Tassievore eat local challenge – feast day!

Yesterday was feast day!

I learned last time I held a Tassievore feast not to be too ambitious. I’d thought about including a dessert on the menu like I did last time, but decided in the end it would make things too busy for me. I could have made a cold dessert ahead of time, if I’d really wanted to, but I’m trying to cut back on sugar, so I ditched that idea too.

Last week I learned that proving my bread dough for too long and in too warm a room leads to bread that is edible, but visually unappealing. It basically spread out like a pancake. So this time I left it for a shorter time and kept it in a cooler room, and baked it at about 10.00 am.

20170528 Flatbread combo

Last week’s Loaf of Disaster

If you read my earlier post on the sourdough class I went to in March with Kate from Garden Shed & Pantry, you might remember the drama I had with the 12+ year old oven. We have fixed the problem with a shiny new oven, which is making cooking so much easier, and I’m glad we got it in time for this weekend.

The result was much improved. At least it looked OK.

20170603 Tassievore 14 Sourdough IG

At the class, Kate explained how the climate affects the properties of the flour, and the end result can be dramatically different in terms of texture if you use flour from a colder climate (like Tasmania) rather than the flour she recommends that’s from a much hotter part of the country. However, the challenge was to use Tasmanian produce, so I stocked up on some Callington stoneground flour that was designed for bread making, and looked at the whole thing as a an experiment.

I let the beef bones simmer away in the slow cooker for a few more hours, before straining it into a pot and letting it reduce. I have no idea how concentrated I’ve made it or what size portions I should freeze it in, but at least I now have beef stock.

20170603 Tassievore 16 Final beef stock

My plan was to serve:

  • Dips, carrot sticks and vegetables when the guests arrived
  • Pumpkin soup and bread as an entree
  • Roast beef with side dishes of pumpkin and beetroot salad, and honey-glazed carrots
  • Cheese, pinot paste and crackers for afters

I was originally only going to do one dip, the smoked salmon one, but as I had more beetroot than I needed for the salad I decided to do a beetroot dip as well. That involved roasting the beetroot, stick blending it and combining it with yogurt and garlic.

A lot of the afternoon was spent cutting up the pumpkin and the other beetroot for the soup and the salad. Cutting up a whole pumpkin isn’t something I do very often, and every time I do it, I remember why I don’t do it. I didn’t lose any fingers so that’s a bonus.

20170603 Tassievore 15 Pumpkin IG

I let the soup cook all afternoon, while I got the other dishes ready. For the chicken stock, I used what I had in the freezer. Whenever we have roast chicken I save the bones and, when I have a bag full in the freezer, I throw them in the slow cooker for 12 hours or so to make a basic stock.

My aim was to serve the beef at about 7.30. It needed about two hours to cook (I like mine well done), so it needed to come out of the fridge at about 5pm. A minor disaster hit when I couldn’t find the mustard I’d bought the day before for the topping.

Catastrophe averted when I found a jar of Tasmanian Rainforest mustard in the cupboard. This is from Hill Farm in Sisters Creek, and no one can remember where or when we bought it, but I’m very glad we did!

20170603 Tassievore 19 Beef Combo

Once the beef was in, it was simply a matter of remembering to put the vegetables in with enough time for them to be ready at the same time as the beef. I always forget that the beetroot takes a lot less time than the pumpkin when I make this salad, so I always end up with overdone pumpkin. One day I’ll learn.

The honey-glazed carrots included honey we got from one of Slabs’ workmates, who has his own hives. That’s definitely the Tassievore spirit!

The night was fun. I saw somewhere that it was World Cider Day, so Slabs had picked us up some from Wille Smiths.  I don’t know who decides these things but I’m not going to complain.

20170603 Tassievore 20 Cider IG

World Cider Day! Yay!

The bread was fine. It was a lot denser in texture than bread made from the flour Kate recommends, but still very good.  And the beef (with the dodgy red wine sauce – the reason I made the beef stock) was great.

20170603 Tassievore 22 Soup & bread IG

We had to serve the soup in mugs because we don’t have enough soup bowls

20170603 Tassievore 23 Beef IG

Mustard roast beef

20170603 Tassievore 24 Main IG

Main course

We concluded the night with a selection of cheeses from Pyengana and Udderly Tasmanian, a pinot paste from Grandvewe and the crackers I made on Friday, which went soggy overnight, so I had to refresh them by re-baking them.

20170603 Tassievore 25 Cheese IG

Demolished cheese platter

In the end I was too focused on getting all the food together rather than having a discussion about some of the questions that the Tassievore people suggested as conversation starters in relation to eating locally. Although we did learn that you can buy Tasmanian feta – as used in the pumpkin and beetroot salad. Westhaven does a goats milk feta, which worked really well in this dish (along with the Tasmanian walnuts, which I substituted for the pine nuts in the recipe).

I’m going to reflect on the questions that Tassievore has posed and put some thoughts together in another post, as I think this is already long enough.

Thanks to Sustainable Living Tasmania and the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge for putting this opportunity out there. It’s definitely something I’m keen to continue being involved with in the future.

The recipes
Salmon dip
Beetroot dip
Pumpkin soup: I have been using the recipe for years. I originally found it in the instruction book for a stick blender that broke years ago.
Roast beef: Adapted from Cape Grim Beef’s recipe
Roast pumpkin and beetroot salad
Honey-glazed roast carrots

Fairy dust and wormwood

Fairy dust and wormwood
Port Fairy, Australia

Port Fairy, Australia


Today was a short distance to travel – only about 100 km from the Twelve Apostles to Port Fairy, but it took several hours because there’s so much to see on the way.

After yesterday’s disappointing viewing of the Twelve Apostles, we decided to go back early in the morning to see if we could get a better look. It was a good decision. We arrived just after 8am and, while there were a few people there, it was nothing like yesterday, the light was better and it was a completely different experience.

According to the brochure from the tourist centre, it is a “common misconception” that the view here is ancient. While the limestone around Port Campbell is dated at 15-20 million years old, the formations here were apparently only formed in the last 6000 years – and it is possible that “the evolution of a rock stack from headland to arch to stack and eventual collapse can occur in just 600 years”. And the limstone here is harder in the top than it is in the bottom layers, which is where the overhangs, aches and, eventually, stacks form.

The 12 Apostles were originally called the “Sow and Piglets”, but the locals called them the 12 Apostles and that’s the name that has stuck.

After we’d seen enough, we went into Port Campbell for breakfast. It’s a small town, breakfast was ok, and we headed off to explore the rest of the Great Ocean Road. It seems like a lot of the scenic coastline is in this area and there are several roads leading off to various lookouts along the way. The main ones we saw were The Arch, London Bridge and The Grotto. The first two were especially spectacular with the waves rushing up and over the rocks. At London Bridge we read the story of how in 1990 the main arch connecting the formation to the mainland had cracked and fallen into the sea. Luckily no one had been on that bit at the time, but two people had been stuck on the marooned part and were lifted off by helicopter. I guess it just shows how quickly the coastal landscape can change!

Our final stop before heading inland was Boat Bay, which for me was perhaps the most stunning part of the whole coast and I’m glad we made the last minute decision to call in there.

We went to the Warrnambool Cheese Factory expecting great tastings and were disappointed to find all that was on offer was the same cheese we could get at home, so that was a very short stop.

We also called in to the Tower Hill Reserve outside Warrnambool, which is in the crater of a dormant volcano. This is what the website says about it:

“Tower Hill is a volcanic formation believed to have erupted about 32,000 years ago. Its formation is known as a “nested maar” and it’s the largest example of its type in Victoria. During formation, molten lava pushed its way up through the Earth’s crust and encountered a layer of water-bearing rock. Violent explosions followed creating a shallow crater which later filled with water to form the lake. Further eruptions occurred in the centre of this crater, creating the islands and cone shaped hills.”

There were some pretty cool rock formations there.

After a very brief stop, we hit the highway for Port Fairy, where we had lunch and spend an enjoyable afternoon wandering around the town and walking out to Griffiths Island where the lighthouse is. Some tradies were working in the glass, so photo opportunities were limited. All the same it was a nice walk.

We stopped for a beer at Merrijig, which is a gorgeous bar and restaurant that focuses on local produce. We were lucky enough to be able to get dinner reservation, only because we were prepared to come at 6pm. It’s a popular place! It’s fantastic that the menu changes daily according to what they can source on the day. Today the walnuts in the cheese platter came from the chef’s mum’s garden. We all had glorious meals, and loved their little quirk of selecting wines of the day from the area where the Tour de France travelled through that day.

It has been a very full day and I’ve enjoyed every moment. I feel so lucky to have been able to do this trip and am enjoying kicking back with an Otway Estate Chardonnay right now.

Cheers!

Book 7/24: One Magic Square

I’ve had this book, One Magic Square: Grow your own food on one square metre by Lolo Houbein, on my bookshelf for several years. I bought it because the concept of being able to grow food by starting small, in a one metre by one metre square, appealed to me. I’m a victim of the big-thinking-but-not-acting-because-it’s-all-too-overwhelming mindset (not just in gardening, although my lack of a food garden is one of my more notable achievements in this sphere).

Book 7 - One Magic Square

I’ve had vegetable patches in the past, and in the years BK (Before Kramstable) I’d spend hours working in the garden. I had visions in those years that if I was to ever have a child, she (whom I’d named Angelica Rose) and I would carry on my passion, spending hours together growing our own food, talking and having a wonderful time.

However, in one of life’s great lessons, the reality of actual parenthood is rarely like the parenthood you imagined. Kramstable (as well as not being a girl called Angelica Rose – thankfully for him and me; I would never choose that name now!) hasn’t really showed much interest in my garden, so the dream never came to fruition. (We never did any of those crafty activities that all the parenting books and blogs led me to believe I’d be partaking in either, and Kramstable’s interest in his cars and train set was conspicuous in its absence. So it’s true. Your kid will never be the kid in the “250 Activities Your Toddler Will Love and You Can Do Without Spending a Cent” books, and that’s perfectly fine. He’s who he is, not a model child from a book.)

Back to the book.

I’d skimmed through it a couple of times and vaguely thought that the idea of a square metre plot seemed doable, even though my weekend free time was limited. But it never eventuated, and the book has sat on the Shelf Of Good Intentions since then.

After I read Barbara Kingsolver’s book, I knew I couldn’t ignore the need to get growing any longer. But where to start? Last year I started by throwing some old pea seeds into a pot, which took off pretty well only to be felled by a couple of hot days just as they’d started podding. I realised I already had the basic infrastructure in place: four raised garden beds that I’d dug into the hill a couple of years ago, with the view of a putting in place a rotating system supplemented by letting the chooks scratch up each one for three months, followed by three months rest.

Actually I think the plan was to have five beds, so one for each season and one resting. The other one is still unconstructed in the shed and I don’t have the energy to dig another square metre into the hill right now!

The book has four parts. The first part is what appealed to me most: 60 pages of magic square metre plots, from which you can choose one, suitable for the season, to start straight away. These include salad plots, stir-fry plots, pizza/pasta plots and soup plots, which contain complementary mixes of vegetables. There is also a mono-crop option, where you fill the square with one crop and once each is done, put in another seasonally-appropriate crop.

To get started, Ms Houbein suggests you go out to the garden, dig over a square metre and choose your first plot. Then go to the nursery, get the seeds or seedlings, a bag of blood and bone and a bag of soil to top up the bed.come home, prepare the bed, plant the seeds or seedlings according to the plan and water them in.

Apart from the actual digging over of the bed, it will only take you a few moments to become a food gardener.

While you’re waiting for your plants to grow, you can read the rest of the book to learn more about food gardening, how to grow the plants you’re interested in, and why growing your own food is so important.

Part two provides an overview promoting similar ideas that Ms Kingsolver wrote about: the industrialisation and globalisation of food, and the enormous havoc this plays on both our planet and our health.

“There is no cheap food,” writes Ms Houbein. “Consider the real cost of a cucumber in a plastic jacket, grown in a temperature-controlled poly tunnel, refrigerated, put in the jacket, transported a great distance, and displayed in an air-conditioned supermarket under burning lights. The cucumber you grew yourself has to be fresher, tastier and healthier than that.”

Indeed it does! And the third part of book tells you how to do that. It’s made up of about 20 short sections covering things you need to know about in your garden like watering, compost, mulch, weeds, saving seed and pruning. It’s all useful information when you need it rather than as a read through once like I did.

The final part of the book provides more detail on how to grow specific food plants.

Overall I found it a very thought-provoking and interesting book, though I did struggle with reading it through as a whole. Having said that, it’s not really the sort of book you’re supposed to read through once and forget about. You’re supposed to get out there and plant stuff!

And that’s the next step I have to take. Beds 1 and 2 are ready for their winter plantings. Today’s excuse is that it’s raining . . .

Book 6/24: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

I’ll start this post with a confession: I’ve never read any of Barbara Kingsolver’s novels, although I’ve long been intrigued by titles like The Poisonwood Bible and Pigs In Heaven.

I first saw this book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life on Instagram, where one of my friends, Mrs Smyth, posted a photo of it and commented on what a great book it was. And it really is! It tells the story of how Ms Kingsolver and her family pack up their life in Tuscon Arizona, move to a farm owned by her husband, Steven Hopp, in Virginia, and attempt to live for a year without industrial food. That is, food grown and raised locally – either food they grew themselves, or food from “so close to home [they’d] know the person who grew it”. The plan was to spend a year “in genuine acquaintance” with the sources of their food, with only extraordinary reasons for sourcing something from outside their state or county.

2016 Book 6 - Animal Vegetable Miracle

I loved this idea, and was hooked on their journey as soon as I picked up the book. The timing was fitting: March is the month of the Tassievore challenge, something I’d been an enthusiastic participant in for the last two years, but hadn’t quite gotten into this year.

The book, published in 2007, begins as the family drives out of Tuscon and, ironically, given the forthcoming venture, calls into a gas station for fuel and junk food. It makes the point that “the average food item on a US grocery shelf has travelled farther than most families go on vacation”. Ms Kingsolver observes that the energy used by producing and transporting food far outweighs the energy we get from consuming it. The case for eating locally grown food is compelling. “If every US citizen ate just one meal a week composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.”

Ms Kingsolver weaves the story of her family’s efforts to eat locally or do without with observations on the status of food in our modern life, and the book includes some brief articles by Steven Hopp that provide some interesting facts and statistics on issues raised in the book.

She writes of the conflict between cheap convenience industrial food and small locally-driven enterprises trying to stand up to chemical companies, big food producers, supermarkets and governments. It’s a story that plays out everywhere: small egg producers battling ever-increasing red tape to get truly fresh eggs from happy chickens to their customers; Elgaar Farm having to crowdfund new equipment to continue to be able to produce their products using centuries-old methods and still being tied up in the approval process; Two Metre Tall making glorious beer through natural fermentation that the big brewers claim is “off” because they don’t understand the methods.

I found myself nodding at pretty much every point Ms Kingsolver makes in the book. I’m not sure that everything she describes happens in Australia, or to the same extent, but the overall picture is the same – we live in a society that is largely disconnected from its food sources, demands everything all year round, wants cheap and convenient – all of which comes at a huge price – our health, animal welfare, the environment and local farms to name just a few things. Cheap might be good for our hip pockets, but we pay for it in other ways.

The commentary on the current situation was somewhat deflating, and made me wonder if there really is any hope for the world to reconnect with its food and to get back to more sustainable ways of feeding ourselves. But the anecdotes and stories of what people are doing at a local level made me feel more positive, in spite of the massive obstacles that exist.

I loved reading about Ms Kingsolver’s youngest daughter Lily establish her own poultry enterprise at the age of nine; the fact that Ms Kingsolver had to check the security of the house whenever they left in zucchini season so the the neighbours couldn’t break in and leave zucchinis for them; and the wonderful story of buying a huge pumpkin in Italy, hacking it open at their accommodation and trying to dry the seeds out during their trip so they could take them home. Oh and the expose on the sex life of turkeys, which was horrifying, fascinating, amusing, and ultimately heartwarming.

There’s also a very thought provoking chapter on meat eating when it comes time to harvest the poultry that’s destined for the pot.

Each chapter ends with some thoughts from Ms Kingsolver’s eldest daughter Camille on her perspective on the family’s project, as well as some of her recipes and meal plans for the produce that is available in season each month. These are also available on the website.

I love the whole idea of this project, and would love to be in a position to be able to commit to doing something similar. 12 months of Tassievore-ing and getting food from my own backyard! It seems quite doable at this time of the year when the markets are overflowing with beautiful fresh produce. Ask me again in July or August. I was encouraged by the fact that Ms Kingsolver and her family didn’t end up eating dandelions (or roadkill) in the leaner months like other people they knew of that had attempted similar projects.

Realistically I know that doing this would mean some fairly big changes, a large vegetable garden and time I don’t have. But rather than giving up, I have to get out of the habit of all-or-nothing thinking. No, I can’t  source absolutely everything I eat from my backyard and from people in my immediate area that I know personally, but this doesn’t mean I can’t do anything at all. This book has inspired me to start thinking about some smaller changes I can make to increase the amount of local food in my diet. One baby step at a time.

It’s important.

Tassievore Eat Local Challenge Week 1 – Food Forager

I’ve been busy walking this week, so I haven’t given the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge my full attention.

I wrote a post about getting started last week,  and have been doing what I can for Week 1’s challenge, which has been to “seek out Tasmanian food and drinks . . . whether an old apple tree on the side of the road, a bottle of wine you haven’t tried before, or a recipe that has tweaked your interest”.

Funnily enough, the apple trees on the side of the road that I noticed last Sunday got pruned to within an inch of their lives during the week. Something about power lines, I believe . . .

Foraging at my house is primarily the search for eggs.

The oldest chicken decided long ago that the laying box wasn’t for her and has taken to laying in a spot in some bushes that we’ve nicknamed The Egg Butty. This comes from something Juniordwarf used to do when he was very small, and it kind of stuck. She’s had more than one Egg Butty over the years, but this is the current go-to spot.

Egg Butty

Egg Butty

The new chickens are gradually getting used to laying and are figuring out where to do it. One of them has even found the laying box.

Laying box

Laying box

The other one has decided it’s better to lay in the very back of the chook house, between the two perches, right in the chook shit from the night. She invariably knocks the perches off and we have to perform contortionist acts to get the egg and set the perches back up.

Not the laying box

Not the laying box

Foraging in my own back yard.

One of the new chickens

One of the new chickens

I also got 2 strawberries off my plant this week. I think that’s about 10 now. None of the other plants have fruited, so 6 plants for $10, and 10 strawberries = $1 per strawberry. Bargain! At least they aren’t fumigated with methyl bromide.

Gourmet strawberries

Gourmet strawberries

And by happy accident I discovered a self-seeded oregano plant in amongst my pennyroyal in one of the most shady parts of the yard. How it got there is anyone’s guess, but I’m not complaining.

Feral oregano

Feral oregano

Because I managed to kill my raspberry plants, I didn’t get any raspberries this year. So as a consolation, I’ve been drinking the raspberry cider from Two Metre Tall. It’s very good.

My main source of raspberries this year

My main source of raspberries this year – note deliberately out of focus cider so you can read the sign in the background (ahem)

I had a couple of ideas of new places to go foraging, but other things got in the way and I didn’t make it.

I did pick up some Tasmanian produce from Eumarrah in Hobart, and I really like the new labelling that Hill St Grocer has for its fruit and vegetables.

Apples at Eumarrah

Apples at Eumarrah

Garlic at Eumarrah

Garlic at Eumarrah

Hill St's produce labelling

Hill St’s produce labelling

This morning we went to our local market, the Big River Growers Market, which has some wonderful people with fantastic produce (and also excellent laksa).

Big River Growers Market

Big River Growers Market

20150307 Big River Market 1 20150307 Big River Market 2 20150307 Big River Market 3

Laksa!

Laksa!

And we were walking past a new business that has recently opened, so decided to have a look in there and picked up a few different vegetables as well.

Spud Hut

Spud Hut

So we ended up getting a pretty good haul for the weekend.

Weekend's haul

Weekend’s haul

And dinner tonight was accompanied by one of my favourite wines (which I foraged for in my fridge because I needed wine for the dinner recipe . . .)

Derwent Estate Chardonnay

Derwent Estate Chardonnay

Week 2’s challenge is to “grow your own”.

I used to be a gardening fanatic, but since we’ve been in this house – in fact probably since we had Juniordwarf – my commitment to the garden has declined and I haven’t grown anything (successfully) for several years.

Perhaps this is the time to fix that.

Stay tuned.

Tassievore Challenge – off we go!

As well as Walk in Her Shoes month, March is the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge month.

The Tassievore Challenge is all about encouraging people to eat local food and to explore new places to get Tasmanian food from. There are 4 mini challenges over the month to give people some ideas about what they can do to get more local food.

I think it’s a great idea. We have such a lot of great food here in Tasmania and, at this time of year especially, there’s a huge range of fresh produce available.

You might be aware of the recent Hepatitis scare related to imported frozen berries. I’ve noticed that this has prompted some discussion about where we get our food from and our expectation that we can have everything all year round.

I think it’s a good discussion to have.

Most fruits and vegetables are seasonal – so before the days of mass processing and imports, you could only get them when they were actually growing and ripening in your area – or if you’d preserved them yourself. People knew where their fruit and vegetables came from – often from their own or their neighbours’ garden – and they’d preserve their produce at home so that they could have it throughout the year when it wasn’t readily available.

But now thanks to cold storage and fast travel times you can get ‘fresh’ fruit and vegetables in your local supermarket that could have been picked weeks ago and could be from pretty much anywhere. So if you want a capsicum or an eggplant in the middle of winter you can get it, no questions asked.

Freezing, canning, drying and other methods of preserving are also common mass processing methods. And then there’s bottling things like relish, sauces and jams – but unless you do this yourself (or seek out hand-made preserves), we start to move into the sphere of ingredients with names we can’t pronounce – and this is a whole other issue.

As we’ve seen from the berry incident, the convenience of out of season produce might not necessarily be a good thing.

For example, according to the Australian Garlic Producers’ website, 95% of garlic in Australia is imported from China, where chemicals banned in Australia are apparently still used to grow garlic. The garlic is also “gamma irradiated to prevent sprouting and sprayed with Maleic Hydrazide to extend shelf life. All imported garlic is fumigated with Methyl Bromide by AQIS on arrival in Australia”.

That’s quite a chemical cocktail, but it ensures that we get a supply of garlic in the supermarket all year round.

The “banned” chemicals aren’t listed on the website, and I haven’t been able to find any recent reference to what these might be, so that’s a fairly big concern to start with, if this is correct. Then there’s the things that we do to it when it gets here.

To be fair, I don’t know what these things actually do, so I had to look them up.

Maleic Hydrazide is used in weedkillers and is used on vegetables like onions and potatoes to prevent them sprouting.  It is reportedly not harmful to humans, but has been linked to infertility in rats and is also a potential carcinogen in rats and mice.

Gamma irradiation involves exposing the food to radiation similar to microwaving it, but more powerful. Apparently this doesn’t make food radioactive and it makes only minimal changes to the food’s chemical composition.

Methyl Bromide is an ozone depleting substance used as a fumigant. It’s largely been phased out in Australia apart from “critical” uses such as fumigating imported products and as a soil fumigant for strawberries and for treating rice.  Presumably its phase out is related to its ozone-depleting capacity. Anyway if you eat imported garlic, you’ll ingest it. And probably if you eat Australian-grown non-organic strawberries.

This is just the chemicals and processes on one product.

Even if it’s true that these chemicals in the quantities you get from eating this food aren’t harmful, who’s to say that over the long term, combined with chemicals used in other foods, this routine consumption of combinations of chemicals isn’t doing us long term damage.

I don’t know. I’m not a scientist. But having a look at garlic makes me wonder how much other supposedly ‘fresh’ produce out there is routinely sprayed, blasted, dusted, whatever, to the point that the benefit of eating it is outweighed by the long term effects of the chemicals we take in.

You might be OK with this. That’s fine. But for me, regardless of how harmless I’m told these chemicals and processes are, I feel a lot more inclined to want to eat produce that is grown with minimal, if any, treatment. I think one of the best ways to do this is to buy food from the people who have grown it, so you can talk to them and find out how they grow it.

I’d love to grow everything I eat myself, so I know exactly where it’s come from, but that isn’t realistic right now. So the next best thing is buying directly from the growers – and next best to that is from a store where the growers are personally known to the storekeepers.

This implies that the produce is fresh too – seasonal – not stuck in cold storage for weeks on end. This is something I’d really like to explore. I’ve become used to being able to get pretty much any vegetable I want when I want it, because it’s always available, if not “fresh”, then tinned or frozen. I’d like to start to get to know what’s actually available at any given time and to plan my meals around that, rather than relying on the same old thing week in, week out.

It’s a big shift for me, but I think the Tassievore Challenge is a good start because it gets you to seek out and use seasonal Tasmanian produce.

The first week of the Tassievore challenge (yep, we finally got there) is to “become a local food forager – discover a new place to buy Tasmanian produce or find it where you shop already.”

I’ve drawn a big blank about what to do this week, so I’m not sure where this is going to lead me.

One thing I did want to mention was my experiment last year, where I recorded all the food we bought in the month of February leading up to the Tassievore Challenge and then in March while the challenge was on. I meant to do a follow-up post, but it never happened, so in the interests of completion, here’s what it looked like:

  • February, where I bought normally: 40% Tasmanian origin, 18% Australian, 22% Other, 20% Unknown (and 22% from Colesworths).
  • I haven’t been in either a Coles or Woolworths since early March last year, and the March spending where I paid a lot more attention to where my food was coming from looked like this: 67% Tasmanian origin, 8% Australian, 10% Other, 15% Unknown (and 1% from Colesworths).

I’m not sure what conclusions to draw from this other than there’s quite a lot of food that you can never be too sure where it came from. I might have been a bit harsh in putting things like bread rolls in that category but, while the bread was baked locally, the origin of the flour was key for me deciding on the origin of the product. And this isn’t usually apparent unless you ask (which I didn’t).

So that’s it. This week I’ll be off looking for Tasmanian produce.