The soil is strong in this one… When Generous Cooks Share. The Complete Urban Chef

Sunday, May 31st, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Some people fall into their vocation others just can’t help themselves. Emily Connors is of “the can’t help herself” variety.  Emily, that’s her harvesting rapa with CERES farmer Vince, says she’s been playing at being a farmer her whole life and it’s about all she’s ever wanted to do. Like so many farmers Emily’s journey started as a kid hanging around in a garden with a special grown-up.  In Emily’s case it was in the veggie patch with her great-aunt Anna on the family’s Inverell sheep and wheat farm.  In her kid’s Blundstones she pretended she was a farmer.  Pretending turned into wwoofing on other people’s places, then some time in Italy gardening and baking before finding herself in Victoria harvesting apples and stone fruit at the Alexandra family’s Hazeldean Forest Farm.After finishing the fruit season Emily was snapped up by CERES Organic Market to sell fruit and veg (you can say hi to her Sunday-Wednesdays).  And then finally a couple of months ago Emily jumped at the chance to stand in at Joe’s Market Garden when farmer Vince took a trip to visit family in Italy.
When Vince returned from his trip he came down to the garden one morning ready to harvest a load of silverbeet only to find Emily packing it all up ready to go to CERES Market.  She had been picking by the light of her head-torch since well before sunrise so she could have it fresh for her customers. The combination seems to have clicked and Emily and Vince have now decided to start farming together.
Over the next few weeks look out in our boxes for some of Vince and Emily’s Italian heirloom vegetables – they’re harvesting endive, green raddichio and bunches of rapa (or mustard greens).  The strong bitter flavours of these beloved winter staples go well with other robust ingredients and dressings. The endive and radicchio make punchy winter salads, while you can use the rapa just like kale or silverbeet.

The Shop News. Herby quinoa salad…

Thursday, May 28th, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Our new mixed fruit and veg box for 2 or 3 has cooking essentials like garlic, ginger and herbs, produce basics as well as something interesting to shake up your cooking routine. Order one for delivery next week and we’ll slip in a treat from our hands-down favourite chocolate makers, Cocoa Rhapsody. The Generous Cook’s Box costs $49.50 and it’s online from 28th May – that would be today! Read more … 

Are you a generous cook? The recipe shift.

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Okay so next Thursday we’re launching a new box.  That’s a food stylist’s impression of it in the picture above.  Our new box is about the size of the popular Small Mixed Fruit and Veg – so it’s good for 2 or 3 people and has those cooking essentials like garlic and ginger, herbs, your standard produce basics as well something interesting or possibly uncommon to shake up your cooking routine.  We’re calling it the Generous Cook’s Box and to help launch it we’re giving away all three volumes of The Hungry Girls Cookbook.These highly prized handmade recipe books will go to the person who shares the story of a meal they once cooked for somebody special using something unusual (I’m talking ingredients here as opposed to implements).So send us your story – we’re talking around 200 words – to by midnight Wednesday 27th May.   We’ll announce the winner on Thursday the 28th when we put The Generous Cook’s Box online.

A big thanks to The Hungry Girls for generously donating their books for our prize.  Here is how they describe their wonderful work;
Hungry Girls’ Cookbooks are more like works of art than regular recipe books. Each edition is lined with cloth and hand-sewn, and inside you’ll find dishes to excite and delight. A crisp green bean, breadcrumb and pistachio salad, a soba noodle soup for a simple and satisfying weeknight meal, a delicious lemon poppy seed cake, and plenty more. These unique books are the work of three friends – Rachel Pitts, Leah Holscher and Katherine Bird – who have combined their love of food to create the recipes, photography and illustrations.

Buontempos: Brothers in Gluten Free Arms

Sunday, May 17th, 2015 at 9:39 pm

You wouldn’t know it from their deceptively unassuming fluoro attire but these two men are international gluten free food heroes.  Max and Frank Buontempo are the brothers behind Orgran – one of the world’s gluten free food powerhouses.Today, from their amazing factory in Carrum Downs, they make and export gluten free cereals, flours, pastas, biscuits, crackers and more to 55 countries around the world.
You’d think with the rise and rise of “gluten free” these guys would be household names. But Max and Frank prefer to keep a pretty low profile concentrating on making and selling good food rather than producing some attention grabbing marketing vehicle like a gluten free My Kitchen Rules.
Max and Frank are old school; they started Orgran 30 years ago in Box Hill when there was very little gluten free food available. Working things out themselves they pioneered the use of now popular grains like buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth.  And as you may have experienced yourself getting things right with gluten free isn’t easy and Max and Frank freely admit to producing a “few duds” through the years.
As the business has expanded Max and Frank have steadily grown their gluten free, egg free, dairy free, nut free, GMO free, vegan friendly range to about 90 products of which, as of this week, Fair Food has about 45.
Which brings us to last Monday in the  Fair Food warehouse when Alex, Fair Food’s grocery buyer, was jumping out of her skin with excitement as two pallets or Orgran products were forklifted off the delivery truck.  Alex has been working day and night to get those products into the webshop (well actually just days – she has to go home to take care of her dog and go swimming and things.)  Anyway after a marathon effort she got them all online and if you’re keen you can find all of Max and Frank’s Orgran foods here.
Okay now for a heads-up – Orgran aren’t Certified Organic, they use locally grown, organic ingredients where possible but when organic isn’t available they source conventional substitutes  –  this means they can always supply their customers who depend on gluten free products (which is their top priority) even when they are faced with organic shortages.

Australian Certified not quite Organic. Annual Survey Wrap. Crowdfunding news

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015 at 12:43 pm

So you may have been following WA farmer, Steve Marsh’s GM contamination case. Marsh(that’s him with his kelpie) is an organic wheat farmer who lost his organic certification after genetically modified canola seeds drifted onto his property during his neighbour’s harvest.The analogy that was used to argue the case is that if you spray chemicals on your farm and those chemicals damage your neighbour’s crop then you are liable for for the cost of those damages.

The magistrate however found that it was the Australian Organic Standards that were to blame for being too rigid and should be altered to accept GM contamination (this ruling is currently being appealed).
Following the judge’s line of thinking there is currently an application before OISCC (Organic Industry Standards and Certification Council) to change the organic standard to allow GM contamination on organic farms.This is a pragmatic approach that would prevent the Steve Marsh’s of this world losing their organic certification when something like this happens. It seems sensible but it begins the process of allowing a level of GM contamination in organic food.

It also absolves GM farmers and technology companies of taking responsibility for the damage their products may cause to neighbouring farms which is at the heart of the Steve Marsh case – basically a duty of care between neighbours.

If you want to keep a zero tolerance for GMO’s on organic farms then are petitioning OISCC here.You can also email directly to OISCC here.

Apologies to those who like their Fair Food newsletters politics free but if we want our food GM Free then it’s times like these we have speak up.


Lao cookstove project more than just carbon. Feeling good with Dr Chan

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 at 3:16 pm

A few years ago while driving across the endless Nullabor Plain, Dr Miin Chan and her newly wedded husband, Niel, were sipping on some home fermented tibicos while listening to Nina Simone sing Feeling Good.  Somewhere in the middle of that desert highway that young doctor, seeking an avenue to do greater good, that classic soulful song and and a slightly fizzy fermented beverage, fused into the name of their future tibicos brewing venture – Doctor Chan’s Feeling Good Ferments.

While travelling in Mexico, Miin and Niel, discovered tibicos, a fermented drink it’s origins lost in the mists of Central American time.  Tibicos are a co-operative culture of bacteria and yeasts not unlike a ginger beer plant and are found forming on the pads of the Opuntia cactus as hard granules that can be reconstituted in a sugar-water solution.  Min and Niel add fruits, berries, herbs and spices into their glass fermenters and have created an eclectic mix of probiotic drinks.

Miin and Chan also discovered that kefir in Turkish which is also a term used for the general genus of Tibicos, Japanese Water Crystals, or Tibetan Snow Lotus also means feeling good.  Miin Chan is a medical doctor deeply interested in a probiotic rather than antibiotic approach to human health if  you’re keen to try some her and Niel’s tibicos you’ll find them here.

Read more …

Farmer Noleen: The chosen one. 3,2,1 Good Gut is Go!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 at 3:12 pm

If Keanu Reeve’s Neo was The One who intuitively knows The Matrix then Noleen Glavish is The One who truly knows pumpkins.  After a career as a publisher Noleen has found her calling in the hills around Buxton as a grower.  Each Monday Noleen rolls up in her Landcruiser and pulls out boxes of some of the best looking fruit and vegetables I’ve ever seen.  Her purple garlic is something to behold.  This week Noleen dropped off this year’s instalment of her wonderful heirloom pumpkins  (which you can find in the webshop).  And with a typically casual, “I don’t know what you might do with it, but I’ve got something for you” she presented the giant boston marrow you see Fair Food driver, Hamid, embracing above.  We’ve made a shrine to it on the lunch table and are wondering what we can do to do justice to this gorgeous gourd.I get a kick out of writing out all of Noleen’s pumpkin varieties  Such ebullient names, this list could be a poem or a song,
Baby Blue
Thelma Sanders Squash
Red Kuri
Golden Nugget
Whangaparoa Crown
Marina di Chioggia
Burgess Buttercup
Black Futsu
Blue Hubbard
Sweet Dumpling
Boston Marrow
Lockyer Gold
Green Hubbard
Golden Acorn
Fordhook Acorn
BushfireCut them open and these pumpkins are often yellow or even light brown so don’t be surprised if it’s not the customary bright orange you were expecting.  This is how they are meant to be, says Noleen and after all she should know – she is The One.