25 August 2012

Building City/ Country Connections

Farmers markets are a great way to foster connections between city and country, and to start to understand where our food actually comes from, and how it's been produced.  Today we took the farmers market concept a step further, and had a (pre-butchered!) free-range Berkshire pig delivered to our house by the farmer, Lauren from Bundarra Berkshires, who grew it. It was really good to share a cuppa with her and her mate Anna Kelly of Plains Paddock Lamb, and get to know a bit more about their farms and farming methods.

The pork will be divided up between six friends so that everyone can try some delicious, free range, old breed pork, and at a bulk-purchase price.  If it goes well we might do a mixed order with Anna's lamb, and even some of the other produce from their local area on the Murray in the future.  Right now I can't wait for the slow roast shoulder of pork that is cooking in the oven for dinner tonight!
There was just enough room in the fridge
(after everything else was removed!)

22 August 2012

Opening a Can of...Tomatoes

The other night I was at the supermarket to buy a can of tomatoes.  For years I have bought the Italian varieties without thinking about it very much except that they seem to taste better.  But there was an interesting/alarming article in The Age a couple of months ago that talked about recent issues with their production.  I have been buying locally grown fresh food for ages, but somehow never made the leap to buying locally grown and canned tomatoes and decided now was the time to change my habits.

So anyway, for the first time in ages I actually started reading the labels on the cans to make sure that they were actually Australian fruit.  What shocked me most was not where they were from, but the tomato content in all the cans.  In most of them (Australian and internationally grown) the content of tomatoes was somewhere between 55-65%.  How can a can full of tomatoes actually only be half full?!  I finally found one Australian variety called "SPC Australian Gold Crushed Tomatoes" which stated it is 97% tomatoes.  It also says "Australian Made" all over it, but is it safe to assume that's the tomatoes as well as the canning??  And is the content only due to them being crushed? I wonder if there are any varieties of whole tomatoes that have a similar percentage?

I can't wait until summer for tomato season in the Country Garden!

15 August 2012

This Week in the Country Garden

With sunshine in the Country Garden it felt like time to start planting some seeds for the coming season and have a bit of an early Spring Clean.  Here's what's been happening:

05 August 2012

Slow Living Month - July

July has come and gone and it's time once again to check in with the Slow Living Journal that Christine from Slow Living Essentials started in January this year.

Whispered Workshops is here!

I'm really excited to announce the launch of a new website that I have been working on with a friend: Whispered Workshops.

The idea of it is to create a forum for getting together with friends to learn a new skill or pass on some knowledge that you have, while sharing a cuppa and having some fun.  Our theory is that we are all pretty smart and there is heaps of information out there, but it's too easy to become intimidated by it all and feel that the only way to learn something is to do an expensive course.  So we want to encourage people to gather a group of friends together and just give it a go.

Anyone can start a new workshop series (or join into an existing one) by linking into the website.  The topic can be about absolutely anything that interests you.  Once you've done a first workshop, the idea is that everyone who's done it with you should commit to getting together with another three or four of their friends and running a follow-up workshop along the same theme, then those four run their own etc. etc. The website will be used to track the workshop trail and the sharing of information and add to the knowledge bank on that topic, and also to see how the information is added to and changes along the way - just like the game of "Chinese Whispers".

 To get the ball rolling today we held a first workshop on making sourdough bread which was great fun.  I can't wait to see how the follow-up sessions go.  You can check it out here.

It would be fantastic if you wanted to get involved and do one yourself!