The agricultural shows of little towns like Maleny are such important annual events for the community - places where the local growers and producers, makers and artisans come together to share, appreciate, congratulate and celebrate.
As a child growing up in Melbourne, the annual show - the Royal Melbourne Show, was also a big deal. For me, back then, going to the show meant seeing lots of animals, going on scary rides and of course getting a show-bag or two and trying to make those treats last as long as possible.
The little country shows are much smaller, far less commercial, less about the rides and show-bags, and more about sharing and learning, recognising and inspiring. I think it's also more about participating in your local community show, rather than being a consumer of a big spectacle. They are a huge undertaking by the local communities who put in countless volunteer hours to make them happen each year.
Our kids love the local show - it's an annual highlight. This year Maia spent hours reading the show handbook. She worked out all the categories she wanted to enter - marking each of the relevant pages with labelled sticky-note takes (so delighted to see someone in this house is super-organised!).
She painted a watercolour of a sunflower, hand-crafted toy animals and both Hugh and Maia have photographed nature in our garden - all inspired by wanting to submit pieces of work for display at the local show.
Maia's hand-crafted animal creations have been crocheted. A couple of months ago, she didn't know how to crochet, so for weeks now she's been working with local fashion designer and textile master, Terrii, to learn how crochet and knit. Not only does Maia now have something to enter into the show, she has also has cultivated a lifelong skill and a passion for craft and making. (thanks Terrii!)
Both Maia and Hugh entered some close-up photographs - they've been entering photographs since they were 4 years old. Kids love taking pictures. This year they headed out into our permaculture garden and photographed what inspired them. Maia took a great picture of a bee landing on a blue salvia indicating the importance of incorporating flowers in a veggie garden, she also took a close-up of the yacon flower indicating that the edible roots are forming - time to start bandicooting some out. Hugh's photo is a close-up of a lettuce seed head beginning to form - the start of 10,000 seeds!
|Hugh's picture of the lettuce seeds forming. A lettuce can produce up to 10,000 seeds per plant - amazing abundance.|
|Maia's picture of the Yacon (peruvian ground apple) flower just opening. It is a relative of the sunflower. When it opens this means the yummy edible roots are ready to start harvesting soon.|
My participation - a practical talk in the Small Farmers Tent about permaculture and a cake - an organic sugar-free, spelt orange poppy seed cake (in the oven as I am writing - recipe below). The kids will help me ice it in the morning.
Both Maia and Hugh are entering as junior cake judges, under the guidance of a local chef - they love the idea of this. Maia to be the assessor, Hugh I think just to eat lots of cake!
I look forward to seeing the rare breeds of animals, the handcrafted items and locally produced foods of my neighbours and friends at the show on Friday and Saturday, and simply having time to catch up with friends from around the community.
|My special show creation - a sugar-free, spelt poppy seed cake.|
Simple Orange and Poppy Seed Cake
- 2 cups organic spelt flour
- 2 tspn baking powder
- 2 blood oranges - half peeled
- 2 mandarins - peeled and added whole
- 3/4 cup milk (of your choice)
- 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
- 1/2 cup organic desiccated coconut
- 3/4 cup poppy seeds
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 2 eggs from our chooks
- 4 drops vanilla stevia liquid
- 1 capful of vanilla essence
- Preheat oven to 180/165 (fan-forced)celcius
- Place oranges, mandarins, poppy seeds, oil, coconut, eggs, milk, honey, stevia and vanilla into a food processor and blend, add flour, baking powder. (Add a little extra milk if too dry or flour if too moist - I am for it to be just pourable).
- Pour into a baking pan and cook for 34-45 minutes. You can smell when it's ready.
- Cool before attempting to tip it out