there is only one problem with eating organically

There is only one problem with eating organically…

This guy.

This headless, antennae waving slippery slime bag.

There I was channelling my inner kitchen goddess, dinner pretty much sorted. The Monkeys behaving themselves, and ready to eat. A lovely enticing dinner aroma tickling the nostrils of those that happened to be passing by my back kitchen door. All that was needed was a chopped up bunch of spinach, wilt it through the dish a little and voila… dinner was ready.

I washed the bunch with intimate attention. I know where I bought that bunch of spinach from, and I know critters sometimes like to play hide and seek within amongst the green foliage. I was no fool, and hadn’t suspected there was still a hide and seek player amongst us. Happily washed, and chopped, I reached in to dump it all in the slowly bubbling aromatic pot of goodness only to find… him.

The slime bag.

Headless.

Dinner plans were slightly reorganised. Hopes were pinned on the now eight times washed spinach. Hopes that the little slime bag didn’t have any close friends still playing the now, not very funny game. I decided there was no need to share the good news with anyone else at this stage and instead keep it as an entertaining dessert time conversation treat.

Dinner’s ready!

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landshare Australia

Last year some time I wrote about communal gardens and roof top vegetable patchs in the city. From there I was put on to the organisation Landshare in the UK, brought together by River Cottage (Hugh Fearnly- Whittingstall). That in turn led me to the Australian Landshare project, which hadn’t yet launched…(still with me?) Well now it has launched. It’s off and racing and needs peoples support for it to be as successful as the original one.

So what’s it all about?

“Landshare Australia brings together people who have a passion for home-grown food, connecting those who have land to share with those who need land for cultivating food. The concept of Landshare began in the UK, launched through the River Cottage television program in 2009, and has since grown into a thriving community of more than 57,000 growers, sharers and helpers across the country. Now that Landshare is here in Australia, we welcome you to come and take part in this fantastic initiative.”

Landshare is for people who:

  • Want to grow vegetables but don’t have anywhere to do it
  • Have a spare bit of land they’re prepared to share
  • Can help in some way – from sharing knowledge and lending tools to helping out on the plot itself
  • Support the idea of freeing up more land for growing
  • Are already growing and want to join in the community

Landshare Australia

foodconnect

For quite awhile now I’ve been frustrated with my vegetable eating options. Actually…no. It’s not the eating options, it’s the buying options. Ideally, I’d love to be growing them. However living in a flat in the city with a designated area that’s not optimum for growing, my growing in pot choices are limited. So what are some other choices available to the average city dweller?

* Super market bought fruit and vegetables- big business

* Independent green grocer- small business

* Farmers Markets

* Wholesale Markets

* Box schemes- quite often delivered to your door

* Community gardens- add your name to the waiting list and grow your own

* Food Co-ops- member owned and operated, bulk goods

* CSA- Community Supported Agriculture

Choosing how you get your fruit and vegetables depends on many things, so it feels like it’s been a long time coming that I’m finally happy with a fruit and vegetable scheme that works for us.

Four weeks into my new CSA fruit and vegetable box and I couldn’t be happier. It suits our family, the quality is fantastic and it works for me. Hoorah!… I found it in Foodconnect.

Foodconnect uses local sustainable farmers, bringing their produce to city folks like me. Box gets dropped off at a local drop off point, where you pick it up once a week, and go home happily munching on the seasonal goodness. All boxed and ready to go, all you have to do is pick it up from a local ‘city cousin’.

So it’s local, organic, seasonal, easily pay from 4 weeks- to a year, it’s not the same fruit and veges each week, supports regional growers, farmers get a good price, super super fresh, has got us eating different vegetables, (I was in a vegetable rut and didn’t even know it) if I don’t like something there is a swap box and I don’t have to do anything but pick up the box. Pretty good deal I think.

* I’m always happy to see a caterpillar or slug in my organic produce. To me, it means it was pretty darn happy just to hang out in the leafy goodness, and also shows that it’s really fresh. Saying that, I would prefer to find them before I eat the leafy greens and not after, wiggling out of the kitchen sink. All this does to me is question my washing skills and did I just inadvertently eat its sluggy cousin?

Now there’s a cheery thought…

Sydney Foodconnect

Adelaide Foodconnect

Brisbane Foodconnect

Getting surly about celery

I like buying organic celery. I like it being available at my local large chain supermarket, and when it’s not there I get cranky. It doesn’t cost that much, it’s usually fresh and crispy and I like to add it to a lot of cooking. It was so fresh and crispy recently that it had two resident slugs and an earthworm worm in it. Now that’s a happy celery.

I tried to buy it the other day, and it was out of stock. Other supermarket no organic produce. Fruit shop says no to organics and health food shop all out…. sigh.

Fine, I will do with out it….

No damn it, I want my organic celery!

Swimming lesson for Monkey Boy and it happens to be near a rather large shopping centre. Right I will pop in there and get it. Their chain supermarket is really big in there, no problems…. in I go and they have completely gotten rid of their organic vegetable section, except for a couple of flaccid looking zucchinis. Flaccid zucchinis are not going to cut it.

Feeling a little deflated now, I half heartedly walk into a really large fruit and vegetable shop and ask if they have an organic celery…

say what?…

organic celery?…

you want what?!…

organic….

oh never mind do you have any organic anything?…

Organ?…Oh organic, no no no no.

Right.

Feeling like I wanted to stomp my foot and yell “I want my celery!” I left.

Leaving the shopping centre all I felt was an overwhelming sense of I don’t fit in here. The consumerism that was surrounding me made me feel as if I was going to choke. The jacket suddenly felt tighter, the neon lights that bit brighter the donuts that bit more pinker. Through the sliding doors I rushed, (without my celery) Why does no one else want to buy organic celery?! (Ok, so it wasn’t all about the celery, I was having a bad day, and this just topped it.) Outside, I breathed in the late afternoon drizzly rain, and walked back to where my boys were watching my boy swim his first ever lap. Suddenly the celery didn’t matter. The consumerism while annoying, it wasn’t my life. As I watched Monkey Boy get out of the pool, a twinkle in his eye  and a proud walk in his toes. I knew that the organic celery could wait, and I would get some next time. (And if it wasn’t there next time?… then I was going to be one of those annoying customers that keeps badgering them until they did.)

* Shoppers guide to residual pesticides in fruit and vegetables. While this is a USA publication, (at this stage I am unable to find an Australian one) I am led to believe that Australian grown produce would be similar in its residues. With celery topping the list.