Grow Lightly News

 No. 5 May 2015

Hi everyone! There's plenty happening at the moment. We've covered some of it below. And there are plans afoot for a series of fireside chats and workshops in the Grow Lightly Food Hub during winter and spring, on a wide range of topics, such as preserving with Vacola, jam making, seed saving, and starting your own home vegie garden and orchard. We don't have dates yet but will send out a special edition of Grow Lightly News as soon as we do. Please let us know if there is a topic you would like to see included. 

‘Bring your wellies – scarf – blizzard gear...’
Grow Lightly’s latest workshop/farm tour featured the worst of times – and the best of times.
Weatherwise, Sunday 10 May was South Gippsland at its worst – wet, windy, cold. Yet some brave souls ventured out of Melbourne for a tour of some really interesting local farms.
The event was run by Grow Lightly as a contribution to the Open Food Network and a chance to say a small thank you to the OFN for all the help they have been giving to Grow Lightly.
The day started at the best of places – in front of the fire at the Grow Lightly Food Hub in Korumburra, with hot soup and sourdough rolls, and a brief talk on the Grow Lightly story, past and future.
Then on with the rain-gear, and off for a tour of three local farms.
  • First Di Tod’s Gippsland Food Forest, with its hundreds of wonderful fruit and nut trees. Di told her remarkable story of initial planning, setbacks and research into how to make it all work. Di’s place is a testament to her tenacious and innovative approach and to the many lessons which have been learnt, in soil health, species selection and achieving financial viability.
  • Then on to the Freeman’s property with its native food forest and herb drying facilities, rainforests notable for their fruits and fragrant leaves and extensive vegie gardens. We were also able to see the pigs and chooks which contribute to the food producing capacity of the whole farm.
  • Finally, and in driving rain, we toured Brigid and John Kennedy’s mixed farm. We saw the small dairy herd and mobile milking set-up which generates the milk for domestic consumption, including the making of cheeses and yoghurt and butter. And we watched the open-range chooks with their mobile hen houses, which the Kennedys move from place to place around the farm.
A great day, apart from the weather. Grow Lightly will be running other workshop/farm tours from time to time, which will be advertised in this newsletter. On sunnier days, hopefully.

SMEG helps Grow Lightly cook up a storm...

Never have we been so excited about a kitchen stove!
The kitchen at Grow Lightly’s Food Hub in Korumburra is being transformed, thanks to some wonderful sponsorship from Smeg, maker of premium kitchen and cooking appliances. 
Smeg has provided Grow Lightly with a substantial discount on a freestanding electrical cooker that incorporates a 90cm multi-function oven and an induction cooktop with 5 zones. The whole unit has an A+++ energy rating.
The new cooker will allow us to transform local fruit and vegetables into all sorts of preserves, baked goods and other delights, as well as offering workshops and cooking demonstrations for people who love good food.
Grow Lightly is most grateful to Smeg, an award-winning company very supportive of community-based organisations that operate sustainably and which add value to the community they serve.
Check out our updated website
The jolly cartoons are still there – but there are lots of other new features on the re-vamped Grow Lightly website -  Here you can make an enquiry about our weekly or fortnightly vegie bags, delivered to several  pick-up points in southern Gippsland; find out about the Food Hub shop; and generally see how Grow Lightly works. You can also find us on Facebook – at
‘Season of Quince and mellow fruitfulness ...’
Yes, it’s definitely time to be making quince paste, quince jelly and other culinary delights from the ‘Golden Apple’.  The Grow Lightly Food Hub shop has a wonderfully autumnal atmosphere, with the scents not only of quince, but of heritage apples, mandarins, feijoas, passionfruit, tamarillos, chestnuts, garlic and much else.  There are pumpkins of every colour and shape; plus many other herbs and vegies to throw into the soup-pot.
The Grow Lightly Food Hub is next to the children’s playground and car park at the Coal Creek Heritage Village, Korumburra. Opening hours are:
Friday, and Saturday, from 10am to 3pm, and Sunday from 10am to 1pm.

From my garden

Cooler weather and shorter days - most summer vegies have finished. Still one or two banana capsicums, and a few tomatoes lingering on though the tomato vines have pretty much died off. The pigs have demolished the sweetcorn and pumpkin trash but I'm eking out the last half bin of acorns for them and there are still a few windfall apples.
We're digging purple potatoes now, and there's half a bucket of Chinese artichokes on the back verandah. They look like little shells. Not enough to share, but more to replant than I had last year. Oca and yacon still have green tops so they'll be left for a bit longer, but the Jerusalem artichokes are ready and are fantastic this year. Big and smooth and crisp. Easy to scrub and pop in the oven.
Fruit? Granny Smith apples are still hanging on the trees with a touch of cream on the sunward side that says 'sweet! sweet! and they are. Tamarillos, cherry guavas, medlars, persimmons, still a few feijoas. The first kiwifruit. And most exciting of all a few white sapotes. Look for them in the shop during the next few weeks.

What should I do with -
There are two kinds of persimmons, astringent and non-astringent. If you're sure you have the latter you can eat it like an apple once it's fully coloured. Astringent persimmons - and any you're not sure of - must be left to soften and become almost translucent before you eat them. Spoon out the soft flesh and enjoy it as it is, or mix it with cream or yoghourt. I'm planning some persimmon icy poles ...
While you're waiting, leave them in a bowl on the kitchen bench. They are very beautiful.

This is another fruit that has to be left to soften off the tree. Harder work than persimmons though, as they have a lot of large seeds. A relative of the pear, they're an acquired taste. A bit like dates. They make a good jelly, and I have a recipe for 'medlar cheese' (like quince paste) though i haven't tried it.
Please support us – through the Community Rewards Program!
As a non-profit community organisation, Grow Lightly is part of the Michael’s IGA Supermarket Community Rewards program. Funds raised through this program have helped equip the new Grow Lightly Food Hub at Coal Creek.
But this program will only continue to support us if you in turn help us by shopping at the IGA stores in Leongatha and Korumburra, and ensuring that your Rewards Tag nominates Grow Lightly Connect.  You can make sure this happens by filling out this form and dropping it into one of the three Michaels IGA stores.

Thanks so much - and see you soon at the Food Hub! And at the
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