There’s something fishy going on
Like most of our villages Vibe has a large community garden flourishing year-round, thanks to an enthusiastic garden group. Baskets of vegies are sold to lifestylers for a tiny price, along with fresh eggs courtesy of the village chooks. But here at Vibe, they’re growing a full three course dinner by adding fresh fish to the menu.
At the front of the garden sits two large plastic ponds, where glistening silver perch cruise around waiting for Merv to bring them their next feed. He does most of the running of the Aquaponics setup, visiting each day to feed the fish and make sure everything is running ok.
Behind the ponds are six raised garden beds packed with vegetables. “It’s an ecosystem” explains Merv “Fish water runs to the grow beds, plants suck up the nutrients and then the water goes back to the fish clean and clear.” Wherever you are in the vegie patch you can hear the sound of water trickling; a lovely musical backdrop to a social morning working among the greenery.
It takes about two years to get the fish to eating size. They’re put into the first tank as fingerlings, then moved to the second tank once they’re of good size. Every now and then Merv raffles fish at the Monday night dinners, a popular village social event. Margaret who runs the garden club also helps take care of the aquaponics. She says the fish raffles always do well because the fish are so good, “They’re beautiful! The silver perch are a lovely fish.”
Merv and Margaret agree Silver Perch is best cooked in foil, either in the oven or on the barbie, “I do mine in alfoil with lemon, garlic and whatever flavourings you like.” says Margaret, “Just wrap it up. They’re very tasty.”