Haystacks and knobbly roots


No, not celery, celeriac. Celeriac is another of those strange discoveries I’ve made (or rather, am about to make) since becoming involved in the Ethical Co-op. I’ve never, to my knowledge, seen one before, but this week we have some available, from Appelsdrift Farm. Apparently quite popular in continental Europe, celeriac, also rather unflatteringly known as knob celery, celery root or turnip-rooted celery, is a root vegetable, related to celery, anise, carrots, parsley and parsnip.

It’s unusual amongst root vegetables in that it’s fairly low in starch, and low on the glycaemic index, and so is a better bet than other root vegetables for losing weight. Slightly harder to prepare, as its rough exterior can need slicing rather than peeling, it can be eaten raw, juiced, used in soups or stews, mashed or in casseroles and baked dishes.

Good news
Looking for good news can be a challenge, like looking for a needle in a haystack. This weekend someone was describing actual techniques historically used for looking a needle in a haystack, involving sifting, water, and so on. While Googling for the techniques, I came across a better one. Remove the haystack.

The best way to come across good news is not to fill yourself with bad news. You’ll be amazed how much good news there is, all around, if we can only open ourselves to it for a second.

Can you imagine a rare blue crane nesting in a Hillbrow high-rise, or a white rhino sauntering up Adderly Street? Ridiculous – our cities are the antithesis of biological diversity, lethal for all but a select few species. Imagine then the surprise at an endangered species making its reappearance in Paris. The Atlantic Salmon, listed as threatened in Europe, has been making a return to the waters of the River Seine, cruising past the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. I always used to enjoy stories of pristine rivers in Scandinavian capitals, clean water full of fish. But most urban rivers worldwide are little more than sewers, and by 1995 the River Seine spewed up hundreds of dead fish every year, with only 4 species surviving in its toxic waters. Since then, however, there’s been a major campaign to clean the water, and it now boasts a diverse population consisting of sea trout, shad, even the lamprey eel.

It’s not only fish trying to make comeback. Although many of the world’s forests are disappearing fast, especially primary forests, the rate at which secondary forests return is surprising some.

Felipe Garcia is a farmer from Panama, and his shack backs up against a wall of trees. Seven years ago, the neighbouring plot was being farmed, but after being abandoned as the occupants left for the city, the forest started returning. The speed at which the trees are returning is surprising some, and triggering scholarly debates, as the conventional theory that cleared tropical forest recovered very slowly, if it all, is challenged.

The forests could always do with a bit of help though. Villagers in Dungarpur in Southern India attempted this week to plant 600,000 trees in a single 24-hour period, without mechanical assistance. There’s even a world record – volunteers in neighbouring Pakistan planted 541,176 last July. The lack of information since the attempt on Wednesday perhaps means they didn’t make the record, but hats off for trying!

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

Have a great week,
the Ethical Co-op team.

Comments ( 2 )

  1. Ethical Co-op » Blog Archive

    [...] has been taken to a whole new level. In August I mentioned the attempt to beat the world record by planting 600,000 trees in 24 hours. Well, they succeeded with flying colours. Since 2006, the Indian government has had a policy of [...]

  2. Ethical Co-op » Blog Archive » From slag to salmon

    [...] wrote last year of salmon returning to the River Seine. If images of salmon cruising through Paris, one of Europe’s largest cities, seems [...]