprinus comatus in my drive,
One is out to kill me,
The other helps me thrive.

Amanita phalloides
the death cap
Coprinus comatus
the shaggy ink cap

 

Warrandyte Food Swap in the news

Warrandyte Food Swap featured in the May edition of the Warrandyte Diary. Well done Carol, Tess, Liz and Elise!

Weeding without chemicals or digging

One of our most notable local websites is Deep Green Permaculture by Angelo Eliades from Preston. Angelo blogs regularly, writing substantial articles about all aspects of gardening. The easiest way of finding particular blogs is via his what's new page, so that's the page that you should bookmark. He has also provided DIY instructions for many (around 30) garden activities. Earlier this month, he posted an article about using boiling water to kill weeds. Thanks to Penny Grose for bring this article to my attention.

Joke of the week

Submitted by Gillian Essex: What did one potato say to the other potato on their honeymoon? Let’s have a chat. (Editor’s note: chat potatoes are baby potatoes.)
Read all of this year’s jokes.

New events

Transition Darebin convivial garden – olive harvest

What: Join them for the annual harvest and pick some for yourself whilst talking and sharing all things olives. They will discuss pruning for greater fruit harvest, different varieties and great ways to pickle and eat olives. Take a bucket or basket for your olives (about 3-4 kg capacity) and gardening gloves (if you need them). The cost includes a couple of preserving recipes and a few tasters on the day. Maximum 10 places.
When: Saturday, 27th May, 2-4pm.
Where: Reservoir.
Cost: $10.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Chutney workshop

What: Lead by their cook, Catherine.
When: Tuesday, 13th June at 12.30pm.
Where: SPAN Community House, Thornbury.
Cost: small.
Bookings: by phone (9480 1364) or email.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Seed: The Untold Story (film)

What: Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds. They have been worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind. SEED: The Untold Story follows passionate seedkeepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy. During the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers and indigenous seed keepers fight to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these reluctant heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds. SEED features Vandana Shiva, Dr. Jane Goodall, Andrew Kimbrell, Winona Laduke and Raj Patel. Note that this film showing will only go ahead if 60 or more tickets are sold.
When: Wednesday, 14th June, 6.30-9.45pm.
Where: Palace Westgarth, Northcote.
Cost: $22.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Herbal workshop – using food as medicine

What: Using food as medicine is an excellent and empowering way to keep you and your family well through the year. Join Libby Shaw, Naturopath, Herbalist & Nutritionist, in exploring these traditional methods to nourish your body and deepen your relationship with the wonderful qualities of herbs. Learn how easy it is to incorporate them into your every day life. She will show you how to make: a herbal infused vinegar for gut and immune health; herbal infused bliss balls; and herbal syrup to support you through colds and flu.
When: Saturday, 17th June, 3.30-5pm.
Where: Nature’s Harvest, Hurstbridge.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: by phone (0407 338647).
Further information: LFC calendar.

Gluten-free cooking demonstration

What: Guest chef Mimi Biggadike will demonstrate how to make three meals from scratch using gluten-free ingredients: lemon meringue pie with sweet pastry; raw vegan cake with pecan crumb base; and choux buns with fillings.
When: Monday, 19th June at 11am and again on Thursday, 22nd June at 7pm.
Where: Gourmet Living, Templestowe.
Cost: $70.
Bookings: by phone (9846 5375).
Further information: LFC calendar.

The Rogue Ginger – zero waste living

What: Listen to Erin Rhoads – aka the Rogue Ginger – as she shares her journey to living a zero waste life.
When: Sunday, 2nd July, 1-2pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Trybooking.
Further information: LFC calendar.

Biochar gardening with Ian Culbard and Adrian Whitehead

What: Join Ian Culbard (the CERES Energy Education Coordinator) and Adrian Whitehead (an educator at CERES) to discover more about this mysterious and highly beneficial soil additive. What it is, a brief history of its use, why it works, and how to use it to benefit soil fertility at home. Also, take some home to try it out for yourself. Biochar is the carbon-rich ‘hull’ of a plant that remains when it is burnt by pyrolysis (without oxygen). This has long been used as a soil enhancer to retain water, improve soil biodiversity and enhance available nutrients that can boost plant growth and potentially utilises agricultural wastes.
When: Saturday, 22nd July, 2-4pm.
Where: CERES.
Cost: $30.
Bookings / Further information: Weteachme.

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: Saturday, 22nd July and Saturday, 29th July, both 10am-4pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $115 for the two days.
Bookings: Trybooking.
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).

May 172017
 

Mac’s tip of the week

Its time for you to start thinking about what bare-rooted fruit trees you want to purchase this year, from whom, and when. Mid June is the best time to buy bare-rooted trees but the risk is that your favoured source might have sold out by then, or at least sold their best specimens. So, perhaps you should try and place a forward order with them.

“When you purchase, you must not let the bare roots dry out. Some suppliers will have covered the roots with damp newspaper or sawdust (a process called ‘heeling in’), or even have them potted up in potting mix for you – this means a lot and is good. Otherwise heeling them in yourself can do the trick for a time but it is still best to get them into the ground asap. And don’t sit them in a tub of water until you get around to them – even though dormant, the roots still need access to air.

“Hard pruning in the first year leads to more vigorous growth and better framework. So, try and get the tree pruned at the time of purchase by someone who knows what they are doing. Note that, if the tree in question is an apricot, the pruning should be deferred until leaf sprout to avoid gummosis.

“When planting, look at the colours of the root system and trunk to try and discern the line where the tree was previously planted up to. If in doubt, don’t plant too deep.

“Finally, note that bare rooted almond trees are notorious for not coming out of dormancy. So, keep your receipt!

“Until next time, remember: dirty hands are good hands.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

Eastern Region Food Co-Operative (ERFCO)

Working in partnership with Transition Towns Maroondah, ERFCO is seeking new members to join up and benefit from a combined buying power. Five times a year, non-perishable food like dried fruit, nuts, grains, flour, sugar, beans, lentils, and also honey and peanut butter, are bought in bulk, mainly from NSM Food Wholesalers in Brunswick. Food co-op members order what they need – the quantity can be small or large. The collection point is in Croydon South or Heathmont. You bring your own containers or bags, plus scales, and weigh out the food you have ordered. For more information, either read their website or email Lloyd.

The Food Justice Truck is now at Northcote every Friday

From henceforth, The Food Justice Truck will be at 251 High Street, Northcote every Friday, 11.30am-1.30pm. It will continue to be at Thomastown Primary School on alternate Tuesdays, 1-4pm.

The Food Justice Truck is a mobile fresh food market that offers locally 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 is an 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. Most of the Truck’s fresh produce comes from Spade & Barrow, who buy whole crops direct from Victorian farmers, including the oddly shaped/sized fruits and vegetables that the supermarkets often reject. The produce is sold in the same containers that it comes from the farmers in and, where possible, the producer’s name is on display.

The Community Grocer is now at Fitzroy every Tuesday

With the recent addition of Fitzroy, The Community Grocer now has four locations:

  • Fitzroy: every Tuesday, from 2-6pm at Atherton Gardens public housing estate, 125 Napier Street.
  • Fawkner: every Wednesday, from 9am-12.30pm at the Community Hub, 79-83 Jukes Road.
  • Mernda: every Thursday, from 9am-midday at Mernda Central P-12 College, 70 Breadalbane Avenue.
  • Carlton: every Friday, from 9am-midday at the public housing estate, 510 Lygon Street.

The Community Grocer aims to improve access for people living on a low-income to fresh, affordable food. They do this by running weekly fruit and vegetable markets. Everyone is welcome.

Winter pumpkin carbonara

Every three months at Eltham Farmers’ Market, healthAbility partners with a local chef to show how easy it is to plan and prepare quick and simple healthy meals, which can be made at home using fresh, seasonal produce. At the 14th May market, the chef was Mimi Biggadike and her dish was Winter pumpkin carbonara. Read the Winter pumpkin carbonara recipe.

Joke of the week

How do you handle dangerous cheese? Caerphilly.

Read all of this year’s jokes.

New events

Seasonal cooking: choko (chayote) with Pascale

What: Choko, chayote, winter zucchini … it’s a diverse, easy-to-grow veggie that can be used in anything from soup to apple crumble. Join Pascale as she creates a choko dish. Of course, you get to try it too.
When: Saturday, 20th May, 10-11.30am.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: donation on the day.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Thrifty gardening

What: Maria Ciavarella, from My Green Garden will talk about thrifty gardening and savings in the garden. Preston Garden Club meets on the 4th Wednesday of every month. Everyone is welcome. Supper is provided. And there is a monthly plant competition.
When: Wednesday, 24th May, 8-10pm.
Where: Preston Shire Hall.
Cost: membership is $15 per year.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Worm farming

What: Felicity Gordon will explore the benefits and necessities for setting up your own worm farm.
When: Monday, 5th June, 1-2pm.
Where: Rosanna Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Change makers (Banyule)

What: How does your connection to nature influence your passion for environmental change? This event will help to energise and connect Banyule residents passionate about protecting the environment. It will be led by HumaNature Connect, with lots of opportunity for thoughtful and action-based discussion on key themes of sustainability. Bookings essential.
When: Thursday, 8th June, 6.15-9.30pm.
Where: Heidelberg.
Cost: free.
Bookings: TryBooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

The world of tea

What: Sarah Cowell, former tea sommelier at Vue de Monde, will provide a tasting and explore tea culture, history, equipment and etiquette from China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Sri Lanka and India.
When: Monday, 13th June, 11am-midday.
Where: Rosanna Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Wild fermentation and sauerkraut workshop

What: Learn about sauerkraut, wild fermentation and how to make your own sauerkraut to ferment at home. Includes cabbage and all ingredients to make your own batch of sauerkraut. Learn the stages of fermentation, how fermentation works, what fermentation is anyway, and why fermented foods are important to humans. You will also receive a comprehensive handout about sauerkraut and fermentation. Please byo large (up to 900ml) wide-mouthed jar, apron, pen (if you’re a note taker) and gumboots (it gets muddy at the garden).
When: Saturday, 24th June, 2-4pm.
Where: Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Mooroolbark growers & weeders present: “home bakers’ Q & A”

What: A panel of four CWA members will answer your queries on all aspects of baking, from cakes, biscuits and slices, to breads and pastries. Bring along your favourite recipes to swap with like-minded bakers. Sample some delicious baked goodies over a cuppa. Bookings essential. Refreshments provided.
When: Tuesday, 27th June, 2-3pm.
Where: Mooroolbark Library.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.
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 (recently updated) 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).

May 102017
 

Mac’s tip of the week

Frosty mornings normally begin from about now so it’s time to start thinking about whether or not any of your plants will be needing any form of protection (moving into the greenhouse, shade cloth, etc). Until next time, remember: dirty hands are good hands and gloves keep them warm.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

Want a job as an urban farmer?

Leaf, Root & Fruit has recently published a job ad to fill a vacancy in their small team of edible landscapers and urban farmers. This is an opportunity “to share the excitement in encouraging the development of sustainable, edible gardening in Melbourne” and will include: ongoing garden maintenance and urban farming; garden makeovers and the planting of edible forest gardens and foodscapes; and construction of cypress garden beds and wicking beds. Duncan Cocking, newsletter reader and the founder of Leaf, Root & Fruit, tells me that he is really hopeful that the right person will come from the readers of this newsletter! Applications close Monday, 17th May.

Which commercial fertiliser is best?

In the 26th April newsletter, I discussed two interesting posts by Leaf, Root & Fruit, one on which potting mix is best and the other on the importance of soil. Well, they have now published a third in the series, on which commercial fertiliser is best. Interestingly, their main conclusion is that: “even with the best quality fertilisers, terrible soil is difficult to improve“.

The Australian Fair Food Forum

The Australian Fair Food Forum is a new forum for discussing how to build a fairer food system in Australia. It’s a place both to ask questions and to share resources and lessons learned. The forum is launching with support from a wide range of food organisations across the country including: Open Food Network; The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance; Right to Food Coalition; Food Connect; Melbourne Farmers’ Markets; the Fair Food Challenge; Farmer Incubator; 3000 Acres; the Youth Food Movement Australia; Sunraysia Local Food Future; and the Organic & Regenerative Investment Co-operative.

Some important pages on the website you might not be aware of

Just about every week, I find out about a new food organisation or website, sometimes local and sometimes national, and put something in the newsletter about them. But newsletters (like blogs and Facebook) are ephemeral and any entry quickly gets lost in the mists of time. By contrast, website pages, if well organised, can be lasting reference sources. So, I have always duplicated the newsletter material on the following pages:

Want some free soil/compost?

For reasons that are too complicated to explain here, the four wicking beds at Eltham Farmers’ Market have to be dismantled. So, good homes are being sought for their various components: the soil/compost/manure mix, the pond liner, the scoria, etc. Pick up in situ. If interested, contact Bev Robertson by phone (9439 1421) or email to arrange the logistics.

Want some pomegranates?

Cath Lyons will be selling pomegranates at the Community Market Stall at Eltham Farmers’ Market on Sunday, 14th June.

We need more people to come forward to sell their surplus produce at future Community Market Stalls. You win, the public wins, it’s good fun, so what is there not to like. If potentially interested, email me.

Want some discounted compost bins, worm farms or bokashi bins (Boroondara residents)?

To celebrate International Compost Awareness Week, the City of Boroondara has partnered with Compost Revolution to make the following offer to Boroondara residents during May: a 50% discount on compost bins, wormfarms and bokashi bins plus free delivery to your door.

Out of interest, I had a look around the Compost Revolution website. First, I typed my home address in and was told that I qualified for a 25% discount off RRP, So the Boroondara offer above is actually a 33% (1-0.5/0.75) discount compared to usual prices. Second, I saw that, to claim the offer, one has to first do a tutorial and then answer a quiz – a rather weird, interesting, but potentially irritating, approach. Finally, I read that the initiative is a social partnership involving around 40 Councils, but only 1 (i.e. Boroondara) from North East Melbourne.

Calendar: community gardening events

The people at the Garden of Plenty, Greensborough have written in to say that they meet every Monday, 2-3pm, to share tips and ideas and to maintenance of the community garden. These meetings have been added to the community gardening section of the website calendar.

Currently, the calendar only contains community gardening events for gardens in Nillumbik and Banyule. But this is only because other community gardens haven’t (yet) told me about their regular events. If you live in Boroondara, City of Yarra, Darebin, Manningham, Maroondah, Whitehorse, Whittlesea or the western part of Yarra Ranges and know or any regular events at your local community gardens, email me.

Calendar: farmers' markets

Someone asked for a schedule of the local farmers’ markets. Our website article on the local farmers’ markets contains such a schedule.

How to eat (or not eat) an avocado seed (part 2)

Ralf Humphries has written in to say that, from his understanding, it is not yet clear that avocado seeds are actually suitable as human food. Googling confirms that the jury is still out on this subject. Thanks for the heads up, Ralf!

Random fact of the week (gleaned from googling): most fruit serve the function of seed dispersal, accomplished by their consumption by animals. But what could possibly eat an avocado seed (apart from you after watching last week’s video!)? The answer is apparently megafauna, such as giant ground sloths, which have now gone extinct. In other words, the avocado is an ‘evolutionary anachronism’. See the discussions on the Wikipedia and Smithsonian websites. Or watch and listen to a video of someone called Connie Barlow singing a song entitled Ghosts of Evolution (which is actually worth watching).

Joke of the week

What cheese is made backwards? Edam.

Read all of this year’s jokes.

Picture of the week

For ‘technical reasons’ to do with Facebook, every newsletter has to have at least one good picture. Here is this week’s: a very hungry caterpillar.

New events

Creating a wicking bed

What: Join Peter Daams as he creates a new wicking bed or two at Thrive Community Garden. Peter will explain the theory behind how wicking beds work and their methods of construction. He will then proceed, with your assistance, to demonstrate how to create one. Tickets are $10 but free to paid-up members of Local Food Connect. Click here if you would like to become a paid-up member of LFC, or renew your membership (from $10 pa). Members will be sent a booking code to book free tickets to the workshop. If you have not received your code, please email us.
When: Sunday, 21st May, 1-3pm.
Where: Thrive Community Garden, Diamond Creek.
Cost: free (LFC members) or $10 (non-members).
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Transforming your yard into an edible oasis – with Vasili

What: Interested in creating your own edible oasis, but don’t know how to go about it? Join TV and radio personality and gardening guru Vasili Kanidiadis, from Vasili’s Garden to Kitchen, for this practical workshop to learn the steps to help you design your garden to grow your own vegetables, fruit and herbs. Following Vasili’s presentation, there will be shorter talks on a topic of your choice, either learn about how to keep bees in your own backyard including seeing a live demonstration hive in action, or watch a hands on fruit tree pruning demonstration to learn the best ways to go about your winter pruning.
When: Sunday, 4th June, 10am-12.30pm.
Where: Box Hill Town Hall.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Cooking to save money and avoid food waste with PlanBuyCook

What: Learn how to whip up tasty and healthy meals without the waste. PlanBuyCook’s Jen and Gaby will give you great recipes and meal planning know-how to save time, money and stress in the kitchen, as well as eliminate food waste. Includes cooking demonstrations, giveaways and prizes to help you reduce food waste. Bookings are essential.
When: Tuesday, 13th June, 10-11.30am.
Where: Preston City Hall.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Eventbrite.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Masterclass series for absolute beginners to vegetable growing (3 sessions)

What: What you will learn: how to experience success by getting the basics right from the start – soil, sun, siting; how to select suitable and seasonal plants to grow from seedling and seed; and how to do it organically and sustainably – composting, worm farming, pest control. This series of workshops will take place over 3 sessions. Session 1 – setting up a vegetable garden: you will cover the basics for success from the start: soil improvement, siting your veggie patch, sunshine needed, plant nutrition needs. No-dig gardens vs traditional veggie patches will be demonstrated. Session 2 – which veggies should I grow? Knowing what to plant when helps you get it right. You will cover the seasonal nature of planting and then look at which are the easiest to get right. Some vegetables are best grown from seed and you will go through the tips and techniques to ensure you have success with all types of planting. Session 3, part 1 – when things go wrong: you will look at some low-impact ways of dealing with the pests that sometimes plague our gardens and encouraging the ‘good guys’ into your garden. Session 3, part 2 – making great compost and setting up your worm farm for ongoing soil fertility.
When: Session 1 – 15th June or 17th June; session 2 – 29th June or 1st July; session 3 – 13th July, or 15th July; all 10am-12.30pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $150.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Winter fruit tree maintenance

What: What you will learn: pruning – formative and maintenance of new and established fruit trees. Also, selection and planting of new fruit trees; Winter fruit tree maintenance practices for pest and disease prevention, control and treatment; and Pruning tool maintenance. Presented by Angelo Eliades. The aim of this demonstration class is that you will leave it feeling confident to maintain your fruit trees. The preparation that is done in the colder months pays mighty dividends in the growing and harvesting seasons to come. Learn all of the pruning techniques and needs of individual fruit trees from apples and plums to persimmons and pomegranates. And hear about what not to do. Discover how to reduce and prevent pest and diseases that compromise your fruit production. Learn how to treat problems with different methods – organic/permaculture and conventional. They will also cover buying new fruit trees and will demonstrate how to clean and sharpen your pruning tools and other edged garden tools (spades etc).
When: Saturday, 17th June, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Fruit tree pruning

What: Learn the why, when and how of deciduous fruit tree pruning. As well as the theory around pruning, some of this workshop will be spent in the Edendale orchard where there will be hands-on pruning practice. So bring along your secateurs and wear some suitable outdoor boots, clothes and gloves.
When: Wednesday, 21st June, 10am-2pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: $60.
Bookings: Trybooking.
Further information: Edendale website.

Artisan pasta – ravioli and cannelloni

What: What you will learn: how to make a basic egg pasta to use for filled shapes; how to make ravioli using free-form techniques, as well as molds for a more uniform shape; and how to make cannelloni with a variety of fillings, including vegetarian options. What you get: lunch of the cannelloni made on the day, with a glass of wine; the ravioli made on the day; and handouts with recipes and techniques for the pasta and the fillings. Cook like an Italian when you join them to make home made egg-based pasta and then use it to make ravioli and cannelloni. You will start from scratch with just some basic ingredients. The ravioli will be filled with a variety of fillings, including vegetarian options; and take on different shapes when you see how they are made free-form or using special molds.
When: Sunday, 2nd July, 10am-2pm.
Where: Donvale.
Cost: $90.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

DIY grafting

What: What you will learn: why we graft or bud trees and bushes, and the principles behind grafting and budding techniques; how to select and store appropriate scion for grafting; and how to do a cleft graft and a whip-and-tongue graft. Presented by Angelo Eliades. Find out how and why we graft fruit trees (and any others). This is a hands-on class where you will practise grafting techniques and prepares you to go out and do your own collecting and storing of scion, and be confident in grafting your own trees. There will be lots of tips to improve your success rate. You will have the background to attempt more complicated grafts and discover that you have nothing to lose if you give it a try. Please bring a grafting knife and secateurs if you have them (not essential).
When: Saturday, 8th July, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Love food, hate waste cooking demo with lunch

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: Friday, 14th July, midday-2pm.
Where: Edendale.
Cost: free.
Bookings: Trybooking.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

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, 15th July, 9.30am-12.30pm.
Where: Bulleen Art and Garden.
Cost: $45.
Bookings / Further information: WeTeachMe.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

Read some (recently updated) help on how to view the calendar selectively (e.g. search for events in a given suburb or set of suburbs).

May 022017
 

Really Really Free Market Preston – a brief review

I went to the first Really Really Free Market Preston last Sunday. It’s an unusual concept so I thought that you might be interested in a brief review. The main point to make is that it really was as it purported to be: everything was free! So, for example, there were free massages (more accurately, Bowen therapy), free yoga lessons, free use of a sewing machine and free food. And they were completely free: no donation options, no swapping or anything. My (free) lunch comprised dahl, roast potatoes, a green salad and chocolate cake. There were 5 marquees and around 100 people were there whilst I was there. The majority were the younger side of 40 and most did not seem to know each other. Kudos to both the organisers and everyone who contributed stuff. My understanding is that they intend to repeat the event on the last Sunday of each month, so the next one will be on 28th May. I’ll post more details as and when I know them.

According to the Anarchist Cookbook, the first Really, Really Free Market took place in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2001.

Finally, on the subject of free stuff, the Free Stuff Melbourne Facebook group has 74,000 members!

Feed Melbourne appeal

The Feed Melbourne appeal has now started. Read about it either in the picture right or online. For more information, go to the Feed Melbourne Appeal website. There are three ways to donate:

  • Via the Feed Melbourne Appeal website.
  • By phone (9428 0044), Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, using your credit card.
  • By cheque (Feed Melbourne Appeal, FareShare Foundation, 1-7 South Audley Street, Abbotsford, 3067).

‘Crowd harvest’ for Mother’s Day

Is your garden producing more than you need? Would you like to be able to help others who are experiencing food crisis and insecurity? People are invited to donate their homegrown excess over the next week or so (up until Mother’s Day, 14th May) to DIVRS, Preston. They will then distribute, either fresh or preserved, through their food relief programs. Any questions, contact Cath Lyons (aka Tiny Trowel) by phone (0401 814679) or email.

Mac’s tip of the week

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to turn your irrigation off. Until next time, remember: sometimes the best tips are the shortest ones.

Read all of Mac’s tips.

Do you have an olive press?

Eltham-based Colin Cook has lots of olives this year. Do you have an olive press that he could use? If so, email Colin.

Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival

In addition to viewing a calendar of all the events on our website, you can now view/download a pdf of the full program.

Golden Ball dessert

As reported in The Leader, Michelle Lukman, from Box Hill, apparently wowed the MasterChef Australia judges with her Golden Ball dessert. Read the recipe.

Pruning raspberries (part 2)

Heather has written in with a few points about my words from last week’s newsletter. Thanks, Heather!

First, she points out that an alternative name for ‘everbearing raspberries’ is ‘autumn bearing raspberries’ (although, strictly speaking, ‘summer and autumn bearing raspberries’ would be more accurate) [Ed: and, in my case, ‘summer and autumn bearing raspberries which didn’t bear much fruit this year and look a bit skanky all year round’ would be even more accurate!].

Second, her ‘autumn bearing raspberries’ haven’t yet finished flowering and fruiting and she is seeing big sweet berries every day at the moment. Last year, she picked her final fruit for the season on 30th July! (although they were not as sweet as the earlier ones). So it’s too early to cut these productive canes back. What she has done is tip prune them where the fruiting top segments of the canes have died but where more fruit is developing lower down these same canes. She has also removed other canes which were dead all the way down. And given the remaining canes some light fertiliser.

In talking about pruning raspberries in late Autumn, I was effectively following Louis Glowinski from his book The Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia. But, as several people from Permaculture Victoria have suggested, the pruning is actually easier if you leave it until after all the leaves have dropped off (i.e. some time in Winter).

Surprising pics that show how food looks before it’s harvested (part 2)

This time, I thought that I would include the actual hyperlink(!): 30 pictures of ‘unusual’ fruit and veggies (across 3 pages). How many of them have you grown and with what success?

How to eat an avocado seed

Did you know that the seed of an avocado is the most nutrient-dense part of the fruit? I didn’t until I watched this video. Thanks to Marina Bistrin for the link.

Proverb of the month

Walnuts and pears you plant for your heirs. Meaning: think long-term and look after future generations. From the 17th Century and obviously based on the supposedly long time before pear or walnut trees bear fruit. The contemporaneous he that plants trees loves others beside himself arguably has a similar meaning.

Incidently, “apples and pears” is cockney rhyming slang for “stairs“. So, they (the apocryphal, archetypal cockneys) then drop the “and pears” and say “I’m going up the apples” to mean “I’m going up the stairs“.

Joke of the week

I’ve just written a song about tortillas – actually, it’s more of a rap.

Read all of this year’s jokes.

New events

Kalorama Chestnut Festival

What: Savour the abundant chestnuts, gourmet food, Devonshire tea, coffee, artisan beer and mulled wine. Explore the diverse range of stalls showcasing locally-made handcrafts and produce. Children can enjoy the fun rides and adventure play space. The activities will include: delicious roasted chestnuts; poffertjees; Devonshire tea and home made cakes; sausage sizzle; local restaurant food stalls; artisan beer (including chestnut beer!) and mulled wine; coffee, tea and chai; bungy jump trampolines; train rides’ flying swings; petting zoos; old-fashioned kids games; raffles; local handmade crafts; local produce; and live music and performances.
When: Sunday, 7th May, 10am-4pm.
Where: Kalorama Memorial Reserve.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: their website.

International Permaculture Day – introduction to edible forest gardening

What: To celebrate International Permaculture Day, you are invited to a presentation on edible forest gardening. The presentation will be given by John Ferris of Edible Forest Gardens Nursery. John will talk about the layers of a forest system and how to implement some of these ideas into your garden/property. He will also introduce you to some unfamiliar perennial plants that he is really passionate about.
When: Sunday, 7th May, 1-3pm.
Where: Edible Forest Gardens, Wonga Park.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their Facebook page.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Keeping chooks in the suburbs

What: Have you you always wanted to keep chooks in the suburbs? This workshop will go through how to feed and care for your poultry, the local laws, housing and your neighbours. You will also cover diseases, predators and pets. Also, how to handle your chook correctly (live chickens) and which heritage breed to buy and from where.
When: Tuesday, 9th May, 7-9.30pm.
Where: North Ringwood Community House.
Cost: $25.
Bookings: their website.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Nillumbik community wellbeing expo

What: Discover, and engage with, all the local activities, groups and services in Nillumbik that can support your wellbeing. The expo will comprise exhibitors, presentations, interactive spaces and demonstrations, healthy food stalls and a ‘kids zone’. The expo will include a gardening workshop with Vasili from Vasili’s Garden, probably at 1pm. By rumour, someone from Local Food Connect will also be making a presentation.
When: Sunday, 21st May, 10am-3pm.
Where: Eltham High School.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Fruit trees

What: Have you always wanted to grow your own fruits at home but weren’t sure where to start? Let them take you through the basics of fruit and berry growing. This workshop will cover: selecting the ideal fruit; growing berries, fruit trees, nuts and vine fruits;, improving soil fertility; controlling pests and diseases without chemicals; and pruning and propagation methods.
When: Tuesday, 13th June, 6.30-9.30pm.
Where: North Ringwood Community House.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.
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 (recently updated) help on how to view the calendar selectively (e.g. search for events in a given suburb or set of suburbs).