Monthly archives "October 2011"

Number 7 billion

Sometime this week, living person number 7 billion will arrive. What kind of world can they expect to see? One of greed, of hatred, poverty, more of the same? When we look at what an ideal world could be, most of us automatically think of things “out there”. Corporations causing harm, governments, the United Nations.

Yes, all of these need to change, but it’s important to include ourselves. When our own anger arises, do we blame someone or something else, or do we use it as an opportunity to investigate why this anger arises in us, to practise letting it go to avoid being swept up in the flames. When we feel greed, the nagging sense of lack in ourselves, do we simply work harder to get those things we desire, or do we recognise in our own reaction the same motivations that drives greed in corporations and governments?

Lead Petrol
After 90 years of knowingly poisoning the world, we’re close to celebrating the removal of lead from petrol. There are only 6 countries in the world that still use lead in petrol, and all are on track to remove it entirely by 2013.

It’s one of the few global environmental victories, up there with the phasing out of ozone-depleting gases. Even 90-years ago it was well-known that lead was a poison, and over the years a mountain of evidence has been amassed showing that exposure to airborne lead causes brain, kidney and cardiovascular damage, and is particularly harmful to children, lowering IQ levels and shortening attention spans.

The fact that it’s taken 90 years, even after the nascent environmental movement in the 1960’s and 70’s actively campaigned to remove it, demonstrates how entrenched the greed in our society is. Industry falsely claimed there were no alternatives, and poured funds into discrediting the studies, just as they did with cigarette smoking, and are now doing in all sorts of areas, from climate change to food additives.

There are many other substances in daily use that we know are harmful. Let’s hope they don’t all take 90 years to remove.

Omega 3-6-9
On special this week we have Crede‘s Omega oil blend. It contains six cold-pressed oils, combined to create a 2:1:1 ratio of Omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids that’s ideal for many people. There is no universal “ideal” ratio for an oil, as much depends on what else you’re eating, and more important is the quantity of these essential fatty acids. Omega 3 oils are destroyed by heat, and most people are deficient them. Flax oil is the highest in omega-3, and is a good therapeutic choice to restore the balance. For longer-term use, the omega 3-6-9, as well as hemp oil, are good choices.

Have a wonderful week,
Ian and the Ethical team

To order, head on over to www.ethical.org.za, and remember that you can follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.

She who possesses a hundred husbands

We’ve been loading up on the new stock the last few weeks, and this week it includes dried shatavari, a species of Indian asparagus. The name has been variously translated as “she who possesses a hundred husbands” for its purported effect on the female libido, or alternatively “curer of a hundred diseases”. Unfortunately my Sanskrit isn’t good enough to speculate on the lexical link between “disease” and “husband”! Besides looking after 100 husbands, in Ayurveda it’s traditionally used for improving production of breast milk, PMS and ulcers.

Asparagus
Unfortunately the week before last our fresh asparagus wasn’t up to scratch. We had a flood of complaints – it appears they weren’t stored properly, and were almost frozen when we got them. When they started to thaw, they deteriorated very quickly, leading to the slimy (and other less complimentary descriptions) asparagus many of you got. Thanks for all the feedback – we do appreciate hearing when something is not working. Remember, although it doesn’t make up for the disappointment, if you’re unhappy with something, please let us know and ask for a credit.

This week we got our batch at about 5pm on Wednesday evening, but it looked like they were going to experience the same problem – they were already thawing, and some of them were starting to go slimy. They were sent back in disgrace, but luckily we managed to get a fresh batch later that night, so to my knowledge the asparagus was good this week.

Novelty X
The citrus season is winding it’s way down, and there are no more naartjies. Last week saw the first Valencia oranges, which are a traditional variety with a pip, not peeling as well as navel oranges, having a tough skin. However, best and easiest are not always aligned, and many find Valencia’s have the best flavour for juicing and taste.

They’re also unusual in that in the high mountains where these come from, they keep on the tree until picked, and don’t fall off when ripe.

This week also sees the first of the Novelty X citrus variety, a species that suffers from a name sounding like it was meant for an 80’s robot, but is actually a tasty easy peeler. It’s a mandarin hybrid, with a taste described as a cross between a navel and naartjie. They’re usually seedless, but these are grown near lemon trees, and many will contain seeds.

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical team

To order, head on over to www.ethical.org.za, and remember that you can follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.

Sprouts, bantams and BPA

Sprouting seeds
We have a number of specially packaged sprouting seeds from Kitchen Garden this week. Wheatgrass, adzuki, mung and alfalfa, all from certified organic seed, are now available, and we’ll be adding more in the future. If you’re looking to sprout with a particular variety, let us know and we’ll see if we can source it organically.

If you’re new to sprouting, we have sprouting kits available, and you can also watch Kitchen Garden’s Joseph explaining the benefits.

Bantam eggs
If you’re quick you may notice bantam eggs on the site this week. Bantams are a small variety of poultry, and the name is believed to come from the Indonesian port of Bantam, a common port for Europeans to collect the small varieties common in South-East Asia. The eggs are about half to a third the size of chicken eggs, but apparently have a high proportion of yolk, even equivalent to a small chicken egg.

Water bottles
We’ve had some queries as to whether our water bottles contain BPA. Bisphenol A is an organic compound found in certain plastics. It’s associated with a number of serious health risks, and is found in baby bottles, metal cans and plastic bottles (in particular type 1 and type 7). BPA is banned in the European Union and in Canada for use in baby bottles, but is widely used in the rest of the world, including South Africa, for those purposes.

The water bottles that we use for our collection service from the Newlands Spring are High-Density Polyethelene (type 2), which is a strong plastic, and has been subject to rigorous tests with no known risks.

Remember that when you buy a bottle it is new and has never been used by anyone else, and when you return it for refill, it still belongs and is used by you exclusively, and you are responsible for keeping it clean. I’ll write more about maintaining and cleaning your water bottles in a future newsletter.

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical team

To order, head on over to www.ethical.org.za, and remember that you can follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.

Snails and snakes

I heard a wonderful story this week of a new customer, who upon preparing to eat her spinach found a small snail on it, still alive. Instead of demanding a refund from us, she phoned her sister in delight at the evidence that the spinach was organic, fresh and full of life force!

If you’ve been with us a while, you may remember the snake story, where our delivery contained an unexpected guest. Fortunately this wasn’t delivered with someone’s order.

It’s not just the snails and the snakes who benefit. Everyone involved in the chain benefits, from the farm workers, the fish who don’t have to live with pesticide runoff or high nitrate levels, all the way to you, enjoying the benefits of food as it should be.

A 30-year study on organic farming
This week the results of a 30-year study on organic farming, carried out by the Rodale Institute, have been released.

The 30-year study is groundbreaking because it looks at the longer term impacts of organic farming, while many of the short-term studies released by industry only look at short-term impacts, and of course focus on the yield drop when a chemical farmer converts to organic.

The results are, in brief: organic yields match (or surpass) conventional yields, organic outperforms conventional in times of drought, organic farms build rather than deplete the soil, use less energy, produce less greenhouse gases and are more profitable.

Next time you read one of the regular newspaper press releases saying that organic food is elitist, cannot feed the world etc., point them to this comprehensive 30-year study!

It’s also interesting that the study was performed in the US, which is usually seen as providing the least beneficial environment for organics. Chemical inputs are relatively cheap there compared to developing countries where dollar prices and exchange rate fluctuations make planning more difficult, and labour costs are also more expensive there.

In a developing country such as South Africa, prone to droughts, and where exchange rate fluctuations can send prices skyrocketing, organic farming makes even more sense.

Robyn Navels
Citrus season is changing once more, and the Midnight Oranges from Kleinjongenskraal Farm in Citrusdal are now finished, and it’s time for the late season Robyn Navel oranges. Robyn Navels are similar to the better-known Washington Navels, and are a cultivar first discovered in 1956 on a farm in South Africa’s citrus university, Citrusdal

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical team

To order, head on over to www.ethical.org.za, and remember that you can follow us on Facebook, on Twitter and on our blog.