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Notice: No deliveries this week, and Birdsong Closed October 20th-24th

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Time for a break! We’re in between seasons, produce-wise, so are going to take a breather while it’s quiet.

There will be no delivery run this week (and probably not next week either).

We will be closed from Saturday 20th-Wednesday 24th October. Open again Thursday 25th October from 11am.

Friday 12th October, 1-2pm Delivery Run for Orders $40+ in Toowoomba

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This Friday, 12th October, from 1-2pm I’ll be delivering orders $40+ in Toowoomba.

Please place your order online by 8:30pm Thursday 11th to qualify, and mention you’d like a delivery in the comments box, add your address if I’ve not delivered to you before.

Birdsong Green Cleaning Class, Wednesday 26th September, 10am

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Come and learn how to detox your cleaning regime with homemade alternatives to commercial products…using simple, often inexpensive ingredients.

In this workshop, which will run for approximately 1.5-2 hours, I’ll show you how to make your own laundry powder, kitchen spray, gunk/adhesive remover, scouring powder, boot polish, liquid soap, air freshener, toilet cleaner and window cleaner.

Cost: $35. Payment can be made by selecting and buying this workshop online. This will automatically book you in. Price includes a take-home kit with some ingredients to get you started!

Details: Wednesday 26th September, 10am at Birdsong Market Garden, 118 Boundary St, Cranley, 4350

Bookings Essential.

PS. For those who love the idea of homemade, local, non-toxic cleaning products, but aren’t keen on making them themselves, check out Green Dandelion (online). Suanne makes and sells these products.

Friday 21st September, 1-2pm delivery run for orders $40+ in Toowoomba

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Hi 🙂

This week’s delivery run will be on Friday 21st September, from 1-2pm for orders $40+ in Toowoomba.

As usual, please place your order by 8:30pm Thursday 20th and state in the comments box that you would like a delivery. Mention your address to, if you are new to deliveries.

Thanks to everyone who’s been returning waxed boxes and glass jars for recycling also!

Birdsong Closed Thursday September 13- Saturday 15th

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Update: Birdsong will be closed Thursday September 13th-Saturday September 15th.

There will be no deliveries this week. Normal pickup times (11am-6pm) are available for Monday 9th-Wednesday 12th.

As a side note, coconut sugar is available, and I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get back on the website!

Friday September 7th, 1-2pm Delivery Run

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This Weeks delivery run will be Friday 7th September, 1-2pm for orders $40+ in Toowoomba. Please place your order by 8:30pm Thursday and request delivery in the comments box.

If I’ve delivered to you before, I already know where you live. But if you’re new, please list your address in the comments box also.

Making the Most of your Seasonal Mixed Box

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$50 mixed boxes are becoming a popular choice at Birdsong, and from the farmer’s point of view, it’s a wonderful choice, because it allows us to sell what’s in season and in abundance…and to get people trying produce they might not be accustomed to purchasing. You also learn to eat seasonally.

For those of you who’ve tried our mixed boxes before, you’ll know you end up with quite a bit of food, particularly greens in winter, to create with. So how do you deal with it all with as little spoilage and waste as possible?

I know some of you already give some of your produce away when the box contains more than you can use, which is a great way to save spoilage.

When you bring your box home and start packing the goods away, one of the first things to consider is “what is going to need to be eaten within the next few days to avoid spoilage?” The answer to this can depend on your storage methods. For example, I don’t actually keep much produce in our fridge, we’re blessed to have the cold room and I take a walk out there before preparing meals and select from the storage tubs out there. So something like loose leaf greens…any greens really, last especially well when they’re kept in the cold room in our plastic storage tubs. But if I take a mesh bag of mesclun and put it in the produce drawer of my fridge, it’s only going to last about 2 days. Same with just about anything green and leafy. BUT, if I put a bunch of kale in a large beeswax wrap, or a glass storage container in that same drawer of the fridge, it will last much longer, as if it was in the cold room.

Some produce is going to have a very lengthy shelf life, like your root vegetables, so there’s no hurry to use them.

Sometimes you’ll get produce that can be preserved for later. Tomatoes can be canned, corn can be blanched and frozen, lemongrass can be frozen, cabbage can be fermented into kraut etc

Now, how do you incorporate more of this produce into your meals so nothing goes to waste…and it’s not just about waste, it’s also about maximising your vegetable intake!

Between salads, stocks, soups, one pot meals and preserving, you should have no problem creating with all your mixed box produce.

Salads: Often I start with a recipe as a base, but change it to suit what’s in season and what’s in the pantry. Maybe there’s a lovely dressing recipe you want to try and then you mix and match with your veg (and can toss in some roasted nuts, seeds…even fruit).

Stocks: Many of you make your own stock. We’re big fans of chicken stock made on organic chicken frames and home grown produce. Using vegetables in your stock along with the bones creates a synergistic effect where the nutrients from the veg and bones combine to give you a virtual liquid multi-mineral supplement. And you can use SO many different veg. Have a bunch of kale you won’t otherwise use? Put it in your stock pot. It will turn the broth a little green, but that’s not a problem.

Soups: Like with salads, I’ll often start with a base recipe and then vary it to suit what produce is available. Or, start with the broth and then start slicing and adding produce that I have surplus of. This is a great way to use surplus leafy greens, chilli and herbs. NOTE: Add herbs at the end of the cooking when making soup so they retain their flavour and nutrient density.

Soup can be frozen, and in this way you can be both preserving your produce and giving yourself a ready-made meal to have on hand when you’re strapped for time.

One pot meals: Maybe that name isn’t the best description of what I mean…but any meal where you are combining the bulk of the sustenance in one dish like- Stews, bolognase, pies, stir-fry, quiche etc.

Our family now expect that I’ll probably sneak chard into the bolognase, or shredded cabbage into the ‘zucchini’ quiche…or a bit of everything into the ‘meat’ pie. Actually, we hadn’t made meat pies in a long time, and then a month or so ago I made one using about 500g organic beef mince and a LOT of veg, drowned in homemade gravy (which is broth based and nutritious)…they LOVED it! There was leftover veg in gravy that couldn’t fit in the pie crust (made too much!) and the children sat at the bench with spoons devouring every last mouthful. I think that pie contained carrot, chard, onion, sweet potato and potato.

It’s usually a good idea to shred or finely chop vegetables that you are wanting to bulk up a one pot meal with.

Preserving: Ah, I love preserving/canning. It was so satisfying at the end of last summer to see a pantry shelf full of tomato preserves like paste, sauce, passata, crushed tomatoes, relish etc Now here we are at the 8th month of the year and this week will be the first time this year that I’ll have to buy tomato preserves again! But it’s not just tomatoes that can be preserved.

Right now it’s cabbage season and our $50 box buyers have probably had a few womboks come their way. Besides wombok salad, did you know you can preserve your wombok by making kimchi with it? One of our customers gave us some kimchi they made on wombok…it was absolutely delicious. Such a fresh flavour.

Sauerkraut is wonderful for using up surplus cabbage, and there’s plenty of classes and online tutorials around now. You can also incorporate other veg, like cauliflower, broccoli, herbs, carrot and more into kraut.

Beetroot can be made into beautiful relish, or kraut or a fermented beverage known as kvass.

Dehydrating can also play a part. Last summer we had loads of damaged capsicums, so I saved the good parts and dehydrated them, then grind them to powder and had homemade organic paprika 🙂 

Highfields, Gowrie Junction Organic Home Deliveries??

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We live and farm so close to Gowrie Junction…4kms from the school. And Highfields is just around the corner also.

So, I’m gauging interest for a Highfields and Gowrie Junction delivery run. The same rules would apply as the Toowoomba run…one set delivery slot for orders $40+ and orders would need to be placed by the day before the delivery run.

Anyone interested? If so, please email me racheal@birdsongmarketgarden.com.au and I’ll figure out whether there’s enough interest to go ahead with this.

Apples, Juice, Plastic Free July and This Weeks Delivery Run

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Hi!

Apples are back. We have both heritage red varieties, and Granny Smith. Plus we’re trialing selling Gran Elly Orchard organic apple juice. $8/1 L bottle. It’s delicious 🙂

This weeks delivery run will be Friday 29th June, 1-2:30pm for orders $40+ in Toowoomba. Place your order by Thursday 28th, 8:30pm if you’d like the Friday delivery. In the school holidays I’ll aim for a morning delivery slot, as this seems to suit people better.

Plastic Free July is almost upon us! Last year we aimed for reusable boxes for veg orders to reduce single use plastic. That’s been working beautifully now people are in the habit of returning boxes.

This year our focus is on using glass instead of plastic for packaging of dried fruit/nuts/seeds. As with boxes, the returning of this packaging for cleaning and future reusing means we can keep costs down for you. If I have to continually buy glass packaging, the cost has to be factored into the produce price.

During Plastic Free July, we’ll be giving a free reusable mesh produce bag with every $25 spent at Birdsong. 🙂 A great way to reduce your plastic use at home.

One product that is hard to package in an eco friendly way is shredded coconut…I’m very open to ideas! 1kg of this coconut is very space-consuming. So glass jars are not really an option. We’ve been using heavy duty plastic packaging, but an eco friendly alternative would be very welcome.

Shalom, Racheal

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.

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

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!

Organic Dried Fruit/Nuts/Seeds/Flours

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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.

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? 🙂