Organic dried fruit from Murray River Organics now arrived

About 80% of Australian shoppers prefer to buy Australian made and owned goods but find it difficult to identify the extent to which a product is Australian due to poor, inaccurate or misleading labels which are not effectively regulated by food and consumer authorities such as the ACCC.

Supporting Australian made food is important for the development of Australia’s food industry to ensure consumers are aware how ‘Australian’ their food really is, to promote local jobs and keep profits on Australian soil.  It also encourages Australian companies to continue to provide the best and freshest food. So next time you visit your local supermarket, look closely at the labels and ensure you buy foods that are wholly made, grown and owned in Australia.

You can be guaranteed that every product that is sold by The Garden Shed and Pantry is sourced from local suppliers (usually direct from the grower) or (if the product is not grown or made here in Australia such as some spices) we make an effort to source product that is grown in its native region.

After careful research and discussions with the growers, we are now able to provide to you organic sultanas and currants that are produced in the Sunraysia area (one of Australia’s premier fruit growing areas near Mildura, Victoria).

Murray River Organics sultanas

Murray River Organics currants

Please find below an excerpt from the local newspaper about the expansion of Murray River Organics (MRO).

YELTA-based organic food producer Murray River Organics will become Sunraysia’s third dried fruits processor in early April, after successfully bidding for the processing plant of former Warracknabeal processor Clyne Foods at auction last month.

Murray River Organics (MRO) sales manager Mark Sandiford said Australia was witnessing the closure of agricultural processing facilities and sell-offs to overseas corporations. Irymple-based Sunbeam and its Angas Park subsidiary were now majority-owned by China’s Bright foods Group, and with the demise of Clyne Foods, growers were fortunate that another Australian, family business had stepped in with a large investment to ensure Australian consumers could buy Australian-grown and processed fruit of the highest quality.

Mr Sandiford said more than 2000 tonnes of dried fruit – currants, sultanas, Summer Muscat, sunmuscat, and gordo blanco – would pass through the facility in the next 12 months.

“We are committed to organic farming and producing real fruit the traditional way, without chemicals, pesticides or growth hormones,” he said.

This article appeared in Saturday’s Sunraysia Daily 24/03/2012.

Read the full story here.

A popular dried fruit company here in Australia is Sunbeam Foods, which was established in 1926. Sunbeam acquired Angus Park Fruit company in 2004. The company was bought by Manassen Foods in 2007, which was bought by China’s Bright Food in 2011. So much of Australia is no longer owned by Australians.

August sourdough workshop – photos and feedback

After much busy-ness with pastry workshops (and the Cygnet Market) it was great to get back to the basics of sourdough bread making and to be able to provide another eight interested participants with the techniques for making sourdough.

Cutting the sourdough loaf for sampling

This workshop was held on Thursday / Friday to cater for those people (including me!) who have busy weekends.

Some of the things we discuss include, the origins and history of sourdough, the importance of using ingredients of the highest quality, care and feeding of the starter, getting the mix right with temperature and time, proofing bowls and other equipment required and how to bake in different stoves.

Checking out the starter

The cost of the workshop is $45 and includes the kit that I sell at the Cygnet Market.  The Market kit has all of the instructions for making sourdough bread plus the ingredients required for two standard loaves.           The ingredients include the special sourdough starter and the flours are all organic flours of the highest quality from Four Leaf Milling in South Australia.  The Workshop kit also contains one dough scraper and a collection of my favourite bread recipes.  Everyone loves the dough scraper.

Everyone loves the dough scraper

Getting the dough ready for the second rising

Contact me if you would like to come along to one of the next workshops.

Feedback and photos from the participants:

Hi Kate,
Here are the photos of the bread I made today. As you promised; easy and beautiful.
Needless to say that the kids enjoyed it for afternoon tea.
Time to make another one!
Thanks for a very interesting workshop!



Photo from Ursula –


Hi Kate!

Many thanks for a great time yesterday and today! It was great! The bread is soooo yummy! Mine turned out very well too. I put it in the oven straight after I got home. Then it was almost lunch time. My husband couldn’t wait and said ‘can I have some?’ I said ‘you have to wait for 2 hours before I can cut it!!’ Anyway, he made do with some five seeds bread I made from my Thermomix. Then I had a friend called in so we had a couple of slices of the sourdough with some sundried tomato and cashew dip. Yum yum. Then of course we almost cleaned it up for dinner with my parsnip and coconut soup! Therefore………….I just put another mixture together and hopefully it will be ready for me to bake at 9am tomorrow morning!!  


This week at the Cygnet Market…..

Well folks, we have had a great time at the Cygnet Market recently (we have a bit more room up on the stage) and we thought we should tell you about what products we have for you at the Market this Sunday.

Selling nuts at the Cygnet Market

Firstly, we now have plenty of cane bread proofing baskets.  These are just $22 and that’s a very good price!

We have been working on our Dukkah range and we will have a new flavour for people to try and buy;

Roasted Hazelnut and Long Pepper.

Of course, we always have a range of Four Leaf products  – including the wonderful 85% Light Flour, ideal for making sourdough bread and pastry and pancakes – just about anything!  We also have Rye Flour (for feeding sourdough starter), Rolled Oats, Spelt Flour, Soup Mix, Chick Pea Flour, Split Peas, Cracked Wheat and Muesli Base from Four Leaf Organic Milling.

Gardening products that we will have at the Cygnet Market this Sunday include:

Gardening books, the best gardening tool ever, the Ho-Mi, Harvest knifes, dibbers handcrafted from local timbers, English spades and watering cans of various sizes from Sheffield, England.

Food and related products that we will have at the Cygnet Market this Sunday include:

Cooking books, Organic pasta from L’Abruzzese, Olive oil and olives from Patlin Gardens, Organic almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts, Kates Dukkah, Organic Sunflower oil and other Four Leaf products, Walnut oil, Hughsli Bar-up muesli bars, Honey (local from Karl and orange blossom from South Australia), a wide range of spices (native and other), organic dried vine fruits and yoghurt cultures.

Of course, we always have Sourdough bread kits (and shhhh!!! spare starter for those unfortunate souls who have managed to “kill” their starter) and we love to talk to people about making sourdough bread.

Don’t forget it’s almost Spring and we have a large selection of seeds for sowing now from Southern Harvest Seeds.

Southern Harvest Seeds available now at the Cygnet Market

The Cygnet Market is the best market south of Hobart!

The Cygnet Market -from 10am to 2pm this Sunday 19th August!

See you at the Market!!

Upper Crust Pastry Workshop – August

There is a lot of work required to run a workshop, especially a pastry workshop, but  it’s always great fun and sometimes I also learn things about cooking too.

Five pastry students visited my kitchen recently and we stuck to the same format, making three different types of pastry.     I demonstrate how to make the particular pastry and then mine is made into a pie or tart while the other students make their pastry for taking home and for cooking later.

lots of greens required for Spanakopitta

The workshop had my usual Spinach and Fetta Pie (Spanakopitta) and you need lots and lots of green leaves to fill the baking dish.

The participants need to concentrate when they are making pastry to ensure they use all the right ingredients and mix everything correctly.  Here we all are heads down and working away.

Making a mix

After the spanakopitta, we made pastry for the Redcurrant flan and then we had a break to have coffee and check out some cooking books.  Then it was back to work and we finished with Jean’s Apple Pie.

The finished flan

Jean’s Apple Pie ready for the oven

Favourite Cookbooks


Lunch was a wonderful feast and we found time to talk in between the eating.  We started with the Spanakopitta and then had the Redcurrant flan for first dessert.


All of us still found a little more space to fit in a piece of Jean’s apple pie with yoghurt. Thanks to the pastry students for actively participating.

The Redcurrant flan

Contact me to find out when the next Upper Crust Pastry workshop will be held.

Seed Sowing Guide – August

Sow these seeds in August:

Sow these seeds in the garden:

Broad Beans, ‘Crimson Flowering’ and ‘Coles Dwarf’

Lettuces ‘Flashy Trout Back’, ‘Winter Density’, & ‘Rouge d’Hiver’

Miners Lettuce

Mustard Green ‘Green Wave’

Onions ‘Red Sheffield’, ‘Domenica Sweet’ and ‘Creamgold’

Shallots ‘Roderique’

Sow these seeds in the hothouse:

Asian Cool Greens Mix

Asian Green ‘Happy Rich’ F1

Asparagus ‘Mary Washington’

Broccoli Raab

Capsicums ‘Antohi Romanian’, ‘Lipstick’ & ‘Italia’

Celery ‘Tall Utah’

Chamomile ‘Roman’


Chicory ‘Red Rib’



Corn Salad ‘Lambs Lettuce’

Edible Chrysanthemum ‘Shungiku’

Eggplant ‘Lavender Blush’ F1 & ‘Orient Express’ F1

Hon Tsai Tai

Kai-Lan ‘Chinese Kale’

Kale ‘Toscano / Cavolo Nero’

Land Cress

Pak Choi ‘Joi Choi’ F1

Parsley Mix

Rocket, Wild (organic)

Rocket ‘Heirloom’

Snow Pea ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’

Spinach ‘Tyee’ F1, ‘Steadfast’ & ‘Bloomsdale Longstanding’

Spring Onion ‘Red Beard’


Tomatoes (a dozen varieties)

We have added to our range of seeds now and what we have included is plenty of tomatoes so that people can start to think about sowing tomato seeds (spring is not that far away really and there is nothing worse than looking for tomato seeds and you find that all the best ones are already gone!)

tomatoes in the new seed rack

You can buy these seeds from my market stall at The Cygnet Market.

If you need any further advice, please ask. My father ran a successful nursery for many years in Adelaide and I have grown up amongst trees, plants and seeds. I want people to be able to grow their own food.

If you would like to purchase Cottage Garden seeds or Native seeds, you can order these from us at Cygnet Market.

All of my products are also available most days from 1pm at The Garden Shed and Pantry, Cygnet