Monthly archives "July 2007"

The humble cauliflower

We’ve been battered by 4 cold fronts over the last few days. But while most of us share an aversion for the outdoors at times like these, some of our fellow-life forms quite enjoy being outside.

The humble cauliflower is one of those. Cauliflowers are one of the more demanding plants to grow, they’re particularly averse to hot weather, although that shouldn’t be a problem for our farmers right now. A successful cauliflower crop is usually seen as a sign of well-managed soil, and a competent gardener or farmer.

Probably originating in Asia, they were grown exclusively in Italy until the 16th century, when they spread to the rest of Europe and later North America. Now they’re grown worldwide.

Cauliflower contains ingredients that are particularly effective in reducing the occurrence of breast tumours. One of the means it does this is by reducing oestrogen levels. Oestrogen are commonly found in some oral contraceptives, in oestrogen replacement therapy of postmenopausal women, and in some cosmetics, and have been implicated in higher risks of breast cancer.

Did you know that you get green, orange and purple cauliflower – unfortunately we’re only offering the more common white variety. Of course the white variety turns purple over time, but we don’t suggest you eat it at that point.

Just like it’s sister plants, broccoli and brussel sprouts, cauliflower is frequently overcooked, rendering it unpleasantly mushy, bitter, and not particularly nutritious. Raw cauliflower is best, nutrition-wise, but a light steaming keeps most of the nutritional value intact and makes the food more easily digestable.

If you’re on the lookout for some good value, all Zeekoegat cheeses (except the feta) are half price this week. Zeekoegat will not be milking until the lambs are born later this year, so there cheeses won’t be available shortly.

A reminder that we’d love to recycle your bottles, egg boxes, string bags and cardboard boxes. We pay T1 for the 1 litre glass bottles, and T0.5 for the honey bottles, and small Camphill glasses.

To order, visit www.ethical.org.za.

Stay warm,
The Co-op team

Organic farming can feed the world

The big talk in organic circles this week has been about the University of Michigan study on yields in organic farming (see report here).

With the agricultural industry becoming dominated by chemical firms, there’ve been vested interests in spreading the word that organic food isn’t as good, can’t feed as many people, and that the only hope the ‘save humanity’ is, in short, to pay the chemical and GM firms more money.

Flawed studies abound, unfavourably comparing yields of organic farms in their first year (after years of abuse of the land) with chemical farms, or chemical farms in developed countries with organic subsistence farms in developing countries, and drawing the conclusion that organic farm yields are much lower.

A landmark study by the University of Michigan has shown that this is nonsense, that organic farms can produce more than chemical farms, and that even if all the farms in the world were organic, there’d still be more than enough to feed everyone (assuming it actually got to those who need it).

Add this to similar conclusions made in another broad, comprehensive study I recently mentioned by Cornell University, and it’s heartening that untruthful sales pitches of the chemical and biotechnology companies is rapidly being exposed.

The study showed that farmers in developing countries, in particular, could benefit from switching to organic farming, as most cannot afford, or don’t have access to, chemical or genetically-modified inputs.

So, enjoy your week’s goodies, with the knowledge that not only is it much better for the environment, but also free of any lingering doubts that if everybody did what you were doing, there’d be a big problem!

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

The Co-op team

Biodynamic yoghurts

This week we’re offering a range of new, biodynamic yoghurts from Rozendal, a small family farm in Stellenbosch. The yoghurt is made from Pearl, Marigold, Lucia and Jasmine, four lucky cows who munch on organic, mixed pastures for 365 days of the year and have access to good, clean water from an underground source. There’s plain, cherry, raspberry and cranberry flavours.

Rozendal are also offering various vinegars: fynbos, lavender and a mixed vinegar, as well as a cream cheese.

Please don’t forget that we gladly accept returns of cardboard boxes, egg cartons, and cardboard boxes. We pay 1 Talent for the 1 litre Camphill bottles, and half a Talent for the small Camphill jars, and honey jars. For those of you new to us and the Talent Exchange, you can read more at www.ces.org.za.

The tea-drinkers among us may not be surprised to hear that tea is good for you. What’s surprising, and heartening, is that the Canadian government has officially recognised it as a medicinal drink. While getting approval for the latest drug is relatively easy if you’re a pharmaceutical company with deep pockets, the difficulties faced by natural products mean that few have so far achieved an official stamp of approval from any governments.

The evidence for the benefits of tea is overwhelming, with hundreds of studies finding that tea contains great amounts of antioxidants, and provides protection from ailments such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The US government, unsurprisingly, found that there was ‘no evidence’ for the health benefits of tea, and rejected its application. But there are a whole lot of new drugs you can buy!

Of course, we have a range of teas you can buy, green, white and chai from Rob Harrewyn, as well as herbal teas, which strictly speaking aren’t teas at all, as they’re not made from the tea plant, camellia sinensis.

After a long break, the chickens from Last Thyme farm, used as weed eaters on the organic farm, are laying again, so their eggs are back on the site. And finally, for the pet-lovers, a reminder that it’s Vondis week.

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

The Co-op team

Petrol-free fires and resting goats

Although it may not seem like it after the last few days, winter is certainly here, and many of us are enjoying fires at home. Back on offer again after a lengthy absence are hand-made firelighters, made from sawdust, wax and recycled egg cartons.

I must admit to being sceptical when I first heard of them, but they work fantastically well, and don’t give off the awful petrochemical smell of conventional firelighters.

Stocks of Zeekoegat cheese are dwindling fast as their goats are resting prior to kidding in mid-August (a luxury not available to many non-organically farmed animals), so be sure to order soon if you’d like any before the goats return to action.

Some good news from raw food experts Soaring Free Superfoods is that they’re now offering raw chocolate through the co-op. According to them, ‘raw chocolate forms one of the cornerstones of [a raw food] diet.. The key to chocolate’s super qualities seems to be eating it in its raw, natural state. When cacao beans are excessively heated, melted, processed, chemicalised, and added to dairy products, they lose key nutrient qualities, psychoactive properties, brain nutrition and more. After all this no wonder people want the real thing! What happened to the original food, the cacao bean? Let us get back to the real food beneath all the layers of cooking, machining and tampering.’

Limited quantities of raw cacao beans (wholebean), raw cacao nibs (crushed bean) and raw cacao powder are available – another reason not to wait until Monday, when they may already be out of stock, to place your order!

For salad lovers, we’re offering 7 different lettuces, all about as locally grown as you can get.

Finally, you may notice two courses on offer. They’re listed with no price – this doesn’t mean that they’re free, but rather that you’ll need to pay the course facilitator directly, instead of us. Details are available when you click for more info – just mention that you saw the course listed on the Ethical Co-op website.

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

Enjoy the week,
the co-op team