Seasons in a Wholefoods Shop?

Everyone knows that tomatoes are a summer thing and cauliflower is a winter thing but most people are not familiar with the seasons for wheat or almonds or lentils or dried apricots. You may drive through the countryside in winter and see enormous green paddocks then you may drive the same roads in early summer and see the harvesters working in paddocks of crisp brown and still not put two and two together to understand what this means for your pantry. Well let me tell you…..

wheat-barley-oats-rye

Glutenous Grains look like grasses (and are grasses) when they are growing. These include wheat, barley, rye, oats and others such as spelt, khorasan and Egyptian Gold. In Australia these are generally sown by the farmers in autumn as the rains begin so they grow through winter, start producing seeds in spring and are dry enough to harvest in early summer or later in colder areas. They are then collected, winnowed (ie have all the chaff and any bits of dirt blown out so that only the seeds are left), graded (ie tested for protein levels, moisture levels, size etc), then trucked to silos to await shipping to mills or overseas.

I get most of these grains from Four Leaf, who are organic farmers and millers north of Adelaide in SA. I do get Tasmanian grown spelt and sometimes oats, when I can. Now and again the previous year’s grain is sold out before the next harvest is done. This happens late spring and into summer, depending on the weather.

If you shop in supermarkets you won’t know when or where the grain was grown, harvested or milled and this gives the illusion of grains (and flours) not being seasonal but grains begin to go rancid the moment the grain is broken, so old flour, rolled oats and others are, in my opinion, dangerous to our health as rancidity is a known cause of cancer. Moreover, rancidity cannot easily be detected in flour, by humans so buyer beware!

millet-quinoa-etc

Seeds…. sunflower, millet, quinoa, buckwheat and more, are grown in various parts of the world but organic Australian farmers grow few of them so I often run out between seasons. I refuse to buy any grains, seeds, lentils etc from overseas as the amount of fuel required to ship all these around the world totally negates their organic certification and all this shipping is a major cause of the pickle we are now in, with climate change. My customers must learn to eat seasonally and this includes wholefoods!

beans-lentils-chickpeas

Lentils, chickpeas etc are the dry seeds of annual bushes (like beans or peas you may grow in your garden and let dry off to keep some to plant the next year). Like with such beans or peas, gardeners will know how long it takes for those darn seed pods to be brown and crisp and the seeds inside dry and hard. So it is the same with lentils, chickpeas etc. Harvest can be mid to late summer or even into early autumn some years.

Thus I currently do not have the new season’s lentils or chick peas in stock and the previous season’s have sold out. This is the life of a small, organic, Australian wholefoods shopkeeper trying to keep her customers both happy and healthy!

Johnston almonds

Johnston almonds

Nuts come next in the year, ripening in early autumn but then requiring hardening off before the flavours develop and the nut inside the shell becomes hard, instead of soft. Many customers do not want to crack open the shells of almonds, for example, so I have to wait for the farmer to have his nuts cracked and, because he grows the special and delicious Johnston and Somerton almond varieties only, he does not want his batch thrown in with anyone else’s so he has to wait until last at the nut mill! Hence I will not have any almonds until July!! Last year there was a total crop failure due to a hail storm just at flowering time so my customers had no almonds at all.

Thankfully there are a lot of walnuts grown in Tasmania so I never seem to run out of them. I have to get hazelnuts from Victoria or SA from time to time but sometimes I still run out before the next season as I aim to sell organic ones or from farmers I know but who are not certified organic.

kevin-and-cindy-organics-drying-apricots

Kevin and Cindy Organics

Dried fruit is a similar story, as I get organic, sundried apricots, pears and sometimes plums from just one grower because I know of no-one else who uses no chemicals, no preservatives and no electricity! I rang her a few weeks ago to confirm my order and she told me there had been a hail storm in November, which had never happened before, and almost all the apricots were damaged! Oh no, I still don’t know if I will get a supply from her. Fingers crossed!

The apricots should be ready soon, then the plums and lastly the pears, some time in autumn.

rainfed-rice

Rice is usually harvested some time in March or April. The rain fed, organic, bio-dynamic, aromatic rice I buy is from northern NSW. The farmer uses no irrigation; only rainfall. In doing so he does not need dams or pumps or electricity but does rely on nature. He may get a smaller crop if things are not right but so far he has not let me down although once he ran out before the next harvest. We both do our best!

murray-river-organics-in-1970s

Murray River Organics in the 1970’s

I get organic raisins, sultanas and currants from a grower in The Riverland who only grows these grapes….. did you know these are all grape varieties? Sultanas (Sultanina, Thompson Seedless, Kish-mish), Currants (Zante Currant, Carina), Muscat Gordo Blanco (Muscat of Alexandria), and Waltham Cross (Rosaki, Dattier, Regina, Malaga). The dried fruit of the last two is collectively called raisins in Australia.

Last year their sheds and offices were damaged in floods but, luckily, most of their crops had been harvested and moved to a warehouse in Melbourne. Phew. I didn’t want to have to tell my customers that even more of my products were not available!

pumkin-seeds

The pumpkin used for seeds

Pumpkin seeds take ages! There is only one pumpkin seed grower in Australia, that I know of and they are in Victoria. They are a small, family group who run a fabulous and very ethical business. It is well into autumn and as late as May before the new year’s pumpkin seeds are harvested and dried. So far, so good. Lets hope it stays that way!

Olives are the last, being harvested for oil in about May and pickled at various times from May onwards through winter. Sometimes the olives have more oil, sometimes less. Sometimes the trees have more olives, sometimes less. Sometimes things go awry with the weather and sometimes it is perfect! Pat and Lina keep us all in SA olives and oils for as long as they can but this year I am going to run out as the oil olives were drier than usual and there were less jumbo olives on the trees; a double whammy.

We are lucky indeed that the floods last year came within about 10cms of the spilling over the levvy and did not burst its banks, ruining Pat and Lina’s market garden and olive trees.What a year for all our growers!

Farming is tough. The people I buy from are real people who grow beautiful, organic food which they hope will survive through the months of growth and produce an income for them. As the climate becomes more unstable, their livelihoods are put seriously at risk. Not only that but I am also dependent on them for my income and we are all dependent on them for our food. All these problems happened in 2016. I wonder what will happen in 2017. Whatever happens, you can now understand why wholefoods are seasonal and how, even though they are dry goods, climate and supply and seasons mean so much.

 

Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

These are Michael Pollan’s words and it really is (almost) that simple to stay healthy. I would change it to: eat WHOLE foods, not too much, mostly plants. What I mean is eat foods that have not been processed, like a whole apple, not a peeled one or an apple muesli bar or dried apple rings that have had preservative added. I rarely eat packaged food; I get ingredients and make them into a meal. Simple. That’s what everyone did for all of human history until recently!

Winter is coming
Don’t you love autumn; when the nights begin to chill, the orchard trees begin to lose their leaves and, hopefully, we get glorious rain to soothe the garden. Mice are starting to look for winter hide outs and birds have finished rearing their chicks. Chooks are starting to moult and it is time to plant out garlic again.

Do you ever think of your own body and what it is telling you about all this? Eating seasonal, local ingredients will naturally guide you to eat what you need to stay strong and healthy all year round whereas supermarket shopping will lure you in with bright colours but leave your body confused and irritable.

Now and into April is the time to sow all those beautiful Asian vegetables like bok choy, mizuna, mibuna etc as well as European winter greens kale, spinach, rainbow chard etc. Open any health book and it will tell you to eat LOTS of green, leafy vegetables as the days shorten, so right now is your chance to make eating them as easy as picking them from your own garden.

I love chicories as, during winter, they each put on a beauty pageant like no other winter vegetable! It is not always easy to find the seeds but once you have them, you will see them popping up in your garden from early autumn onwards, forever, if you leave a few to go to seed. In winter they are less bitter but that bitterness is to be treasured, as do European cultures, because they instinctively know that foraging the hillsides for chicories and other winter herbs brings the strength of the land where they live, into the body.

February at The Cygnet Market

My market stall on the stage at The Cygnet Market is where I showcase almost my full range of Garden Shed and Pantry products. 

See you at the market this Sunday, February 2nd

I guarantee that my products are fresh and I have a following of avid spice lovers who know to come to me for all their requirements as my spices are kept sealed and in the dark between markets. I also have yoghurt cultures and soon, milk kefir, when mine starts to multiply. English watering cans and best quality garden tools are my passion and I stock local seeds for growing the best vegetables in the Tasmanian climate. As well, I offer an eclectic range of garden and food books and Tasmania’s Clean Conscience eco-cleaning products.

If you would like a 5kg bag of anything from my lists below, please send me an email and I will hold one aside for you as I only take a limited number of them and they sell quickly. Gluten free is a special interest of mine.

The market is now one of the best in Tasmania not just for tourists but for those wanting to buy fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, breads, cheeses, wholefoods, dried fruits, olives, olive oils, eggs and coffee. Artisan cakes and pastries as well as Sally’s superb Chinese dumplings, fresh stir fries and savoury pancakes nestle into the hall with Ed’s perfect English pork pies and Cathy’s moist Dundee cake.

Annie is a milliner and her hats are world class; all designed and made by her in Cygnet. You will also find an extensive and infectious collection of rocks, fossils  and more from around the world, at Mike’s stall. Add to that the craftsmanship of local artists, sewers, photographers and card makers and you can soon see that Cygnet is the place to be on the 1st and 3rd Sundays, 10am – 2pm, all year round!

You can find all my prices on these links:

 Grains, flours, pulses and seeds price list

 

L’Abruzzese Organic, Australian Pastas

The Rest of the Pantry: Oils, Nuts, Dried Fruits, Honeys etc

The Garden Shed: Tools, Seeds etc

Seed Sowing Guide – December

Kate’s Tip of the month:

Think about investing some of your holiday time to installing a watering system into your garden.  A relatively small investment will pay big dividends in terms of your watering time (and you will probably use less water too as you can set your watering system to come on at night when the evaporation is minimal and the wind has usually died right down).  If you already have a watering system (clever you) then take some time out to re-check all of the fittings and ensure that the drippers / sprays are not blocked.  

Permaculture Tasmania Seed saving workshop with Kate

Permaculture Tasmania Seed saving workshop with Kate

Sow these seeds in December:

Sow these seeds in the garden:

Beans, (Bush) ‘Windsor Long Pod’, ‘Butter’, Borlotti ‘Red Rooster’ and French ‘Provider’

Beans (Runner) ‘White Dutch’ and ‘Scarlet Emperor’

Beans (Climbing) ‘Kentucky Wonder’

Beetroot ‘Bulls Blood’ & ‘Chioggia’

Broccoli Raab

Broccoli ‘De Cicco’

Cabbage ‘Munchkin’ F1

Carrots ‘Merida’, ‘Amsterdam Forcing’ & ‘Scarlet Nantes’

Cauliflower ‘All Year Around’

Chicory ‘Red Rib’ 

Chives

Cucumber ‘Lebanese Sultan F1’

Dill, ‘Bouquet’

English Marigold

Kale ‘Toscano / Cavolo Nero’ &’Dwarf Blue Curled’

Kohl Rabi ‘Superschmelz’

Komatsuna ‘Green’

Leek ‘Bulgarian Giant’

Lettuces ‘Flashy Trout Back’, ‘Royal Oak Green’, & ‘Rouge d’Hiver’

Marrow ‘Long Green’

Mizuna ‘Purple’

Nasturtians

Pak Choi ‘Red Choi’ F1

Parsley Mix

Parsnip ‘Melbourne Whiteskin’

Pumpkin ‘Delicata’, ‘Golden Nugget’ & ‘Spaghetti Squash’

Radicchio ‘Rossa de Treviso’

Radish ‘Easter Egg’

Rocket

Silverbeet ‘Rainbow Chard’

Snow Pea ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’

Spring Onion ‘Bunching’

Sugar Snap Peas

Turnip ‘Purpletop Whiteglobe’ & ‘Hakurei’ F1

Winter Savory

We also have Marigolds and Nasturtiums which are great companion plants for your vegie seeds.

Sow in trays in the hothouse:

Basil ‘Genova’

Celery ‘Tall Utah’

Chamomile ‘Roman’

Corn, Sweet ‘Max F1′

Hyssop

Purslane ‘Red’

Tomatoes (six different varieties chosen by Kate and Seedsaver Sam)

Zucchini ‘Costata Romanesco’

Sow (and grow) in the hothouse:

Basil ‘Genova’

 

tomatoes in one of the seed racks

Kate’s Tip of the month:

Think about investing some of your holiday time to installing a watering system into your garden.  A relatively small investment will pay big dividends in terms of your watering time (and you will probably use less water too as you can set your watering system to come on at night when the evaporation is minimal and the wind has usually died right down).  If you already have a watering system (clever you) then take some time out to re-check all of the fittings and ensure that the drippers / sprays are not blocked. 

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

Look out for the monthly seed sowing guide on the last day of the month, every month!

Seed Sowing Guide – November

Kate’s Tip of the month:

November in Tasmania is a good time to think about mulching fruit trees.  Starting with a layer of sheep manure or blood and bone add anything you have at hand – grass clippings, prunings, spent vegetable garden debris, straw, all layered into a deep heap at the drip line. This will achieve several things; first it will feed the soil life, which in turn will nourish the fine feeder roots of the trees. Also it will prevent the soil drying out, necessary for the microbes in the top of the soil to multiply and to keep the roots of the trees moist.

Permaculture Tasmania Seed saving workshop with Kate

Permaculture Tasmania Seed saving workshop with Kate

Sow these seeds in November:

Sow these seeds in the garden:

Beans, (Bush) ‘Windsor Long Pod’, ‘Butter’, Borlotti ‘Red Rooster’ and French ‘Provider’

Beans (Runner) ‘White Dutch’ and ‘Scarlet Emperor’

Beetroot ‘Bulls Blood’ & ‘Chioggia’

Broccoli Raab

Broccoli ‘De Cicco’

Cabbage ‘Munchkin’ F1

Carrots ‘Merida’, ‘Amsterdam Forcing’ & ‘Scarlet Nantes’

Cauliflower ‘All Year Around’

Chicory ‘Red Rib’ 

Chives

Cucumber ‘Lebanese Sultan F1’

Dill, ‘Bouquet’

English Marigold

Kale ‘Toscano / Cavolo Nero’ &’Dwarf Blue Curled’

Kohl Rabi ‘Superschmelz’

Komatsuna ‘Green’

Leek ‘Bulgarian Giant’

Lettuces ‘Flashy Trout Back’, ‘Royal Oak Green’, & ‘Rouge d’Hiver’

Marrow ‘Long Green’

Mizuna ‘Purple’

Nasturtians

Pak Choi ‘Red Choi’ F1

Parsley Mix

Parsnip ‘Melbourne Whiteskin’

Pumpkin ‘Delicata’, ‘Golden Nugget’ & ‘Spaghetti Squash’

Radicchio ‘Rossa de Treviso’

Radish ‘Easter Egg’

Rocket

Silverbeet ‘Rainbow Chard’

Snow Pea ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’

Spring Onion ‘Bunching’

Sugar Snap Peas

Turnip ‘Purpletop Whiteglobe’ & ‘Hakurei’ F1

Winter Savory

We also have Marigolds and Nasturtiums which are great companion plants for your vegie seeds.

Sow in trays in the hothouse:

Basil ‘Genova’

Celery ‘Tall Utah’

Chamomile ‘Roman’

Corn, Sweet ‘Max F1′

Purslane ‘Red’

Tomatoes (six different varieties chosen by Kate and Seedsaver Sam)

Zucchini ‘Costata Romanesco’

Sow (and grow) in the hothouse:

Basil ‘Genova’

Capsicums ‘Antohi Romanian’

Hey! Hey! Hey! Spring is here now!

It’s seed sowing time!

tomatoes in one of the seed racks

Kate’s Tip of the month:

November in Tasmania is a good time to think about mulching fruit trees.  Starting with a layer of sheep manure or blood and bone add anything you have at hand – grass clippings, prunings, spent vegetable garden debris, straw, all layered into a deep heap at the drip line. This will achieve several things; first it will feed the soil life, which in turn will nourish the fine feeder roots of the trees. Also it will prevent the soil drying out, necessary for the microbes in the top of the soil to multiply and to keep the roots of the trees moist. 

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

Look out for the monthly seed sowing guide on the last day of the month, every month.

Seed Sowing Guide – October

Kate’s Tip of the month:

October in Tasmania usually means beans.  Bush beans and climbing beans are a very nutritious and easy to grow crop.  You can even get artistic with your frame for the beans to climb on.  If you have a problem with grass in your garden beds, sow your seeds in trays.  Don’t forget October is also a great month to start herbs. 

Permaculture Tasmania Seed saving workshop with Kate

Permaculture Tasmania Seed saving workshop with Kate

Sow these seeds in October:

Sow these seeds in the garden:

Beans, (Bush) ‘Windsor Long Pod’, ‘Butter’, Borlotti ‘Red Rooster’ and French ‘Provider’

Beans (Runner) ‘White Dutch’ and ‘Scarlet Emperor’

Beetroot ‘Bulls Blood’ & ‘Chioggia’

Broccoli Raab

Broccoli ‘De Cicco’

Cabbage ‘Munchkin’ F1

Carrots ‘Merida’, ‘Amsterdam Forcing’ & ‘Scarlet Nantes’

Cauliflower ‘All Year Around’

Chicory ‘Red Rib’ 

Chives

Dill, ‘Bouquet’

English Marigold

Kale ‘Toscano / Cavolo Nero’ &’Dwarf Blue Curled’

Kohl Rabi ‘Superschmelz’

Komatsuna ‘Green’

Leek ‘Bulgarian Giant’

Lettuces ‘Flashy Trout Back’, ‘Royal Oak Green’, & ‘Rouge d’Hiver’

Mizuna ‘Purple’

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

Pak Choi ‘Red Choi’ F1

Parsley Mix

Parsnip ‘Melbourne Whiteskin’

Radicchio ‘Rossa de Treviso’

Radish ‘Easter Egg’

Rocket

Shallots ‘Roderique’

Silverbeet ‘Rainbow Chard’

Snow Pea ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’

Spinach ‘Steadfast’

Spring Onion ‘Bunching’

Sugar Snap Peas

Swede ‘Tasmanian Butter’

Turnip ‘Purpletop Whiteglobe’ & ‘Hakurei’ F1

Winter Savory

Sow in trays in the hothouse:

Basil ‘Genova’

Celery ‘Tall Utah’

Chamomile ‘Roman’

Corn, Sweet ‘Max F1′

Purslane ‘Red’

Tomatoes (six different varieties chosen by Kate and Seedsaver Sam)

Zucchini ‘Costata Romanesco’

Sow (and grow) in the hothouse:

Basil ‘Genova’

Capsicums ‘Antohi Romanian’

Hey! Hey! Hey! Spring is here now!

It’s seed sowing time!

tomatoes in one of the seed racks

Kate’s Tip of the month:

October in Tasmania usually means beans.  Bush beans and climbing beans are a very nutritious and easy to grow crop.  You can even get artistic with your frame for the beans to climb on.  If you have a problem with grass in your garden beds, sow your seeds in trays.  Don’t forget October is also a great month to start herbs. 

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