The National Slow Food Conference was held from 2-6 August in Maitland and surrounds, and was hosted by Slow Food Hunter Valley.
The theme was From the Land and its People, Good, Clean and Fair Food for all!
The prelude to the Conference included bus tours and lunch, Slow Wine, History and Tastings and Food Communities in the Hunter Valley
These visits were then followed by 3 full days of workshops, conversation and information.The last morning featured the global Slow Food perspective and governance reports and discussion from the National Management group.
Highlights of the program were the opening of the first official Earth Market in Australia in Central Maitland, followed by lunch in the Levee and catch ups with market stall holders and local farmers.
Another highlight was an evening talk by Bruce Pascoe, author of Dark Emu in which Bruce argued for a reconsideration of our understanding of the way Aboriginal people lived in colonial times.This was followed by a dinner at Tocal College featuring local Galloway beef (listed on the Ark of Taste)
The forum panels were exciting and thought provoking with passionate and dedicated speakers discussing producers and chefs networks, using the media for change and the Youth Network.
Highlights were the forum on Guerrilla Farmers – overcoming regulatory challenges to becoming a viable, small scale good, clean and fair farmer, and the discussions on Slow Meat, eat less meat of better quality.
The next day featured panels discussing and reporting on Slow Food networks and Biodiversity projects.
The Conference dinner was held at Maitland library and celebrated local seasonal produce and Slow wine.
Talks were given on organic wines and the challenges facing vigneron and wine makers to produce clean and fair wine, that also tastes good.
As usual the Conference reunited old Slow fooders from all over Australia and introduced new members to the principles and importance of the Slow Food movement.
I am working on a summary of the Conference and would be happy to pass this on to people at the end of the month, together with the reinforced management system for Slow Food in Australia and the way forward.
Celia Wade, Leader, Slow Food Saddleback
Members and friends of Slow Food Saddleback attended the Fermentation Workshop held jointly with Slow Food Shoalhaven on Saturday 22 July,in Berry.
The workshop was run by naturopath Marilyn O’Dowd and wonderful products were learned and created.
All attendees went away with new knowledge, recipes and the results of their labours.
We also were lucky enough to have a delicious soup lunch with sourdough breads and fermented drinks and teas.
Marilyn was a great source of information on the flora in the gut, how important good eating is and many little hints on helping to improve digestion and gut health.
Committee members from Slow Food Shoalhaven produced the lunch and did most of the organisation, so many thanks to Rosie Cupitt and her team.
The waiting list for this event suggests another workshop next year, so please let us know if you would be interested.
Celia Wade, Leader, Slow Food Saddleback
What a night was had by all 80 diners!
It was a great pleasure for Slow Food Saddleback to be a major part of the Mid Winter dinner held at the Siding in Gerrringong on 31 July to raise funds for the Kiama Markets.
A trailer for the generator needs to be built to supply power to all the stalls at the Markets and general running costs have to be met.
So what better way than a fabulous dinner in a pop up restaurant on a cold winter’s night.
John Evans, Sonia and the team from South on Albany served up a stunning menu of local produce.
The pork was perfectly cooked by Pam and Joel from Porkery Hill Free Range Pork, with Joel guarding the fire all day to ensure perfect cooking heat.
Peter from Pete Izzard Photography captured the night with fabulous photos, some featuring here.
So many thanks to all the producers, we are so lucky to have access to such wonderful food each week.
The helpers were amazing and special thanks to Tricia Ashford and Cathy Law from the Kiama Markets who were the driving force and inspiration.
A highlight of the night was the live auction with prizes that were experiential! A day on the farm at Pecora Dairy, oyster experience with Grant Clark on the Shoalhaven River, weeding with Emmy at Buena Vista Farm and a huge hamper of farm produce from the Market, lucky purchasers will have such a special follow up to the dinner, and the money was great too!
And by the way, Slow Food Saddleback purchased some great Siding Rum in the Auction that will feature at the Sauce Workshop to be held in October.
Celia Wade, Leader, Slow Food Saddleback
Those who shared our delicious seaweed inspired lunch at the Schoolhouse last year might be interested to watch Landline 4 June episode on ABC Iview. It features Dr Pia Winberg’s work at the Shoalhaven Campus of UOW.
Slow Food Saddleback is joining with the Kiama Farmers Market to help raise much needed funds to keep the market running smoothly.
A special dinner featuring all produce from market stallholders will be held on Monday July 31 at The Siding in Gerringong. Details of the PopUP restaurant will follow very soon, but watch local social media for tickets, (we will not be doing the ticketing) so save the date.
More details will be emailed to members and subscribers soon.
Kirsten McHugh of the Schoolhouse, Gerringong (founding member of Slow Food Saddleback) and continued supporter of our events has earned Gold Medal for her Goat Curd Cheese, Silver for Crescenza, a northern Italian style soft, creamy cheese and Bronze for her fabulous Halloumi at the Royal Easter Show. Congratulations Kirsten!
Kirsten’s products will be available at the Kiama Farmers Market from Wednesday April 5th.
Wins for local milk, local cheeses, and a local cheesemaker
Former Saddleback founder/convivium leader Kirsten McHugh of the Schoolhouse, Gerringong, has won a gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the RAS Sydney Royal Show Cheese & Dairy awards for three cheeses from her range. Her Golden Goat cheese won Gold in the mould-ripened goat cheese class, her Italian styled soft cheese Crescenza won silver in the fresh, unflavoured cheese class and her haloumi a bronze in the haloumi class. These awards follow previous successes in the Dairy Industry Association Australia annual awards for her haloumi in 2014 (Silver) and 2015 (Silver). Kirsten, the founder and producer of Foxground Handmade Teas, has been making cows’ milk cheeses since 2013, sourced from local Gerringong milk. Since that time she has been producing an expanding range of those cows’ milk cheeses- haloumi, Mountain cheese, blue, crescenza, camembert, quark and greek-style yoghurt. Her haloumi in particular enjoys strong support in the region and in Sydney, as does her crescenza. The haloumi is especially popular – grilled and eaten without or with accompaniments such as melon, pickled cucumber or chilli jam. The crescenza is a soft, creamy cheese (nothing like Philadelphia), based on a cheese of the same name which is a part of the hallowed food culture of northern Italy. Its fresh, milky flavour can be combined with so many others, and it is a delicious aid in baking or grilling.
Kirsten extended her range in 2016, sourcing local goat milk to produce a fresh goat curd, fresh chevre rounds, a goat milk version of the crescenza, and the Golden Goat cheese for which she has now won recognition.
In this cheese-making journey, Kirsten was the first artisan cheesemaker in our immediate region. While she attended some cheesemaking courses in Australia and New Zealand, her range of cheeses is a product of her application (over many hours), her palate as well as her motivation to contribute to the food branding of our region. She does not attribute any of her spirit, or success, to her background as a lawyer!
The Schoolhouse Goat Curd is on the menu at South on Albany in Berry, and the Schoolhouse Golden Goat cheese is on the menu at the hatted Caveau in Wollongong. It is also sold at the Emporium in Berry, with others of her range. All of her cheeses are available at the Schoolhouse in Gerringong. She sells at regional and Sydney markets, including the Kiama Farmers’ Market.
It’s exciting that award-winning cheeses are being made in Saddleback territory, showcasing beautiful local milk. Saddleback is pleased to congratulate her, and to applaud her as a Slow Food archetype producer and promoter of our region and what it can, and does, offer.
Watch this space for to another smart event at The Schoolhouse coming soon.
A large group of like minded Slow Foodies and Friends enjoyed this showing of Fair Food the Documentary. This film highlights a growing movement of enthusiastic farmers, business people and communities trying to fix the food system in Australia. There is an alternative to supplying and/or shopping from the two major supermarkets now. This film was supported by overwhelming crowd funding support so we may see a sequel in a year or two.
After the film a light supper was shared, with a cup of locally grown tea by Kirsten McHugh and some delicious home made treats. It was wonderful to see so many new faces at a Slow Food Saddleback event. Thanks to Celia Wade, Liz Churcher and Michael Bligh for their hard work organising this event.
Morgs, Anita Larkin and I were invited to help create a fixing and creating space within the newly improved REVOLVE centre at Dunmore/Shellharbour tip.
We have been dreaming, scheming, installing and painting .. and the resulting creating corner has been dubbed the Tinkerage. There are plans for workshops and fixing bees to be held there in the near future. Its similar to the Men’s Shed concept, but women are welcome too.
No pressure at all to come to the launch, the timing is a bit odd at 1-2pm this coming Monday,( and they’re asking for rsvps probably so they know how many sandwiches to make?) but it’s a pretty great place I thought you would like to know about. Think massive open-air garage sale/op-shop, with tools, building materials, fishing rods and other wotnots.
Pass this on to anyone who loves good junk and reducing wastage.
Mignon and Morgen
Slow Food Hunter Valley will host this years National Conference Save the date 2 – 6th August 2017
More information coming in March
Just a little update on Slow Food Saddleback’s representation at the National Conference in Mildura. Refer to the New Letter sent last week for details .email@example.com
This wonderful event was dreamed up by Hellen Attwater and she did a fantastic job. Over 40 people braved the threatening weather for Slow Fish and Chips. She sourced local mullet and had it cooked at Gerringong Fish Shop. It was delivered hot and scrumptious and was very well received on a blustery beach evening. An assortment of salads and desserts were also served.
No matter how much howling we did we couldn’t get that MOON to peak through the cloud cover.
However as we were driving home it suddenly emerged. Even the best planned events can’t organise the moon to perform on request.
Sunday 16 October
I was recently given the opportunity to observe the humane killing of a farm animal, as well as some chickens. During my rather long time on Planet Earth, this was not something I had ever experienced and I thought it was a good chance for me to fill in the gaps in my knowledge of such things.
The venue was a tranquil rural setting with green paddocks rolling away in the distance to a rain forest. Horses, cows and goats grazed in the paddocks and in the clear morning light, the countryside was serene.
The kindest method of slaughtering was explained by an experienced woman who has been handling animals since she was a young girl. She imparted her extensive knowledge with great sensitivity and was calm and practical before the procedure; the animal was not stressed at any time and neither were the onlookers.
The subsequent skinning and butchering was carried out efficiently to ensure the quality of the meat was not compromised and valuable knowledge about the different cuts was explained. A rooster and several chickens were also dispatched in a similarly humane fashion and none of the birds were stressed at any time. Overall, it was a fascinating way to learn about farm life and the respect shown to all the animals in the food chain was heartening to observe.
Jan Watson (Member of Slow Food Saddleback)
On Sunday October 9th, Vicki and Celia set up shop to promote this wonderful local Seaweed product. There was lots of interest and we sold quite a lot of product on the day. This was a good follow on from the lunch we held earlier in the year with Pia Winberg at the Old Schoolhouse, Gerringong
Phyco Food Co. will be featured on ABC Landline in coming weeks and BBC have been filming new recipes too. Pia recently won a gold medal at the Melbourne Good Food Awards for the Phukka (Dukka) seaweed blend product. Check out http://www.phycofood.co/
Thank you Tricia for providing us a table at your stall.
On Sunday 16th October, thirty Slow Food Saddleback members and friends were treated to an amazing day, hosted by Helen Attwater and Astra Temple.
Astra instructed the group on the humane dispatch of a goat and six cockerels on the day.
Helen prepared dishes from locally sourced produce, goat and cockerels that were prepared prepared a few days earlier.
The Stables provided protection from the strong northerly wind on the day.
A long table setting provided a relaxed, slow feast of fine food and friendship.
Helen must be congratulated it was a lot of hard work for her. Everyone was thrilled with the day.
A BIG THANK YOU HELEN AND ASTRA ………….WELL DONE !
On Thursday October 8th a small group of members met for the first of hopefully more breakfast meetings. The AGM was soon completed and the office bearers, Celia as Leader and Michael as Treasurer will remain for 2016/17. We have a couple of new committee members to welcome too.
Tess from Jamberoo Valley Farm provided a tasty morning tea, then gave us all a fascinating tour of the farm, pigs, chickens, ducks and fish as well as beautiful health herbs and vegetable flourish. She shared her plans for the future Agrarian Kitchen with us.
Thank You Tess for sharing your Slow Food way of life with and we look forward to sharing and supporting your ventures in the future.