12 adults, 2 kids, various buckets, colanders, pots, jars and 100 kilos of tomatoes found themselves in Crowdsaucing co-ordinator Monique Miller's backyard yesterdayparticipating in some serious research for our first Crowdsaucing Day this coming April 30th.
You can watch passata masters on YouTube, read about sauce making in glossy preserving books, even talk to folk with roma red stained hands who have been doing it forever but we reckon there's no better way to learn about what we are collectively about to get into than putting a bunch of passata novices together with a big pile of tomatoes and seeing what happens.
This morning a weary, but happy Monique Miller reports "it's so great but there's lots to learn".
Monique said her first lesson was that saucing is as much an exercise in teamwork as it is in preserving. Monique thinks having one or two designated nonas will help keep everybody organised and occupied through the day.
The second lesson was that 12 people were more than enough hands for all the coring, saucing, bottling, cleaning up jobs plus people to cook a pasta meal, keep the workers provided with cups of tea and refreshments and somebody to take care of the kids. Monique thinks you wouldn't want any more people than this unless
perhaps they were playing accordions and dancing to keep up morale.
The third lesson was that it takes a long time to cook all the passata jars once all the tomatoes have been sauced. In traditional Italian saucing they cook in huge 44 gallon drums on portable gas burners which might not be an option for everyone. We found that you either have lots of big pots going at once or people can take sauce to cook or even freeze athome.
Other findings were;
A list of jars, funnels, ladles, buckets, scoopers and other equipment would be helpful - Monique is working on one as you read this.
Same sized bottles or jars, with popup buttonlids are the best
A 10kg box of tomatoes gives you about 7-8 standard 750 ml passata bottles.
Oh and in breaking tomato growing news Luke from Alkira Organics, a farmer's collective in Tresco, Northern Victoria, is planting enough plants to deliver five tonnes of saucing tomatoes to Fair Food right at the end of April. Fingers crossed.
Breaking up with Poly - part two.
A few months ago I wrote about breaking up with the little polystyrene eskies we home deliver cold things in. Well in November we're doing a trial with some of our home delivery customers who we're asking to leave their own eskies with ice packs out for us to put their fridge items in. In this trial we want to iron out any kinks and quirks before we roll it out for everybody.
Until then I'd just like to remind everyone that nothing gives us more pleasure (well there are probably many things) but that it makes us very happy when you send back your Fair Food eskies and cardboard boxes to be reused or recycled. All you need to do is flat-pack your boxes and leave them with your eskies where we deliver your orders and the next time we deliver we'll take them away.
Also just a reminder that we have bio-wrapped copies of this month's Pip magazinethat focuses on beekeeping with other articles on legendary WA plantsman, Geoff Nugent, caring for soils, mending things, eco-villages, broth, compost and edible perennials. Find it here in the webshop.
Have a great longish weekend
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