Milkwood – Real skills for down-to-earth living

Category Archives: Seasonal eating

Milkwood – Real skills for down-to-earth living
12th September, 2018

Kick start your sustainable life with down-to-earth skills from the dynamic duo behind Milkwood permaculture.

The first book from the founders of Milkwood Permaculture, sustainability advocates Kirsten Bradley and Nick Ritar, is not only the realisation of ten years of hard-won practical know-how, it is a celebration of lifestyle. A lifestyle where time-honoured traditions of growing, cultivating, foraging and preserving food are practised with respect for the environment and enthusiasm for self-reliance.

Homemade and heartfelt, this beautiful instructional tome thoroughly explains five areas of the pair’s expertise – wild food, natural beekeeping, mushroom cultivation, tomatoes and the harvest and use of one of Australia’s least utilised resources, seaweed – providing readers with practical skills, recipes, hacks, inspiration and a glimpse into Bradley and Ritar’s own down-to-earth life.

BM Food Co-op caught up with Kirsten Bradley to find out how the book came about.

Q: You teach various courses at Milkwood Permaculture was this book a natural progression from that and what do you hope to achieve with it?

Kirsten: Yes in many ways it was, we wanted to share knowledge in a way that it can sit in your lounge-room or backyard with you, and be absorbed over time.

Q: Why did you focus on just five subjects – Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Beekeeping, Seaweed and Wild Food?

Kirsten: Well they’re ‘five of our favourite things’, so to speak, and also we didn’t want to just give a little bit of info about too many subjects, we wanted to dive in deep! So we started with five subjects that we love doing in our daily life, which are also super fascinating AND super delicious. Our next plan is to do another five subjects, and then another five…

Q: What advice would you give someone wanting to embark on a more self-sufficient life?

Kirsten: Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can! We’d recommend starting with just one small habit, and learning to do that really well. It might be keeping a worm farm, or learning to make yogurt, or learning to identify 10 local edible weeds where you live. Once you’ve got that one thing nailed, and you’re doing it regularly, in your daily life, choose one more thing. It’s amazing where you can end up.

Q: You practice what you preach – do you ever get any down time and does it ever feel too hard living a self-reliant life?

Kirsten: We don’t get a heap of down time, but on the other hand, part of our ‘weekly work’ is things like weeding, or taking the goats down the gully, or making bread. And for me, those sorts of things are what I’d want to be doing with my spare time anyway, so it works out pretty well. It can get a bit crazy in harvest season when the kitchen floor is covered in just-picked food that all needs to be bottled NOW because it’s a heatwave and otherwise it will all be mouldy by tomorrow, but still I wouldn’t have it any other way. And if you have too many pears to process, you can always share them up and down the street. It’s all good.

Q: What’s next for Milkwood – are you already planning a sequel?

Kirsten: Yes I’m bursting to write another five chapters, actually! There’s so much to share, it’s pretty exciting. And we’re so lucky to all live in a place where these skills and ideas are accessible and possible, so I do feel the best way to spend my days is sharing this knowledge so that more and more households and communities can grow and be healthy. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? x

Milkwood – Real skills for down-to-earth living by Kirsten Bradley & Nick Ritar

Murdoch Books, RRP $45

 

There’s nothing “fake” about our local, unprocessed honey.

A recent investigation conducted jointly by Fairfax and the ABC revealed startling evidence of “fake” or adulterated honey on Australian supermarket shelves. Of the 28 jars of “pure” honey tested by German laboratory QSI, 12 were found to be adulterated with honey substitutes.

At the Co-op all our honey is pure, unprocessed and unpasteurised. And we’re lucky enough to have local suppliers including Malfroy’s Gold and Bruce Rogers of Rylstone. Both beekeepers practise natural methods of extraction and harvest from their hives which are placed in isolated areas of western Sydney, the Blue Mountains and central western NSW.

Tim Malfroy (pictured above) of Malfroy’s Gold stated recently on social media that imported “fake” honey “has been an open secret within the industry since at least 2004”. He also thanked supporters for taking an active interest in his “vision for ethical, sustainable Warré style apiculture and locally produced, 100% pure wild honey.” Thank you Tim.

Photo: Eric Tourneret The Bee Photographer

 

Wild Weed Workshop
12th September, 2018

You will never look at weeds in the same way again after taking part in this workshop.

Diego Bonetto is a weed forager, artist, storyteller and an expert on identifying the nutritious plants that grow under our feet that most people call ‘weeds’.

Take a walk on the wild side and discover the edible and medicinal plants that grow around us. Learn about the role weeds play in repairing and building soil. Find out how they have been used for food, craft and natural remedies. Discover ways to safely harvest from the wild and enrich your diet with vitamins and minerals.

Each participant will receive a booklet detailing 16 of the most common wild edibles of the greater Sydney region.

The Weedy One

We asked Diego Bonetto aka The Weedy One what got him into weeds.

Q: What got you interested in wild food and foraging?

Diego: Where I grew up, on a dairy farm in northern Italy, harvesting seasonal bounties is just another chore. I grew up with collecting bitter greens from the fields in springtime, summer berries and autumn mushrooms. When I moved to Australia 25 years ago I continued with the same practice of collecting gifts from nature.

Q: What are weeds useful for?

Diego: All sorts of things. “Weeds” are pioneer species, opportunistic plants with a specific ecological task: to cover soil and start the process of remediation after a disruption. It also happens that many of them are edible and/or have medicinal qualities. We can talk about co-evolution if you want, and that would explain why we have so much to answer about the proliferation of pioneer species. Weeds are good, and food.

Q: You do a lot of foraging in urban areas – how do you mitigate contamination by pesticides, animal faeces or other pollutants?

Diego: You only ever forage where you know it is clean. Even then, it is now proven that wild urban plants do not take up as much contaminant as we might expect them to. A simple vinegar wash would cleanse the plants of any dust and oils. But anyhow. I always say that the best place to forage is your own garden, so that you forage where you know how many dogs there are, who sprays what and also a bit of history of the soil.

Q: Do you have a favourite weed you like to cook with or use medicinally?

Diego: Depending on the season. At the moment I am waiting for the mulberries. In Sydney we have a lot of wild mulberries, and they are delicious.

Q: Are there any “weeds” you know of that are endemic to the Blue Mountains?

Diego: I do not think you can have an endemic weed. I guess native species that are a bit too aggressive could be golden wattle and sweet pittosporum.

There are still a few spots left so to book your ticket for the Wonderful Wild Weeds workshop click here.

Location: Upper Blue Mountains – to be confirmed

 

What’s on in September
4th September, 2018

Meat at the Co-op FAQs
23rd August, 2018

Meat at the Co-op – to be updated in November 

 

Grow heirloom fruit & veg
15th August, 2018

ABC Organic Gardener Essential Guide: Heirlooms

The latest edition in the ABC Organic Gardener’s Essential Guide series celebrates the incredible world of heirlooms. From 900-year-old ‘Purple Dragon’ carrots, to apples and oranges that arrived with the First Fleet, Heirlooms shows you how to grow your own and recommends the best cultivars for your patch.

Featuring content previously published in the popular magazine plus new articles by trusted horticultural writers including Penny Woodward and Justin Russell, the ‘mook’ (a cross between a book and a magazine) includes advice and tips for growing old-fashioned fruit, veg and flowers, seed-saving, raising heritage chook and pig breeds, and even the joy of scything. Heirlooms would make a welcome addition to your gardening reference library or a great gift for a green thumb.

We have two copies to giveaway. Simply email your contact details to  hello@bmfoodcoop.org.au with Heirlooms in the subject line, and a brief description or photo of any heirloom fruit or veg you’ve grown to be eligible to win.

ABC Organic Gardener Essential Guide: Heirlooms is on sale in newsagents and from ABC Centres and abc.net.au/shop and retails for $10.99.

 

August in store
9th August, 2018

Winter warmers

Blood oranges, ruby grapefruit, local lemons, tangelos, limes, mandarins and oranges are in store now so make the most of this colourful vitamin-packed bounty.

Broccoli in all its shapes and forms, including purple sprouting, is also plentiful as are other brassicas including cabbage, cauliflower, kale and their cousin the much maligned Brussels sprout.

 

Off the shelf

Glüh-Brew is an organic spiced syrup to make mulled wine. Mix it with the red wine of your choice, then warm it up to make mulled wine. Glüh-Brew contains only certified organic ingredients and filtered water. One 330ml bottle makes up a total of 2.25 litres or three bottles of wine. You can make up as much or as little as you want at any time. Add 30ml to a large mug, or 100ml to one 750ml bottle of wine, then heat on the stove top or in the microwave, but be sure not to boil. Alternatively you can add Glüh-Brew to gin or vodka on ice, or add a splash to a glass of bubbly. If you don’t feel like drinking, then try Glüh-Brew drizzled on ice cream, yoghurt, pancakes, waffles, poached fruit, or add a dash to your tea. Glüh-Brew is proudly made in the Blue Mountains.

Star Dust powder mixes from Mindful Foods for lattes and smoothies include Longevity, Detox, Energise, Immunity and Anti-Inflammatory blends.

Our well-stocked tea range includes new additions such as Nature’s Cuppa Organic Chai Spice and Planet Organic Ginger, Echinacea and Spearmint tea bags.

These lip-smacking fig and mulberry jams from Earthcare Farm are a new addition to the Co-op’s shelves.

Currently out of stock

  • Sizzler Corn Chips (bulk) Product issues ETA late August
  • Raisins and Currants. Poor crop this year.
  • Unhulled Sesame Seeds. Not ordering from Murray River Organics (our only supplier) due to stock-outs and high minimum freight free order.
  • Tamarind and Creamed Coconut Blocks. Looking for new supplier. Previous supplier no longer trading.
July in store
12th July, 2018

Purple haze

This month sees an influx of rare and unusual fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on purple!

Cauliflowers

Mark Twain described cauliflowers as “cabbages with college educations”. These purple ones, in store now for a limited time, are not only smart but also packed with anthocyanin – a flavonoid found in blueberries and grapes – thought to have anti-inflammatory health benefits.

Purple and yellow carrots

Carrots are packed with minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium, and are a good source of vitamin C, niacin and folate. The absorption of the protective beta carotene is increased by slightly cooking or finely pulverising.

Dragon fruit

Most of us associate dragon fruit with tropical salads we’ve eaten on holiday in south east Asia, but did you know that the dragon fruit, or Pitaya, comes from a cactus native to the Americas?

In the big Little Shop

Check out our fantastic range of bamboo, stainless steel and glass drinking straws (and cleaning brushes) because plastic straws suck!

Pop up cake stall
11th July, 2018

Local maker Cocoa Ruby will be bringing her beautiful vegan cakes to the Co-op Wednesday 18th July.

Featuring four of her favourite creations:

Raspberry, White Chocolate and Rose Cheesecake

Choc Mint and Matcha Mudslide

Chai Cheesecake

Black Forest Cake.

Come on down for a yummy treat and a chat to sweeten up winter!

Winter wellness tips
11th July, 2018

In our last newsletter we ran a competition to win a Winter Wellness pack. To enter we asked newsletter subscribers for their tips for staying healthy during the colder months. Here are the fabulous entries we received starting with our winner Michaela Dabson’s ode to winter wellness and finishing with a spicy recipe for Sarah de Graaf’s Hot Devil Drink.

Winner:

Citrus, ginger, laughter, friends,

Epsom salt baths with 2tsp of bicarb soda added for efficacy.

Log fires lit with dried citrus peel,

Pumpkin and sweet potato soup,

Brassicas, sunlight, motion.

Flubru – boil up garlic, fresh chilli, cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamon, ginger root, teaspoon of fenugreek seeds till soft.  Strain, Add lemon and zest, favorite honey (and a tot of whisky?). This tried and tested remedy for the winter flu blues can blow your socks off or gently soothe, depending on the proportions. It goes very well with a log fire, a comfy cushion and a book.  May it bring comfort, leading to wellness.

Fresh ginger and turmeric with your breakfast yoghurt and in “Golden Milk” before bed time. Recipe: turmeric, ginger, cloves, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon & honey simmered in almond milk. Strain before drinking!

Stay active. Walk each day – even if it’s cold. Get some sun as well. Grab a friend to make it more fun. Staying connected helps beat the winter blues.

Keep your digestive fire alive with warm meals, nourishing teas and fresh soft homemade produce! Organic porridge with cinnamon, fresh vegetable congee and hearty coconut cream pumpkin soups!

A 10 minute morning meditation! Enable clarity and calmness to brace the chilly weather! Connect back with the inhale-exhale to embrace all that these beautiful months will deliver

Keep friends close! Connect with friends over organic chai, hot cocoa and organic coffee pots! Social connection lifts the spirit and fuels the soul with positive vibes.

Prioritising gut health in winter is an effective way to avoid the flu and getting run down. To make your own; all you need is shredded cabbage, carrot, ginger, turmeric and salt.

My tip is homemade chicken soup filled with delicious vegetables and noodles, followed by stewed pears with cinnamon and brown sugar.

The way to fight colds is to boost yourself beforehand. A colourful and tasty vegie soup with a tomato base and garlic, ginger, lemon juice plus protein helps my immunity.

Continue to get out and exercise, whether it be a bushwalking, mulching the garden or a walk around the block. Dress appropriately for the weather and enjoy the fresh air, the sun and Vitamin D. This will keep your mood elevated and help your body stay healthy.

Get plenty of sleep, Stay hydrated (so easy to not feel thirsty in colder months). Broth it up! And keep moving!

Hot Devils Death drink. It contains all and every herb and spice you can find in your cupboard with an emphasis on warming herbs/spices. If you have a healthy collection of spices don’t get too excited.

Essentials  – ginger fresh root

– pepper

– lemon juice and rind

– garlic (or not if you don’t eat alium)

– honey

– cinnamon

– cayenne

Others may include

– chilli flakes

– cloves

– liquorice dried root

– orange rind

– turmeric fresh or ground

– lemongrass fresh or dried

– fenugreek leaf or seed

– fennel seeds

– star anise

– ginger ground

– white pepper ground

Boil the ginger in 1.5 cups of water till the water shows colour and smells spicy.

If using fresh turmeric and lemongrass turn down the heat and add them and the rind of the lemon and orange. Keep at a simmer fro about 5 mins then add the seeds, dried and ground herbs after a further 5 minutes add the dried leaf herbs.

The brew should be very strong and often bitter too. Have it as a generous shot mixed with the juice of half a lemon. Throw back if needed. Follow with a chaser of a large teaspoon of honey. Or if you can drink it at a lower temperature you can add the honey. Keep the remaining and have a shot with the lemon juice every 4 hours or so. If you do this at the hint of a sniffle or headache expect to feel better the following day. It is excellent followed by savouring a tea of dried sage by the fire. A devilishly hot way to employ alchemy against the horrid bugaloos in winter.

 

 

 

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