Fun with Fungus

This could be in your backyard!

(Workshop is now full!)

Want to wander into your yard to gather your own juicy oyster and shiitake mushrooms? You can! Mushrooms add a delicious earthy taste to your dishes, they don’t take up a lot of space and don’t require a lot of work to grow. Any shady, moist spot in your garden will do.

On April 10, 2011, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, we will be offering a mushroom growing workshop. There are many ways to grow mushrooms, and many kinds you can grow. This workshop will focus on growing shiitake and oyster mushrooms using dowel plugs in hardwood logs. We will touch on some other methods very briefly, but the dowel plug method is easy to do, and provides an efficient and aesthetic way to grow.

All participants must pre-register and pay for this workshop. Each registrant will receive 250 spores of their choice of mushroom (one type) and you can order any more you like in sets of 250. So, for example, if you want to grow both oyster and shiitake mushrooms, you can register and select shiitakes, then order an additional set of oysters.

Things to bring:

  • For every 250 spores you want to harvest, you’ll need 5–7 rounds of hardwood (any kind) between 48 inches diameter, two to four feet long (to total about 20 feet of hardwood altogether). If you have more, please bring some for others who might not.
  • Your hardwood rounds must be no more than 6 weeks old; which is to say that they cannot have been cut more than six weeks ago on the date of the workshop;
  • Also, if you have a cordless drill, or even an electric drill, please bring it along. Waiting to drill holes can be the most time consuming part.

Pressing Matters! Skookum Celebrates Co-op Week 2010

The Community Presses On!
The Community Presses On!

It was a beautiful, sunny October morning, crisp as the apples we were pressing into delicious cider during Skookum’s Co-op week celebratory Community “Press-Off”, outside the Community Resource Centre, as part of the weekly Saturday Winter Market. The concept was that both members and non-members could drop by, wash and press their apples into incredibly delicious cider, and pay by donation. Many people brought their own bottles and jars, but we had some sterlized bottles on hand if needed. The Skookum Cider Press is normally only available to members, and for a daily fee for use.

Skookum board members and other volunteers helped to make this event a fun time, and it even raised some $70 toward the Cider Press fund. But most importantly, we helped community members produce a great, locally processed food, from local produce. Of course, the event also showed off our cider press and increased our visibility in the community. Six quarts of juice also returned to the CRC, from apples picked through Skookum Gleaners!

It’s hard to say how many apples we collectively pressed, but I figure that at least 40 quarts of juice and a whole lot of pomace resulted from the 3-hour pressing. We plan to turn most of our own apple juice to apple cider vinegar, but some people were planning on freezing their bottled juice (making sure they were 25% empty and with a loosened lid), and others planned on adding champagne yeast to make hard cider. Apple juice will keep about a week in the refrigerator, but those who attended enjoyed immediately sipping the free samples as they watched cider being pressed on this gorgeous day.

The first pressing’s the sweetest!

We even got some help with the cider press clean-up from some energetic nearby youth engaged in a car wash fundraising event for the new Youth Resource Centre; it is set to open in a month or so, right next door to the CRC.

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped out in various ways!

Skookum September! (A snapshot of what we’re up to)

Just before the harvest: Skookum’s Experimental Oat Patch.
Oats ready for transport
Makeshift oat drying area.

It has been a pretty busy September for Skookum, and it’s not letting up. The BPA-free canning lid order is complete, and a dozen or so members have some of the tools we need to get canning! If anyone has extra canning rings, please consider donating them, as the new lids don’t come with these metal rings. Skookum collected an extra $25 from members donating to the cider press fund.

Stay tuned for the new Cider Press Rules to be published on this blog any day now, detailing the fees, conditions, and tips on members’ use of our cider press.

We are still collecting prizes for the Skookum 50-Mile Eat Local Challenge Haiku contest (read the amazing entries (and submit one yourself!) at: http://pr50.wordpress.com/haiku) Please contact Giovanni Spezzacatena at  Giovanni@skookumfood.ca if you want to donate a gift! Thanks!

Three of our Board members (Sharon, David, and Giovanni) managed to get together — despite the rainy weather we’ve been having — to pick our oats from the borrowed patch of land in Wildwood. We used scissors and a scythe to collect what we could, and we’re drying them for a few weeks in another borrowed space. Then, we’ll figure out what’s next. We figure we will use the harvest as seed for next year’s larger plot. If you have a patch of land available (especially in town), let us know! (skookum@skookumfood.ca or call us at 604.485.7940.)

But there’s more! This Sunday, Nicole Narbonne and Will Langlands will host a Skookum members-only Tomato-Can-A-Thon work party!

We are also planning some exciting activities for Co-op week (Oct. 17-23), which will involve community access to the cider press!

And even more! We’re hoping to make a bulk purchase of nuts from Rancho Vignola!

Calling all Skookum members!
Does this early fall weather have you squirreling away food for winter?
If so, you might want to get in on a once a year opportunity to bulk order fruit and nut products from Rancho Vignola.
Each September, the BC-based, family-run Rancho Vignola offers bulk purchases of dried fruit and nuts at wholesale prices.
We thought we’d put this out to the membership, and see if there was interest in doing an order. If we put our orders together, it should be easy to exceed the $500 minimum order limit.
But … there is a catch, we have to act FAST. All orders HAVE TO be submitted to Rancho by September 27, no exceptions. And what that means for us is that all orders have to be submitted to me ABSOLUTELY NO LATER THAN NOON ON SEPTEMBER 26.
Interested? Read on… Here’s how it will work:
HOW TO ORDER:
View the attached Product Description form and Wholesale Price List from Rancho Vignola. Select the items you want (by case or 5lb bag only), and let me know via email (nolapoirier@gmail.com) the items you would like to order. Please write the name just like it appears on the order form (or email me a filled out form), so there is no confusion. I will reply with a confirmation email.
Important! When working out your costs, you need to add 15% to each price.
  • 5% of this will go to Skookum,
  • 5% to the community (this is part of Skookum’s mandate),
  • 5% to me (Nola), as an incentive to members and Board members to coordinate efforts like this.
For example: A 5lb bag of raw, organic almonds (second item on the list) is $51.50 on the price list. So your cost is:
$51.50 +  15%, which is: $51.50 + ($51.50 X 0.15) = $51.50 + 7.73 = $59.23
But, Rancho Vignola will ship our order to Powell River for Free! So you don’t need to worry about an added shipping charge. Remember to get your order in to me on, or ideally before, noon on Sept 26.
If we don’t get to the $500 minimum, we won’t be able to do an order. I’ll let you know if this is the case, ASAP.
HOW TO PAY:
Our order must be prepaid, so please drop payment off at Kingfisher Books at 4468 Marine Ave. no later than noon on September 26. Please pay with cheques or cash (no credit card payments, sorry). Make cheques out to Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative or just SFPC). Ensure your name is together with the payment (i.e., in an envelope or paperclip).
Don’t forget to add 15% to the listed price of each item.
Any questions about the process? – send them my way: nolapoirier@gmail.com
Any questions about the products that aren’t answered on the product description attached? Contact Rancho Vignola @ info@ranchovignola.com (note they don’t answer their phone).
PRICE LIST (again, add 15% to these prices) (158 KB): CLICK HERE

ITEM DESCRIPTIONS: CLICK HERE (740 KB)
Nola Poirier
604 487 0807