Monthly archives "November 2006"

Moving to Thursday deliveries

A reminder to everyone that next week will be our last Wednesday delivery. From December, we’ll be delivering on Thursdays. We will also be closed for two weeks over New Year, and there will be no deliveries on the 28th December, or the 4th of January.

With December closing in, Cape Town is starting to get that holiday season feel. Most students are already on holiday, and the schools will be releasing everyone for their summer breaks soon. Summer also means summer fruits, and we have loads of apricots (from different farms) as well as peaches, plums and strawberries available this week. Apples and oranges are also still available.

Apricots, which originated in China, contain significant amounts of beta-carotene, which converts to Vitamin A in the body. One of the many benefits of Vitamin A is that it lubricates the eyes, which is good news for contact lens wearers. Apricots also contain significant quantities of iron, which is often needed by women, particularly pregnant women.

While there should be ample apricots for everyone, early orderers will once again get a chance to experience the joys of organic shiitake mushrooms. This week we only have 15 punnets available! Remember that you can place an order as soon as you read this (even if it’s just for one punnet of mushrooms!), and then change the order at any time again before the site closes on Monday. We only start to process the orders on Monday afternoon.

A plant that’s slowly gaining popularity is quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wa’). Grown in the Andes, it was revered as the mother of grains by the Incas (although it’s not strictly speaking a grain), and is an extremely good source of protein. Sometimes foods are categorised as ‘complete’ or ‘incomplete’ proteins, but this is a misleading term. It’s really the balance of the essential amino acids that determines the quality of a protein, and there isn’t a strict line between ‘complete’ and ‘incomplete’. Quinoa contains significant amounts of all essential amino acids, including lysine, which is low in foods such as rice and wheat. It’s gluten-free and easy to digest, and its reputation as a superfood (it contains much more than just protein) is such that it’s being considered by NASA as food for astronauts on long flights. It can be cooked in a similar way to rice.

We’d like to encourage everyone to please return cardboard boxes to your distributor. Believe it or not this is a significant expense, and we reuse them where possible, and recycle them after they become unusable. We also accept the Camphill 1 litre glass bottles, glass honey jars, and egg boxes.

To order, head on over to www.ethical.org.za

Be Well,
Support Organic

The Co-op team

Passionate and committed people

As of December, we’re changing our delivery day to Thursdays. We’re doing this mainly because the frenzied late-night packing on Tuesdays is becoming unsustainable for our small, part-time staff. We hope that the change will enable us to deliver a better service to you. Everything else will stay the same. The site will still open for ordering late on a Thursday night, and still close on a Monday, but we’ll now have an extra day to take delivery from our suppliers, and to pack your boxes. There will be two more deliveries on a Wednesday (22 Nov and 29 Nov), before the first Thursday delivery on 7 December.

One of the joys of being involved in the Ethical Co-op is the number of passionate, committed people I come across, who share a similar vision. It fills me with optimism to meet and interact with so many wonderful people. Many are involved in complementary projects, whether it’s green architecture, community gardens, sustainable economics, community currencies, or even implementing a similar model to the co-op itself. It’s pleasing to see that old business models of competition are being replaced with the idea of co-operation, where the vision is of greater importance than individual egos or entities, or any false notions of ‘winning’. We’re excited to meet and potentially work with other organisations who share our vision.

One of our members recently expressed his unhappiness with the imported products on the site, which he sees as unsustainable. We agree totally! With the inevitability of a huge increase in the oil price, and reduced availability of oil (whether next year or in twenty years time), it’s imperative that food be produced locally, and free of expensive chemical inputs that need to be shipped in. Farms that adjust in time will be well-set to reap the benefits. So once again we encourage South African farms and smallholdings to switch to organic, and help meet the soaring demand. There was recently a suggestion made in South Africa that GM products be marketed for export as ‘certified pesticide free’. Backward thinking like this, encouraged by the international producers of GM foods is clearly not the way to go. GM seeds bind their buyers to international multinationals, and cannot be economically sustainable. What’s needed now is the opposite – food security to be sustained with local inputs.

New on the site this week is a list of Frequently Asked Questions. All those questions our admin staff are continually answering, such as ‘why are you called the Ethical Co-op?’, and ‘where the bleep are my veggies?’ are now answered on the site. Just follow the link at the top of the page.

The Ethical Co-op will be selling a limited number of goods at this week’s Talent Exchange market in Kalk Bay. For those of you unfamiliar with the Talent Exchange, I’d describe it as ‘an Ethical Currency’. No rands welcome! For more information, and for details of the Saturday market, have a look at their informative website – www.ces.org.za. The Ethical co-op was partly born out of the Talent Exchange, and we hope to see much closer integration in future.

And now, to order, head on over to www.ethical.org.za

Be Well,
Support Organic

The Co-op team

Soya and genetic modification

Soya is one of the crops that, worldwide, is most commonly genetically-modified. The vast majority of US soya is genetically-modified, and US corporate interests are doing their best to aggressively expand their markets. They’re preparing an international lawsuit against the European Union, which protects and informs its consumers by requiring labelling and pre-market safety and environmental testing of genetically modified products. They’re also pulling out all the stops by wooing the influential Vatican to support GM foods.

South Africa unfortunately does not require labelling, and most products containing soya (which includes surprising everyday products such as bread and chocolate) almost certainly contain genetically-modified organisms. The best bet is to insist on certified organic soya products. Of course we have some for you! This week we’re offering certified organic smoked and plain tofu (which is a soy product), from Delmar Organics.

Who can believe it’s only 6 weeks till Christmas? Organic Alive is offering a range of Christmas cakes, biscuits and mince pies (don’t be misled, they don’t contain meat!). Please note though that there is a lead time of 1 to 2 weeks on the Christmas cakes, so they probably won’t be delivered with this week’s order. You won’t be credited for them, but they will be delivered with your next order.

To order, head on over to www.ethical.org.za

Supply and demand

We recently got a mention in Garden & Home and Country Life magazines, leading to a surge in orders, and some late nights for our staff. The demand for organic food is clearly there, and unfortunately it outstrips the available supply. Those few local farms, who made the transition before the demand was there, are now reaping the rewards for their vision.

A case in point of supply not meeting demand is the shiitake mushrooms we’re offering this week (and I’m probably exacerbating the situation by writing about it). Mushrooms are frequently described as a vegetable, but they’re actually fungi, and have no roots, leaves, flowers or seeds. Shiitake mushrooms are a particularly flavourful variety, and are a very good source of iron, as well as a good source of protein (with a good balance of amino acids), vitamin C and fibre. There’s also interesting research investigating their effectiveness in reducing tumours, allergies, thrombosis and arthritis, amongst other things. These will undoubtedly be sold out well before Monday’s closing, so you’ll have to order quickly if you’d like to get your hands on these delicacies.

I was looking into research on pesticide and toxicity levels in conventional chemically-grown foods, and apples are one of the more notorious foods for pesticide exposure. We’re fortunate enough to have Elgin Organics supplying us with Golden Delicious and Granny Smith variety apples (the Star King are no longer available), as well as some fantastic apple juice, all certified organic and pesticide-free.

We’re offering a new range of organic orange juice this week. It’s imported from a country that’s a world leader in organic farming, and one South Africa can certainly learn from, Brazil. Hopefully we’ll be able to source some local organic orange juice soon!

Finally, please remember to reference your payments with your full name (the same name you’ve registered the account with). Every day we get payments referenced with ‘Ethical’, the name of a spouse or partner, or even a phone number, and our accounts department struggles to match these up. If a payment hasn’t been recorded on your statement within three or four days, please let us know. Also please note that the correct email address to use for account queries (and proof of payments) is accounts@ethical.org.za. Some of you are still mailing people who haven’t been with us for months!

To order, head on over to www.ethical.org.za

Be Well,
Support Organic

The Co-op team