feed your VIL­LAGE

Matt and Len­til Pur­brick say we all have a vil­lage, and in their new book The Vil­lage, they fo­cus on the value of cook­ing and eat­ing with yours

Whanganui Chronicle - - 48 Hours/Food | Bite - By Colleen Thorpe

Matt and Len­til Pur­brick be­gan by sell­ing the pro­duce from their farm in Tah­bilk, Vic­to­ria, to some of Mel­bourne’s top restau­rants, en­cour­ag­ing chefs to adopt prin­ci­ples of lo­cal, real pro­duce and sus­tain­able farm­ing and pack­ag­ing.

But they craved more . . . so de­cided to open their van doors to the peo­ple of Mel­bourne, sell­ing their home-grown veg­eta­bles.

They sold out week af­ter week and have now set them­selves the task of be­ing au­thors, blog­gers and ed­u­ca­tors to ad­vo­cate healthy, clean eat­ing and sus­tain­abil­ity.

The Vil­lage is the cou­ple’s sec­ond book and fo­cuses on the life-giv­ing value of cook­ing and eat­ing with your vil­lage — whether made up of fam­ily or friends.

I asked them a few ques­tions:

Tell us your food phi­los­o­phy.

Whole­food in­gre­di­ents, sea­sonal, re­gional and best when shared. Our food is in­spired by the sea­sons (what we are har­vest­ing from the gar­den or what is sea­son­ally avail­able in the wild) and by our vil­lage — shar­ing with them, cel­e­brat­ing with them and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing life with them.

Through­out your book you talk about the vil­lage. Ex­plain to us what the vil­lage is.

The vil­lage is some­thing we all have — sev­eral dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties, of­ten co­ex­ist­ing, which we are tied to by com­mon in­ter­ests, val­ues, her­itage/fam­ily or sim­ply lo­ca­tion. The vil­lage is some­thing that tra­di­tion­ally has been at the core of hu­man ex­is­tence — it is to­geth­er­ness. And it is this to­geth­er­ness that is the foun­da­tion of us all, giv­ing our life mean­ing, that is what makes us happy and con­tent.

You vis­ited vil­lages around the world spend­ing time with peo­ple who were liv­ing life for a very long time and lov­ing it. Tell us their ‘se­cret’ to longevity.

Through three im­por­tant rou­tines:

Sleep. This is seen as some­thing val­ued — they rest, they don’t overdo it.

Med­i­tat­ing. You would of­ten see peo­ple sit­ting, re­ally, just sit­ting, star­ing into the dis­tance. We named it con­tem­pla­tion hour, as that is ex­actly what they seemed to be do­ing.

On­line time. You don’t see peo­ple on­line in pub­lic — phones, tele­vi­sions — they sit and talk to each other, rather than screens.

And three per­son­al­ity traits:

Tra­di­tional. There is al­ways tra­di­tion in some sense fram­ing ev­ery­thing — food, rou­tines, cel­e­bra­tions. Th­ese are val­ued and im­por­tant to them.

Gen­er­ous and giv­ing. Peo­ple are al­ways giv­ing you some­thing to take home, and you re­ally can’t en­ter some­one’s home with­out leav­ing with full hands or full stom­achs.

They say what they mean and mean what they say. Life is full of pas­sion!

What are their top foods?

Olive oil. They use it in ev­ery­thing. Good fats, oils and an­i­mal fats. Ev­ery meal is full of good oils and an­i­mal fats.

Lo­cal ev­ery­thing. Sea­sonal, lo­cal, re­gional food, cooked from scratch.

Name three im­por­tant health tips:

The most im­por­tant of all is com­mu­nity. Hav­ing a com­mu­nity that makes you feel safe, se­cure and loved. One where meals are shared. Within this, life holds so much mean­ing and this is key to men­tal health and a long life.

Not too much. Moder­a­tion is the key. Fast­ing. They seem to fast, but with­out much em­pha­sis or in­ten­tion, as break­fast is of­ten small, so they are of­ten fast­ing for 15-16 hours a day.

What are your five top tips to start­ing up a nat­u­ral gar­den?

Soil. So much sim­ply comes down to healthy soil. Start by loos­en­ing up what you’ve got, then add a whole lot of graz­ing an­i­mal ma­nure (cow, horse, sheep, al­paca, etc), add lots of worms and wet it all down. Ev­ery­thing starts and ends with soil.

Di­ver­sity is key. A nat­u­ral gar­den re­flects na­ture, and the key to all things nat­u­ral is di­ver­sity.

Struc­ture. Na­ture also grows in lots of lev­els. You have trees, then peren­nial shrubs, then lower (and climb­ing) an­nual plants. Grow them all to­gether, cor­rectly spaced and your gar­den will thrive.

Don’t for­get the flow­ers. No gar­den is com­plete with­out flow­ers. They bring in all the good bugs, birds and bees which then go to work pro­tect­ing your veg­etable and fruit plants.

Gen­tle­ness. It’s the hard­est thing to teach but one of the most im­por­tant things for gar­den­ing suc­cess. Treat your gar­den with love and care, from the small­est seedling to the old­est tree. Nat­u­ral gar­den­ing is about be­com­ing one with na­ture, tak­ing your time, and re­ally ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the process with care and at­ten­tion.

With small apart­ments and busy lives, is it pos­si­ble for us all to grow some pro­duce?

Yes, of course! Ev­ery­one can grow some­thing, even if it’s sim­ply one plant. This one plant may in­spire more grow­ing or sim­ply con­nect you with what it means to grow food, what it means to eat sea­son­ally, and con­nect you with na­ture.

Five top tips to make cook­ing for your vil­lage easy:

First would be to do it to­gether! No one per­son cooks for the vil­lage, it’s a vil­lage ef­fort.

Pickle, fer­ment and pre­serve so you al­ways have lots of di­verse el­e­ments for your dishes ready to go.

Cook beans and grains in bulk at the start of the week and store sea­soned and ready for quick, easy and healthy meals to feed many, through­out the week.

Cook big! We usu­ally cook and bake at least twice as much as we need so we have lots of leftovers. It takes hardly any ex­tra ef­fort to cook dou­ble but it saves a whole sec­ond round of cook­ing!

An­tipasti boards are your saviour for ran­dom drop-ins and ex­tra mouths. We al­ways have cheeses, sa­lumi, pick­les, pre­serves, fer­ments, bread, oil and but­ter ready to lay out at a mo­ment’s no­tice.

What sea­sonal veg and fruit would you al­ways grow, and how would you pre­serve them?

Sum­mer/au­tumn: Toma­toes — and make pas­sata.

Sum­mer: Peaches and apri­cots — easy to grow and easy to pre­serve! Both freeze them and bot­tle them whole.

Win­ter/spring: Leeks — grow abun­dantly and eas­ily! Make leek jam (recipe in The Vil­lage).

Year round: Car­rots, wom­bok, chilli and var­i­ous herbs to make fresh gar­den kim­chi. Cit­rus fruits to make Sar­dinian mar­malade.

Your favourite go-to meal af­ter a long day in the gar­den?

Our sar­dine pasta. It takes less than 30 min­utes to make, mas­sively sat­is­fies a hun­gry stom­ach ev­ery time and feeds many.

Three things about your­selves that would sur­prise?

Len­til: Loves her some good hip-hop.

Matt: Once trav­elled over­land from Saigon to Tel Aviv, hitch-hik­ing half the way.

Both: We don’t get at­tached to our gar­dens. We would quite hap­pily grow up a new gar­den ev­ery few years. It’s enough for us to know we’ve left a place more beau­ti­ful than we found it if life takes us on an­other ad­ven­ture.

Au­thors Matt and Len­til Pur­brick.

The Vil­lage by Matt and Len­til Pur­brick, Macmil­lan, $49.99.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.