Some of the many delicious treats
from Planet Matterz in Morningside.
We enjoyed the refried pinto beans with friends
as an impromptu dinner to dip cornchips in
I had the most marvellous week this week. On Thursday I discovered Planet Matterz in Morningside, which is a great organic cafe and supermarket. I had a fantastic time wandering around the shelves, trying to deduce which canned organic goods were local (or at least from Australia) and finding lots of delicious fare to take home. I also netted a jute bag which will fit a lot more in it than my usual 'shove it all in the handbag' job at farmers markets. What's really wonderful is that the cafe is surrounded by planters and seed beds containing pineapples, eggplants, herbs and other wonders!

check out the eggplants like fat black eggs
amongst the parsley

Eating my delicious Byron Bay Mexican vegetarian pie
while reading Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle...

While I was there, I was reading Barbara Kingsolver's 'Animal Vegetable Miracle' which has given me an even deeper affection for all things that grow than I had before. Let me share what I read as I devoured my delicious pie:
"To recover an intuitive sense of what will be in season throughout the year, picture a season of foods unfolding as if from one single plant. Take a minute to study this creation - an imaginary plant that bears over the course of one season a cornucopia of all the different vegetable products we can harvest. We'll call it the vegetannual. ..First in the cool early spring, shoots poke up out of the ground. Small leaves appear, then bigger leaves. As the plant grows up into the sunshine and the days grow longer, flower buds will appear, followed by small green fruits. Under midsummer's warm sun, the fruits grow larger, riper, and more colourful. As days shorten into the autumn, these mature into hard-shelled fruits with appreciable seeds inside. Finally as the days grow cool, the vegetannual may hoard the sugars its leaves have made, pulling them down into a storage unit of some kind: a tuber, bulb or root. So goes the year..."  - (Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Vegetable Miracle, HarperCollins, 2007)

There are great diagrams of this. I've slightly altered one to give the Australian timetable of crops as Kingsolver and many of her followers live in the US. I think I'm nearly right with dates, but if you think it's iffy, leave me a comment as I'm still learning, and I'm no farmer. For a more accurate planner of planting and harvesting dates see the Garden Calendar.

Note: This being a tropical climate we have here in QLD,
we have a lot more leeway with growing and harvesting times.

Lastly I was helping a friend move house and packing up her books when I came across the 'Up With Wholesome, Down wtih Store Bought Book of Recipes and Household Formulas' book - which has the intriguing subtext of 'how to make it yourself, save money, and break the supermarket habit'. Published in 1975, it warns of the perils of buying store bought foods:

‎"We must not allow manufacturers to determine whether the vitamins should be removed from our breads, dangerous preservatives and chemicals should be pumped into our foods or insecticides grown into our produce. In this time of accelerating prices everyone who has a back yard, a flower bed, a window box or even a window sill should be home-growing as much food as possible. We must freeze or can or preserve foods in the summer season to tide us over the months when produce is most expensive." - (The Up With Wholesome, Down With Store Bought Book of Recipes and Household Formulas, Yvonne Young Tarr, Random House, 1975) 


I'm looking forward to learning a few lost arts, and might even have a go at sausagemaking over Christmas, as my father recently bought an old handheld mince grinder from an op-shop, although I think I'll draw the line at the chapter on Raising Livestock in a Small Space - it was written in the 70s after all, they can't have meant as small a space as a Brissy back yard!
Here is a most hilarious idea for a hanging pot on page 253: "To make a novel hanging basket, cut off the top 4 inches of a large carrot, hollow out the center, push a toothpick horizontally through the cut edge and hang it, top down, in a sunny place. Fill the hollow with water and in a short time lovely leaves will cover the carrot." Lawks a lordy! Had they nothing better to do in the 70s!? Who has time to HOLLOW OUT A CARROT! It's an imaginative way of teaching toddlers about the wonder of things that grow sure, but a novel hanging basket? Oh 'Up With Wholesome' you do make me laff.