10 minutes with…The Herbiary creators

News

10 minutes with…The Herbiary creators
21st November, 2018

We are lucky to have some talented staff on the team at the Co-op. Relief worker and herbalist Maddison Pitt, who started in May this year, recently launched a range of herbal skin and body care products with her partner Del Woodland under the label The Herbiary. We asked Maddison to tell us a little bit about herself and the brand.

Q: What is your background and how did you come to be working at the Co-op?

A: I wanted to be a part of the Co-op as soon as I started to shop there. My background is in retail, most recently working in a community pharmacy. My partner and I joined the Co-op a few years ago and loved the ethos and focus on low environmental impact, supporting local growers and makers whilst providing needed resources for the community. After graduating from Western Herbal Medicine at the end of 2017 I wanted a workplace that was like-minded and was lucky enough to secure a position at the Co-op.

Q: What got you interested in herbalism?

A: I started to question the way we ‘do’ health. Complimentary medicine focuses on people as a whole being, an approach that resonated with me. The philosophy of herbal medicine, encompassing our physical, spiritual, and emotional health led me to study Western Herbal Medicine. I wanted to know what it meant to be a healthy and ‘well’ being.

I was particularly drawn to herbal medicine because of the connection to nature through herbs, plants, and natural materials. It was amazing to think a plant in my backyard may have the ability to heal if prepared in a certain way. The idea of making your own medicine, understanding the process of medicinal manufacturing, and using your hands to heal fascinated me.

Q: What is the ethos behind The Herbiary?

A: We wanted to take a holistic approach to our product range. To us this meant utilising the innate healing ability of herbs while operating kindly. We are committed to treading lightly, our packaging is plastic free, recycled or recyclable. Our ingredients are fairly traded, organic, animal cruelty free and vegan. Kind to your skin, the earth, people and animals.

Q: What products do you make?

A: Our herbal bath salts are currently in store at the Big Little Shop, they are magnesium and herb rich to soothe tired muscles and minds, while nourishing the skin. Our gentle exfoliating body scrubs will be available very soon along with our moisturising ‘mylk’ bath which is suitable for folks of all ages.

Q: What other services do you offer?

A: I also offer herbal medicine consultations where I can formulate personalised herbal preparations. Both Del and I have lots of projects on the go and even more ideas for 2019. You can follow our socials or head to our website to see more!

@the.herbiary

theherbiary.com.au

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

It’s a village out there!
21st November, 2018

The Village by Matt and Lentil

A book to make you “yearn for that deep connection to people and places close to you.”

What an amazing book! Set out in three parts (the village, the growing and of course the eating) it is a thorough bible for sustainable living.

The authors’ shared experience of villages really makes you yearn for that deep connection to people and places close to you.

I loved Matt and Lentil’s advice on growing including ideas about how anyone can grow, even if you’re renting or living in a flat. The eight steps to natural gardening are so interesting and detailed. Being a novice in the garden, I found it really useful to read a frank description of what they do and when.

The planting projects are really inspiring and seem like a doable place to start. The idea to focus on one thing first up is great. I’m particularly drawn to grow an abundance of tomatoes, zucchini and rocket as suggested! Easy to grow, abundant harvest? Yes! The sweet potato crates sound pretty straight forward too.

Just as I started reading The Village I happened upon a bunch of zucchini that had split open. Sure enough, zucchini pickle featured in the book. I have it stewing away in the cupboard and can’t wait to be cracking it open over Xmas. Waste not want not.

The smoothie chart in the recipe section looks so simple and useful. It’s unique, setting out all the different elements and options/quantities to be used to build a great smoothie every time.

The beautiful photographs throughout draw you into a gardeny world and you just want to go live there…or recreate it.

Really inspiring.

Review by Bec Tyson, Co-op sales assistant

Bec’s home-made zucchini pickles. Recipe from The Village by Matt and Lentil, Published by Plum, RRP $45.00, Photography by Shantanu Starick.

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.

 

The Weed Forager’s Handbook
18th October, 2018

Everything you need to know about weed foraging is contained in The Weed Forager’s Handbook – A Guide to Edible and Medicinal Weeds in Australia, by Adam Grubb and Annie Raser- Rowland. A must-have addition to your sustainable living library, the handy little tome, first published in 2012 and since reprinted numerous times, will fit snugly in your jacket pocket or backpack while you scour parks and gardens for your feed of wild food.

The five well illustrated and simply explained chapters cover the topics of weed appreciation, top 20 weeds, other useful weeds, recipes and gardening with weeds, highlighting not only the usefulness of weeds as food, medicine and soil improvers but exploring the philosophy and tradition of foraging passed down from our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

This well-thumbed edition belongs to Herbalist and Co-op worker Madison. 

Authors Raser-Rowland and Grubb are also behind The Art of Frugal Hedonism, which encourages us all to enjoy more while spending less.

Read more on weeds from Horticultural Editor of ABC Organic Gardener magazine Penny Woodward here.

 

 

10 minutes with Lis Bastian
17th October, 2018

Part of the solution

Environmental activist, teacher and The Big Fix founder, Lis Bastian, is combining permaculture and social enterprise to help mountains youth kick start sustainable careers. Learn more about Lis, solutions journalism and her passion project.

Q: What is The Big Fix and what are its aims?

A: The Big Fix Inc is a not for profit organisation that started in Blackheath in 2007 as a climate action group. We were originally called Blackheath CAN! We’ve grown to become an arts, media and community development service.

Our mission is to “Change the story” – to grow a collaborative solutions-focused culture and we do this via both show and tell. We ‘show’ by establishing projects (like Blackheath Community Farm) and ‘tell’ by supporting storytelling through a range of media services, including The Big Fix magazine, Global Solutions Digests and our template for other communities, Blackheath Local News.

Q: What is your background?

A: Previously I’ve had a range of roles in arts, community development and climate change work. As well as being an Art teacher, Education Officer at the Art Gallery of NSW and Curator of Orange Regional Gallery, I was CEO of Arts OutWest, a Climate Adaptation Officer for 17 Central NSW Councils, CEO of Varuna, Public Programs Manager for the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and Lecturer in Operations & Environmental Management at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School. I also co-founded the Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute with Rowe Morrow.

Q: What are some of the positive outcomes of The Big Fix?

  • Started Blackheath Community Market and ran bulk buys for hazelnut trees and solar panels.
  • Attracted almost $100,000 of funding to Blackheath, which has employed lots of local storytellers, including young people, and helped establish the Community Farm.
  • Strengthened local community via the Community Farm and other projects.
  • Supported activities of other groups by sharing their stories.
  • Received feedback that people read our news first so that they’re not disheartened by mainstream media.
  • Helped switch businesses away from plastic straws and run a Youth Cafe.
  • Trained lots of permaculturists and permaculture teachers.
  • Created a model that can be scaled to other communities.

Q: Can you tell us about your new project to engage youth through permaculture and social enterprise?

Our most recent project is Grounded – a Youth Permaculture and Social Enterprise Project which has been funded by Blue Mountains City Council, Bendigo Bank and Sydney Water.

It emerged from an alliance of local businesses and organisations, including the Co-op, and we’re offering a free Permaculture Design Course for young people aged 16-24. The course will be quite an exciting new version of the internationally recognised PDC because it will include training to help students design land and their own social enterprise. Over the next six months, following the course, they’ll get ongoing mentorship and support to establish a local business or businesses for young people in the Blue Mountains.

Anyone interested in participating in the course can contact Lis on 0407 437 553 or email lis@thebigfix.org

 

 

What’s new?

Check out seasonal fruit and veg, plus new arrivals in the Big Little shop just in time for Xmas.

Fruit & veg

There is still plenty of citrus on offer while new season fruit is starting to trickle into store including mango, papaya and avocado.

Purple veg features strongly with cabbage, sprouting broccoli and even purple pak choy flying the flag. There’s lots of lovely leafy greens on the local stand and look out for new season garlic arriving in a couple of weeks along with some locally grown garlic plaits.

Say cheese

A new selection of dairy and vegan cheese is headed our way including Camembert, Feta, Double Brie and Haloumi from Organic Dairy Farmers. Cheddar style block from Dairy-free Down Under. And a tasty range of flavoured cashew cheeses handmade in Byron Bay from Nutty Bay.

Bags, bags, bags

Xmas gift giving got a little easier with the arrival of these beautiful new slub cotton ‘Foliage’ bags from Apple Green Duck. Available in a variety of colours they retail for $24.48 for members and $27.20 for non-members. STOP PRESS: WE ARE CURRENTLY SOLD OUT OF FOLIAGE BAGS BUT HAVE ORDERED MORE!

Plus, we have a huge range of organic, bamboo, calico, cotton, and jute string, produce, shopping and tote bags to make all your shopping bright, cheery and plastic-free.

Top Tip – Make it easier on yourself and write the weight of your re-useable produce bag on the bag using a fabric marker so it won’t wash off.

Just in

Activated Charcoal Vegan Dental Floss

Floss like a boss with Dr Tung’s lemongrass flavoured Activated Charcoal Vegan Dental Floss.

Competition
17th October, 2018

Organic gardening tips

Did you know?

Attractive herb and flower hedgerows encourage diversity both above and below the soil by creating hotbeds of fungal mycelium, and providing habitat for native animals and beneficial bugs.

Tell us your top organic gardening tips to win a 2019 ABC Organic Gardener calendar and diary set.

How do you combat pests and diseases in your organic vegie patch?

Share your top tips to hello@bmfoodcoop.org.au and go into the draw to win an ABC 2019 ABC Organic Gardener calendar and diary set. Competition closes Friday October 26.

A dam good cause
17th October, 2018

Farm resilience

Local growers, Erika Watson and Hayden Druce of Epicurean Harvest, are throwing open the farm gates to future-proof their property. They took time out from farm chores to fill us in on life on the land and the hefty toll of drought.

Q: What got you into farming?

We both did horticultural science degrees at Sydney Uni. Trying to avoid being scuttled into conventional agricultural graduate employment streams we decided to take the skills we had gained and apply them in the most direct and fitting way we saw possible – growing vegetables responsibly for lovely people who appreciate them.

Q: What do you grow and who/where is your market?

A: We grow a very wide range of vegetables from eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers etc. to interesting herbs and unusual yams and things. We primarily grow for restaurants (including some pretty top-notch Sydney-based chefs) but also for a few local restaurants, grocers and co-ops in the mountains

Q: Can you describe your farming methods?

A: We grow chemical free, organic vegetables and we aim to farm regeneratively. This means taking into account the vegetable production as part of the whole farm ecosystem. The pasture, the animals and the vegetables all need to be accountable to one another, and biodiversity and ecosystem processes need to be moving forward. That is our primary aim.

Q: How has the drought affected the farm and what are the personal costs?

A: Lack of winter (and summer) rain has significantly reduced ground water flows (for bores) and also most dam water has been lost through evaporation over the period. Recent rains have been good for the pasture but have done little to top up dams or really recharge the groundwater system. Without enough stored water to operate the veggie farm we are needing to adapt in as many ways possible, but ultimately we will suffer significant losses due to restrictions in production if we do not get significant rainfall for an extended period of time.

Q: What are your plans and hopes for the future of Bula Mirri and agriculture in general in Australia?

A: We want Bula Mirri to be a productive living example of regenerative, multi-enterprise farming. We also want it to be a place for community to experience and learn and enjoy. Celebrating farming as part of culture rather than separating the two is essential to being more accountable to the land and ecosystems we farm on as well as having an enjoyable time doing it.

Erika and Hayden are throwing open the farm gates for a Farm Resilience Fundraiser on November 4. To read more about the event and purchase tickets click here.

 

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