Putting sultanas in very small boxes is not that easy.
This week on their Mildura farm Peter and Helen Kamavissis (that's them above) are busy harvesting and packing their green menindee grapes which we'll be putting in most of our set boxes (although not in our Small Mixed Box, if you're keen you can get some from the Fruit and Veg Section). Every yearfrom January to March during the grape and melon season all kinds of people flood into Mildura and surrounding towns to bring in the grape harvest. Right now, with their heads in the vines, boot knives in hand,hardened professional fruit pickers, grey nomads, backpackers and newly arrived migrants are filling case after case with table and drying grapes. Spare a thought for them working out in that 40C+ heat, I picked sultanas for two seasons and it was some of the hardest work I've ever done.
After the grape harvest is over and things have settled down a bit we often see Peter and Helen at the Fair Food warehouse while they're in Melbourne visiting family. For the last two years they'vebeen dropping by showing us their progress as they develop a range of dried sultanas (we have them in our Pantry). To survive as farmers Peter and Helen have to value-add and Helen's latest mission is to make a sultana pack for kid's lunch boxes. Just sorting the basics of this seemingly simple task are harder than you'd think. Starting from scratch, how do you get a uniform quantity of sultanas, a product that inconveniently likes to clump together, into a small packet or a little box? These are the challenges our farmers face daily and I tell you it's not easy. I'll be sure to keep you updated on Helen's lunch-box pack sultana progress.
Meanwhile in other produce news this week - there'll be fresh green beans from Kane Busch, CERES' ownsweet basil and rock melon from Karra Organics. Jason Alexandra (no, not the actor that played George Costanza on Seinfield) from Hazeldean Forest Farm called to say his apples and plums will begin in a couple of weeks but for now make the most of Alkira's white and yellow peaches and nectarines - long may they last. Tomatoes are finally available and there's salad greens from Andy at Australian Green Growers and zucchinis from Craig and Shelley Heppell. Missing in action this week is broccoli while it looks like it's time to farewell asparagus for the season.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your microbiomes.
The 2015 Unglut Your Gut Challenge begins
Around the Bay in a Day, Sydney's City-to-Surf, the 225-kilometre Marathon des Sables across the Sahara desert are all big challenges. Well the Unglut Your Gut Challenge is big too but in a different way. It's a four week eating well challenge to help put our guts, aka our microbiome, back on track after the excesses of the festive season.
As David Byrne from Talking Heads once sang, "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around". Why so serious you ask - well weâ€™re actually more bacterial-being than human-being or more accurately we're a hybrid but much cooler than a Prius. We co-operate with our 10 trillion bacteria (that's more cells than we have inside ourselves) to do all kinds of things; from food digestion, to running our immune system, even mood control. More and more ills and diseases, especially those connected with inflammation, are being connected to our out-of-balance microbiomes . From obvious disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, gluten intolerance and diabetes right through to seemingly unconnected maladies like asthma, allergies and Multiple Sclerosis.
Last year more than 300 households took up the Unglut challenge. To join this year thereâ€™s three very important steps you must complete (or you don't get the fermented Pat's Veg and Dr Chan's goodies)
Step 1. Place an order before midnight February 1st
Step 2. Order for 4 CONSECUTIVE WEEKS (Orders need to be $30 or more)
Step 3 Activate the challenge by entering the code BETTERGUT in the promo box with your FIRST order
Do all these things and with your 4th order weâ€™ll reward your gut with these two powerful and very tasty probiotic products; a 250gm bottle of Patâ€™s Veg and a bottle of Dr Chanâ€™s Tibico.
Welcome back and all the best for your microbiome in 2015
CERES Fair Food's weekly update with stories from our farmers and producers, Food Hosts, the Fair Food warehouse and theworld at large.