Open Studios

Nature's Abundance

IP - Feijoa & Lilly Pilly

It's easy for me to forget where my food comes from. I live in an inner city flat and buy all my fresh fruit and veg at a local market. Intellectually I know that it all grows on trees or in the ground and is harvested by farmers.  Practically I am a world away from harvesting my own food.  Or so I thought. It turns out that growing all around me in the parks of Melbourne is an amazing array of fresh fruit ripe for the picking. How gorgeous are the lilly pillys and feijoa in the above photo?  They were foraged by a friend along with carob from local trees. I had no idea that feijoas and carob grew in Melbourne or that anyone had planted them.

Seeing the gorgeous colours of the foraged fruit was a lovely reminder of the abundance that surrounds me all the time.  Nature is so generous with her colourful and delicious bounty. She shares with everyone willing to spend some time getting to know the plants that surround them. With consumerism rampant it's so easy to get caught up in the scarcity myth. It's the myth that says there's not enough for everyone. The one that says we need to buy more stuff. The one that tells us happiness can be bought with the latest or greatest thing. It's too easy to be distanced from the natural world of growing things and yet I find that the more time I spend in nature, the happier I am.

It's funny how you can forget things.  Until I saw the fruit, I'd forgotten my own foraging adventures on nature strips and in parks around my home. In the past I've gathered olives, peppercorns, passionfruit, plums and figs. I'm sure there is so much more to discover. Last year I had a turn at pickling the olives foraged from a tree near my girls' piano teacher's house. I was using the soak and rinse every day method and on about day 11 of 14 I forgot and my olives ending up slimy and off. This year I'm having another shot at curing my olives. I'm going to try the brine and salt methods found here this time. I'll let you know how I go.