In his tenth year of hosting cheese workshops for us, Nathan Burke once again took a group of interested locals through the process of making a variety of cheeses. These workshops are always popular and we have generally run at least two each year.
The day is fun and informative and participants took their three parcels of cheese home, the ricotta and quarg almost ready to eat, but the camembert requiring a few weeks of nurturing before it can be scoffed. There is no doubt that, in my opinion and that of a few previous workshop participants, it is the nicest camembert that you will ever taste!
Following on from the ABC’s WAR ON WASTE program and encouraged by our intrepid secretary Diny, a small contingent of community gardeners gathered to learn to make a natural replacement for clingfilm – “ecowraps” – which are made from cotton fabric saturated with natural beeswax, pine rosin & jojoba oil.
These can be wrapped around veges or over the top of leftover food bowls to keep the food fresh in the fridge, then wiped clean ready for ongoing re-use. No one-use plastic film being thrown in the bin to become tomorrow’s waste problem.
In July, we joined the Southern Highlands chapter of “Boomerang Bags Australia” in learning how to make shopping bags out of discarded fabric that was otherwise going to end up in landfill along with all of the plastic shopping bags we are hoping they will replace.
We plan to make enough to have at our local plastic bag -free farmers’ market (Railway Street Fresh Food and Produce Market) in Moss Vale. They are designed to be available in case a customer forgets to bring their usual non-plastic shopping baskets/bags and can “borrow & bring back” one of our cloth alternatives.
For the second year running, Neil Barraclough of the Rare & Heritage Fruit Tree Association (Vic) has traveled country NSW skilling up interested locals on how to graft and maintain heritage varieties of fruit trees, some on the endangered list. Not only did he share his knowledge and skills in the grafting process itself, but he brought along a huge selection of scion (grafting wood) to our community garden for participants to graft and grow on to maturity.
At the Garden, we hope to keep a register of which varieties are now growing in our shire for sharing wood at future events.
Neil also demonstrated how to set up a rootstock bed so that in the future, the community garden can be a limited source of local rootstocks for locals to graft wood from their desired trees onto.
A big thanks to Neil for his generosity. And thanks also to all participants. It was a pleasant and interesting day.