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Fernglade Farm
Fernglade Farm
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Commenced:
01/01/2005
Submitted:
08/04/2011
Last updated:
16/02/2016
Location:
Cherokee, Victoria, AU
Climate zone:
Cool Temperate





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Fernglade Farm

Fernglade Farm

Cherokee, AU


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A Spanikopita in the works

Project: Fernglade Farm

Posted by Chris McLeod almost 5 years ago

Many people know that the editor and I grow a lot of our own food. It has been an interesting week because a number people have discussed with us how to go about growing their own produce.

What has driven this increase in curiosity about growing their own food is that there has been an outbreak of a rare strain of salmonella bacteria linked to pre-packaged lettuce sold in the two major supermarkets: Lettuce recall: Health experts warn of more cases of salmonella poisoning linked to salad mixes

What interests me about this salmonella outbreak is that farm is located not too far from here in an area that has supported major commercial market gardens for a very long time.

With the two other recent food poisoning cases (eg: frozen berries and eggs), I’ve often noticed that if the food product is imported people can easily dismiss their concerns as: Dodgy overseas food handling practices. Likewise, if the food was sourced from a small farm then people can dismiss their concerns as: Dirty hippy food. However, this time the farm involved in the salmonella outbreak was a major commercial facility who were supplying the two big supermarket retailers (which make up over 70% of the market in Australia).

Pre-packaged lettuce is very innocuous and very few people would consider it to be a risky product, but at the same time people have been discussing how to grow their own produce with us. My gut feeling is that what we are seeing with this incident (and the other recent ones like it) is cracks forming in the industrial food production processes.

By growing or foraging some of my own food, I am able to minimise my reliance on the industrial food production system. Speaking of foraging, the wild blackberries in this area have finally started to ripen this week. The local council contractors regularly poison the blackberry canes in this mountain range, but I’m aware of one or two spots that they are unaware of and every year I pick enough fruit for fresh eating and jam making. Of course fruit on wild blackberry canes doesn’t all ripen at once and so you have to pick the fruit over a number of weeks.

Wild blackberries harvested this week

I pick the blackberries every week and store them in a large container which I keep in the freezer until the container is full – or the blackberries are no longer ripening on the cane. Once the container is full, I then produce a huge quantity of homemade blackberry and rhubarb jam. Hopefully enough jam will be produced to last longer than a year.

Did I mention that this week the weather has been warm and dry?

Saturday was warm and dry and reached a maximum temperature in the shade of 35.3’C (95.5’F)

Warm weather is an excellent time to make soap because the chemical reactions occur much faster than in cold weather! Soap is so easy to make and as long as you follow some basic precautions it is almost idiot proof. Soap takes so little of your time to make too, but the entire process does take a few weeks from start to finish. As a teaser, I’ll provide full details on the soap making process in next week’s blog, but really it is very simple and something that everyone can do, anywhere. Below are photos from the soap making activities from the first two days of the process:

For the rest of the entry click on:http://ferngladefarm.blogspot.com.au/

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