Lizzie Moult is a writer, cook and fourth generation farmer on her property in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Strayed from the Table is her fabulous journal of living a ‘simple life’ and providing food for her local community. Along with her journal Lizzie posts fabulous simple recipes for all to enjoy. Lizzie is working towards building a sustainable CSA program.
Tell us about the sustainable CSA program you are working towards?
The future of food here in Australia is really important and I think that we all need to take a big step backwards to the traditional ways of food production. I have created a sustainable CSA (community Supported Agriculture) program as a result of listening to my parents and grandparents talk about their experiences as farmers and I wanted to make my life different. I live in a small community of young families and retiring food producers that are no longer producing vegetables for market. My aim is to feed the families around me by offering a weekly farm gate to purchase fresh produce. At this stage I am feeding 15 families and I hope to increase it to 50 over the coming years. Our property will evolve during that time with our fruit trees producing their first harvest, fattening meat birds and maybe investing in some heritage breed pigs. I want to offer people a healthier option in food choice with low food miles, chemical free food and the freshest quality.
How far have you come since 2007?
Life can change in as little as five years, in 2007 I was working as a cook in numerous establishments around Brisbane dreaming of starting a small holding and watching way to many episodes of ‘River Cottage’. I am now married, backpacked some more, live on acreage and left the city for good. I am living the simple life. Being a cook working long hours is hard work yet being a farmer who produces fresh food is really rewarding.
How did you learn the skills necessary to be a self-sufficient farmer?
I am really lucky; I grew up in the country in a house with traditional values. My parents had a kitchen garden, just like my grandparents do. Each season the soil would get ploughed and we would plant accordingly. Come harvest time my sister and I would sneak down to the garden and munch of the fresh veggies. I have been taught what my parents were taught the importance of seed saving, when to plant crops, climate changes and how & when to harvest. To me its common knowledge, I grew up doing it without even realising. My grandparents also played another major role in me acquiring my skills. I spent most vacations with them and they had a dairy, cattle and grain farm. Rotating stock being cattle or vegetables was talked about over every meal along with what the weather was doing or going to do. As a farmer you really rely on Mother Nature to look after you.
What was the inspiration behind your Strayed From The Table site?
Initially the blog was written by my husband as a travel diary while we were backpacking. Slowly I got intrigued by the idea and started writing recipes on it. Soon my husband fell out of love with it and I took over, documenting our journeys around the world and now our farm life. Strayed from the Table is about food that is not on white linen tables, it’s about authentic dishes created with seasonal produce. With the addition of stories to inspire the next generation of farmers or self-sufficient backyard gardeners.
Do you have a favourite recipe you would like to share with our readers?
I love any recipe that uses a glut of vegetables and these bread and butter pickles are one of my favourite. We eat them on burgers, with cheese & wine or even straight out of the jar. We have just planted our first crop so these will be gracing my cupboard shelves again very soon.
Bread and Butter Pickles
5 large Lebanese cucumbers, trimmed, cut into 5mm-thick slices
1 medium brown onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp salt 375ml
(1 ½ cup) apple cider vinegar
215gm (1 cup) sugar
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
½ tsp coriander seeds
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp black peppercorns
Place the cucumber, onion and salt into a bowl stirring the salt to coat the vegetables. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 2- 3 hours. Rinse the cucumber mixture in a colander and pat dry with paper towel to remove all excess water.
In a medium to large pot place the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, bay leaves, coriander seeds, turmeric and black pepper corns. Stir for 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves over a medium heat. Add the cucumber mixture and bring to a simmer.
Transfer the mixture into sterilised glass jars and seal, set aside for a week to develop the flavours.
Keep jars in a cool dark place, they will last at least a year. Once opened refrigerate them.
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