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Delivery Run Friday June 15th 12:30pm-2pm

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Delivery is available to Toowoomba addresses this Friday June 15th from 12:30pm-2pm.

This applies to orders $40+, though if you have two people collecting from the same address and the orders total $40+ for that address, I can do that.

Have your orders placed by Thursday 14th, 8:30pm.

Payment can either be made online when you order, or be paid for with cash or card upon delivery.

Organic Dried Apricots, Pepitas, Black Chia Seeds and this Week’s Delivery Run

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Back in stock we have:

Organic Black Chia seeds, $17/kg

Organic Pepitas, $14/kg

Organic Dried Apricots (we just taste tested them…they’re even better than last time we ordered them!), $19.50/kg

We also have tomatoes, both cherry and slicing varieties, so if you’re after some, request them with your order. Due to the frosts, they’re not producing so prolifically (they’re out of season after all) so we don’t have the quantity to have them listed online.

And this week’s delivery run, for orders $40+ to Toowoomba addresses will be Thursday 7th June, 1-2:30pm. To take advantage of home delivery, make sure you place your order by 8:30pm Wednesday 6th June. If you’ve not had a delivery before, please write your address in the comments box of your order (or email me your address).

Thursday 31st May, 1-2:30pm Delivery Run for orders $40+ in Toowoomba

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Here we are at the end of another weekend already!

Time to plan for the week ahead…

This week we are offering delivery to Toowoomba addresses on orders $40+ on Thursday May 31st, from 1-2:30pm.

Place your order by Wednesday 8:30pm

Some of the winter crops are now being harvested. We have lots of sugarloaf cabbage for all you fermenting fans out there. Purple cauliflowers are coming on…plus wombok cabbage. Broccoli is almost ready also.

If you are after tomatoes, just ask and we’ll let you know what’s available. They’re still fruiting, but demand is higher than supply in our tomato patch, so we’ve had to take them offline for a little while.

Friday May 25th Delivery Run, 1-2:30pm for orders $40+ in Toowoomba

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Hi there,

this week we’re going for a Friday 1-2:30pm delivery run for orders $40+ in Toowoomba.

Just place your order by 8:30pm Thursday 24th and mention in the comments box that you’d like delivery, and your address (unless you’re a regular and I know your address already).

If you don’t have $40 worth, but you do have a friend or family member who would also like delivery to the same address and your combined orders total $40+, then I can do that.

Also, if you’d love delivery, but our times never suit you, send me an email (or reply in the comments below) what sort of times would better suit you. Sometimes we can make another time work, especially when we’re already going to town for something else.

Bone Broth Workshop, Wednesday May 30th at Birdsong

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No doubt just about everyone has heard of bone broth, it’s a hot topic, especially in regard to it’s gut healing capabilities.

We’ve been making it for years, and actually started making it because Rick was trained as a chef back in the day, and when we got married he liked things like real gravy made on real beef stock…and making it seemed a lot more economical (and satisfying) than buying it!

Then as time went on and more and more info came out about the vast chasm of difference in quality between your standard supermarket stock/broth and homemade stock/broth, there was no way we’d go back to buying it.

Last Autumn we held a bone broth workshop, and as the chill of the season sets in again this year, it’s such a lovely time to have a pot of broth on the stove (or in your slow cooker).

We’re holding another bone broth workshop Wednesday May 30th, 1:30pm here at Birdsong (118 Boundary St).

I’ll show you examples of what to include in your broth, how to make it, how to pressure can it (to make the broth shelf stable) and how to make boullion (reduced broth jelly, EXCELLENT option if you want to freeze broth but have limited freezer space).

We can also give you a list of where to source bones, whether fish, beef or lamb.

You will go home with a little starter kit of Birdsong herbs, seasonal produce (suitable for broth), instructions and a jar of broth (likely beef) to try.

Cost: $30. You can either pay on the day (must RSVP first) or you can pay by selecting the class from the webstore and paying online.

To RSVP, email me at racheal@birdsongmarketgarden.com.au by Sunday May 27th.

Happy Mother’s Day from Birdsong! (and this weeks delivery run)

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Happy Mother’s Day, 2018 🙂

And with the occasion, has come our first frost for the year, it looks lovely sparkling in the morning sun.

The garden is looking vibrant, and rainbow chard has just come back on. Rick planted extra rows of chard this rotation, so there’s an excellent supply.

The reminder to pray for rain came this week when we got a call to say 3 bores in our area have just gone dry! If ours goes dry then the market garden ceases to exist until the water is replenished. So please join us in praying for rain. Each day we see water truck after water truck spraying so much water for dust control and watering the new turf for the new Toowoomba Bypass. So maybe they’ll need to be more water conscious too…

The nut order has come in, so we now have raw organic almonds and raw organic cashews back in stock.

This weeks delivery run will be Sunday 20th May, 1-2:30pm for orders $40+ in Toowoomba. Get your order in by Saturday 19th, 8:30pm and mention you’d like delivery in the comments box of your order.

Have a beautiful day!

This Weeks Delivery Run

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This weeks delivery time will be Friday 11th May, 1-2:30pm for orders $40+ in Toowoomba.

To take advantage of this service, place your order by 8:30pm tonight (Thursday 10th May).

I know it’s late notice, but the offer goes out to our regular customers on our email list first. As there is still space for more orders this week, I’m putting the word out on the blog also 🙂

Beeswax Wraps and Cold Process Soap Making Workshop

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May at Simple Living Toowoomba…

This month SLT are offering two classes in one, DIY beeswax wraps with Suanne from Green Dandelion, and cold process soap making with me.

If you haven’t heard about beeswax wraps, they’re an eco friendly alternative to glad wrap. Much better looking than glad wrap too! Suanne will even have kits available for sale on the day with the wax/resin mix so you can go home and make your own. Suanne is regularly at local farmer’s markets and the like selling not only her beautiful wraps, but also other ‘green’ solutions for you home.

And soap making, like I’ve said before, is so much easier than you think and can be made with ingredients from the supermarket. No need to order pricey unusual ingredients (unless you want to go down that path). Homemade soap is also very allergy friendly. I have yet to meet a person, no matter how bad the eczema, who reacts to basic homemade soap. I’ll have some soap available for sale on the day.

This class will take place on Saturday 26th May, 9:45am-Midday at 13-15 Blake St, Wilsonton, 4350. It’s going to be capped at about 30-35 participants.

Cost is $5 per adult (need cash as there’s no electronic payment facilities), which is amazing value. Soapmaking will be up first and we’ll start at 10am sharp, so please be on time! Suanne will then start her wraps demonstration at around 11am.

To RSVP, email Michele at simplelivingtoowoomba@gmail.com

Birdsong Delivery Slot- This Sunday 6th May for orders $40+ in Toowoomba

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Time to try something different 🙂

As some of you know, I’ve trialed a few delivery slots before in Toowoomba. It is a great way to get a lot of produce to a lot of customers in far less time than it takes to set up shop at the local markets. Normally this option is only open to customers on our mailing list, as I usually squeeze the deliveries in while heading into town for the children’s extra curricular activities…and so can’t take too many orders with me.

This Sunday 6th May, from 1-2:30pm, we’re trialing a new delivery slot. To take advantage of this you need to live in Toowoomba, be placing an order of $40+ and place your order by 8pm Saturday 5th May. Be sure to leave your address in the comments section of your order!

Most people who have had us deliver before pay online when they order, but I do carry paypass/credit equipment, and can also accept cash payments.

As we live just north of Toowoomba, suburbs on the North side are delivered to first. The last area I get to is usually Rangeville. Just letting you know in case you order and wonder around what time exactly the veg will arrive.

Sometimes people have their veg delivered when they’re not home…this is ok if you’ve already paid, and you know the veg will be safe and not out in the elements too long. Produce such as kale, bok choi and lettuce don’t cope for long out of refrigeration.

So once again, if you’d like a delivery this weekend, it’s:

Sunday May 6th, 1-2:30pm

Order must be $40+

Delivery address for your order must be IN Toowoomba

Order must be placed by 8pm Saturday 5th May

Seasonal Mixed Box – A Value Comparison

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We get both- customers who want specific produce each order, and customers who just want a box of whatever is fresh and seasonal.

One customer, upon taking home her first $50 mixed box, decided to list and weigh every item in her box and find out how the value compared to buying the same items organically at the supermarket. I was really excited by this, it’s one of those things I probably wouldn’t get around to doing at the moment, but am very interested to see the results of.

So I’ve just received the list this customer wrote, and will share it with you so you too can see how our seasonal mixed boxes compare with supermarket buying.

NOTE: Contents of seasonal mixed boxes change frequently, depending on what’s in season and how much of each item we have available.

This customer was not asked to do this, she just happens to be very thrifty and wanted to know for herself what kind of value she was getting.

It’s also worth noting when you buy a seasonal box, I ALWAYS put more than the dollar value you paid in there, ie if you buy a $50 box, I’ll put at least another $5-$10 worth of our produce in there.

Both Coles and Woolworths online were used for her comparisons, as neither supermarket stocked everything in her box from Birdsong. The comparisons are made with Organic produce (except for the eggplant and cucumber, which she could not find organically from supermarkets at the time).

 

Ok, here it is:

Item                                                Supermarket Price     Total

1050g Dutch Cream Potatoes    $4/kg                           $4.20

995g Sweet Potato                        $10/kg                        $9.95

630g Salad Onion                         $7/kg                          $4.45

670g Butternut Pumpkin            $4/kg                          $2.68

1560g Tomatoes                            $17.50/kg                  $27.30

856g Corn, Small Cobs                $14/kg                        $11.97

425g Squash                                  $9/kg                          $3.82

777g Capsicum                              $9/kg                          $6.99

420g Purple Beans                      $18/kg                         $7.56

1305g Zucchini                             $9/kg                           $11.75

954g Eggplant                              $8/kg (non organic) $7.63

1140g Lebanese Cucumber        $5/kg (non organic)  $5.95

700g Beetroot                               $9/kg                           $6.30

808g Carrots                                 $6/kg                           $4.85

30g Herbs                                                                            $3

12.3kg Produce (Equivalent $4.06/kg)      TOTAL: $118.11

 

Wow, I hadn’t realised the price difference would be so huge!

Our First Farm Tour…and the Apples have arrived

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Yesterday we hosted our first Birdsong Farm Tour. A great opportunity for locals to come and check out how we grow our veg and to pick Rick’s brains in regard to what to do to boost their soil health in home gardens.

Michele at Going Grey and Slightly Green  has already posted a blog with loads of pics from the tour. Daughter of a photographer though I am, I’m a shocker for getting around to taking pics at classes/workshops. Too busy with the catering perhaps? Sounds like a reasonable excuse anyway!

So thank you Michele for your write up on the tour.

In other news, the apples have arrived! Some of you have already bought Gran Elly Orchard biologically organic apples before. Dennis Angelino is one of the few farmers out there who remineralises his soil, like us. So the apples are unlike what you buy from a supermarket.

We’ve got in Granny Smiths, Hi Earlys and Royal Galas. All delicious (we tested to make sure!). Actually, what has been interesting is that children tell me the apples are very filling. You don’t hear that often of apples, but then if the mineral content is there it only makes sense that you would feel more satisfied after eating these apples. They’re $5.50/kg and all first grade. If there is enough interest, we might get some juicing grade next time also, as I know we have juicers among our customers.

I’ve just uploaded these apples to the web store. If you buy some, I’d love your feedback.

Side note…corn is back! Looks like two rows are ripe at once, so there will be corn a plenty for the next week or so.

Organic Dried Fruit/Nuts/Seeds/Flours

By | Farm Gate Stall | 4 Comments

As many of you know, we supplement out produce range with some organic dried fruit, nuts, seeds, oils and sometimes flours.

Some of these items, like coconut sugar and pepitas have been selling out fast lately! We’re looking at ordering in more organic pantry items like these soon and we’re open to suggestions. What would you like to see in our web store?

It’s been a while since we’ve had dried fruit, so I’m considering giving organic figs a go. The wholesaler we deal with has a huge variety and if there’s something you’d like to be able to buy through us (and we keep the prices as reasonable as we can), then leave a comment or contact us and let us know your suggestions.

Earth Day 2018 and a big thank you to those who are helping us reduce plastic waste!

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It’s interesting timing. I was just thinking this past week that in the approximately 18 months we’ve been operating, we haven’t had to order more plastic bags and containers. At the start Rick bought a couple of boxes of tomato punnets and various sized bags for packing produce. You’d think after all those orders we’ve processed, we’d have needed more plastic.

BUT, we happen to have a wonderful clientele that are more than happy to have their veg orders packed into cardboard boxes, which can be recycled. It’s only small items like beans, cherry tomatoes and the organic dry goods we sell that we’ve been using plastic packaging for. And I hope as time goes on we’ll find sustainable and practical solutions for those items…so we can eradicate the plastic altogether.

April 22nd is Earth Day, and I want to thank you all for helping Birdsong Market Garden reduce plastic waste by accepting your orders in cardboard boxes 🙂 It must be thousands of plastic bags that are not in local landfill, because you’ve been so cooperative with sustainable packing options.

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Birdsong Farm Tour, Saturday April 28th

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Finally, we’ve got a farm tour happening!

We can thank Simple Living Toowoomba for getting us organised with that.

When: Saturday 28th April, 10am-Midday

Where: 118 Boundary St, Cranley

Cost: $5 per adult. Children are welcome, just keep an eye on them. I hope to have the lawn tamed before the day, but at the moment it’s long and we do get the occasional eastern brown snake! Cost includes light refreshments after the tour.

What: A walk around the market garden with Farmer Rick, and a chance to see how we go about Nutrition farming and ask lots of questions 🙂

RSVP: Please email Michele at simplelivingtoowoomba@gmail.com to book in for the tour.

NOTE: If it rains, the tour will be cancelled, as our garden becomes a sticky black-clay mess! Also, you might like to wear enclosed shoes (unless you like to earth-out).

And yes, you can purchase produce on the day if you like.

Elderberry and Zanzibar Gem and Caramelised Onion Relish

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Surplus. It’s something we experience now and then on the farm.

A while back Rick harvested a row of tropea long red onions, which I’ve been enjoying, as for so long onions were the one veg item I still had to buy at the markets! Tropea’s don’t keep as long as traditional varieties, but they do far better in our Toowoomba climate than standard onions. So once harvested, they have a shorter shelf life and to make sure we avoided waste, I made several batches of organic Caramelised Onion Relish. There’s more than we can use ourselves, so it’s been for sale at the farm gate. I’m not going to worry about listing it on the website, but if you’re making an order and would like some, just request it in the comments box of your order. Or email me. it’s $7.50 a jar (approx 380g). The only comparable onion relish I could find that was organic was $12 for 280g!

And Elderberry plants! About 2 years ago we planted 3 elderberry plants around our house tank. Apparently they like it there, as one day I walked out to find about 12 suckers that the mother plants had sent out. So they were potted and tended for several months until they took root, and now they’re available for $10ea. Same deal, they’re available at the farm gate, or you can request one in the comments box of your order. The flowers and berries are wonderful for medicinal remedies and wines. We’ve really enjoyed the elderflower wine. Rick usually isn’t interested in home ferments, but he got stuck into that one!

Some of you may have read the post I wrote a while back about our thriving Zanzibar Gem. When my sister, a horticulturist, told us about how they propagate them at the TAFE and they’re SO slow growing, we didn’t expect to see much change in ours. They’re known for needing almost no attention and infrequent watering. We decided to water it more often, fertilise with organic fish emulsion and it was also exposed to a lot of Classic FM in our loungeroom…and it’s thrived! I’ve had to upgrade the pot twice, and recently have taken cuttings from the original which are now potted up in Rick’s compost (mineral mix) and available for sale. They’re $10ea ($40 at Bunnings) It’s a wonderful plant for indoor air filtration, and looks pretty cool too.

Has anyone else had a zanzibar gem that’s defied the rules? 🙂

Easter Opening Hours

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Oops, should have posted these hours sooner!

We had a lovely couple of days off on Friday and Saturday, and are now open today (Easter Sunday) and tomorrow (Easter Monday) from 11am-6pm.

In addition to the produce listed on the web store, we also have yellow-flesh watermelons and some butternut pumpkins. Stock is limited on these, so they won’t be listed online. Just ask us if you’d like one.

Thai Cashew Chicken

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Happy Saturday! It’s our day off, and today was one of those lovely days where we had nothing planned. So there’s been time to potter around in the kitchen.

Chilies abound at the moment, so I’ve been trying a few Thai recipes, and thought I’d share this one with you…

Thai Cashew Chicken…with coconut rice

Coconut Rice: 2 C basmati rice

4C liquid (I use 1 can of organic coconut cream and make the rest of the liquid up with chicken broth)

Chicken: 500g chicken (we used organic chicken thighs), chopped to your preferred size

2-3 Tbsp plain flour

1/3 cup macadamia oil (if you don’t have macadamia, use another oil with a mild flavour)

Vegetables: 1 Tbsp garlic, crushed or finely chopped

1 small tropea red onion, sliced length ways into wedges

5-6 Thai chilies, finely chopped

1 C raw cashews

1 C capsicums, julienned

1 C carrots, julienned

2 shallots, finely sliced

Sauce: 2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp oyster sauce

1/2 tsp ground pepper

Dash of salt

Dash of honey

1 C chicken broth/stock

2 Tbsp cornflour

Method:

Get your rice going first. I put the rice and liquid in the saucepan and cook, absorption method, with the lid on. Just keep an eye on the rice to make sure the heat is shut off when the liquid gets low.

Mix your sauce ingredients in a jar and set aside.

Pour you oil into a wok or large frypan and heat. While that is heating, toss your chopped chicken in the flour to coat.

Fry the raw cashews until they start to brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Now add your floured chicken and the chili to the hot oil in the pan and fry until golden and delicious. Remove the chicken from the oil and set aside.

To that same oil, add all your veg except the shallots and fry until the onion is translucent.

Add your sauce and while that cooks through, get your cornflour and mix with a little water and add this to the pan to thicken the sauce.

Your chicken and cashews can now get back in the pan. Stir until the sauce has coated everything and then add your shallots for just a minute or two of cooking before you serve.

I liked the heat level of this combo. It was mild enough that flavours other than heat could be enjoyed, but hot enough to have a kick to it 🙂 If you love heat and don’t have children to accommodate, you might like to add more chili.

Confessions of a Farmer’s Wife

By | Nutrition | 2 Comments

He looks like I’ve been feeling…pooped! Here’s an inside look at life at Birdsong lately…hahaha.

We had a lovely 5 days away at the coast, and not the overcrowded QLD coast, but a kind of remote little coastal village in NSW. It was bliss. We swam, read books and generally recovered from the fast pace life that the market garden creates. The children think it’s wonderful, partly because of the beach, and partly because it’s the only time I’ll ever let them eat cocoa pops!

But then we had to come back to reality. I got hit with hayfever (maybe the change of seasons brought on new pollen in the air…I don’t know). Then started having very disturbed sleep, and less than a week after the holiday was not coping. Rick’s got a lot of engineering work on at the moment so I end up with more farm work. Like, all of the harvesting, packing and sales. On top of homeschooling 5 of our 6 children (but thank God I have Rick’s mum helping me with that this year), making all our meals from scratch and managing all the other needs and distractions that come up. It was really too much.

Then we had other issues, like the lawn is starting to look a bit Amazonian, but the lawn mower, ride on mower and then the 2 wheel tractor all stopped working! The 2 wheel tractor was the saddest part. I was mowing with it (since the other equipment had broke down) and accidentally mowed over a bicycle tire that had been completely submerged in grass. That didn’t go down well, and broke the clutch. I felt terrible, because this was the first time I’d ever used the 2 wheel tractor…and because I’d repeatedly told the children not to leave their rubbish around the yard!). The 2 wheel tractor is an unusual piece of equipment from Europe, so parts are costly. Rick was already pretty disillusioned and considering giving up the farm just before that happened. He started pulling the tractor apart to find what went wrong and was very blessed to have our neighbour stop by and help him. It’s almost fixed now, phew.

Then came Friday. Friday is a huge day. I get up at dawn (that’s normal) and then get out in the market garden to harvest whatever else is needed for the delivery orders. Most of the packing is done Thursday arvo, so it’s not so stressful on the Friday morning. I have a very mature 9 year old who gets her 5 and 3 year old brothers fed and ready for the big day out while I work outside. Our 12 year old came out to help harvest. Most stock is ready to go in the cold room, but things like herbs are harvested to order. And leafy greens can’t be packed until the last minute.

Eventually all the boxes are ready (and I hope I haven’t missed anthing!). This week it was 8 boxes of veg, overflowing the boot of the van onto children’s laps! Then we start delivering. We try to get out of the house at 8am and need to be finished delivering by 9:15am for my eldest to have her piano lesson. While she’s there, the rest of us go grab some groceries, then collect her from piano and head straight to homeschool gymnastics. I really didn’t feel like being there this week, but once a fortnight the under 5’s have a class…and that was this week. My 3 year old was so excited that he’d get to use the gym equipment too that I didn’t have the heart to skip it on him. Then it’s lunch in the park with a stack of other homeschool families.

Next things start to slow down a bit and I drop the children off to my sisters for the afternoon so I can do any town errands by myself!

Busy. And I can totally understand why there aren’t more small farms and market gardens. It’s hard work, but doesn’t make enough money to hire help.

By the way, this was written more in a effort to help people understand some of what’s involved in small scale farming, not to have a whinge. Overall we have a great life, and I’m so thankful for the produce (and the opportunity to farm), as I doubt I’d have the energy to maintain this schedule without it!