Monthly archives "January 2008"

Science and the environment

Vested interests often try to paint a conflict between science and the environment. Proponents of genetic engineering, for example, claim that environmentalists don’t understand the science, and are holding back positive progress. Often there’s some truth to their claims, and much environmental discussion is based on ignorance and fear.’Science’ though is a highly-abused word. Put ‘scientific’ behind something, and it sounds impressive, authoritative. Most often though the research is funded and directed by companies with a particular agenda. Government doesn’t often enough play it’s role and support neutral scientific research.

But you can’t stop the tide, and research is pouring in that organic food is the best way to feed everyone, to improve health and behaviour, to reduce global warming, produces much more food during drought, and so on. The era of the green deserts, chemical farms that for years have drained their most important resource, the soil, is coming to an end.

We haven’t had gouda or cheddar for a while, but from last week we started offering new cow cheeses from Bonnievale’s Tereva Dairy. They’re Soil Association certified, which is one of the most respected labels – not all organic certifications are equal!

Unless you’ve been on an extended camping trip in the Karoo, you’ve probably been affected by the recent power cuts. So have we, with our office being out of action at the most inconvenient times, our office computer dying probably due to the power surges. But there’s always a bright side – I’ve been doing lots more reading than usual. Except of course, when the power cuts strike at night. Perhaps as a result Freeplay’s table lanterns have been in great demand. They don’t even need batteries, as they can be wound up. I’m also a regular user of the Freeplay torches, and I’ve recently bought a wind-up radio as well. It has a solar panel so it charges in the sunlight, and lasts a surprisingly long time. You’ll find them under the creatively titled ‘other’ section, right at the bottom, along with other items that challenge our taxonomy.

To order, go to

Have a wonderful week,

the Co-op team.

The devil and his blackberries

It’s our second week back. They don’t call Cape Town ‘Slaapstad’ for nothing, and we wouldn’t change it for the world, but we hope that this week we’ll have ironed out all those glitches. Remember that if anything is not up to scratch with your order, let us know about it, and we’ll do our best to sort it out.

Blackberries are one of the oldest foods known to have been eaten by humans. The Iron Age Haraldskaer Woman was found to have traces of blackberries (as well as millet) in her stomach. Blackberries grow prolifically (they are invasive in some parts of the world), and are native to much of the northern hemisphere.

There’s a UK myth that blackberries shouldn’t be picked after Michaelmas (29 September), as the devil claims them after that point, leaving a mark by urinating on them.

Like most myths there’s a good reason for its existence. The cooler autumn weather (the date would be 29 March in the southern hemisphere) often sees blackberries become infected by various molds, which are best avoided.

In the January heat that’s the least of our worries, so it seems these days the devil has better things to do than urinate on blackberries, like running large food multinationals, or breaking our office hard drive.

Blackberries are high in Vitamin C and fibre, and contain reasonable amounts of folic acid, iron and calcium. Our blackberries are certified biodynamically grown from Bloublommetjies farm near Wellington.

To order (there’s more than just blackberries), go to

The Co-op team

Welcome back, and holiday season

Hopefully everyone has had a great festive season, and is feeling relaxed and well. It’s great to be back! If, like me, you’ve spent too much of the time eating unhealthily, you’ve probably been waiting with bated breath for us to open again, so you can get your weekly dose of organic products.

Unfortunately we’re not the only ones who’ve taken a holiday, and we’re quite short of some staples, but we hope to be completely back in the swing of things by next week.

And further bad news is that, with the continuing petrol price increases, our delivery fees are increasing. They’ve increased this week in some of the regions, and will probably increase in the others next week.

Many of you have been asking for certified organic pasta – we have white and wholewheat spaghetti, as well as wholewheat fusilli. It’s imported from Italy, but we hope some reliable local suppliers can fill the gap!

To order, head on over to

The Co-op team