It's funny, last week I read that the 2016 El NiÃ±o was officially over, the very next day the cold front hit and it was like summer had leap-frogged autumn and gone straight into winter. Suddenly it's too cold for Shelley and Craig Heppel to grow lettuce, Coolibah Farm's roquette got frozen in Monday's frost and overnight broccoli got scarce and doubled in price. For many farmers the message is clear - time to take stock, rest up, breathe out.
So now his broad beans are up (that's them above) CERES farmer Vince is leaving the garden to farmer Emily and has gone to visit cousins in Italy, at Hazeldean Forest Farm fruit picking has finished and Marg and Jason are off to see their daughter in the UK and over at Foothills Organics in Colac, Joe Sgro is taking a couple of weeks to sort out a dodgy hip.
For the rest of us city dwellers, apart from it being a little harder to get out of bed these cold dark mornings, there's not a lot of feedback compelling us to change our routines and rhythms. Beyond the odd long weekend and the start or end of sporting seasons we sort of go about our daily lives the same as ever. There are seasonal clues however; when we can't find that salad mix for love nor money or it seems like there is a bit more cabbage in our lives than we'd normally care for. That's the world whispering to us; a gentle reminder we are here at her pleasure not the other way around. Just in case we forgot.
Loved Crowdsaucing? Now there's Krautsourcing.
Recently, many of you shared the joy of Crowdsaucing Day; a day of passata preserving with family, friends and neighbours. We've had so many people literally chomping at the bit (well nobody is actually chomping) to do it again next year that we've been thinking, "Why wait when there's so much to preserve?" Which has prompted Fair Food to come up with Krautsourcing Day - happening sometime this spring (date to be announced).
The idea is the same as Crowdsaucing Day, only this time we bring locally grown cabbages to you, your friends, family and neighbours and you make sauerkraut together. We don't expect it to be as big as Crowdsaucing Day, but if the idea of fermenting in a social setting lights your fire then Krautsourcing could be right up your alley.
A big thanks to Nordia Foundation who have donated $3000 to help Fair Food put on Krautsourcing; because even though there are passionate people who give too freely of their time to organise these days, it's good to be able to pay for their amazing efforts - after all nobody's accepting good vibes for rent these days. So thanks again Nordia Foundation.
It's still early and we're working out recipes, equipment lists, logistics and how many cabbages the average krauter is going to need. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts or feelings email chief krautmeister Monique Miller (that's her kraut in the pic above) and stand-by for more news