Growing the community

Leanne’s life: the penultimate post

From SAGE member Trevor Moore

The SAGE garden is moving into hibernatory mode. At least, much of the greenery of the last few weeks has served its time, the produce has been harvested and sold. Yet it has more time to serve for it will now help with restoring the soil for the next intern. The corn that two weeks ago stood tall and proud (with an Apple of Peru towering above it) has been razed to the ground. It lies there waiting to be ploughed in thereby helping to rejuvenate the soil. The thing that’s always struck me about Leanne is that she cares. It’s not just that she cares about what she does but it’s also that she cares about the land that she will leave for her successor. It would be easy for her not to care … but she does care. This characteristic will stand her in good stead for the future. Of course, I may be sounding like a patronising and pompous old git. I do not care; I speak as I find.

The garden is shutting down in preparation for Leanne’s successor

But even patronising and pompous gits need to eat, though some would probably rather we didn’t. And Leanne still has stuff growing; she has two or three more markets before she hangs up her broadfork and carries on with the rest of her life. She said that people had asked her what was her favourite crop … she hasn’t got one. She hasn’t had a break either but that’s about to change with a long weekend in Sydney. “You can’t split your time,” she says, “it’s 100% commitment. Focus, focus, focus.”

But there are cauliflowers and regular reading of these musings will have noticed that I have been following the life of a particular cauliflower plant. It was attacked by cabbage moths when very young and they drilled holes into its leaves. It suffered several hot days but it weathered the storm and last week Leanne cut it for me. What a fine flower (it is pictured on the right) but it is no more. It was cooked in short order.

I took some kale with me; that was to be turned into kale chips. I read in a Guardian article from 2014 that “kale is a shorthand for all that’s tragically trendy, insufferably healthy, grassy and tasteless about the menu at your local hipster cafe.” Yet kale was a staple from Graeco-Roman times until medieval times when the cabbage appeared. If it’s prepared properly, is a great vegetable and good source of pretty much everything that’s good for you. And you will not be surprised that aficionados of kale have created a resource called The Kale Project which seems to blame kale’s fall from grace in the French.

Leanne was delighted with the turn out for the recent SAGE Seasonal Spread; over 150 people turned up. I think that none went away less than satisfied. Leanne talked to me about the way that growing produce fits into a wider scheme of things. “Growing is only a quarter of the job,” she says, “you need to find recipes, prepare, cook and serve the food. You need to think about the whole picture.” I might have added that eating is a pretty important part as well but I am sure she knows that. Kumera Patch provided the music (you can see them on YouTube). I should add, perhaps, that SAGE’s Vice President is among the finest bakers in the area and his contribution should not be overlooked.

Vice-presidential dough; good, very good

There will be only one more post in this series about Leanne’s life as the SAGE intern. Between now and then Leanne will be making sure that the SAGE garden is left in as good condition as is possible for her successor. And she’ll be thinking about the future which is there for all of us to change.

Kale chips

This is easy-peasy. Tastes good too. They should be crispy-crunchy when they come out of the oven.

  • Heat the oven to 175°C
  • Take a bunch of kale and cut the thick stems off. Tear the leaves into bite-size pieces
  • Find a plastic bag and chuck the leaf pieces into it
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of sesame oil and a couple of teaspoons of sesame seeds and some salt or soy sauce if you wish
  • Shake it all about
  • Empty it out onto a baking tray lined with baking paper
  • Bake in the oven for about 10 – 15 minutes turning regularly until browned and crispy
  • Eat them. They’re good

Banana Peanut Butter Green Smoothie

I found this while I was looking for information about kale. It looks really good. I shall be trying it this afternoon.

Ingredients

  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt (there are vegan substitutes for yoghurt)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • water if needed

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Turn on the blender on a low speed and slowly increase speed to high. Blend for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Serve immediately.

Follow Leanne’s work, and the other things that SAGE is doing, on Instagram and Facebook.

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