Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Living Off the Land

One of our key strategies for reducing the environmental footprint in Te Roto Road is to live off the land as much as possible.  We know we have an abundance of fertile soil and land area, so we have given this special attention.  And not just what we grow for ourselves, but how we can contribute as a community and distribute our produce with one another.  Today is a living example of this in action.

It started with a walk to visit our neighbour Steve Yung who operates a market garden at the end of the street.  Steve has very kindly offered to give surplus produce to street members and today's haul saw us departing with a trolley full of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower - each the size of basketballs.  And a 'couple of handfuls' of runner beans to boot.  These veges are so fresh that a neighbour said her broccoli lasted for over three weeks in the fridge while they chipped away at it.  Wow!

It was a lovely walk and it gave us the opportunity to discuss our own vege patches and our favourite recipes.  So now we have a plan to put together a street recipe collection.  Personally, I am not a huge fan of cabbage but after hearing about Pat's Cabbage Pickle, I can't wait to make some (recipe to follow at a later date).  And we are going to hold our own cooking demonstrations so the experts can teach the novices how to make jam, pickles and jellies.  This is so much fun!

And it was interesting to talk to Steven too.  He has been in Otaki since 1947 working the land like his father did before him - and now his son is involved too.  Boy, he could tell a few stories and pass on a few skills about growing veges.  It gave us an idea for a community project ...

Campbell's Garden November 2010
 And talking of vege gardens - here are some before and after shots of the Campbell's garden.  How impressive is this?  The first shot was taken on our launch day in mid November.  They grow such an interesting array of veges - sourced locally from Watsons in Bell Street, Otaki.   And they know a lot of tricks about keeping trees healthy and vege plots productive.  And Pat has loads of recipe ideas for us.  So a 'Hi 5' to Te Roto Road and Otaki!!!

Campbell's Garden January 2011

Oh, and we called in to see the street piglets that we've acquired as part of our sustainable food project.  They are growing quickly and are being fed on vege scraps from the market garden.  It reminded my of 'River Cottage' - I bet Hugh would be impressed if he came to visit.

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