The other day Shane O'Dea, in his business shirt and slacks (he's a paediatrician by day), wandered into the Fair Food warehouse with a 5kg box of shiny pink and white fresh pistachios (like those in the pic up there) and asked if we were interested in trying some. Now you could quite easily live your whole life without ever seeing a fresh pistachio, needless to say even though there were only three of us around at the time we mobbed Shane for a taste. As well as being beautiful to look at the nuts are fresh and clean tasting and you really get that feeling, that understanding, that taste of where something so familiar comes from.
Twelve years ago, with climate change and diversity in mind, Shane's family planted 2000 pistachio trees on their Goulburn Valley property. Pistachios are a very hardy desert plant that can hack heat, cold and salty soils. More than a decade later this is the O'Dea's second harvest and the fresh nuts are only available for a few weeks each year with most being sun-dried and bagged up for sale through the year (we hope to get some of these in as well).
Shane's returning tomorrow with a load of fresh pistachios and this week we'll be featuring them in a selection of set produce boxes as well as in the webshop. You eat them a little like fresh broad beans, peeling off the two outer layers to get to the tasty nut/kernel inside. Shane says keep them in an open bowl in the fridge and eat them within a few days.
Life after Pink Bag
So last week we put out the call to replace our beloved but sadly no longer available Rhino (aka Pink Bag) Coffee. I asked for your help to find some great tasting organic coffee that paid growers and workers a fair price, benefited local communities and that you had a close connection to. There was a big response (well it is Melbourne) with a lot of love for two projects;
Wild Timor Coffee (that's them above) started by a group of former Australian Soldiers on peacekeeping duty in East Timor who wanted to help locals develop their mountain communities through direct, sustainable coffee trade. Their director, Tom Potter, works on the ground with coffee farmers in East Timor, Wild Timor roasts in Melbourne and also has cafes in Carlton and Coburg. Profits go to support environmental, education and health projects.
WithOneBean (that's them in action below) are another direct trade project who pay above Fairtrade prices, invest back into skill development, training and education to improve their crops. They also roast in Melbourne with the profits going back into a reforestation program called WithOneSeed. So far they've planted over 50,000 mahogany trees in a bid to combat climate change, soil degradation and improve livelihoods of farming communities.
Also out forward was Fair Food's Food Host and award winning cafe Auction Rooms for their Small Batch blend, Republica got a recommendation and our friends from Food Connect up in Brisbane suggested their coffee guys Prestige Organics who have a PNG plantation dedicated to the economic development of the five villages that surround it.
We've obviously got our work cut out sampling a fair amount of coffee, meeting great people and learning more about the projects behind the beans. I can already see we may be stocking more than one brand.
After years of digestive issues I've taken the plunge and am doing the anti-Candida diet which started last week with a 5 day green-vegetables-only cleanse. I have been fructose free for going on 12 months now and I went off caffeine 2 weeks prior which wasn't so bad, I quite liked my morning dandelion-chicory soy latte. But nothing prepared me for how hard it was going to be and just how long 5 days can feel sans sugar, carbs, protein and root veg.
Talk about a lesson in patience and deep breathing. I'm all for a cooked breakfast of veggies and eggs on the weekend, at a civilized hour, accompanied by the paper and a soy latte, but I'll be damned if I can make friends with a green capsicum and kale omelette at 6.30 after the 6am delight of downing a detox drink of half a litre of distilled water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Talk about starting the day grumpy! I never realized how much my yoghurt and home-made granola got me out of bed in the morning until I couldn't have it. I kept telling myself it was just a few a days, just another moment in time but that wasn't as mollifying as I had hoped. Couple that with the fact that I had just started working in a new office and was driving spreadsheets and purchase orders in a new system for 9 hours a day for the first time in 3 years, so brain strain was at maximum warp as well as the brain fog that set in with the Candida die off.
Quite one of the most challenging weeks of my life thus far. On the last day I was tempted to tell an overly chatty train commuter in the way home to shush lest I stab him with my over-used salad fork and raced (read stumbled slowly, too exhausted for anything faster by this stage) home, threw some toasted almonds in the food processor and promptly ate 3 spoonfuls of warm almond butter straight out of the mixer the second it was ready - UTTER BLISS! I had never tasted anything so incredibly satisfying. I am now into phase 2 of the 2 month diet and everything else is a breeze, I don't care how long it will be before I can have a coffee, or some pumpkin, or a piece of fruit because I can now have yoghurt, nuts and the wondrous invention that is coconut bread.
Congratulations to Amy Truslove, a Generous Cooks Box is coming your way. And thank you to everyone who shared their stories - I've begun to realise how common having a dodgy gut is and the huge impact it's having not only on our digestion but also our skin and our moods and our immune systems - you'd think there's a bloody epidemic going on out there.
Have a great week
CERES Fair Food's weekly update with stories from our farmers and producers, Food Hosts, the Fair Food warehouse and theworld at large.