Hidden Valley Honey

Hidden Valley Honey

Hidden Valley Honey, Wherrol Flat, NSW

Organic, no sprays. Raw Bush Honey farmed at Wherrol Flat, NSW

Introducing raw, unpasteurised bush honey from bees that feed on native eucalypts, blue and grey gums, tallowwood and yellow box.  The honey is less sweet than commercially available honey, but has a real depth of flavour and a beautiful floral bush bouquet. You can find their honey in 450g jars and 1Kg tubs under Feature Fruits and in the Honey and Jam section.

Hidden Valley Farm in Wherrol Flat is run by Shane and Brooke Hulands.  Although Shane had experience working on the family farm, he and Brooke only started farming 3 years ago.  They’re running cattle, pigs and about 500 hens, and collect bush honey from about 50 hives. Both are saying that they haven’t worked as hard as they are now, but loving every minute of it.

The Wherrol Flat farm is 475 acres and is mostly timber.  All their animals are running free range, using holistic management and low stress stock handling principles.

On their farm the cows eat down the long grass, and are moved on to another paddock. They are followed by chooks who live in the paddocks in mobile caravans. One hectare at a time is sectioned off with electric netting, and once the area is fertilised the caravan is moved on.

They say they’ve seen the soil improving, holding moisture better. They’ve also noticed the pastures change from bracken fern and Parramatta grass to having a significant increase in plant diversity, including a return of many native pasture species.

“For us it’s about seeing the land comfortable. If we see that we know the soil will be good and our animals healthy, creating a future for our children” says Shane. “We are doing what feels right and it seems to be working.”

“We’re redoing internal fencing so we have better control of our paddocks and letting the stock do the work for us.

“We don’t need to mulch. The cows tread in the older grass to build the soil carbon, so we retain moisture in our paddocks.”

The Hulands moved up from Sydney for family health reasons to raise their young family. Shane had previously worked on a family farm. Brooke is city born and bred, but would never go back now. She says “I’ve never worked so hard in my life but I’m loving every minute of it, and it’s fantastic seeing the kids getting involved.”

“It’s not a job, it’s a passion” adds Shane.

Shane and Brooke sell pastured free range eggs at the Wingham Farmers markets and some retail outlets. They are in the process of setting up paddock to plate pastured beef and pork.

Tumeric Organic Fresh Roots

Tumeric Organic Fresh Roots

Tumeric postEat the whole plant when you get the chance to: roots, leaves, flower. It’s warm, peppery and earthy in taste. You don’t need much in a recipe. This week from Northern Queensland as it likes a wet warm climate to grow.

  • Root – boiled, dried & ground
  • Leaves as a wrap for fish or chicken
  • Flowers in a salad

Growing

It takes 8-10 months for the  roots or rhizomes to mature. While the leaves and stems are edible.

Note this week is Certified Organic Roots available – note organic does not mean sprayfree. Sprays which are used in organic farming methods include fungacides, natural pyrethrums which affect the central nervous system of insects and copper based sprays which can create soil toxicity.

For Turmeric – Pests and Diseases

Note that the Turmeric plant is seldom has insect or disease issues. At worst a fungus infection showing as brown patches on the leaves.

So what is so good about it?

Has iron and manganese . Tumeric’s active ingredient, Curcumin, has shown to lower cholesterol by working in tandem with the liver to remove harmful cholesterol from the body. It has antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Use as a natural liver detoxifier and let keeping weight off by helping speed up the metabolism .

How to store

In an air-tight container keep roots in a cool dark dry place. You can freeze the roots then grate them when you need them..

What to do with it?

Steps to prepare  them: first clean the rhizomes then in a saucepan of hot water boil for 45 minutes. Let cool then peel skin off. Dry one week or use oven method below. When dry grind either using mortar and pestle or a food processor.
Oven dry: If you peel the turmeric and very thinly slice it, lay out on oven paper.
Then put it in a very low heat oven (50C) let it roast for a few hours until it is crisp dry.
Grind it up in a spice grinder.

As a tea

Grate a little turmeric into a small sieve, put boiling water over it, let it sit for a few minutes and drink it as a tea.

Recipes

Tumeric Roasted Potatoes

Broccoli and Tumeric Soup

Tumeric lemon pancakes for the kids

Tumeric, coconut and Salmon curry

Me Farms a local farm

Me Farms plot

Me Farms plot

Me Farms a local farm

Harvest Hub are reaching out for truly local into the suburbs. In Fairfield and Bankstown there are farms which produce amazingly flavoursome produce. Harvest Hub guarantees that 50 cents in the dollar spent goes back to their farmers.

Multicultural Enterprises Australia (MEA)

Me Farm Seedlings

Me Farm Seedlings

Multicultural Enterprises Australia (MEA) established out of the Cabramatta Community Centre in 2011 began MEFarms. Supported by Community Builders state funding for 3 years we have incorporated KPI’s of this funding with objectives so the farm could be self sufficient.

MEA is a social enterprise championed by Suji Upasena. Together Suji and a working party consisting of several local Fairfield, Cabramatta and Liverpool agencies initiated a farm concept to support migrants, refugees, and local residents in pursuit of horticultural training and work experience to operate in a fresh produce farm environment.

MEFarms supporting migrants & local residents horticultural training and work experience to operate in a fresh produce farm environment. Fairfield,Bankstown.

Winter and what happens at the farm.

Me Farms tell us, “Sydney has just passed the longest day of the year and with only two months before spring is well underway with seeding in our nursery. Our mild winter days are up to 20 degrees and our nights only down to 5 degrees. This has seen some remarkable growth in our young seedlings. Right now were sowing leeks, swiss chard, carrots, beetroot, radish, sunflower, Brassicas and garlic.”

Realfood

Realfood

We are less concerned with the ‘cosmetics’; we buy with some superficial skin marks or some off shape, provided it has great flavour.

This is the way it is grown without industrialised farming methods. The old fashioned way.

We have to sometimes remind ourselves that fruit and vegetables are grown outside in soil, and are subject to sun, rain, hail and wind, insects and other fauna – so it’s little wonder that not every apple is perfectly round and unblemished.

Beetroot, for example, will have pits and bumps as the weather will influence the part striking above the ground.

We try to buy from local growers as much as possible – with local meaning:growers we know, have visited on their farm and on the whole know how they
grow their produce (i.e. chemical-free, bio-dynamic, permaculture (meaning no chemicals, no manufactured fertilisers), using organic principles, in
organic conversion or certified organic.

The bulk of these growers are in the Sydney Basin – Horsley Park, Quakers Hill, Camden, Rossmore, Leppington, Wallacia, Kemps Creek – and on the
fringe in areas like Maroota, Dural, Hawkesbury, Oberon and Orange. We also have an increasing number of growers on the Central and Mid-North Coast.

On average, we source around 70-80% of our produce from these local growers during the growing season, dropping to 50-60% during the winter months.

Where we source produce from interstate and we don’t know from which farms it comes, we assume that the produce was grown conventional – i.e. some
chemicals may have been used to control pests, weeds and fungus. The few items from overseas, mostly as not available in Australia, we search for the
same chemical free approach but we cannot guarantee it for anyone with sensitivities due to border inspections as they fumigate including organic
produce imported – this renders it non organic strictly speaking.

Sustainability Festival

Gallery

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Great weekend at the Manly Food, Wine & Sustainability Festival Thanks for all the Harvest Hub members who volunteered their time to help at the Harvest Hub Produce Stall at the Manly, Food, Wine & Sustainability Festival. Pascal came by and … Continue reading

Absolute Organic Non-Hydrogenated Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Coconuts on tree

Absolute Organic Non-Hydrogenated Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

  • FLAVOUR – naturally sweet with slight nuttiness
  • STORING – up to 2 years
  • HIGH SMOKING POINT – good for stir fry/curry
  • LACTOSE INTOLERANT – replaces butter

See Meaning of *Non-Hydrogenated below.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is enjoying a resurgence – it was a popular oil in Australia prior to the Second World War, when supply of it became limited.  The oil is extracted from the flesh of mature coconuts and proves an extremely stable oil – it can be stored up to two years. Its very high smoking point meaning it won’t break down when you use it to cook curries and stir fries.

It’s tasty and for the lactose intolerant who like their cakes, muffins and biscuits, its an easy substitute for butter.  It can also replace butter and cream in pastry, and scones and in icings.  Mixed in a frosting together with icing sugar and coconut milk it makes for a decadent topping on a dairy free cake.  For flavourings use lemon zest, or orange zest, and cocoa powder. Coconut oil’s naturally sweet and its slight nuttiness adds to the depth of flavour in baking.

As it does not break down at high temperatures it can be used to bake vegetables at 220 degrees celsius. A small amount (a tablespoon) is fabulous in a baking dish with a couple of medium potatoes, a sweet potato, 3-4 beetroot, chopped pumpkin and tofu – rendering them crispy skinned and seriously yum.

Stirfry with coconut oil

Stirfry with coconut oil

Simply do a Stirfry vegetables with Tofu using the coconut oil as your start point. Use Organic Non-hydrongenated coconut oil.

Add a tablespoon of Spice Peddler’s Tuscan, Jamacian Jerk, or Samba Seasoning to the oil and vegetables beforehand for a flavour hit.  Coconut is also excellent oil in which to fry up your Thai or Indian curry base or to use in a Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese stir fry.

 

Health Benefits

There are a number of health benefits ascribed to coconut oil – they include:

  • improved heart health
  • a better immune system
  • younger looking skin
  • improved digestion
  • more stable blood sugar
  • reduced sugar cravings.

Discussions & Studies

Some of these are examined by former Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Mike Foale in his fascinating Ockham’s Razor discussion with Robyn Williams on Radio National.

Pilot studies are being undertaken to look into the benefits of coconut oil on early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Other uses

The oil has antimicrobial properties and operates as an antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-yeast agent and can be used in small quantities as a leave in hair conditioner and de-frizzer, make up remover and skin moisturiser.

It’s important to note that some of these health benefits are scientifically unproven at this stage and all of them relate to 100% pure virgin coconut oil, not partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which contains unhealthy trans-fats.

Like all oils, coconut oil’s a fat and should be eaten in moderation.  (A tablespoon contains at least 8 calories.) So although coconut oil is high in saturated fats, these are the medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), which are now thought to be beneficial, as opposed to trans-saturated fats, which carry risks of heart disease and high cholesterol.  It also changes it’s appearance in warm Sydney weather transforming from a cold weather solid to a warm weather liquid.

* Hydrogenation is the process of adding hydrogen to a fat. This stabilizes it and gives it a longer shelf life but adds nasty trans fat. So this coconut oil at Harvest Hub does not have the Hydrogenation.