Grow your own

Category Archives: Co-op Community

Grow your own
17th January, 2019

Get set for barrow loads of inspiration on the 2019 Blue Mountains Edible Garden Trail.

It’s only a few weeks until the Edible Garden Trail 2019 kicks off across the mountains.

Over 45 gardens including back and front yards, commercial, community and school gardens will be open to the pubic to showcase the various ways we are growing food, resilience and community.

It’s a great chance to get inspired to start your own vegie patch, learn new tricks and tips, and share advice with fellow green thumbs.

Check out our website instagram and facebook page for all the information and purchase your tickets online.

Environment news

Get behind the Colong Foundation’s fight to save the wild rivers of the Blue Mountains National Park.

Give a Dam is the grassroots community campaign to stop the destruction of the Blue Mountains National Park and the over development in western Sydney from the raising of Warragamba Dam wall.

According to the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, “raising the Warragamba Dam wall is a developer-driven proposal that will make it easier to build on flood-prone land in western Sydney – against the wishes of local communities.

“Raising the dam wall would also destroy 65 kilometres of wilderness rivers and inundate 4,700 hectares of the world heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park.”

If you’d like to get involved you can attend a campaign event or volunteer training day. A special screening of a documentary made by the Colong Foundation will be held on February 16 at The Springwood Hub and February 19 at Mt Vic Flicks.

For more information go to giveadam.org.au. And don’t forget you can talk about the wild rivers campaign over a coffee with Greg Davis from Wilderness Coffee Project at the Co-op most Saturday mornings.

Back to school (and work)
Gear up with all the latest food and beverage storage containers in store now.

Eco kids

Send them back to school with all the non-plastic eco-lunchbox essentials. We’ve got a large selection of Keep Leaf and 4 My Earth reusable sandwich and food wraps in various sizes. A huge range of Cheeki stainless steel water bottles and lunch boxes. More food storage containers from Ever Eco, U-Konserve and Green Essentials including square and rectangular divided lunchboxes, bento and tiffin-style rectangular and round lunchboxes and stackable, nesting, mini and small round snack boxes. For thirsty kids there’s Earthlust, Klean Kanteen and Kid Kanteen water bottles and stylish and practical Ever Eco and Cheeki insulated smoothie tumblers and straws. In soft lunch bags we have 4 My Earth, U-Konserve and Keep Leaf insulated bags and totes and reusable bamboo cutlery by Ever Eco, U-Konserve and Rechusable.

And who said kids get to have all the fun. Our Commuter Pack will have you travelling in eco-friendly style on that long trek to the city for work or uni. Keep calm and caffeinated with the original glass Keep Cups, insulated stainless steel beverage cups and smoothie tumblers plus choose from the grown up range of lunch boxes, water bottles and lunch totes.

Shelf talk

Good news for the New Year is that we have secured a good quantity of Jasmine, Brown Basmati and White Basmati Rice which have been out of stock for a while.

Unfortunately, there’s no prospect of the Gluten Free staple Hulled Millet. Apparently following crop failures Australian farmers have not replanted this crop, likewise Puffed Millet is also currently unavailable.

Look out for some Paleo wraps from Ancient Harvest and Paleo breads from Venerdi. We’ve tried some samples and they certainly are tasty.

Also if you can’t see what you want please ask one our or friendly staff members. And although you may not necessarily see me in the shop I work Monday to Thursday and I’m always happy to help you with your enquiries.

Mike Patterson, Stock Coordinator

Fresh as

There’s lots of fabulous summer fruit and vegies coming in now!

Fruit – a variety of gorgeous berries available this week – we have blackberries, blueberries and strawberries in stock. Lots of exceptionally good cherries from Tasmania coming in too, and Farmer Hayden’s giant peaches from South Australia have been the yummiest peaches we’ve ever had. We also now have red (Flame) and white (Menindee) seedless grapes coming in.

Vegies – gorgeous multi-coloured carrots (orange, yellow, purple) available again and multiple varieties of eggplant (round, snow white and Angelina varieties).

Local fruit & veg supply is often intermittent but we had a large number of local cucumbers and zucchini coming in. Michael Hurst has been bringing in beautiful lettuce heads, but with this heat wave they probably won’t last long.

Sonya Byron, Fruit & Veg Coordinator

2018 Festive Season Opening Hours
12th December, 2018

Other than the dates below we will be opening for our usual trading hours.

The Co-op will be closed on:

Tuesday 25th December, Christmas Day

Wednesday 26th December, Boxing Day

Tuesday 1st January, New Year’s Day

 

Fruit & vegetable deliveries will be as follows:

Monday 24th December

Thursday 27th December

Monday 31st December

Wednesday 2nd January

Friday 4th January

 

Fridge goods:

Last delivery before Xmas Wednesday 19th December

First delivery after Xmas Wednesday 9th January

Jannei Goat’s milk: –

Last delivery before Xmas Tuesday 18th December

First delivery after Xmas Tuesday 8th January

 

Bread deliveries:

Ancient Grains, Naturis and Vitality –

Last delivery before Xmas Tuesday 18th December

First delivery after Xmas Tuesday 8th January

Black Cockatoo bread deliveries as usual (Thursday & Saturday)

 

Wishing you all a tasty Christmas and a safe and happy new year!

 

Reducing food waste
21st November, 2018

Dietician and mindfulness practitioner, Sallyanne Pisk, shares her tips for reducing food waste.

Eight per cent of the greenhouse gases produced internationally come from food waste. This is why reducing waste is so important. It also means that if we stopped wasting food there would be enough food to feed everyone.

Tips to reduce food related waste

Food containers

  • Use your own reusable non-plastic water bottle.This is good for the environment and your health.
  • Use your own reusable non-plastic coffee/tea mug.
  • Use your own containers. These can be used for unpackaged meat, poultry, seafood and deli items.
  • Try alternative food wraps such as silicon zip lock bags and muslin coated wax wraps.
  • Store larger quantities of food in glass or stainless-steel storage containers.
  • Recycled glass jars can be used for smaller food items such as ½ onion, tomato or lemon.
  • When storing a cut avocado, retain the peel to cover the cut section of the fruit. Then store the avocado inside an airtight container.

Shopping

  • Plan your meals for the week.
  • Buy only the quantities of perishable foods that you need for the week, based on your meal plan.
  • Make a shopping list as something in your refrigerator, freezer or pantry runs out. And only buy what is on the list!
  • Look for firm fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • In season local food is fresher and will keep longer.
  • Shop at a food co-operative or local market where food is fresh, mostly local and free of packaging.

To read the rest of this article and more great tips and advice from Sallyanne go to her blog here and catch up with Sallyanne in store on Wellness Wednesdays.

 

Grow your own
21st November, 2018

Small space gardening

Design and planting tips and tricks for maximizing your small garden from Steve Fleischmann.

Recently I have been asked about growing in small areas and growing in pots. A great question because so many people have small gardens and a few well-placed pots can help make unused corners of the garden become more productive and attractive.

Design is an important consideration here. Like many things, we don’t necessarily notice something well designed, we just enjoy its functionality. However, when something is poorly designed it can be really frustrating. Having your potted garden in a handy spot, that you both like and spend time in, means you are far more likely to water the garden, notice when plants are ready t harvest and generally enjoy the space.  Similarly, with a small garden, design it so that it draws you in – put a seat in the middle of it or plant aromatic herbs you can step on/brush past. Consider aspect and hierarchy. Most edibles need six hours of sunlight, and try to plant tall plants at the back of a bed and low sprawling ones at the front.

Map out the areas around the house that get the required sunlight and start thinking and researching what can be planted in these areas. If the sunniest spot is in the most remote/far removed area of the garden, don’t despair, plant something like oregano because it comes from rocky hillsides that are really dry, it can (usually) cope pretty well with some neglect, and it’s delicious as a fresh herb.

Pathways are also important. Ironically we tend to prefer curved pathways, but tend to walk straight from A to B. So designing a path through even the smallest of gardens can be a major design feat. Before you move a single shovel load, observe how you and others use the space. It is far easier to build to your habits than changing your habits to suit your build. Straight lines can be softened by herbs that tumble over the edge of a garden bed onto the path – making a straight line seem curved.  Furthermore, it can be good to have an “aim” at the end of a pathway – a herb and flower bed, a fruit tree in a pot, a water feature, a bench seat or something else that draws you into the garden.

From my own experience the hardest thing about growing in pots is the water issue. In Australia’s extreme heat of summer pots can dry out very quickly and that can spell disaster for many plants. A couple of solutions to this is to use saucer trays at the bottom of the pot, experience has shown me that they make all the world of difference. Another option is a wicking pot. Essentially this is a plant pot with a water reservoir in the bottom.

Additionally, pots need to be watered. I know, I know a no-brainer really, but hey, it has to be said because we have all forgotten to water the pots and had plants die. Having a watering can or hose handy (and by handy I mean between the house and the thing that needs watering!) will mean the job is more likely to get done.

The next serious consideration is plant choice. And this is a big topic regardless of the size of your garden. Some edibles are simply not worth growing in small gardens – I’m thinking of things like corn or even tomatoes (I know some will disagree with me on this!) because they take up a lot of space, take a long time to fruit and the season is relatively short. On the other hand, a mix of lettuces, mizuna, chives and parsley in a big pot can give you cut and come again leafy greens for ages in a short period of time. Many seed companies sell Mesclun mixes and these are great for small gardens and pot growing.  A potful of parsley will provide you with far more food over a growing season than a couple of corn plants. Other veg to try in small gardens include space-saver varieties of cucumber, zucchini, melons and pumpkins.

Finally, going back to design, but with a firm eye on plant choice, think vertical space. Grow up walls, create tepees or other trellis structures. Beans, peas and other vining plants love growing up support, look great, can hide ugly parts of the garden and are really productive.

Happy growing!

Steve will be hosting a gardening workshop at the Katoomba Community Garden Friday 23rd November see event for details.

The 12 Herbs of Christmas workshop

Learn how to make your own herbal remedies in this hands-on workshop conducted by Herbalist and Educator, Nick Read, and the Co-op’s student Naturopath, Sonya Byron.

Teas, tinctures, tissanes, tonics and topical preparations are covered in this insightful and entertaining workshop featuring the 12 herbs of Christmas: Calendula, Chamomile, Echinacea, Elderberry, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon Balm, Lavender, Licorice, Marshmallow, Peppermint, Thyme plus a bonus number 13: Yarrow!

Our last herbal workshop sold out quickly so don’t delay, book today.

When: Sunday 9th December, 2-4pm

Where: Blue Mountains Food Co-op

How much: $30

Workshop fee includes refreshments, all ingredients and take home samples.

To book click here.

Workshop facilitators

Nick Read – Herbalist and Educator

My personal belief systems have forged my herbal practice into a fusion and synergy of ‘old meets new’. I have a strong interest in combining the traditional and spiritual use of herbs with the more recent evidence based research methods. I thoroughly enjoy educating and empowering people in the practical and functional use of herbs. Medicines and preparations that can be easily sourced and utilised for themselves and their families health and wellbeing. After having my own practice I gravitated towards education, having worked at Flordis as a product educator and then teaching Herbal Medicine Manufacturing and Botany based subjects at a tertiary level. My qualifications include: Advanced Diploma of Western Herbal Medicine, Bachelor of Health Science.

Sonya Byron – Naturopathy student

Sonya is a final year naturopathy student at the Australasian College of Natural Therapies in Sydney. As the owner/operator of an organic farm for several years, she developed a passion for growing and using herbs in her daily life. She strongly believes that herbal medicine is the people’s medicine, and loves to empower people with the knowledge and skills to make their own simple herbal preparations for the benefit of their own and their family’s health and wellbeing.

Wild weeds wrap

A group of 25 enthusiastic foragers joined The Weedy One himself, Mr Diego Bonetto, for a walk on the wild side at the Katoomba Community Gardens on Saturday November 10.

Accompanied by Blue Mountains Food Co-op Manager, Halin Nieuwenhuyse, the eager weed hunters identified a plethora of edible and medicinal plants including the following:

Chickweed> food + medicine Stellaria media

Cleavers> food + medicine Galium_aparine

Dandelion> food + medicine  Taraxacum officinale 

Dock> food Rumex_crispus

Farmer’s friend> food + medicine Bidens_pilosa

Flatweed>  food Hypochaeris spp 

Fleabane> insect repellant Conyza canadensis 

Native geranium> bush medicine https://www.anbg.gov.au/apu/plants/gerasola.html

Plantain> medicine Plantago lanceolata

Purple top> flower Verbena_bonariensisPrickly lettuce> food + medicine Lactuca_serriola

Scotch thistle/perennial thistle> food cirsium-vulgare

Sowthistle> food Sowthistle -Sonchus spp

White clover> food Trifolium_repens

Wild brasssica> food Brassica Spp.

This image shows the edible and medicinal weeds the group found and identified.

For information on Diego’s workshops click here and stay tuned for an autumn 2019 foraging expedition hosted by the Co-op.

Diego’s Resources

A good link for edible plants is Plant for a future

The link to the mapping system we are creating is wildfood.in

The link to the local stories by Aunty Fran is here>https://dharawalstories.com/

Two good books:

 

 

What’s new in store
21st November, 2018

Stocking up for Xmas

What’s new, out of stock or in abundant supply in the main store and the Big Little Shop.

As the Rolling Stones famously said ‘You can’t always get what you want’, but at least at the Blue Mountains Food Coop we hope you can ‘Get what you need”. However, much as we’d like to meet all the wants and needs of our shoppers sometimes things are simply not available.

Unfortunately, the drought in Australia has resulted in a shortage of a few items. The popular hulled millet crop has failed. The suppliers are unable to give an estimated time of arrival but hopefully the next crop will be harvested late summer. Also drought affected is our medium grain rain-fed brown rice. We do have a good supply at the moment but we can’t guarantee this will remain so.

The ongoing vanilla shortage continues and we’ve had a number of spices out of stock from our usual suppliers. Shopping around, we have been able to source some Garam Masala, Cardamom Pods and Cumin Powder. These should be back on the shelves by the time you read this news. Brown Basmati rice should return late November.

Eagle eyed shoppers may have noticed some changes in the fridges. We’ve been increasing our range of Vegan Cheeses, with some chilled Cream Cheeses (Cashew based) from Nutty Bay of Byron. We’re also stocking a Vegan Cheddar style block from Dairy Free Down Under.

Dairy lovers should look for the new cheeses from True Organics. Paris Creek has under gone a re-branding; expect a different look, and, due to high price increases we will unfortunately no longer be stocking Paris Creek cheese or butter. Matt from the Little Big Dairy tells me dairy producers have been struggling with the drought. But unlike the extreme price fluctuations for fruit and vegetables, dairy product prices tend not to change. He also tells me they intend to supply butter very soon, hopefully as tasty as their amazing cream.

Plus, look out for spelt mince pies and a variety of Xmas puddings.

Mike Patterson – Stock Coordinator

Featured fruit

Piel De Sapo: The Winter-weather Melon

Sapo or Santa Claus melon is a long life melon that tastes like a cross between honeydew and rock melon. Look out for it in store and check out this video on how to prepare and eat it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4xzvX66VuY

Stone fruit and berries are coming in for the start of summer and the festive season and as always there’s plenty of local leafy greens available.

In the Big Little Shop

Get Cheeki with the new range of reusable drink bottles and smoothie cups, featuring cool colours and new designs.

Tumbler – Stainless Steel Straw included with a mid-section bump so it won’t fall out and make a mess. Cold for up to 6 hours. Vacuum Insulation. Life Time Warranty. Material: Premium Food Grade 304 (18/8) Stainless Steel. BPA & Toxin Free. No Inside lining and toxic free inks. Cup holder friendly. 100% Recyclable Product & Packaging. Hand wash tumbler. Dishwasher friendly lid. Freezing not recommended.

Sports lid (sold separately) – This incredibly unique and newly engineered Tri-Tech Sports Lid fits all our New Cheeki Classic Range Stainless Steel Water Bottles. With three adjustable flow settings this lid is great for kids, sports, work and busy families. The leak-proof OFF setting means your bottle can go in any bag. The dust lid keeps the drinking spout clean and free of dirt and grime for when you’re on the go.

Straws – Cheeki stainless steel straws have a rounded top so are less sharp and nicer to drink from than other non-round metal straws. And they have different colours in the set that can be helpful for families.

Cheeki was born by the beach in Freshwater, Australia in 2009 and was the first brand to introduce stainless steel water bottles to the Australian market.  The Cheeki range includes water bottles, coffee cups and mugs, lunchboxes, food jars, reusable straws and tumblers.

New from U- Konserve

Wine Tumblers –  Waste-free living just got easier with these new stemless travel wine glasses, designed for hot and cold beverages. The perfect alternative to breakable glass and wasteful plastic, they’re great for parties, camping, beach days, poolside, outdoor dining, and everyday waste-free sipping. Keep wine, iced tea and cocktails cold. Also great for hot tea, coffee and cocoa. The ideal shatterproof solution for outdoor dining, dinner parties and on-the-go sipping!

Double-walled and vacuum-insulated. Very hot beverages will stay hot for over two hours with lid. Durable 304 (18/8) stainless steel with Tritan lid. Easy-to-clean see-through lids. Exterior stays room temperature and condensation-free. Dishwasher safe (top rack). Free of BPA, phthalates and lead. 8 oz (236 ml).

Also from U-Konserve we have new bottle brushes for water bottles or for any bottle you’d like to reuse for storage.

The Stray Whisker

Kick start your wet shaving routine and forgo disposable plastic razors with beautiful safety razors, cruelty-free shaving brushes and After Shave Balm from local grooming gurus The Stray Whisker.

Perfect Potion

Perfect Potion’s new range of essential oils include the limited Christmas edition Noel with sweet and spicy scents of sweet orange, bay, pine, lime, clove and nutmeg. Plus, check out Hug Time with its lavender, sweet orange, palmrosa, geranium, patchouli, ginger, ylang ylang, and rose notes.

Bozy bags

Bag a bargain and support Fair Trade social enterprise with our new Bozy shopping bags from Bangladesh.

Tea towels galore

We have loads of beautiful screen printed tea towels in store, perfect for gift giving, including our very own Co-op tea towel in a variety of colours and designs.

2019 Astrological chart

The ever-popular Thomas Zimmer 2019 astrological chart and moon planting calendar has arrived!

 

Suggestion box
21st November, 2018

Your say

We value your comments and suggestions. Here are a few recent ideas.

We’ve had quite a few comments coming through the suggestion box recently. From requests for millet flakes and Tulsi tea – we’re looking into these – to support and condemnation for selling meat at the Co-op.

We value all your feedback so please keep it coming in a respectful manner, and if you’d like to email us hello@bmfoodcoop.org.au

Co-op night market
21st November, 2018

Join in the fun as Ha’penny Lane comes to life on Saturday evening December 8.

Members and the general public are invited to a celebration. In conjunction with Toolo and Junction 142 and The Little Lost Bookshop, the Blue Mountains Food Co-op is hosting a night market in Ha’penny Lane, Saturday December 8th between 4 – 9pm. Although the main store will be closed there’ll be lots of other stallholders, music and food, and the Big Little Shop will be open for all your sustainable Xmas shopping.

Stallholders include: Cocoa Ruby’s delicious, gluten and dairy-free artisan-made vegan cakes. Wilderness Coffee Project will be mixing up some espresso mocktails and chai, plus check out their range of cold brew and espresso coffee accoutrements. Robin’s Seedlings will be selling a range of organic herbs and vegies for your garden. Not Without Spice will have meal kits and spice rubs. Plus, more stalls to be announced.

If anyone would like to busk at the market please contact us at hello@bmfoodcoop.org.au.

 

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