Monthly archives "May 2008"

Looking for people to do home deliveries.

Home deliverers wanted

We are looking for people to do home deliveries for us on a weekly basis, on a Wednesday and/or a Thursday, starting from the 24th of June.

This work is ideal for someone that is passionate about organics, works flexi-time, needs some extra income, and wants to get to know some of their neighbouring organic community.

You will be paid per delivery, and the fee will cover petrol, wear and tear, as well as your time. The Ethical Co-op will be drop off all the orders for delivery at your home, after which you deliver the orders to customers in your area.

We are looking for delivery people in the following areas: City Bowl, Camps Bay, Sea Point, Llandudno, Pinelands, Observatory, Hout Bay, Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, Tokai, Tableview, Milnerton, Melkbosstrand, Durbanville, Northern Suburbs.

If you are interested, please contact us.

New this week, especially for the juicers, are wheat kernels, as well as spelt kernels.

Spelt is a grain very much like wheat, and you’ll find it in quite a few of our products. The earliest evidence of spelt being cultivated is from around 5000BC, near the Black Sea. It later became a staple across Europe, although it was then almost entirely replaced by bread wheat. It’s made a resurgence amongst organic farmers, as spelt is a much hardier plant, and requires much less fertiliser than wheat, its highly hybridized cousin. It’s also far more nutritious, containing, in particular more protein, as well as high amounts of manganese and Vitamin B2. Many people find it tastier too. Some people who react negatively to wheat can tolerate spelt, although it does still contain gluten.

2008 Produce Awards

Voting for the 2008 Eat In RMB Private Bank South African Produce Awards has commenced. Why not reward some of your favourite products and producers by voting for them. There are categories for best organic, and best small producer. There’s also an ‘outstanding outlet’ section, where you could vote for your favourite large supermarket, or, say, us!

Head on over to here to vote, or to to order.

Have a great week,
the Co-op team

Snakes in the spinach

There’s a saying that you know food is organic if you find an occasional worm. We took it a bit further this week, when, upon starting to unpack a batch of spinach, we found a snake. At about half a metre long, it was more impressive than any worm we’ve seen.

In many cultures snakes are associated with renewal, regeneration and healing. The symbol for modern medicine is a snake wrapped around a rod, or the Rod of Aesculapius. According to one version of the tale, the mythical Greek figure Aesculapius, the god of healing and medicine, discovered medicine by watching a snake using herbs to bring another back to life.

Interestingly, a second symbol associated with modern medicine, the caduceus (a staff with two snakes wrapped around it), is the symbol for Hermes, the god of messengers, and patron lord of thieves and tricksters. It’s not this that caused the association with medicine though – Hermes was also the god of alchemists, which for a long time was associated with medicine.

If you do find a snake in your box, and it’s devoured your eggs, or massacred your eggplant, do let us know, and we’ll give you a full refund. And you can keep the snake.

Head on over to to order.

Have a great week,
the Co-op team

Would Jesus buy chocolate?

Earlier this year Free Spirit, the spiritual lifestyle TV series, featured a segment on the Ethical Co-op. Those of you who missed it can now view it online.

Something not to miss is the South African premiere of “What would Jesus Buy“, a docu-comedy about the commercialisation of Christmas. It’s presented by While You Were Sleeping and will be shown at the Labia on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evening.

I’d like to think Jesus would buy chocolate. There’s much hype these days about its health benefits; and it’s true, chocolate is an extremely healthy food. The catch though is that it needs to be raw. Cooking it, mixing it with dairy, and packing it in a bar full of sugar, is not the best way to gain any benefit.

Chocolate is produced from the seeds of the cacao tree, a plant native to the Americas. In Aztec mythology, the god Quetzalcoatl came to earth on a beam of the Morning Star, bringing an offering of a cacao tree. He taught the Aztecs how to make a drink from it, which they called “chocolatl”, or bitter water, which they believed brought universal wisdom. The botanical name, theobroma cacao, literally means “food of the gods”.

Raw chocolate contains large amounts of epicatechin, also found in tea and wine, which has been linked to dramatic reductions in the so-called big four – stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes. Epicatechin is removed from commercial cocoas, since it has a bitter taste. Chocolate also contains high levels of magnesium, a mineral many of us are deficient in. Shortage of magnesium has numerous negative effects, especially on the cardiovascular system, and has also been implicated in aggressiveness, hyperactivity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

If you can’t wait, head on over to and take a look at our Chocs, Sweets and Snacks section. We’re offering raw chocolate in the form of the whole beans, nibs (the crushed beans) and powder from our Cape-Town based suppliers Soaring Free Superfoods.

As always, we welcome your feedback.

Have a great week,
the Co-op team

The multi-fruited pineapple

Pineapples are a tropical fruit, originally native to South America. There are still wild relatives of the pineapple found there today, including one that, unusually amongst plants, opens its flowers at night, when it is pollinated by bats, and closes its flowers during the day.

Pineapples are actually not just one fruit – they’re a composite of many formed around a central core. Each small fruitlet has its own eye, or rough, spiny marking on the surface.

When the Spanish arrived in South America, the pineapple was a popular food that had been cultivated around much of the continent, as well as nearby islands such as the West Indies, and was used by them to protect their sailors against scurvy, a disease caused in particular by vitamin C deficiency.

The English word ‘pineapple’ was originally used to describe what we today call pine cones. Due to their similarity in appearance, the term was used to describe the fruit, and only much later was the term ‘pine cone’ recorded.

Pineapples have a short shelf life, and like many other tropical fruits, should not be refrigerated unless cut.

Pineapples are a fantastic source of the trace element manganese, which is important in energy production as well as in supporting antioxidant defences. They have moderate amounts of Vitamin C, and there’s also mounting evidence that pineapples support digestive functions, although how isn’t clearly understood yet.

But what better way to find out than to try for yourself, as of course we have pineapples on offer, as well as a whole host of fresh fruit and veggies.

To order go to

Have a great week,
the Co-op team

Workers Day, Beltane and Walpurgis Night

Today is Worker’s Day, and for many of us it’s just a holiday. The date stems from the decision of a US federation of unions to set May 1 1886 as the date by which the eight-hour workday was to become standard. Organised labour had struggled for many years, in many different countries, to reduce working hours, after the Industrial Revolution commonly saw 6-day weeks of up to 16 hours. Women and children (but not men) were granted 10-hour work days in England in 1847, and the French achieved 12-hour work days in 1848.

The target had not been met as the deadline of May 1 1886 drew near, and rallies and strikes were organised. In Chicago, these culminated in the Haymarket Affair (also known as the Haymarket Riot, or Haymarket Massacre), in which a number of people were killed. It is this event that cemented the day in the modern calendar, as workers groups worldwide chose to demonstrate on May 1 in commemoration of the dead.

The history of May Day though goes back far beyond this. For the Celts of Britain and Ireland, it marked the beginning of the pastoral summer season when livestock were driven out to the pastures. Druids would light fires, and both cattle and people would pass through the smoke in order to purify themselves, and ensure a good harvest. Today this is celebrated as Beltane.

Much of Northern Europe shared similar rituals. In Norse mythology, it is when Odin died to retrieve knowledge of the runes, and the night was seen as a time when the boundaries between the living and the dead became blurred. Huge bonfires were built to keep away the dead spirits that were said to walk among the living. It became known as Walpurgis Night after Saint Walpurga when the festival became Christianized in the year 710.

With all the festivities, there’s not much new happening as far as co-op offerings goes. We’ll probably still be a little short of some stock as many farmers and suppliers are affected by the holidays, but hopefully we’ll have enough for everyone to stock up after the holidays.

To order, go to

Have a great week.

The Co-op team