Monthly archives "August 2011"

Faster customer service and faster chocolate

Customer Service Improvements
It appears some of our customer service queries were being answered late, or not at all. Please accept our apologies if you’ve been affected. We’ve made some changes which should ensure much quicker responses and that nothing slips through the cracks in future. If you still have an unresolved issue, please send it through again and we’ll do our best to sort it out promptly this time!

Cacao Paste and Raw Chocolates
Raw chocolate is proving very popular as more people discover the benefits of eating raw, vegan chocolate without added sugar or dairy. But it’s not just eating it that’s proving popular. Many people are enjoying making it as well. To ease this process, Soaring Free Superfoods have got a new product, Raw Cacao Paste. The paste is made by taking the raw cacao nibs and slowly conching them at low speed and low temperature for three days, avoiding the need for battling to get the right texture with the cacao powder yourself.

Simply add cacao butter and a sweetener of choice.

For those of you like me who rarely progress beyond eating chocolate made by others, we still have offerings from our three great suppliers.

Euphoria Foiled’s chocolates are almost sold out, but hopefully Jane will be making more soon. Gayleen has a new variety to add to her orange, ginger and mint mix – brazil creme. Unfortunately I’ve eaten half the batch, and it’ll probably sell out too, but we should have more soon as well.

In spite of my best efforts we should however have sufficient stock of Honest Chocolates‘ maca slab, cacao nib slab and chocolate spread. Congratulations to them too on the launch of their new shop, opening this week.

Water refills and Returns
After rumours of the Newlands Spring water being unsafe to drink we had it tested, and it passed with flying colours. We plan to regularly test the water to make sure it remains great over the different seasons and weather conditions. Don’t forget that we also offer a refill service, so you don’t always need to buy a new bottle, and if you get your bottles back to us we can refill them for you at a lower cost.

For the next few weeks that cost is much lower – we’re offering a free refill with the rest of your order. Please enquire when you get your next order whether the collection point or delivery person accepts returns – most do, and we’re hoping to have all this information listed on the website soon.

We’d also love to get the Camphill-style 1 litre glass bottles back, as well as flattened cardboard boxes, all of which are happily re-used.

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical team

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

Drill, baby, drill

In 2008 and 2009 there was a series of oil spills in the same area. The company responsible, Shell, claimed that 40 000 gallons of oil were released. It turns out that the actual figure is closer to 10 million gallons.

That’s like saying you had a quiet gathering at home with 4 people when actually you rented the town hall and invited 1000 people for a raucous get-together. You’d think someone would notice.

Well of course, the people who lived there noticed, but they were far from the media’s glare, and there weren’t that many camera phones around. So the spills, one of the most devastating oil spills the world has ever seen, remained forgotten.

The place was Ogoniland, a land devastated by the discovery of oil and looted by the military dictatorship and the oil companies. The 2008 and 2009 spills destroyed the waters of the area and the livelihood of the Bodo community, who mostly relied on fishing. In one year a community who’d sustained themselves in the area for many generations were plunged into poverty.

Now, three years later, Shell has admitted liability, and will most likely be forced to pay compensation. That hardly qualifies as good news – it’s too late for the community. Plunged into a poverty which will probably take generations to undo, forced to scrap amongst themselves for compensation payouts and left with a devastated land, while Shell barely notices the difference to its profits.

But whereas in the past, the news would never have got out, or at best many years later, now atrocities and disasters are being brought to daylight more quickly, wherever in the world they occur.

Our earth and all living on it are suffering, but the symptoms are visible to all.

New this week
There’s lots new this week. Acai berry is a fruit from the acai palm, and is an important renewable crop from the Amazon. Wild harvesting in the Amazon protects the forest and acai has been used to reforest degraded areas. Unfortunately the plant has been over-hyped and is subject to all sorts of misleading claims internationally, but that’s not its fault! It comes in dried powder form, a beautiful dark purply colour, and adds a wonderful flavour to smoothies.

Mesquite, also called white carob, is one of the earliest known foods from the Americas. The pods are ground and used as a medicinal tea, and as flour, although I’ve only tried it (inevitably) in smoothies, where it adds a distinctive sweet, slightly nutty taste. Mesquite contains 17%, making it an excellent source of protein, higher than many nuts and seeds.

Bloublommetjieskloof are also offering a new product for cleaning teeth – a toothpaste pad made from sage, peppermint and coconut.

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical team

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

It’s amazing what you can accomplish…

Welcome to everyone new from Sunday’s Gaia Fair, and hello again to those I met there. It’s great to get out from behind my laptop every now and again!

It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.

This saying was bouncing around the social networks the last few days, and it’s the kind of thing many of us may agree with quickly and pass on without too much thought. It’s quite a profound statement, and challenging to put into practise.

How easy is it really not to care who gets the credit? It speaks to our motivation for acting. Is it to get ahead in a career, to get the reward, whether praise or financial, or do we act to build a better world? If we’re looking for personal reward, of course we want to get the credit for the job well done. We’re mainly acting to get the reward. But if it’s to build a better world, it becomes much easier to share or disregard the credit. The ego might still enjoy being praised for its contribution, but the pleasure is in seeing the benefits for everyone.

What’s your motivation for your actions?

Women’s Day
With tomorrow being a public holiday, a surprising number of our suppliers are working right through it. But some need their orders in sooner, so don’t delay. In particular, if you’re looking for any mushrooms now is the time!

New this week
We have lots new this week. Local almonds to complement the return of the Valencia almonds, as well more pecans, both large pieces and great quality whole pecans. To add to our ever-expanding range of nut butters, we’re offering sunflower nut butter this week. Also, three old favourites we haven’t seen for a while, popcorn, couscous and chickpeas. And lots more if you look around!

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical team

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

A mouthful of suds

Coriander is aptly named after the Greek mythological figure Ariadne, meaning “most holy, who helped Theseus slay the minotaur. Or at least that’s what the English Wikipedia said. The German Wikipedia claimed that it’s named after the Greek word for bedbug, due to the similarities in smell, and that the leaves contain high levels of aldehydes, the same substance that gives soap its taste.

Coriander leaves seems to stir the passions. Chop some leaves and I’ll be nuzzling up against them (the leaves that is) like a cat on catnip. Others liken it to a mouthful of suds.

Coriander seeds are one of the world’s oldest spices, being cultivated from at least 5000 B.C. They lower blood sugar (and are traditionally used in diabetes) by promoting the production of insulin. Both the seeds and the leaves have also been found to contain dodecenal, an antibacterial compound that seems far more effective than most antibiotics in tackling salmonella, inspiring food scientists to develop a tasteless food additive to prevent foodborne illnesses based upon it.

A tasteless food additive? Why not just eat more coriander?

Orange Special
This is the last week that Envirotouch will be running their ‘orange harvest’ special on the wood finishes, with discounts on their wood finishes up to R100 on the 5 litre.

Last time I mentioned the orange special there was a rush on, not the wood finishes, but the Mould Stop. It appears the winter rains have been encouraging mouldy roofs. Black mould is particularly harmful, with the spores triggering numerous allergies and responses in the immune system. However, don’t assume that anything black on your roof is toxic – there are other harmless varieties!

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical team

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