Youâ€™ll find something extra in your order this week â€“ a little packet of local vegetable history â€“ namely Joeâ€™s broad beans. Picked and dried last year at the CERES Merri Creek Market Garden* these beans possess the highly desirable quality of retaining their sweetness even when theyâ€™re big and they do get big, some of last yearâ€™s pods were over a foot long! Originally planted in 1945 by our mentor farmer, Joe Garita see pic above), these are the beans that people from all over Melbourne come to the garden to buy by the boxful each season.
Why are we giving Joeâ€™s famous broad beans away you ask? Because we want to see these bean genes, that are adapted perfectly for Melbourne conditions, to be handed on and grown by Melbournians for another 70 years. Broad beans are grown the world over (no really they are, check it out for yourself, almost every food culture uses broad beans), theyâ€™re hardy, grow in poor soils, thrive in winter when not much else grows and along with lentils and peas are one of humanityâ€™s oldest crops. So take this handful of our leguminous heritage, plant them now and come October youâ€™ll be eating sweet broad beans out of the pod. And remember to save and dry a few extra seeds for next year and share them and their story with a friend.
*The Merri Creek Market Garden is literally on the banks of the Merri Creek. If you ride or walk along the bike path youâ€™ll find it near the swing bridge just below Bell St in Coburg. Say â€œhiâ€ to farmers Vince and Heidi if you are passing.
A Cabbage Awakening
My dad was a prolific backyard cabbage grower â€“ I remember him feeding us wedges of raw cabbage as an after school snack. Being naÃ¯ve country kids we gobbled it up, (Iâ€™m sure my highly snack-aware inner-city sons would be horrified unless said cabbage had undergone some kind of kale chip style added fat and flavouring transformation.) Now apart from trying to blow some of my dadâ€™s cabbages up with firecrackers Iâ€™ve never really taken much interest in cabbage. But lately my attitude has changed; last year after being on antibiotics I started eating sauerkraut to help rebuild my gut flora. At first I treated it like medicine but I became totally addicted and even started making it. Unable to get sauerkraut thoughts out of my head I indulged the Dr Google inside me and discovered sauerkraut authorities claiming it cured everything from athleteâ€™s foot to cancer to obesity. You can take this all with a pinch of pickling salt but I do know this month we are truly in cabbage season and thanks to Joe Sgro, from Foothills Organics, there will be plenty of cabbage in boxes and in the webshop for all our sauerkraut, kimchi and coleslaw needs (that's Joe on the right sharing a hilarious cabbage moment with John from Belgrave Organics).
Farmer Steve Marsh GM Verdict to be announced this Wednesday
Keep an eye out this week for the verdict in the landmark case of WA organic grower, Steve Marsh, who lost his organic certification after his farm was contaminated by wind-blown seed from his neighbourâ€™s GM canola crop. This is a really big deal and will determine if GM farmers are accountable for containing the spread of their GM plants.
Have a great week
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