Simple Living Toowoomba April...Birdsong Market Garden Farm Tour!
When: Saturday 28th April, 10am-Midday
Where: 118 Boundary St, Cranley, 4350
Cost: $5 and we'll have some morning tea for you
RSVP by April 25th to firstname.lastname@example.org
What: Birdsong Market Garden is a local Nutrition Farm. What this means, is that the farm's top priority is producing nutrient dense veg without the use of harmful chemicals and fertilisers. All the produce is grown organically in remineralised soil.
Come see the farm and bring your questions for farmer, Rick Cameron.
Produce can be purchased on the day if desired, and Birdsong do carry electronic payment facilities.
First of all, a big thanks to Jane Milburn, who spoke at out last Simple Living gathering, on Slow Clothing. I loved how down to earth Jane is, as well as creative! And she encouraged us with the fact that she doesn't believe she started out being creative, but rather it was something that grew in her as she created.
We just returned home from what I believe was the most relaxing holiday we've ever had! Rick and I read, took the children down to the beach several times a day, explored rock pools and generally took it easy. A lovely change from the constant demands of the farm we run here.
Destination: Minnie Water, NSW. Some of you have heard of it, or heard of Wooli, the nearest village. Minnie Water is a rarity in that it's surrounded by National Parks...the Yuragir National Park and the Solitary Islands Marine Park. It can't get any bigger or more populated. If you're like us, that's a big draw card. Not being fans of crowds and the excessive commerce that litters the beaches closest to Toowoomba, we trek down to Minnie Water (an hour North of Coffs Harbour) where it's almost like taking a step back in time and definitely a step closer to nature.
We go off season, and usually have the privilege of having the pristine beach all to ourselves!
I wanted to mention where we stayed too, because if you like a rustic beach shack (that's also got beach frontage) with all the amenities so all you have to do is BYO food and linen, then the Taipan is a great find. If you go at the right time of year, you can literally watch the whales from the dining room table!
Here's a link to the house...
It's such a refreshing change from the high-rise apartments and over crowded scene of the Southern QLD beaches, and being in a beach house is also a bit more relaxing than camping...it rained a little every day we were there, which would have been a bit of an issue with 6 children if we'd been staying in a tent!
Check it out if you're after a quaint village where you can escape the rest of the world for a while (just be aware there's only mobile reception for optus customers...which may or may not be a good thing for you! I enjoyed having no contact to the outside world for a few days)
Thanks so much to local herbologist, Josh Neideck, who came and shared his time and knowledge with us yesterday on using herbs! What a turnout! I think it was our biggest class (in numbers) yet. We just managed to squeeze everyone in and Josh managed to answer a lot of questions in between sharing his experience with us.
It has been suggested that we ask for more recipes people use for salves and other herb based remedies to post here for those who are interested.
One of the basic ways we have used a herb, is picking a leaf of plantain (English Ribwort) to stop bleeding of cuts. I've done this for a slice on my arm , and was really pleased my 10 year old son remembered this little aid when he was swimming at a dam with his mate and his mate got cut. They were nowhere near a house, so my son was able to pick some plantain and stop the bleeding before they headed back to the house. It's very effective!
Plantain is a weed at our place, this is what it looks like (above). Very distinct ribbed leaves. In our present state of drought (I know we're getting some rain, but it's still a bit dry here!), plantain is a little more sparse than in the photo.
One thing I learned last year, is that herbs are mineral and nutrient powerhouses. I was looking at the top sources of selenium (an essential mineral) and catnip was right up there after brazil nuts. Then looking further down the selenium list, were virtually all the herbs that help with lactation. Interesting.
So in an effort to get more herbs into our diet, we bought the above book, the Herbfarm Cookbook. It's from the 90's I think, but full of French inspired wholesome goodies that feature herbs. I've tried a selection of the recipes, and they're so flavoursome! We just don't realise how much flavour we forfeit when we leave herbs out of our meals.
Josh mentioned using bicarb soda as toothpaste. Tooth powder has been around for ages, and is so much safer than commercial toothpaste (have you read those labels?!)
Our tooth powder is just this one:
4 tablespoons bentonite clay
2 teaspoons naturally extracted baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons unrefined sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons clove powder, or ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ground peppermint leaves, or 5-10 drops peppermint essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a clean glass jar.
Sprinkle a little on a wet toothbrush and brush as normal.
One to three years
So Josh had a list of health aids he suggested, not all herbs. Things like taking bicarb soda to alkalise the gut, colloidal silver as an antibacterial (we've done this, it's amazing stuff!), apple cider vinegar too.
As for herbs, he's a big fan of Feverfew (not so tasty, but great for fighting certain illnesses!). It grows quite well here, our survived the drought with little attention.
And the common culinary herbs are worth having...basil, parsley, coriander (he uses coriander seed for fresh breath), rosemary (great for the brain), sage, thyme...
So, if you have a recipe using herbs, that you'd like to share, please do so in the comments :-)
Here are a couple of opportunities you might be interested in...Jamie's Ministry of Food Mobile Kitchen is coming to Toowoomba Feb 22nd to run their 5 week cooking course.
There is space for a few more participants, and the cost has been reduced by 50%. So it's only $50 for the 5 week course! The link above will take you to the website where you can book in.
They're also looking for more volunteers "vollies" as they call them, to help set up, clean up, welcome participants and help the classes run smoothly. It's just a 2 hour commitment at the same time each week for 5 weeks. It's a great way to help out in the community, helping people learn the basic life skill of preparing their own food at home.
The mobile kitchen will be operating out of the Bailie Henderson car park, in North Toowoomba.
Coming up in March (Saturday 3rd/Sunday 4th), Dennis Angelino, of Gran Elly Orchard, is opening up his biologically organic apple farm for tours! You can head over to Thullimbah and check out what it takes to get apples from plantation to plate...without the use of toxins.
Contact Gran.Elly.Orchard@gmail.com for more info.
A while ago I posted the recipe for the best tomato sauce we’ve found…well that recipe is a great base for making your own BBQ sauce. It does still contain sugar, if that’s an issue for you, but it’s a lot more wholesome than store bought BBQ sauce!
Balsamic BBQ Sauce
3/4 Cup Tomato sauce
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar (we used organic balsamic from Wrays due to the fact that balsamic vinegar is made from grapes, which are a heavily sprayed crop unless you buy organic)
Garlic- 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic is great, but you can use 1Tbsp powdered or minced garlic if that’s what you have on hand
1/2 Tsp each of salt and pepper
1Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup coconut sugar (or organic raw sugar)
A nice easy recipe…all you do is mix all those ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and simmer away for about 15 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved and you have a consistency you’re happy with. Then pour into a clean bottle.
I couldn’t tell you precisely how long it lasts, because it’s consumed long before we have to get concerned with use by dates But given the high level of vinegar and sugar, you should get at least 12 months of shelf life.
It's that time of year- tomato season. Rick actually started our tomatoes in a heat chamber in winter, so we'd have a head start this year. It worked. For the past 6 weeks or so we've had loads of tomatoes!
I hate waste (but am trying to come to terms with the fact that giving surplus to the chooks or the worms is not waste...hahaha), so I've been canning like crazy these past few weeks. Every time we harvest tomatoes (about every 2 days) there's about 20kg of them! So the shelves are being stocked with homemade tomato sauce, tomato paste, passata, crushed tomatoes, tomato relish...you get the idea.
We've tried a few different tomato sauce recipes, most of which the children turned their noses up at, but this one I'll share has been beautiful. If you love depth of flavour in a sauce (as opposed to a tomato sauce that just tastes like tomatoes and sugar), then you should give this one a go.
It's a variation on Matt Preston's Tomato Sauce Recipe, which can be found online.
Matt Preston’s Tomato Sauce Recipe…with some changes
Makes approx. 1L
2.5kg ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
10 whole cloves
10 whole allspice berries
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cups sugar (we use organic raw sugar or organic coconut sugar)
2 cups apple cider vinegar
Like to get more wholesome fruit, veg, legumes...plants in general...in your diet?
And want it to taste amazing?
Little Seed Restaurant at 100 Russell St Toowoomba are offering plant based cooking classes for both children and adults.
Classes include One Pot Wonders, Family Bakes, Cooking for One, Condiments, Preparing a Wholesome Christmas Banquet, Little Seed Menu Secrets and The Impact of Food.
AND you get to take food home with you for some of these classes! If you've ever eaten at Little Seed, you'll know how beautiful the quality and creativity of their meals are.
To find out more, check out littleseedrestaurant.com.au/classes/
What a delicious workshop October hosted! Sourdough, but not the traditional dark sourdough.
Chris showed us how to make gorgeous contemporary sourdough featuring flavours such as honey and oats and chili and capsicum.
Now, for anyone who wants to know more, or who lost their web link from Chris, head over to gullygrove.blogspot.com.au for tutorials and recipes.
Hi, my name is Racheal and I write the blog for Simple Living Toowoomba. Thanks for joining us on this journey to living a simpler life and encouraging others to do the same.