How do you and Lentil live wild and meaningful lives?
We both believe we are here to be human. To love, to share, to hold and touch and taste and smell and hear and see. We are just as stuck in modern life as the next person, maintaining relationships and work over the internet and through mobile phones. But every day we are actively taking the time to be “in the physical world” and in touch with our physicality in general. To walk in the sun, eat natural foods, move our bodies, connect with each other, talk to real human people in the flesh, touch an animal, the soil, a tree, smell the fresh air. Whether in a city or rural environment, we are still designed for the outdoors, for real face-to-face contact and energy exchange. Lentil and I build that into the everyday no matter what.
What are some of the ways you stay true to your Grown & Gathered values?
The Grown & Gathered project began as, and really still is, a reflection of our life. We believe in eating real, wholesome, traditional food. We believe in growing and foraging your own food. We believe in community and working together and trading abundances whether skills, resources or material things. We have always believed that experiencing the “real thing”, rather than reading about or watching the thing being done by others, is the key to a good life. So we are always seeking to do fun and practical human tasks, even (especially) amongst the strangeness of modern life. We have found that all of these very human “doings” add up to a very robust well-“being”.
Tell us about Minimum and your move into the wine world
We’re so excited about Minimum! For the last four-and-a-half years we have been in the process of converting to organic and getting certified our vineyard about one-and-a-half hours north of Melbourne. This is very close to our original organic vegie farm and my family’s winery. We started making the wine at the winery three years ago now (we just finished our third vintage) and it has been an amazing experience. We released the first range of wines last September and they have been so well received. It’s been incredibly moving for us to see them in people’s homes and being enjoyed in the sunshine, co-creating beautiful human experiences. It’s just the beginning and we can’t wait to watch the Minimum story unfold — it has already been the most rewarding business we’ve ever put our energies to.
What are you currently:
Cooking: It got so cold so fast so we’re in a constant rotation of brodo (bone broth) dishes, Japanese ramens, wild mushroom soups, tortellini in brodo, Vietnamese phô and minestrone — definitely a time for warming foods.
Reading: We’re excited to read Andrew Wear’s new Solved! and Rutger Bregman’s Humankind. Two incredibly hopeful and beautiful releases in times like these. And Figuring by Maria Popova.
Listening: Esther Perel’s new podcast How’s Work and Nils Frahm’s new album Empty both seem incredibly beautiful and important right now.
Growing: The winter garden is bedded down and full of brassicas, lettuce, celery, chard, parsley, onions, garlic and various roots. Persimmons are being dried. New lemons are starting. And we’ve been up in the mountains foraging wild mushrooms. This is such an abundant time of year.
What are some of your winter rituals?
Sleep! Be like the animals and sleep longer. Rest up. Move slow. Eat warming foods with nice red wines by a fire (if possible).
What’s next for you two?
We have been focusing on our current projects the last 12 to 24 months and the plan this year is to continue to strengthen those. Lentil is focussed on writing at the moment, has a new website and a little publication for her writing on the way. I’ll be deep in Minimum land which will hopefully continue to do well out there and inspire a lot more wineries to convert over to organics. The vineyard continues to go from strength to strength. We feel incredibly lucky to have such beautiful work to put our energies towards.
Waste Wine Vinegar
If you drink wine, you will never have to buy vinegar again. Have you ever opened a bottle of wine, drunk half of it and gone to drink it a week later, only to find it just doesn’t taste that good anymore? That is the wine oxidising and basically turning into vinegar, which is what the acetic acid bacteria — naturally present in your wine — want to do, but we stop it by bottling and sealing it to lock out the oxygen. This recipe gives leftover wine the kickstart it needs to become vinegar. You will never waste leftover wine again!
Makes: 200mL (use this as a guide and adjust using the same ratio to suit how much vinegar you need)
Time: 5 mins + 3–6 months culturing
100mL red or white wine
100mL unpasteurised vinegar (with the cloudy “mother”)
Add the wine to a jar, followed by the vinegar. Place a cloth on top and fasten with a rubber band. This is very important as it must be exposed to oxygen for it to become vinegar (the cloth just keeps insects out).
Place the jar in a dark, warm place and stir occasionally to help the bacteria along with some extra oxygen. It may take a long 3–6 months to become vinegar if the wine has preservatives in it (it’s their job to stop this happening), but un-sulphured, natural wines (as they were made traditionally) might only take a number of weeks.
You can use this vinegar to make the next batch, and so on.
Note: It is important that the vinegar is kept out of sunlight, as it may kill the vinegar culture.