28 June 2011

Membership for the new year

Things are a-changing at FIG - but not too much!

The co-op is in the process of incorporating and shall be required to make some minor alterations such as the following:

The term "membership" will cease and in it's place we will be required to use "subscription"- yeeks!

All new and renewing members will be required to complete a new subscription form and pay a once-off joining fee of $10.

Annual subscription fees will remain the same as they are right now - see the end of this page on our website for information.

We shall begin taking membership/subscription fee payments from next Monday, 4th July, at Ourimbah and Tuesday 5th July at Wyong. The new subscription forms shall be emailed to our members this week and shall be available at the co-op from next week onwards.

Thank you...

22 June 2011

Thank you to Kel

We were very sad to hear that one of our wonderful farmers, Kel Johnston, has been given notice to finish farming on his leased land at Cooranbong and will not be supplying FIG after next week.

Kel has been with FIG from the start and we thank him wholeheartedly for his growing ethics and his support of FIG - and for introducing us to some unusual vegetables. The purple radishes and also the current black radishes are two such things, as well as the baby crookneck squash, kiwana (African Horned Cucumbers), etc (the list is long). We will miss the beautiful Russian Kale he has been supplying, the various heirloom squash and pumpkins and the recent coriander bunches; the Tigerella and striped plum tomatoes and many other heirloom or forgotten species. Maybe you're not aware, however at different times of the year, he has grown produce specifically with FIG members in mind, such as mini pumpkin and squash varieties just the right size for a family, and so forth.

He is taking this opportunity to move to his land on the northern coast of NSW and to grow more heirloom vegetables, along with increasing and introducing the production of some varieties he hasn't been able to grow due to the southerly climate restrictions (think frost, for a start!).

Whilst Kel reckons we haven't seen the last of him, it's unfortunately yet another case of another farmer gone from the local food growing area. We need MORE people growing for the increasing population, not less. And more ethical and chemical free farmers such as Kel, and Michael Champion, and Beulah Bill, and Jean, etc.
On a happier note, it seems that by the end of this year, Ed Morris of Mangrove Mountain may have his vegetable organic certification through, which is very exciting. We purchase quite a bit through Ed throughout the year and he is an inspirational man, proving that farming can be managed well into your eighties. Go, Ed!

Goodbye to Kel, and thank you. We wish you well and many years of happy and productive growing (and we know we'll catch up with you again).

Whilst we're here saying thank you, we will take this opportunity to say a VERY BIG THANK YOU to all the FIG farmers and the various people supplying this and that throughout the seasons.

19 June 2011

Management Meeting

Further to our last blog post in regards to postponing the management meeting the other day due to predicted flash flooding, the new date is Monday 20th June, straight after packing away co-op for the day at Ourimbah. An email has been sent to all FIG members advising them of this.

We anticipate the meeting to be starting at 6.30pm. All FIG members welcome.

14 June 2011

Tonight's meeting - flood warning

We have just sent out an email to all our members
advising that due to the forecast of heavy rain
and the risk of more flooding, a decision will be made early this afternoon
as to whether the meeting tonight will be postponed.

If you were planning on attending, please
check with us when you call by to collect your FIG box today,
or ring the FIG phone on 04166 47715.

Thank you. :)

13 June 2011


Nettles are best picked when there is an abundance of fresh green tops, just like we are getting at the FIG right now; as the leaves mature they get too tough to eat.
In all preparation and picking wear protective gloves as the leaves have tiny silica needles which ‘sting’. Do not let the ‘stinging’ deter you as this chlorophyll rich plant is high in Iron and is said to purify blood. If you don’t get around to cooking it, consider drying it and making tea, it mixes wonderfully with Calendula, mint or spearmint & chamomile.
Here are some great recipes:
Nettle Soup
I cant think of a better way to have nettles thán in soup, it is rich flavored, and creamy.
150 grams nettle
3 large potatoes peeled and diced
1 medium onion diced
Butter/oil for frying
Enough water or stock to cover (emit stock cube if you use stock)
Good quality stock cube or powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Sour cream to garnish
Sauté onions till golden, add peeled, diced potatoes till tender, add washed nettle, cover with stock or water, add seasonings, simmer 1o mins, the cool to blend or whiz with a Bamix, enjoy with a lashing of sour cream!

Nettle Pesto
6 cups (125g) fresh nettle, blanched in boiling water for a minute (this removes the "sting"), drained and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup (50g) pine nuts
1/2 cup (60g) grated parmesan
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
Place the blanched nettle, pine nuts, parmesan, and a little salt and pepper, in a food processor. Blend the mixture until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the side occasionally. While the motor is running gradually pour in the olive oil until well distributed.
Place the Pesto in a sterilised jar and pour a little extra olive oil over the top and seal well with a lid. Refrigerate until ready to use. Pesto will keep for up to a month in well sealed jar in the refrigerator.

Nettle Rennet- ‘Green Cheese
Boil a large pot of washed nettles with very little water for 20 minutes, straining it and adding about as much salt as will dissolve in it to the juice.
Bring a pan of milk almost to a boil, add in a tablespoon of yoghurt and two tablespoons of lemon juice or white wine vinegar to separate the whey, stir well, then add in a quarter cup of liquid nettle rennet.
Remove from the heat, give another quick stir and let it set overnight.

This was a contribution from a FIG member... thank you! More nettle health benefits and information can be found here or here, for starters.

07 June 2011

Bring on the Brussels

It was about this time last year, that I remember the FIG weekly emails regularly coming out with a plea to please, please, please give the lesser loved Brassica Brother 'Brussels' a go. If you give him a chance, you may just end up falling in love with him! I envisaged Maree and David going bonkers with boxes of left over brussels at the end of each week. I'm sure Maree's chickens weren't so concerned about boxes of left over brussels that people had chosen to bypass on their 'way round the tables'!

In my foodie blog reading, I stumbled across a very yummy and simple looking brussel recipe. It inspired me to head to the kitchen and dig out those discoulouring brussels that were mounting by the week in the bottom of our crisper. I elaborated a bit on the basic recipe I found, creating a delicious meal with these brassica folk. The result - YUMMINESS! My bet - once this recipe gets out there - Maree and David will need to have brussels on the extras table each week - by the box full!

I won't bore you with all the nutritional facts and figures as to why you should be eating brussels. Of course you know they're good for you - but if you DO want all that info, then you can easily find all the health benefits of brussels with a quick google search. Brussels are also a really wonderful plant to grow in your Winter veggie garden. I had NO idea how interestingly brussels grew, until we planted them in our garden last Winter. It was amazing to watch these little brassicas grow all up and down the stem on the trunk of the plant. To be honest I'd never really even thought about how a brussel grows. But it's very interesting.

~Bring on the Brussels~
• 10-12 brussels, halved
• 1/4 cabbage, shredded
• 1 carrot, grated
• 1C of lentil sprouts
• 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 2" knob of ginger, finely chopped
• 1 onion, diced
• 1t of chilli infused oil (or one medium-hot chilli finely diced, seeds removed)
• 2t of Himalayan salt
• Heat 2T of coconut oil in saucepan
• Fry onion and spices until fragrant
• Add vegetables to steam. Turn heat to medium, ensure a small amount of liquid in pan to avoid sticking/burning, cover and steam until brussels are just cooked.
• Take pan from heat and stir through lentil sprouts
• Serve over your choice of noodles
• Top with parmesan or your favourite vegetarian/vegan cheese alternative and garnish with freshly cracked black pepper.

05 June 2011

Public holiday in June

There is another public holiday due in June and as our longer term members would know, we cannot have the Ourimbah hall on public holidays due to sport being played at the grounds and the hall being used by the sporting clubs. We normally move to Tuesdays in that case.

This time around we have Tuesday co-op at Wyong to consider as well, so we have made the decision to have one big combined co-op at Ourimbah for both Ourimbah and Wyong members on Tuesday 14th June.

The hours at Ourimbah are 2.30 until 5.00pm and a map and directions can be found here. *

We hope you can all make it on the day. Ourimbah members may meet up once again with those members who moved over to Wyong months ago, and the newer Wyong members may get to see just how busy and different the large Ourimbah group actually is!

Please note: this means there will be no co-op at the Wyong Neighbourhood Centre on 14th June.

See you soon...