April Newsletter

Below you will find an extract from the April 12th newsletter. To read the full newsletter click here.
Steve Solomon Book
Steve has written a book for people new to growing food and / or new to Tasmania. It is called “Tasmanian Food Gardening: for beginners and new arrivals” Check it out at The Garden Shed and Pantry. $22Rolled oats…. and more
Did you know you can have rolled anything? Four Leaf roll rye grains, spelt grains, rice grains and barley grains as well as oat grains. I sell them all. I especially like to soak a mixture of them overnight then cook in the morning. You really can’t beat whole, rolled grains (soaked and then cooked) for nutrition and taste. It is way better than always having oats!

May Sourdough Workshop 
It only takes a moment to sign up for my May sourdough workshop and you will never regret it! I don’t go in for fussing about with food but everything I eat has to be fabulously delicious, the very best quality and the most healthy. Can you say that about the bread you eat? If not, then come to my workshop and learn to make easy, foolproof, nutritious, delicious sourdough and cultured butter with me, in my kitchen. Read about my sourdough workshops here.

Dates and bookings here.
$55

Gumboot Gardeners and Our Inaugural Pumpkin Festival
Thanks to all those who came out in the drizzle last Sunday and visited our Pumpkin Festival Stall, where we had pumpkin soup and pumpkin scones for $2 each, raising money to help send a young man in Kenya to The International Permaculture Convergence in India later this year. We raised $300 and it has been donated to Yongo. He asked me to tell you how much it means to him to have people on the other side of the world trying to help him. If you can donate a little more to help him reach his $3000, then please do so by following this link and reading his story.

Hugh’s Last Market 😦 
Hugh is now part of Room for a Pony, in Elizabeth Street, Hobart, where he is bringing to Hobart many of the goodies you have come to love from him in Cygnet! His time at the Cygnet Market will soon end so come along and indulge at this Cygnet Market where he will have his fantastic breads, cakes and pastries  FOR THE LAST TIME!!!!

Gotta love that boy of mine who is the hardest and most efficient worker I have ever known!

Popping Corn, Lentils, Peas and more!
You will love my expanding range of AUSTRALIAN PULSES etc. I now have black beluga beans and white pearl peas, as well as red and green (Puy style) lentils. As well as Four Leaf regular, organic, Australian mung beans I also have some seconds of their split mung; seconds because some of them did not split properly as they are just trialling the process. I have Four Leaf split yellow peas, for a hearty soup. I also have fava, borlotti and azuki beans. See below for recipes and ideas.

Four Leaf, organic, Australian popping corn is now back in stock.

All these are so cheap and so good for you!

Square eftpos
The Garden Shed and Pantry now has credit card, debit card, chip and contactless payment facilities! Square is a simple and cheap system suited to every form of transaction. It may be cheap but it is not free, so I would still prefer cash but no longer will there be any inconvenience if you do not have enough cash with you! 

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Home shop open times are on the photo at the top of the newsletter.

March Newsletter

Read the headlines below and read the whole newsletter here.
Market stall site change
The whole Cygnet market will be outside for March! The Town Hall will be totally surrounded with stalls, front, back and both sides. I need such a big space that I am going to be out the back, next to the Lovett Gallery entrance. This means I can park right at my stall, which will be more wonderful than you can imagine!

Please come and see me and please tell your friends!

Hugh returns to the Cygnet Market
Some of you will know about the endless difficulties Hugh has had working in the very unprofessional environment of the bakery kitchen. The result is that he is no longer working there. Consequently he is able to return to the Cygnet Market this Sunday and bring you all of his masterpieces again. I am not sure where his stall will be but seek and ye shall find!

New Olive Oil
The olive crop at Patlins (and much of SA) last year did not produce as much oil as usual and they have run out BUT I have bought a beautiful oil from Mt. Zero Olives in Victoria, to tide us over to the next season. Frantoio is one of the best and much sought after. 

Pip Magazine Returns for 2017
Almost everyone here who lives in a house, grows some food, has a few chooks, or maybe has an acre or two to be put to good use. Learning how best to design your space for maximum ease of use, for maximum efficiency, maximum beauty, least harm to your environment and least stress is not always easy.

Pip is the magazine of Australian Permaculture and each issue covers a range of topics and ideas from near and far, to help people understand and incorporate practical systems into their everyday lives.

It is the only magazine I sell because I think it is the best one for us here in Tasmania. Issue 7 has just arrived. Check it out at the market on Sunday.

March Sourdough & Cultured Butter Workshop $55
I will be having my first sourdough and cultured butter workshop for 2017 later in March. Check the dates and make bookings by adding your EMAIL (not your name) here. If you don’t put your email you have not booked, even if I know you!!

You will find more information about these workshops on my website here.

Thanks for the Wine Bottles but please stop!
I rely on my wonderful customers to provide me with wine bottles, which I sterilise and fill with the olive oils and apple cider vinegar I sell. You have been most generous and I now have quite a few. I will let you know when I need more but for now I have enough, thanks.

Square eftpos
The Garden Shed and Pantry now has credit card, debit card, chip and contactless payment facilities! Square is a simple and cheap system suited to every form of transaction. It may be cheap but it is not free, so I would still prefer cash but no longer will there be any inconvenience if you do not have enough cash with you! 

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This is just the headlines. Read the whole newsletter here.

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.

 

February 1st Newsletter

Back to work for 2017

My home shop is open as usual AND I am looking forward to being back at the Cygnet Market from Sunday Feb. 5th.

Thank you to all the lovely people who continued to come to my home shop during January.

 Olives and Four Leaf flours Restocked
My shelves and store room are now fully stocked with fresh products. I have spent literally thousands of dollars getting everything back in and you will all be pleased to know that the Jumbos and the Black kalamata olives have just arrived as has a pallet of Four Leaf flours and grains. Come n gettum!

March Sourdough & Cultured Butter Workshop
I will be having my first sourdough and cultured butter workshop for 2017 in March. Check the dates and make bookings by adding your EMAIL (not your name) here. If you don’t put your email you have not booked, even if I know you!!

You will find more information about these workshops on my website here.

Weck Fermenting Jars
Finally I have decided on the best quality, best value and most ethical fermenting jars available; Weck, made in Germany. These are made from thick glass and guaranteed to be free of lead, cadmium and mercury, unlike cheap, glass jars. Read more below….

Too many zucchinis?
Check out my zucchini and mushroom lasagne recipe AND buy my organic, Australian lasagne sheets!

Thanks for the Wine Bottles but please stop!
I rely on my wonderful customers to provide me with wine bottles, which I sterilise and fill with the olive oils and apple cider vinegar I sell. You have been most generous and I now have quite a few. I will let you know when I need more but for now I have enough, thanks.

Square eftpos
The Garden Shed and Pantry now has credit card, debit card, chip and contactless payment facilities! Square is a simple and cheap system suited to every form of transaction. It may be cheap but it is not free, so I would still prefer cash but no longer will there be any inconvenience if you do not have enough cash with you! 

To read the whole newsletter click here.

March Sourdough and Cultured Butter Workshop

The March workshop date is Friday, March 24th, 7.30pm – 9pm and Sat. March 25th, 8am – 9.30am. You must come to both sessions. $55.

To read about my sourdough workshops, click here.

For bookings of the March workshop click here. To book, add your EMAIL (NOT your name, even if I know you) now.

This is a fun and informative workshop for anyone wanting to make easy, foolproof, nutritious, delicious sourdough bread with fresh, organic, Australian ingredients.

Bespoke Sasafras Racks for Spice Oils, Panforte time, Tasmanian-grown Tea!

(For the full newsletter, click here.)

Sasafras Spice Oil racks
Alex, from Bruny Island, has made mini spice oil racks for me, from Tasmanian sasafras so you can have your herb and spice oils at hand, on display and not have them falling over. They come with 6 slots and will sit beautifully on even a very narrow ledge.
Great Christmas gift idea! More info here.

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It is Panforte time again!
This GF Italian Christmas cake of nuts and chocolate with brandy is pressed into tins and baked until almost crisp. I made my first batch yesterday and they will be available in limited supply at the Cygnet Market from now until Christmas. You can also order them from me. Prices and options here….

Panforte

Tea from Allens Rivulet!
The list of Tasmanian grown foods is ever increasing with the latest being an exquisite tea which Hugh says is the best he has ever had. Gordon and Jane Brown grow tea in Allens Rivulet, south of Hobart. Their half-hectare patch of land is the southern-most tea farm in the world. More here.
I now also sell Tasmanian grown poppy seeds. So, if you want to make the fabulous poppyseed torte (GF) from a previous newsletter, why not use Tasmanian poppy seeds!

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