everyday, homegrown, seasonal eating, winter

Preservation time

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We’re a few days away from the shortest day of the year – Winter Solstice and I’m trying really hard to slow down, preserving this time and preserving the orbs of sunshine* (aka – lemons and limes) currently in abundance.

It really should be sleep season to totally recharge the batteries and dream about things to come. I’m trying to be a grown up and also take this time to review what’s worked over the previous growing season, accept feedback and grow from there.

Putting something away for later makes absolute sense. It could be dehydrating some of the citrus haul for when you’d love it’s zingy freshness mid summer. It could be going all out on pumpkin recipes, since they went crazy earlier in the year. How about dusting off an indoor skill (handwork like embroidery/ drawing/ baking) ? They may sound a little out dated, but you know what ? It’s such a treat slowing down enough to enjoy the process, being totally in the moment rather than watching the minutes disappear and racing around trying to fit everything in.

Try it out sometime, it is so worth enjoying those pockets of light.

*HOW TO DEHYDRATE LIMES

Preheat the oven to 95oC. Slice limes into 5mm rounds. Space them out on a cooling rack over a baking tray. Pop in oven and rotate/ check on them hourly. Should be done in 2 -3 hours. Let cool completely on tray before storing in a jar out of direct sunlight.

Can be used in soups and stews, drink garnishes, decorations.

Don’t forget by dehydrating, you’re concentrating the flavour of the lime – so it may be a bit of a shock to start chewing on one. Other citrus can also be preserved in this way, the times may vary.

autumn, biodiversity in the garden, diversity, everyday, explore growing, seasonal eating

The more I grow the more I cook (or at least play in the kitchen)

IMG_1186.jpgAnother awesome adventure in abundance !!!

Knowing where to go for your seasonal best is imperative for good health. Better still is learning what on earth to do with it once you’ve got it.

Citrus are care of our backyard – just in time for the vitamin C boost as the seasons shift, cabbage are from a friend who had the patience to watch them grow long enough (think he said 15 weeks) – soon to be turned in to sauerkraut and workshopped, mushroom grow bags are from a recent workshop at a community centre and apples are care of a local farm growing the most incredible fruit (and making cider on site!). – these are just eaten straight, added to porridge & I’ll soon attempt to make vinegar from the apple scraps. Sweet potato were bandicooted from under the fig tree.

So this incredible produce is abundant only at certain times. If you pick 12 kg of limes, it’s a good idea to know how to use them !! In juice, store in the fridge, juice & freeze, freeze the whole fruit, preserve them in salt & trade a few 😉 Time invested in growing throughout the year pays dividends,

So lunch yesterday – sprouted broccoli in  the pan with steamed pumpkin (basically the pumpkin turned itself to soup), fried egg from a friends place, pesto made with parsley, rocket, basil, preserved lime, olive oil & almond meal.  I’d never buy that stuff – but learning to make do with what you’ve got certainly expands your culinary horizons. It’s a bit of being curious, a little brave a fair amount of rational and a whole lot of resourcefulness.

Likewise, letting growers play to their strengths has obvious rewards, the subtleties and knowledge to produce consistently is so under rated.  Once you start on your own growing adventure –  your appreciation of everything considered vaguely edible grows exponentially.

diversity, everyday, spring

Wanting what you’ve got

There always seems to be a push for bigger, brighter, shinier, faster – but only if you tune in to the white noise.

Carving your own path or wandering into the rough can be a little daunting sometimes, but only of you let it. It’s a matter of tuning back in to yourself and who you’d like to be when you grow up. I recently reread this one…

art of frugal hedonismThe Art of Frugal Hedonism – such a joyous read. Made me smile regularly. Not a work about how to chop a whole load of stuff out of your life in order to save, rather refreshingly, it’s more how to make the most of what you’ve got & why the other stuff doesn’t matter nearly as much. The blurry tin was my husband’s nana’s sewing kit, not used by her so often I think – but remarkably has the correct coloured cotton any time I need a tricky to match colour.

Which brings me to why it’s out of the cupboard – learn new old stuff.

Since joining in for a Wild Rumpus visible mending afternoon soiree at a local old school scout hall – everything with even the merest hint of damage is fair game. Wonky stitching is celebrated and becomes a highlight. Try it out in the late afternoon sunshine breathing life back into stuff destined for the back of the wardrobe. When the light has faded from the garden and you still want to be productive at home, it’s rather relaxing, drawing you into the moment. Thought of skills you’ve always wanted to explore ? Pickling is another great self reliance skill to reduce food waste. (Sometimes they even taste better this way – cabbages keep for an eon as sauerkraut and I’ve known fiery radishes to mellow in pickling juice.

Growing self reliance, I’ve even made new friends at work….

frog & sink.JPGGo for a walk, a bike ride, a read, a sit down, a stare into space instead of packing out every moment of the day…..

Instead of trying to fathom what you need to make systems more efficient, try embracing what’s already there. Did you know if you give your place a decent clean, it actually feels different & you don’t need to actually replace/ bring in stuff ? – came as a revelation to me too.

Lie on the grass look up and around and appreciate just how awesome being where we are really is.

Check out your local neighbourhood – you might just find a repair cafe/ tool library/ workshop to tinker….

autumn, everyday, explore growing

Coming up for air

Every now and again my head feels a little like this…..

plotting & dreamingA little all over the shop. It seems to make sense if I can lay it all out – systems mapping at it’s finest. Get comfy, spread it all out, no electronic interruptions and gently sift through the layers.

I actually really like this time of year, (and this workspace) because it allows me to look up and look out.

Trying to plant a market garden for family, wholesale customers and households in the community can be a little of a challenge when you’re new to the game.

Kinda like weaving a tapestry in 4 dimensions.

Luckily for me, I’ve got a beautiful network of super supportive people, so even if something goes a little pear shaped there’s leeway for the novice and the impetus to give it another red hot go.

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I’m really thankful for autumn it’s pretty much here now- the light melts away from 3/4 of the market garden, so the seasons dictate how I work and when it’s time to come up for air.

It’s just about time to review what’s worked well and where there’s potential to change. Also a bit of plotting & scheming for when the light comes back.

And time for planning that winter road trip up the coast with the family – awesome.

collaboration, everyday, explore growing, homegrown, observe

Why we do what we do….

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Thanks you so much beautiful Kelly for your patience !

….I’ve been struggling to write a decent business plan of late, so whilst watering this morning, I came up with a brain dump of why all this important to me….

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO……

Short answer – because I’m curious.

I want to see how seeds grow, what happens in the light, I love the play of water on the garden.

I don’t want to create more waste to be a problem and I like to know how (at least part) of my meal is grown.

I want to be outdoors and not too far from home.

I love seeing how soil comes to life when you feed it properly, when you get the layers of mulching right and the garden helps do your job. When opening a bed, there are so many worms partying and their little bodies glisten metallic shades in the sunlight.

I love it when it’s quiet enough to actually hear the bees and the winged life early in the morning.

I love being able to harvest something I’ve helped to grow, sharing with people in our local area & knowing that local businesses love supporting our adventure.

Having food in your lunch box knowing that it’s come from only meters away is pretty cool.

I’m in awe of all the amazing people I been fortunate enough to meet, being so generous with their time and skills and experiences helping me on the journey to growing food.

I love the passion these people have, it’s not just an occupation, it’s a way of being.

I love that I don’t have to dress up to go to work, it’s more about being sun smart and protecting yourself from the elements.

(Sometimes I start work in my pajamas and that’s ok)

It’s really cute hosting morning tea, feeding those volunteering with us, being able to reciprocate a little nourishment.

My respect for the humble salad has grown exponentially – what goes into a mix isn’t just leaves; it’s a whole kaleidoscope of energy and resources and people power. None of this matters if you don’t feed the soil and look after the lifeforce which make this possible.

It’s really awesome when work is pretty much equal parts play and productivity. How awesome when you can encourage people to play with their food, play outside and there’s a little incidental learning along the way.

 

 

 

everyday, reusable packaging, salad days

Prepare, pack and play

Packaging it’s a biggie. I have been known to be lured in by the packaging before finding out what the product was. I’ll flip through the design books on packaging and remember from my study days a beautiful book titled ‘How to Package 5 Eggs’ – a Japanese book all about using traditional organic materials woven to create the most beautiful and functional way to carry goods. People are paid big bikkies to lure customers in. My sister very nearly gifted me a box of beautiful Japanese wrapping papers for my birthday, so the packaging would be the gift – that’s how much I admire the art of presentation.

The down side with so much of the outer wrapper today, is that it is designed for single use. Plastics last for far too long in the environment, so we have to find alternatives or do without. Bit hard to deliver salad without packaging of some description.

Furoshiki  was the inspiration behind how I now package bulk salad orders. Take a big fat square, wave your magic wand over it, a couple of strategic knots or folds and turn something from regular to gorgeous. Bonus is that cotton cloth is totally washable an reusable. Customers of the bulk salad mix have loved this step forward, not wanting to be the recipients of more materials to manage.IMG_9908.jpgCustomers hold onto these wraps to return the following week.

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…not furoshiki wrapping in the garden, but a totally reusable and washable way of getting produce to the house.IMG_9284.jpg

Orders wrapped with name tags and waiting for pick up. They even feaature their own carry handle.

A little planning and preparation will take you a long way to play !

(NB- This technique also worked really well for a long car trip with the kids recently – magazines from the library, snacks and drinks wrapped like this – undo and hey presto – wrap to protect the kid and car seat already on their lap before play.)

Find ways to bring reusable beauty and gifting into the day.

community, everyday, package free

Reuse reuse remember

So we’ve all heard how we need to actually look after our environment if we’d like to have one to live in. Just think of all that aquatic life whose world is being degraded through no fault of their own, Here in the western world, there’s always someone creating a new product to solve a problem we didn’t know existed.

Here in our little patch on the planet, we put so much energy into growing the best produce we can, so the last thing we want to so is wrap it in plastic.

We aim to minimise the resources used here on  site, always hunting around for something we can keep in the system. Styrofoam boxes only live for so long, light weight, not very durable and can readily break up and blow away. These eskies may have been honorary family members once upon a time. Taken on outings, picnics, bringing home the shopping. There’s history in these containers and they still perform well in their primary role. Keeping stuff chilled.

Which is really great for perishables, working people and not using electricity. It also invests customers more in their shopping. Reuse and return. One of our retro numbers even made a cameo at a customers fancy dress party ! You don’t hear of that happening with your standard supermarket packaging.

What do you still use, for it’s primary purpose or other ? Kept it out of landfill and are content to use, even if it’s not this season’s colour ?

Enjoy and give a little more thought to how you can reduce your packaging  – even if it does take a few minutes longer on your shopping expedition.

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