URGENT : #SaveAlfalfaHouse

DID YOU KNOW that Alfalfa House is facing the prospect of having to close our Enmore Road shop at the end of January?

This is an extremely regrettable situation, but something members must face head on if we want the Co-op to continue.

Since July 2020, sales have been steadily declining due to COVID-related pressures impacting the entire retail community. In addition we must pay out recently revealed, unpaid staff Leave Loading entitlements amounting to around $20k.

All of us would love Alfalfa House to survive in the Inner West community in some way, shape or form, including having an online presence.

Our priority is to avoid our business becoming insolvent, and the Co-op entity being dissolved, where members will lose control of the outcomes.


As of Monday January 11:

  • We will be temporarily removing the 20% volunteer discount for eligible members.
  • The 10% standard discount still applies – you can also choose NOT to receive this discount to offer extra support at this time.
  • We’re asking members to pay their 2021 Membership Fee (ASF) of $20 voluntarily + plus an additional amount as a donation if they choose.

Membership payments & donations can be made:

  • In-person when you shop – before the end of January.
  • by EFT (NB: include your member number in the reference field)
    Alfalfa House  /  Bank Australia  /  BSB: 313140  /  Acct: 12046250
VOLUNTEER TEAMS are already checking out ways we can reinvent ourselves and are working the phones hard to find out what you have to say.

Don’t be surprised if you get a call.

If you want to help out:

  1. Join our phone-around team : contact Tara
  2. Join our AH Version 2.0 team to explore ways we can remodel and reposition Alfalfa House into the future : contact Cyrus

There are positions available on the Members Committee (MC) as well.

In particular, if you have legal or financial skills/experience and can help in the short-term by stepping in as Alfalfa House treasurer or secretary, contact the Members Committee for the more detail on these positions.

If you’d like to volunteer in general contact our volunteer co-ordinator 

Keep supporting ALFALFA HOUSE by shopping with us!

We will be keeping the shop stocked with fresh produce until the end of January, even as our grocery lines run low.

Yours sincerely
The Members’ Council

ACT NOW : ZOOM meeting – members consultation : January 13 @ 7pm

Everyone Welcome!

Agenda for this meeting 

Zoom Meeting Link
Meeting ID: 889 5486 9539
Passcode: 105814

The record of our last Zoom meeting on January 6 is here.

You will find plenty of background in earlier newsletters, and specifically our 2020 Annual General Meeting minutes here.

Humans of Alfalfa House – Meet Tom

We recently spoke with Tom, regular Alfalfa House shopper and Members Council Treasurer since December 2018. Tom is an integral part of the Alfalfa House team and we couldn’t do it without him!

1. Please tell us a bit about your background
I’m a drifter from North of the border. When I first moved down to Sydney a few years back, I fell in love with the dedication of the people of the Inner West to their craft, whatever that may be. So I ended up moving to Enmore to get amongst it, with the added plus of being close to some of my favourite live music venues.

While I’ve worn a few different hats over time (mostly due to a lack of melanin), the dark arts I practice most these days would be:
accounting, improv comedy, a few foreign languages and cooking. Witchcraft and wizardry will hopefully make the list in 2021.

2.If you could choose 3 words to describe yourself, what would they be?

Goofy, hungry, lanky

3.How long have you been shopping with Alfalfa House/how long have you been on the MC?

I’m gonna say I’ve been a shopper at AH since 2017. I clambered onto the decks of the MC as Treasurer in December 2018.
What made you decide to join the MC and why do you choose to shop with AH?
Deciding to join the MC was out of a want to use my skills to tangibly give back to the vibrant community that I draw a lot from.
I shop with Alfalfa for the friendly welcome you get as soon as you step in the door. Plus the generous nature of everyone involved (staff, vollies and members alike) all united by the great leveller-good, nutritious grub! Alfalfa has that good grub in spades.

4.What’s your favourite item in store?

It’s a tie between Peanut butter bars and Tempeh Temple Tempeh.

Humans of Alfalfa House – Meet Roisin

We recently chatted with Roisin, one of our permanent volunteers here at the co-op. We love having Roisin here and appreciate all the help she gives us and the effort she puts in every week – thank you for always bringing your warmth and positive energy into the co-op Roisin 🙂

1.Please tell us a bit about you – what you do, what you’re passionate about etc

I did a degree in Agricultural Science, as I was very passionate about plants, Indigenous land management, entomology and local, small scale sustainable growing of food. During this time I developed a love for community orientated work and research, I hope to pursue a PhD in this area. I am currently in a transitory period of applications for work and a phd.

I am passionate about swimming in the sea, riding, spending time with friends and family, cooking and community initiatives; gardening more in tune with nature such as syntropic farming and indigenous farming; social justice; composting; the interrelation of plants, insects and plant pathogens, research, and reducing food millage. Other passions include listening to funky 70s music, disco, electronic instrumental music and Euro pop, writing, discovering new books to read, doing crosswords on the weekend, reading the paper, playing chess comedy nights, art galleries, old/ interesting buildings, having a boogie, and spending time and being there for my friends, family and having little dinner does, being silly, having a good yarn with people and going on adventures.

2. If you could choose 3 words to describe yourself, what would they be?

Radiant, silly bugger, joyous

3. How long have you been shopping with/volunteering with Alfalfa House

I started shopping here when I moved to Sydney nearly 6 years ago, I was volunteering at the USYD food cooperative while I was studying. I have been amongst it more for the last two years as in my honours year I started volunteering at Alfalfa house when I could, and I started again this year and have recently become a permanent volunteer!

4. Why do you choose to shop here/volunteer here?

Cooperatives are wonderful spaces of solidarity, self resilience, socialism, and creativity. It is a social space not just a place where you go in and out of fluorescent lights, perhaps strike up an awkward conversation and bing yourself back into the hussle and bussle of the outside world. This cooperative is a local hub for connection with often like minded members, sharing this commonality, excitement and passion for – community run projects, supporting the environment and social justice. This means your conversations are always interesting and with warm intentions and really lovely connections in your community can be developed. Food cooperatives promote the capacity to create change you wish to see in how you purchase your fruit and vegetables. Things could include reducing plastic, local products, less herbicides/ pesticides on the fruit and vegetables you eat- supporting these farmers and producers by paying a wholesale price, moving away from supporting big corporations that rip of farmers and the supply chain and are supporting mass production of food and monocultures that are degrading the soil,

Volunteering is a way to support the running of the cooperative, immerse yourself in the community and spend more time in the nice earthy space that the cooperative is, provide more structure and time to just give back to a space you love, as well meaning the grocery shop is reduced in cost which is very helpful!

5. What’s your favourite item in store?

There are so many wonderful groceries and products! I do love the black sapote whilst it is very rich and not my day to day go to. It’s my favourite item because it comes at a time of year when things are darker, colder, and shorter, and is a great treat to share also perhaps because I am a chocolate fiend. It is something I had never seen in other grocery stores in nsw which is cool!

Black Sapote Baked Custard with Blueberry Compote

Recipe and images courtesy of Sandra Clark, one of our members and volunteers

Closely related to the Persimmon and native to Central America and Mexico, Black Sapote is often referred to as the Chocolate Pudding Fruit due to its resemblance to dark chocolate. Sapote is delicious when eaten as a dessert, in milkshakes, ice cream or as a replacement to chocolate due to its dark brown colour.

When the fruit is picked it is still green and you will need to wait about a week for it to ripen. When ripe, the flesh is dark brown to almost black and is soft and squishy to the touch. It has a beautiful creamy texture, similar to a ripe avocado and is sweet in flavour like a custard apple.

Black Sapote has a low fat content and is high in fibre and Vitamin C making it a great alternative to sweets.

Black Sapote Baked Custard with Blueberry Compote

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 25 mins
Equipment Needed: 2 saucepans, 2 bowls, fine sieve, whisk, wooden spoon, oven proof casserole dish or baking tray, glass pots or ceramic ramekins (ovenproof)


1 whole black sapote
600ml milk (any kind)
1 vanilla pod (split lengthwise) or vanilla essence
90g rapadura sugar
2 tblsp cold water
2 tblsp hot water
5 egg yolks (keep leftover egg whites and use in another recipe like omelette or biscuits)
1 whole egg

Blueberry compote
350g blueberries (fresh or frozen)
80ml agave (or sweetener of choice)
Rind and juice of 1/2 lemon


1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. In a saucepan, heat milk with vanilla bean to boiling point, set aside.
3. Cut black sapote in half, remove seed and scoop out flesh. Puree with a fork.
4. In another saucepan heat rapadura sugar with the cold water until caramelised. Add the hot water to dilute the caramel. Put back on the heat and stir until smooth. Set aside
5. Put the egg yolks and eggs in a bowl and slowly add the caramel. Add black sapote then pour into milk. Pass through the mixture through a fine sieve.
6. Pour mixture into glass pots and place in a casserole dish
7. Half fill casserole with boiling water and cover with a lid or foil.
8. Cook for 25 mins or until just set. Leave in the hot water for 5 mins before refrigerating.

Blackberry compote:
9. Place half the blueberries and the rest of ingredients in a saucepan
10. Bring to boil and cook for 8 minutes
11. Remove from heat and add rest of blueberries.
12. Serve with blueberry compote or fresh strawberries.

• Use leftover egg whites in omelettes or in biscuits