Sunday, November 27, 2011

From a Blue Mountains local in exile

On 25/11/2011, at 9:26 AM, Liz Connor wrote: Oh, I wish I could be at your Collective Sufficiency discussion in the flesh — of course I'll be there in spirit. Good luck! We're embarking on an Extended Family Sufficiency project here: stepson Vern and his wife Fran have the farmland with lots of vegies and fruit, a fair amount of bush and a wonderful creek (Nicholls Rivulet); son Mat has the bush-block with home-made cottage; and I have the north-east facing suburban block close to public transport etc and an almost home-made cottage. We're planning to work together and separately to try and provide for as many of our combined food needs as possible (two vego females and two carnivorous males). Mat intends to keep a blog... I'm also very interested in the fruit butters. I've been making low-sugar fruit spreads in small quantities for a while without knowing what to call them — not sterilising them and eating them within a fortnight ... The Huon Valley is a wonderful place for scrumping beautifully plump and juicy blackberries growing along the roadsides, but the street trees are all non-edibles... I have a bush-tucker ground-cover growing along my front boundary, where I've been allowing natives to self-seed and just taking out the obvious weeds... its very small berries were quite juicy and tasty, and it's spreading out very nicely thank you.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sourcing plants, cooking with fruit and AN ADMISSION

Some of the most experienced members of our network report sourcing good plants from Daleys Fruit Tree Nursery, which is located at Geneva in NSW but mails out stock. They have a mail order plants list and their online shop includes lots of useful information about the seedlings, cuttings, and grafted plants that they sell as well as an online forum with questions and space to share your experiences.
Just going through the 'A's in the index of this new locally produced book, Vegan Cooking: Recipes for a Peaceful World, there are 19 entries under almonds, 6 for apples, 10 for apricots and 5 for avocado. Blackheath residents Diipali Lilburne and Amanda Quinn have made their great second cookbook, advocating for organic, locally sourced produce and sustainable diets. Tom Whitton has told me that he and Wendy have just found out that the raspberry plants they have, and have passed onto others in this network as native Rubus raspberries, are in fact an exotic Asian variety! We are very sorry — I have planted two in my garden. We always wondered why the books said the Rubus raspberry fruit was not so good and we had found it delicious. Well, there you are!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Last Day of TAFE course

Saturday 12 November was the last day of our Introduction to Growing Fruit and Nut Trees in the Blue Mountains TAFE Course. Sue Girard wound up with basic information on pests and diseases and how to protect your plants against them, as well as a pruning session. You can see (in the photo) that we had an extra participant at the community gardens where the course was held. I brought some muffins made from Rubus (Native Raspberry) blackberries given to me by a network member in Katoomba — last summer Wendy Whitton (Megalong Books, Leura) gave some of us cuttings from her plants and I now have two growing successfully in our front garden.
Jed wants to spread the news (see right) about bagging fruit trees against birds and other animals eating the forthcoming fruit at the gardens this coming Friday from 10.30 am RUBUS (NATIVE RASPBERRY) MUFFINS Sift 1 cup rye flour and 2 cups cornflour into a bowl with 6 teaspoons of baking powder and 3/4 cup sugar. Beat 3 eggs together and then beat in 3/4 cup soy milk. Pour the wet mixture into a depression made into the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Quickly mix all together. Finally, and again working swiftly and lightly, add two heaped cups of raspberries. (Mine had been frozen from last season so I left them for an hour at room temperature before using.) This mixture will make around 15 medium-sized muffins. I prepare the tray by simply inserting a square of greaseproof paper in each muffin hole. I had set the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade and they took around 30 minutes. My suggestion is to check them after 15 minutes and wait till they are firm and spring back when lightly pushed on top.


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)