Permaculture in Action

Monday, May 14, 2012

Eating in Season

I was born in the 50's. As I grew up big changes occurred in our household. We got television, bread and milk stopped being delivered to our door, and we bought our biscuits from the corner shop. Dad and mum got rid of the milking cow, the pigs and the chickens. Big supermarkets started to appear and the corner shop disappeared.
My parents had their own business and they worked long hours every day. I know that mum used to cook everything from scratch, and had days where she would bake enough to last us the week. I don't know this from experience but only through the stories I heard as I was growing up. Like the one where mum had spent the day baking only to find my brother, a toddler then and a year older than me, sitting in one pie while eating another as they sat cooling on the kitchen table. I can remember my mum killing a chook and preparing it for dinner. But those memories are way back when I was a pre schooler. Mum and dad were busy, they had a business and 5 children.Life got a little easier with supermarkets providing convenience  -no more baking and little cooking from scratch. Food started arriving in packets and everything was geared towards convenience.I truly thought that the only way to make a cake was from a packet and the oinly way to make soup was from a can.  Any food you wanted was available all year round ---strawberries in winter and oranges in summer and we started to lose our connection to seasonality.
I taught myself to cook from scratch and through gardening I came to understand the seasons. I realised that if I bought in season food was cheaper, and so started to plan what I ate, around what was growing, what I could buy in season and what I had been able to preserve.
So I understand when someone says to me that they have no idea what food is in season or how they would plan a meal around only what is in season. And it is no surprise to me that in the past I have occassionally lost a CSA ( Community Supported Agriculture) subscriber because they have found it difficult to do justice to the food in the boxes each week. So my plan is to enclose a suggested menu, and a recipe to help them get the most from their box of food. Here's the one for this week!

Purple Pear Organics.
Autumn 2012
This time of year sees a plentiful supply of pumpkin beetroot and greens. Hopefully everyone is making the most of what they find in their box each week, but for those who may be struggling with the quantity and assortment I am sending you some menu suggestions and some recipes. And in the end if you have anything left at the end of the week, empty out the fridge by making a Fridgestrone before you pick up the next box. To do this just cook them all up in a soup, add some pasta shells and a little tomato puree, like you would a minestrone.

With the vegies in this week’s box, a typical menu could look something like this.

Monday   Roast pumpkin rissotto

Tuesday  Stirfry ( celery, capsicum and tatsoi)

Wednesday  Pumpkin Soup and damper

Thursday  Open Roast Pumpkin and feta pies with green salad (recipe below)

Friday  Fried rice add some greens at the end

Saturday  Stew add more greens

Sunday  Fridgestrone

We are looking forward to peas, cabbage and broccoli in the next couple of weeks

Please let me know if you’d like anymore suggestions in regard to using the food in your box.

Regards Kate

                                   Open Roast Pumpkin and Feta Pies

Ingredients; 350g pumpkin peeled cut into 1 cm cubes
2 tsp olive oil
3 sheets frozen puff pastry thawed
2 eggs
100ml thickened cream
100g feta crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 200 C. Grease 2 12 hole muffin pans. Place pumpkin on a baking tray drizzle with oil and season. Roast for 20 mins or until cooked.
2. Cut 20 rounds from pastry sheets using a 6.5 cutter. Press into muffin holes to cover base and a little of the sides. Whisk eggs and cream together. Divide pumpkin among rounds, top with 1 teaspoon of egg mixture, then sprinkle with feta. Bake for 15- 20 mins until golden. Cool slightly then turn out

            What do you think?


  1. I reckon you've gone above and beyond the call of duty to your clients :)

    Yum - can't wait to try the pumpkin and feta pies once I'm one the farm and my Dover stove is working.

    And - what is fridgestrone?

    Well done!

    1. Frdgestrone is putting all your leftover vegies in a soup and add some pasta just like minestrone!

  2. While our seasons are opposite I am keeping all this in my memory for future use. I did put away a lot of roasted pumpkin to use thru the year so soup will be on my menu this week, but Kate, what is damper?
    I am looking forward to melons becoming ripe along with figs [ and so is a certain bird that I see every day in my tree! :)]

  3. Good on you Kate! What a fabulous way to help people use their veggie box. I'll be doing the Pumpkin and feta pies too. And Tracey, I hate to laugh at you (Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi) but damper is an Aussie recipe similar to bread. Kate might explain it better.

  4. I have all the ingredients for those pies so will definitely make them very soon, thank you! Including recipes certainly helps those who are learning to eat seasonally and/or struggling to be inventive. And sometimes we just appreciate hearing of something new. Good on you!

  5. I love the idea of giving people a recipe to begin with once they have their box....doing something like that shows you care about what happens when the box goes home.
    I really liked the part of your post where you told us a little about how things changed. I can remember this stage in our family too where dad had a little vege plot...then the 70's came and everything was about making life instead of squeezing oranges, people were raving about making glasses of 'Tang'with that orange powder.It was like the cooking of real food just stopped because it seemed old fashioned.
    Thankgoodness the world has come full circle and people now appreciate home grown ,...just like those beautiful boxes you and Mark make up for people .Keep up the great work !

    1. It is fascinating that things changed so quickly when supermarkets came along...another reason to avoid them as much as possible I say.

      I mentioned to my Mum and Dad the other day (who also grew up in the 50's) that I wanted to source local meat for our family and they were quite unsuportive of the idea. I was a little astounded that they thought the concept was so unheard of, particularly since one of them grew up on a farm and most certainly ate their own meat all the time.

      I am not sure it is always the younger generation who lead these hectic lifestyles with no time to make anything from scratch or give a hoot about where their food comes from.

  6. That's a really great idea to include a recipe in the box. It sounds as if your parents were almost self sufficient at one point in time. I think I would have to go back several generations to find this in my family :)
    Thanks Kate for your kind comment x

  7. Hi Kate, lovely to meet you, and thanks for your comment. Here's the website for the playgroup: