Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Permaculture Day

This weekend there are numerous activities in the Blue Mountains for Permaculture Day. Notable is the Katoomba Organic Community Gardens, which is open 11 am to 4 pm (up to 2 pm for specially guided walks, including through the heritage apple path which features around five to six dozen apple varieties!)

On the SBS website, leading up to our preserving fruit workshop, take a look at the Gourmet Farmer's advice and at Costa's planting fruit tree guide, and the moroccan dressing for a salad of fruit of your choice (local, of course).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fowler Vacola fruit preserving workshop coming up

On Saturday 14 May, starting at 11.30 am Anne Elliott (Slow Food Blue Mountains) will present a workshop in Katoomba on preserving fruit using Fowlers Vacola equipment. Entry is by donation and bookings are essential.

If you want to find out a bit more about preserving home produce with Fowlers Vacola before registering for the workshop, see a personal view at cartoonist and John Ditchburn's site: http://www.urbanfoodgarden.org/main/processing-garden-produce/fowlers/fowlers.htm

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kookootonga Chestnut and Walnut Outing

It was a beautiful day at Mount Irvine on Sunday when we visited the chestnut and walnut farm that we go to each time this year, to collect and roast chestnuts. Unfortunately, our photographer's camera was stolen after the visit so we have no pics — though last years' best ones are still up (see below).

Last year there weren't any walnuts to collect but this time there were. Walnuts fall inside a fleshy fruit that quickly blackens and becomes slimy. Ultimately, the sun and rain ripen and wash off this thin outer layer but meanwhile there is a tendency for mould to develop and invade the nut. Therefore walnut picking up requires skills in checking the probable quality of the walnut and then scrubbing the dark outer flesh off to leave a lovely shell like those we're accustomed to in shops.

The Australian Walnut Industry Association claim that walnuts grown in our country are free of pesticides and chemical treatments, and fresh, i.e. always sold within several months of harvest. If you go onto the Austnuts: Australia's nut directory site, and click on the walnuts section, you will find masses of useful information, including Perry's Fruit and Nut Nursery Home Garden Cultivation Notes and walnut recipes.

The Austnuts: Australia's nut directory site also has similar information on chestnuts and, of course, other nuts which can grow here in the Blue Mountains, such as almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios.


We can harvest a wide range of fruits and nuts locally each season.

Local fruit and/or nut gardeners are invited to make additions or suggest modifications to the following work-in-progress compiled by Lizzie Connor.


Across the mountains: loquat, mulberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late spring) raspberry

Best in the lower mountains: avocado, jaboticaba, lemonade


Across the mountains: apricot, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, currant (red, black, white), gooseberry, kumquat, loganberry, loquat, mulberry,nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late summer) almond, apple, fig, hazelnut, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), pomegranate, youngberry

Best in lower mountains:lemon (Eureka), lemonade, lime, mandarin, orange, persimmon (non-astringent) and (in late summer) avocado, babaco, macadamia, rockmelon, wampee, watermelon

Best in upper mountains: jostaberry, lemon (Meyer), persimmon (astringent)


Across the mountains: almond, apple, chestnut, feijoa, fig, grape, hazel, kiwi fruit, kumquat, medlar, olive, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), plum, quince, raspberry (some), rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry guava, walnut

Best in lower mountains: avocado, babaco, cherimoya, grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), macademia, monstera deliciosa, orange, pine nut, pistachio, rockmelon, tamarillo, walnut, watermelon, white sapote

Best in upper mountains: lemon (Meyer), mandarin (Satsuma)


Across the mountains: apple, hazelnut, kiwi fruit, kumquat, pear (incl. nashi)

Best in lower mountains: grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), orange, tangelo

Best in upper mountains: avocado (Bacon), lemon (Meyer)