Monthly archives "December 2007"

Looking back, and ahead

It’s the last week to order before we close for the holidays, and we’re doing a bit of a clearout before we re-open next year. You’ll find some great prices on many of the cheeses this week. This is your last chance to order the Bronberg cheeses, as they won’t be supplying Cape Town from next year. Bronberg cheeses, the Camphill sweetmilk cheeses, and Cloud Cottage chevins are all on special this week.

It’s been a wonderful year, and we’re looking forward to making 2008 equally good. It’s exciting being part of a project such as ours, and striving to implement our vision and live up to our name in every way. We’re a co-operative, not a traditional top-down business, and working collectively is both challenging, and hugely beneficial for all of us. By sharing, and communicating to a much greater degree than if we were doing the traditional barking down of orders from on high, we learn and grow together.

We are pleased with the progress we’ve made to reduce packaging, and to replace oil-based plastics with more sustainable bioplastics. We’d love if if all of our customers shared our ethos, and returned the glass, netting and cardboard boxes, but sadly much of the packaging is never seen by us again. We hope at least it’s being used productively, and not ending up in a landfill somewhere. We still have a long way to go to reduce our waste though. We really encourage everyone to be growing as much of their own food as possible – nothing tastes better, and fresher than food from your own garden. Our garden section has all you need to get started.

The quality of our food has improved markedly, and we’re making fewer errors. When we were smaller, some suppliers were treating us as a disposal route for their least attractive products, and at times we’ve let these slip through the cracks. And you’ve let us know about it! We also used to have much more unavailables, where products weren’t delivered on time, or the wrong products were delivered, and sometimes our customers only got half of what had been ordered.

We also have a fulltime staff member, and someone handling customer queries every day, and according to your feedback, these areas are much better than they were.

So, a big thank you to all our customers, who make it worthwhile, and keep us on our toes with valuable feedback. Some great suggestions and innovations have come from you. It’s been humbling to realise how challenging it is to achieve our vision in its entirety, and taught us patience. But we’re almost through our terrible twos, and looking forward to another year of great improvements, in quality, quantity, and most importantly, the realisation of our dream.

We re-open for orders on the 10th of January, and for delivery and collection on the 17th January. To order, visit www.ethical.org.za

Have a great festive season,
The Co-op team

Saanen goats and mince pies

There are two weeks to go before the site closes for the summer holidays. We’re now open for delivery and collection on 13 December, and the 20th December will be our last delivery day until we open in the New Year. The site re-opens on the 10th of January, for delivery and collection on the 17th January.

Cloud Cottage is a farm owned by Christopher and Eva Dry, and is in a mountain valley in the Langkloof, about 60km from Knysna.

They’ve been farming biodynamically and organically for the past six years, mainly with a herd of 50 Saanen goats, who supply the milk for all the Chevre goats cheese logs we have available. As with all of our cheeses, they use vegetable rennet, and not animal rennet, which many supermarket cheeses use.

I am always uncomfortable this time of the year at the consumerism on display – what began as a spirit of celebration has been subverted into one of consumption. Where many of us have accepted that the way to show our love is to spend money (and we sacrifice much of our lives to earn ‘enough’), there’s nothing better than a gift from the heart. And the supply can be infinite.

After that disclaimer, of course do we have gifts and festive season goodies on offer!

Organic Alive have supplied us with a range of holiday season baked goods. There are Christmas cakes (note that the Christmas cakes need a week’s lead time, so this week will be the last week you can order them, for delivery on 20/10), as well as Christmas ginger biscuits, and mince pies. Mincing, for those of you like me who associate the term with meat, is actually a technique for finely dividing food ingredients, and our mince pies certainly don’t contain meat!

Many of our customers say that our site is too difficult to browse, and the lists too long. We agree – and unfortunately it’s just got a lot longer! But do take the time to look through the Festive Season, and Featured and New sections – there are a host of products and gift ideas. There are a huge range of oils from Divine Organics, gift soaps with wooden angels in a presentation box, a 2008 indigenous gardening calendar, and wind-up radios, lanterns and torches.

If you can’t decide on a gift from the range of products available, a simple solution is an Ethical Co-op voucher.

And, as if you need to be told, to order, head on over to www.ethical.org.za.

The Co-op team.