“Be the change you wish to see in the world”. I’ve said it to myself countless times to varying levels of success. Well…this time it’s for real. Ash and I are embarking on a journey that involves realigning our business to meet our environmental values. Back in 2018 we installed a 15kW solar system onto our processing and packaging facility to take responsibility for our business energy consumption. In 2020 we made the switch (before it was cool) and changed our packaging from single use plastic to reusable and recyclable glass jars.We are so excited and pumped for 2023 and looking forward to partnering alongside an Aussie born environmental initiative called “Take 3 for the Sea”.
Take 3 For The Sea is focused on everybody participating in a small action often to achieve significant and long lasting environmental change. It’s so simple that our girls look forward to doing it each time we go to the beach or park. In essence, pick up at least three pieces of rubbish before you leave the public space and dispose of them in the correct manner. It’s a grass roots ground swell vibe whereby anyone at any time at any age can become empowered to make the future brighter for our oceans.
In fact, this past Christmas we went to a beach in Sydney and picked up a supermarket paper bag full of rubbish. The whole process took about 15 minutes, we connected as a family and afterwards our girls were so stoked to be doing something for the turtles and dolphins.
So how is Take 3 and Barefoot Farm teaming up? From February 1st 2023 we will be donating a percentage of every online purchase to their cause. We want to give back to these guys and help spread their word. That means when you buy any Barefoot Farm, Goodie Ball or Botanical Gold product you will be contributing directly to Take 3 and helping their education and awareness programs. And remember, next time you and your family are out in a public space, take 5 minutes in your day to pick up three pieces of rubbish and pop them in the bin…and be part of the change.
What’s round, tastes great, is actually healthy and is made with Barefoot Farm love?
GOODIE BALLS! These high energy snacks are D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. and they’re a great convenient healthy option when you need a little pep-up between meals.
A wholefood snack which is actually GOOD for you, there’s no weird numbers or letters (those are the little nasties that sneak up in your food and cause mayhem in your body without you realising). No ingredient list that resembles a conspiracy theory encrypted code here…we’re all natural here!. This means that Goodie Balls are nutrient dense and healthier for you than most other “Bliss Balls” without any compromise on taste.
There are three flavours to choose from: my ‘out and about around town’ favourite is Almond Date. Cashew Goji is my ‘at home doing stuff’ choice whilst Hazelnut Cocao is my ‘after the kids have gone to bed me time on the couch’ go too..
What’s the saying? “Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food”. Have you ever tried to pronounce some of the things many company’s manufacture and then label it as “food”. Goodie Balls on the other hand have two main ingredients: a selection of nuts expertly mixed with a selection of fruits. Mother nature is amazing no need to go messing around with fandangled engineered foods sometimes the simplest things in life are actually the best.
No cheap fillers in these little goodies such as milk powders, rice or wheat flours, which mean our GOODIE BALLS are vegan and gluten free as well as being a low inflammation nutritious snack and FODMAP and gut health friendly.
What makes GOODIE BALLS different?
3 pack – perfect snack size, pop it in the beach or gym bag, take them to work or have it in the car when those tummy gremlins call begging for a snack. Our 3 packs are 100% biodegradable and home compost friendly.
Bulk pack (20 Balls) – The most economical way to buy GOODIE Balls perfect to have in the pantry ready for you whenever you need to pack a healthy snack. These are a good environmental choice, less packaging and buying in bulk can save on waste and help support you making healthy choices.
In store – Pick up a GOODIE ball from your local cafe, health food shop or deli, zero packaging healthy snack on the GO.
If you can’t find Goodie Balls in your local cafe, reach out to them and us and we will try and get the goods to you.
My grandfather, my Opa, Wasil Bojko was born in the Ukraine in 1912…his life is shrouded in tragedy and mystery and that’s about all I know. He had already passed away when I was born and what my family does know/remember is limited as he was very guarded about his past. In my personal quest to understand my heritage I’ve found it easiest to connect with long gone relatives through their cultural cuisine. A simple Google search and a few ingredients later and I’m enjoying a meal which might vaguely resemble something they once ate.
To celebrate the Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas we found a recipe in Olia Hercules’ book Summer Kitchens. It’s a fascinating book of authentic recipes, beautiful pictures and little stories where traditional knowledge is being passed down and it really feels like it was written just for me. We decided to lend our hand at Potato Cakes. Similar to a Rosti, her recipe for these yeast-leavened cakes were stuffed with beans and feta. They sounded yum on the page and were (as it turned out) flipping delicious. We did alter the recipe slightly but the methodology was pretty much the same.
1 kilo potatoes. We used Organic Sabago as we had some lying around.
1 brown onion
2 whole eggs
A 7 gram sachet of dried yeast. I think that equates to about a teaspoon.
2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
Flour. You can definitely use plain wheat flour. We didn’t have any at the time so we used Spelt.
Salt and Pepper
About half a bunch of parsley because that’s all we could get our girls to harvest.
Oil for cooking. We use Olive oil but hey…you do you.
Bean and Feta Paste.
1 clove of garlic
1 tin of Cannelloni beans. I think that’s about 200g of drained beans give or take.
100g-ish block of Feta. I used Danish because I like the smooth texture of it.
About half a bunch of dill.
Salt and Pepper
Oil for cooking.
About 150g of greek yoghurt
2 small gloves of garlic. We used the purple Australian garlic as it’s a bit sweeter.
Salt and Pepper
We made the bean and feta mix first. Drain and wash the Cannelloni beans, crumble the feta and put both ingredients in an oiled fry pan over a medium heat. Cook for a minute or two, squishing up those beans and feta before adding a finely diced brown onion. Continue cooking for another couple minutes to ensure the onion is cooked before finally adding the minced garlic. Once the garlic is in and cooked for about 30 seconds, remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Add the chopped dill and seasoning once cool, give it all a good stir and check that it tastes delicious. Maybe a dash of lemon juice at this stage could elevate the bean mix and give it some more complexity.
Then our attention turns to the potato mix. Grab the box grater from the depths of the kitchen utensil draw and loosen up your shoulders because there’s a fair amount of grating ahead. We chose to grate the potatoes on the course side and then the onion on the fine side but it’s up to you. Either way, squeeze out the excess liquid from your onion-potato mix but don’t throw it out (just strain it and walk away). Make sure there’s still a small amount of liquid left in the bottom of the bowl as you’ll need this to activate your yeast. Make like a decent well/volcano in your oniony-potato so you can clearly see the remaining liquid and to that add the two eggs pre whisked, about 50 grams of flour and the yeast. Give that all a quick stir so the yeast is no longer dry and grainy. Set aside for 15 minutes so it can begin its act-iv-ation (said like I’m imitating Arnold Schwarzenegger).
Whilst that’s beginning to bubbling along nicely, whip up the garlic yogurt number by mincing the garlic into the yoghurt. Simple. A some seasoning, maybe some chopped herbs or a small pitch smoked paprika for a touch of zhuzh.
Go back to the potato mixture and use your hands to bring it all together. Season with a really good amount of salt and pepper as it will handle the extra seasoning. Let sit for another 10 minutes for no real reason except to give the yeast another chance to do its thing.
Now the fun part. I preheated the oven to about 180 degrees in anticipation and I suggest you do the same because it’s a bit of a challenge getting these little darlings cooked all they way through solely from the heat of the pan. Anyway, in a decently weighted frypan on a medium heat, pop in two touches of oil and let it heat up. Once it’s hot but not smoking, get some of that worked potato mixture into the pan (reincorporate some of the liquid if it has separated). We did about a golf ball amount then flattened it out with the back of a spoon to maybe 10 cm in diameter. We did three of those in the pan then quickly add a small amount of the bean mix on top then another bit of potato mix, spreading that over to form a sloppy sandwich. Turn down the heat if needed and let that slowly cook for about 3 minutes. Check the bottom side regularly for golden-ness and before you flip the potato cakes over add a few knobs of butter…fry for a bit longer…now flip! Life lesson: fried butter makes everything taste about 6 times better! Cook for a few minutes on the second side before flipping again to try and get the heat into the centre or pop the Potato Cake into the oven to heat through whilst you cook another batch. Completely up to you.
Serve with the garlic yoghurt and enjoy. We added a homegrown and made homemade tomato sauce to the dish which was really nice. I’m making another batch of that this week as we’ve got bucket loads of tomatoes growing at the moment so I’ll include a recipe for that. It’s dead easy and freezes well so be sure to watch out for that recipe when it’s published.
Please, do yourself a favour a get your hands on Olia’s book Summer Kitchens. She has a few books available but I haven’t had the chance to read them all yet. She’s done a great job at flying the Ukrainian flag and I look forward to exploring more of her recipes such as the Flourless Poppyseed Cake or the Borsch with Duck and Smoked Pears. When I get a chance between recipes I’ll read about her Ukrainian culture…and take the time to imagine my Opa eating Potato Cakes in the Ukrainian countryside all those years ago.
We paired our lunch with this incredibly smooth Sheep’s whey vodka, which has a great back story in itself. If you can source it from Hartshorndistillery and amazing story and the most enjoyable vodka I’ve ever tasted, we enjoyed it neat in true eastern European style and was beyond expectation.
We’ve all heard it before; “when life gives you lemons make lemonade”…but it’s not as simple as repeating a few well rehearsed mantras when something doesn’t swing in your favour let alone making a sweet refreshing beverage. Adding to any drama can be the usual multipliers: finances or family where a combination of events can turn into a world imploding situation with cataclysmic ramifications seemingly destined to alter the human race.
Well…we experienced such an event and it all started on Christmas Day.
Cringe, we hear the collective sigh….
It started when we noticed the front tyre of our car was slightly flat. Nothing to raise an eyebrow at but something that needed addressing. We diligently went to the service station, administered the required amount of air and continued upon our very merry Christmas-y way. Two days of eating and indulging ensued before we noticed that the tyre was again a little sorry looking. Suspecting a slow leak we administered more air and scheduled an appointment with the local tyre centre.
Did I mention it was now that unusual void period between Christmas and New Years in a coastal town where days, dates and routine magically disappear? (It gives context as to how the story progresses).
Anyway, the next morning we drove down to the beach on a tyre that was holding air and returned from our swim with a tyre that no longer resembled a plump disc but more a French crepe. A simple tow to the tyre centre and we were soon informed that the slow leak was actually the result of a cracked rim. No worries, pop on the spare and we’ll fix after the holidays. HA! NOPE!
Unbeknownst to us mere mortals, the spare tyre that was sold when we bought the vehicle wasn’t compatible and couldn’t be driven on for any extended period of time. No problem…we’ll buy a new spare I hear you say. Not happening. No hubs available, no spares around, no Facebook solutions and no Youtube ideas. So nothing could be done until eating some Christmas leftovers and brainstorming.
Solution. We drove the infamous cracked wheel hub another hour further west on a public holiday to be welded back together by an old cockie we called on a landline who was the neighbour of a friends mate. Seriously! Christmas holiday’s aren’t meant to be spent like this. Despite all the obstacles the wheel rim was expertly welded and we headed back to the beach for a well deserved swim.
But, as we rolled back into our quaint coastal retreat the car coughed and splattered. Perfect timing for the alternator to give up the ghost. We are now stuck at the beach without a working vehicle until after New Years. Our car troubles have really gone up a gear and are now more exciting than the hotly anticipated midnight NYE fireworks.
Three days later after countless swims in the ocean and many miles walking up the road for a coffee, the alternator was installed…NOT! Due to a misdiagnosis by two independent mechanics the alternator was deemed in sound working order all along and a mere battery would have saved the day.
Anyhoo, the car starts like it should, the rim was repaired and the tyre was fitted. Our journey home was finally underway 5 days later than we anticipated but we had a great time connecting as a family and resigning to “if it’s meant to be, it will be”.
With 2022 fading into the distance of the proverbial Barefoot Farm rear vision mirror, the road ahead can only look like a much smoother ride. With our region experiencing catastrophic flooding in later February, we’ll be negotiating the resulting potholes for years to come. But in the timeless words of somebody a lot smarter than me “onwards and upwards”!
There are at least eleven-teen exciting new things in the pipeline. We’ve got new products about to transition from the conceptual stage to human trialling and an initiative that could possibly involve turtles and a glacier. We look forward to spamming your inbox over the next couple weeks all in the name of community engagement and customer interaction.
Until then…Ash, myself and everybody else remotely associated with Barefoot Farm wish you and your loved ones a happy New Year! To celebrate the arrival of 2023 we are gifting a free sample packet of our Goodie Balls for every order placed in January (and for the few people that ordered after Christmas). It’s our way to say “Thanks for your support” it means the world to our family.
Peace Love and Pecans Matt and Ash
Address Eltham Valley Pantry 712 Boatharbour Rd Eltham NSW 2480