Grow your own

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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.

Brew a Batch review
17th January, 2019

Brew your own
Home brew just got a little easier with the release of Brew a Batch by Christopher Sidwa writes Maddison Pitt.

If you’re just starting to brew or want to move past the supermarket kits, Christopher Sidwa provides a very handy 101 in his book ‘Brew a Batch’.
The book starts out by explaining different beer styles, the raw ingredients that make beer and what you’ll need to brew your own batch. Christopher reminds us to keep it simple and local when it comes to home brewing.

Before you invest in expensive gear, I recommend borrowing what you can from friends or buying second hand, such as a bottle capper and reusing old glass beer bottles instead of buying new ones.

Christopher also suggests making your own fermentation bucket out of a re-purposed
plastic bucket with a lid. Don’t forget to thoroughly sanitise everything that will come into contact with your soon to be beer!

Before you start making the wort, read the instructions thoroughly so you have an idea as to what’s about to happen. Keep your ‘Brew A Batch’ book at the ready and follow through the easy to read step-by-step instructions and check in with the pictures provided. Allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy this brewing process.

A handy tip from the book; ’Magic Trick #4 – after enjoying your home brew, rinse your bottle out with water to remove the sediment, making them easier to sanitise for your next brew.’

An easy and informative read for the DIY beer enthusiast.

If you’re interested in starting your own brew, Hop and Grain Brew Store in Marrickville provide great starter kits and a wide array of hops, yeast, malts and other grains to experiment with.

Get ready to pop a frothy of your own in a few weeks time!

Brew a Batch is published by Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.

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

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.

 

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.

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