30 June 2010

Kohlrabi - 'the under-appreciated vegetable'

Here is an article submitted by a very wonderful FIG member (thank you, we hope there will be more!), on the merits of that strange looking vegetable members have been commenting on at the co-op lately - Kohlrabi. It isn't grown on the Central Coast (yet) and we've purchased some Biodynamic bunches from Emery Farms of NSW for you to try. It may be something we can coax the local farmers into growing, at one of our farmers meetings, or perhaps if you try it you may want to grow some yourself. You will find it on the extras tables at FIG.

On the extras table the past few weeks, you may have noticed some of these odd looking purple tubular vegetables and wondered what on earth they are and how you would use them. They are Kohlrabi and they are delicious!

When we first enquired as to what these funky looking purple characters were and David told us they are ‘Kohlrabi’, we then checked the vegetable reference book that conveniently sits at the desk of FIG each week. After the technical specs of where it comes from and what it is, the description read something along the lines of ‘similar to turnip’. Well – that didn’t exactly have me leaping to grab a bunch, I’m sure many would agree, most folk don’t leap for turnip the same way they would pumpkin or potato – or maybe that’s just me. I have also read that kohlrabi is likened to the stem of broccoli, but sweeter. We’re always up for trying something new in our kitchen, so we adopted a bunch of these funky looking kohlrabi characters.
The shortened version of kohlrabi’s technical specs are, that it is a cultivated vegetable from the wild cabbage. Over generations, the cabbage that had swollen, more spherical stems were selectively chosen to cultivate and kohlrabi slowly came to be known. It takes its’ name from the German ‘kohl’ for cabbage and ‘rabi’ being the Swiss German variant of turnip. (There’s that turnip link again, but let me assure you it is nothing like turnip… well in my palette anyway!) Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked and if you google kohlrabi recipes you get a stack of tasty and inspiring suggestions along with background info on kohlrabi. I thought it was quite co-incidental when I had never heard of, or seen this vegetable a few weeks ago, then had a tasty encounter with it, and then on Facebook (yes, that dreaded, but (secretly) dearly loved world of FB!) the other day I saw a friend’s status… “Better start dinner... Tonight kohlrabi curry, Naan, and cucumber w/ yogurt.” When I get that kohlrabi curry recipe, I’ll be sure to share it with you all! I commented to my friend that we had recently discovered Kohlrabi and were amazed at how great it was. Her response was “I do feel that it (kohlrabi) is under appreciated, while being very easy to grow.” 
Kohlrabi comes in greeny/cream and also purple coloured bulbs – but this outer colouring of the bulb is a somewhat superficial characteristic as the bulb is peeled to be used and all kohlrabi are a white fleshy bulb vegetable (yes, similar form to turnip, inside). The greenery on top is also edible, although the bunches we have been getting at the moment, haven’t had the most useable greenery on top of them. But if you by chance get a bunch of kohlrabi with greenery that looks like this then you can use it as you would beetroot greens. Steamed, blanched in stir fry’s or mixed raw into spicy winter garden salads. 
OK, I’ll get to the point – how did we eat them. I turned to the trusty world of the interweb and found this great info and inspiration. We peeled our kohlrabi (2-3 bulbs), diced it, popped it in a baking pan, tossed it in a splash of olive oil (I think it was, but you could also use melted coconut oil or sesame oil perhaps), sprinkled over a whole big handful (about 10 cloves) of finely diced Australian purple garlic then dust with a fine sprinkle of Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt (whatever your preference). Bake in a 180ÂșC pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes (or until cooked through and golden). We served ours with Nourishing Traditions Lamb Shanks (NT p346) and honey, sesame tossed steamed carrots.
As we pottered around whilst dinner cooked, the smell of garlic permeating our home was divine. When we sat down to eat, I was interested to try the kohlrabi, but didn’t hold the highest hopes for this ‘turnip like vegetable’. However, we were all pleasantly surprised as we tried our garlic roasted kohlrabi and the general consensus among our family was “oooo… oh wow… that’s yum”… there was much ‘mmmmm….. m-mmmmm’ going on through-out that meal! It kind of tasted like yummy roasted golden potato cubes, but with a lighter, crispier texture than the mushiness of potato, and with a slight sweetness. The garlic was a perfect accompaniment to the natural flavour of the kohlrabi. It’s always a good feeling as a Mother and a homemaker when you can serve nourishing food that is tasty and enjoyed by all.
If you are inspired to try some, hopefully there will be some more gracing our FIG extra’s table over the coming weeks, be sure to grab a bunch, but please make sure there is one left for us! When my child and I were talking about what we would have for dinner the other evening, I heard a little voice enquire “Do we have any of that Kohlrabi again! That was yum!”
Reference – Kohlrabi file in Wikipedia

25 June 2010

Permaculture Design Course starting this weekend

Many FIG members are keen to learn more about growing their own food, reducing their footprint on this Earth, and are keen to learn more about Permaculture as well.

We have heard of a course starting this weekend in Sydney and the following is the information we were sent, Please note, we do not have the attached flyer referred to, so please give Penny a ring if you're interested:

Permaculture Design Certificate Course*
...a few places still available

If you are looking for a local, low cost, part time, high quality PDC
Course, then this is the course for you!!!

Permaculture Sydney North proudly invites you to be part of a part-time,
low cost, local Sydney PDC Course to be facilitated by six highly
experienced and qualified trainers over six weekends between Saturday
26th June to Sunday 1st August, 2010.
This low cost course is an
absolute bargain at only $995 for Permaculture North and affiliated
members (or $1,195 for others). This price includes the tuition fees
plus all morning and afternoon teas and lunches provided by a
professional chef. Please see the attached flyer regarding the course
and the Trainers Bio to see the caliber of this outstanding course. The
course will be held at Karonga School, Epping from 9am to 5pm each
weekend. Trainers include: Jill Finnane, Penny Pyett; David Loneragan;
Andrea Pape; Peter Brecknock and Les Mulder.

PSN is a non-profit community based group. Surplus income from PSN
courses is used to support PSN's permaculture projects such as:
* sponsorship of and African delegate to attend APC10;
* PSN's Ghana Employment project - funds that employs a Permaculturalist
in Ghana to provide permaculture training and project funding to
communities in Ghana.

I do hope you can attend this course and I look forward to being a part
of it with you. If you are interested please contact me quickly as time
is tight and places are limited. Either phone me on 02) 9888 2575 or
email pennypyett@hotmail.com to find out more or book your place.
Bookings and payment details are also specified on the attached flyer.

Act now so you dont miss out!

Permaculturally yours,
Penny Pyett
PSN PDC Course Convenor and Co-trainer

21 June 2010

Updates Monday morning, 21st June

A link to the FIG online survey has gone out to all members and many have already responded, thank you. Paper copies will again be on the desk this afternoon for those who haven't access to the internet.

For online responses, please respond no later than Friday 25th June so that we may have time to collate the feedback and write a report, however paper forms may be returned to the co-op on Monday 28th June as there will be far fewer of those to add to the bulk of responses. Thanks for taking the time to voice your opinions and suggestions - and your good wishes.

New and local farms on board at FIG are Swallow Rock Organics (Hawkesbury) and Lemon Tree Citrus Orchard (Dooralong) - welcome and thank you for your wonderful produce!

A meeting will be held with several local farmers early in July to discuss plans for the future, what other produce may be grown locally and how we may encourage other farmers and suppliers to "go organic"....!

See you at the co-op...

12 June 2010

TUESDAY at the Co-op...

FIG will be operating next Tuesday instead of Monday, due to the long weekend - same hours.

We will also be taking orders for bulk fruit & vegies; an email has already gone out to members with an order form to complete and pop in an envelope with correct money, for handing in on the day.

If you have come across this web-log (a website is coming!) and want to know more details, please come along on Tuesday to have a look, or send us an email on fig.centralcoast@gmail.com.

See you soon...

05 June 2010

Mandarins last week

A very big THANK YOU to the FIG member who arrived last week with buckets of lovely mandarins to give away. How kind and generous was that?

We popped them on the tables for inclusion in your food boxes and hope you enjoyed these extras!

02 June 2010

June long weekend operating hours

Another holiday Monday is looming so the co-op will, as usual, be operating on the Tuesday instead:

2.30-5pm Tuesday 15th June.

And here's a reminder that the next FIG meeting will be held after closing time on Monday 7th June - all members are invited to attend and to participate in the discussions. Hope to see you then... :)