Monthly archives "December 2006"

Last chance

It’s your last chance to stock up on goodies and gift vouchers before we take (even if we say so ourselves) a well-deserved break for 2 weeks. After this week’s delivery on 21 December, our next delivery day will be 11 January 2007.

Christmas can be a time of excessive wastage, with tonnes of wrapping and packaging heading for the landfills. We could wrap your goods in a shiny new box each time, and charge you for the pleasure. Instead, we try to re-use our packaging as much as possible, so we appeal to everyone to please return your cardboard boxes.

The 1822 poem, ‘A visit from St Nicholas’, attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, popularised the connection between Christmas and Santa Claus. Santa Claus, from the Dutch Sinterklaas, or Saint Nicholas, was a Turkish saint with a reputation of secret gift giving. One version of the story has it that Saint Nicholas, in attempting to anonymously give a gift, climbed the roof of a house and dropped a purse containing money down the chimney. A girl had put out a stocking to dry, and the purse landed inside. The cartoonist Thomas Nast built upon Moore’s poem, creating today’s common look for Santa in a series of cartoons starting in 1863. The Victorians in England merged the character of Father Christmas, traditionally associated with festive holiday making and drunkenness, with the more sanitised depiction of Santa Claus.

Unfortunately there’s also much tension at this time of the year. The roads are crowded, and people are rushed. The lure of the material is strong now, with many desperate to earn (or take) as much as they can, and others trying to spend their way to happiness. There’s the weight of the expectation that we should all be having a jolly time, when suffering is as prevalent as always, but given extra weight by the expectations.

We hope that you navigate the challenges successfully, wish all of you an enlightening festive season, and hope that you begin 2007 better off, in all the ways that are important, than 2006.

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The Co-op team.

Giving gifts

Many of us celebrate Christmas, whether as a religious festival, or simply as a holiday where we can spend time with family and friends, or get away from it all.

The ritual of giving gifts is a part of this, and although it may have become distorted and over-commercialised, it’s still an important and powerful ritual. One only needs to look at the joy on children’s faces to see how it should be experienced.

Nothing beats a hand-made gift, but this isn’t always practical, so we’ve come up with some suggestions for Christmas gifts. You can share the co-op with your friends by buying an Ethical Co-op gift voucher. Many of my acquaintances are reluctant to try organic food, believing it to be over-priced, or a fad. And just as many are disinterested in news and views of the negative effects of GM organisms, or pesticides. However, almost without exception, people are blown away by the taste of organic, and even better, fresh, locally-produced organic, produce. So why not use a little positive trickery to share the experience with your friends who haven’t yet tried us!

We have quite a range of other gift possibilities listed in the Christmas Gifts section. The Journey to Wild Divine game is still available, complete with finger sensors to test your physical responses to the meditative techniques. Divine Organics are offering Gift packs containing two different oils, there’s an indigenous gardening calendar, with plans for what to plant when, and tips on maintenance, and Organic Alive are offering Christmas cakes, biscuits and meat-free mince pies. On the appliance front, there are water distillers, flour mills and juice extractors to encourage a healthy start to the new year.

There’s more featured on the site, but as always we have our usual range of local and organic products. To order, head on over to to

Sweet summer fruits

A reminder that delivery day has now moved to Thursdays. Also, we will also be closed for two weeks over New Year, so there will be no deliveries on the 28th December, or the 4th of January.

A recent US study showed that the average child under 5 was exposed to 8 different pesticides a day. Grapes are consistently on the list of foods found to contain the most pesticide residues. On the bright side, they’re also in season, and another of those sweet summer fruits I mentioned last week. And even better news, we have some white grapes in stock this week.

If you were quick last week, you may have noticed our supply of Tree Oyster mushrooms. We have more this week. Oyster mushrooms are one of the few carnivorous mushrooms. Before you start to have nightmares about your dinner table mushrooms leaping up to take a bite out of your ear, you should know that their usual animal prey is the microscopic nematode (or roundworm). The oyster mushroom’s rings constrict around the nematodes, grow through them, and begin to digest them. We also have a number of varieties of nuts on offer this week. Almonds (both hard and soft-shelled), cashew and pecan nuts.

Many of us consider nuts to be broadly similar, but the plants each originally come from different parts of the world (cashews from Brazil, Pecans from North America and Almonds from Asia and the middle-East) and have quite different nutritional profiles. Almonds and cashews both have much higher protein levels than pecans, while pecans in turn have much higher fat levels (mostly the beneficial kinds). As it’s the fats that go rancid, pecans don’t last as long as the almonds and cashews.

My father once told me that if something tastes bad, it must be good for you, and vice-versa. I happen to believe the opposite, that your body knows what’s good for it, and communicates this through the senses. If your awareness is switched on, you’ll know which foods are best for you, and get pleasure from eating them. In the case of nuts, I have quite different experiences with each of them, but right now cashews are my favourite. Which are yours?

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Be Well, Support Organic

The Co-op team