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Posts Tagged ‘Fair Trade’

On a much less serious note than yesterday, It occurred to me that I had not yet blogged on the wonders of Bompas and Parr improving festival goers health – who on their word did indeed turn up at The Big Chill (Festival) a few weeks back in the form of a stripy black and white pyramid situated at the top of a very big hill…. and when I say very, I am not exaggerating. One needed to be determined that they were going to get one of their five a day by getting there in the first place, I can tell you.

The venture proved hugely popular with us festy people, as having not seen a carrot stick or broccoli floret for days (I speak only for myself, although I am pretty sure the problem was widespread) were more than willing to enter a world of breathable fruit. However the genius Jelly mongers were also was there to spread the word on the variety and benefits of Fairtrade fruit now available to buy in supermarkets.

On entrance of the pyramid, Bompas (or maybe it was Parr? I am not sure which is which to be quite truthful…) asked our group to name fruits which were now available under the Fairtrade mark –  I managed about eight which I thought pretty impressive considering the amount of apples in the form of cider consumed the previous night. For the record there are now actually nineteen Fairtrade fruits readily available on shelves near you, an inspiring result of Fairtrade promotion and consumer uptake regarding the mark. See, some British folk are good people with ethics too.

(Yep, that is me up there, I felt like a little kid sitting at the top of that slide)

We also got given a scratch and sniff card* when stepping off from the slide – possibly a reminder of what fruit is and which came in handy to wave in front of sufferers nostrils in any emergency scurvy scares for the remainder of the festival camping period…

Sadly, the fruit power is with us no more, but with us in spirit.

*A scratch and sniff talk was also provided by the pair as part of the festival line-up, but unluckily as I was working in another field at the time, I could not sneak off and attend. For more information on all things fruity breath, and for a video of the inside of breathing chamber (maybe I should not call it this, it sounds a little morbid), here you go instead.

Afternote: I read this after publishing this post about the event –

“The Ziggurat of Flavour draws inspiration from 18th Century Cuccagna monuments. These formed the centerpieces for the most spectacular public celebrations in history.  They were vast architectural structures made of food based on the peasant tale of the Land of Cockaigne; a mythical place with mountains of cheese, rainstorms of cake and where all wildlife was pre-cooked and waiting to be eaten.  ”

Wow, this place sounds like the stuff my dreams are made of. I can wish…

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I am a great fan of the whole ethical eating thing, don’t get me wrong, but as with many people find it hard to follow their diet plan, I find it hard to live up to my own food shopping expectations.

I really want that warm fuzzy feeling that we all know we get from buying products direct from the farmer, and seeing the grass from which our meat has fed. Its just, is it really viable? I for one do not have a car to get to many farm shops, nor the money to pay for the higher priced produce on a regular basis (however worthwhile it is). Seeing as the local butchers’ is shut after I finish work, my current lifestyle means that I am often left with no other option but to hope that the free range chicken is actually as such, and didn’t get muddled up with the battery farmed alternative which I am well aware are processed within the same factory walls.

However I would like to point out that fair-trade produce is something which I have grown to value. It supports farmers in developing communities and product lines are ever expanding – in recent years supermarkets have been good (whether to line their pockets or not is irrelevant) in increasing fourfold the fair trade products they stock. I just wonder, maybe such a scheme should be rolled out for farmers in the UK which isn’t solely on an organic basis.
Until the time when I am able to live with a limitless budget, I will continue to support fair-trade as a basis of my ethical eating ‘ethos’

Nevertheless I did make an amazing (other people’s words, not mine) free range victoria sponge* last week using a River Cottage recipe (I’m starting to love this man nearly as much as dear Nigel) – 7 eggs produced great results from the chickens in the back garden (they are still young and their eggs are a little tiny). Yum. I finish a year work placement next week – think it will be a lemon curd variety as my leaving cake to those who I have worked with 😉 I have to make sure I am missed eh?
*How to make friends…

Cake, how I love thee. Nearly as much as cheese. And Spag Bol (tsk tsk I am well aware no such thing actually exists in Italy but it is still top of my list).
I think I will sign off now before I start disintegrating this post into a meaningless ramble..…

(This isn’t my cake, mine was yummier…)

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Last night, I was presented with a dilemma. Walking into the kitchen after work, there before me, happily sat on the cooker top was a Polenta Flan. Now, I have no problem in trying new things. In fact, as my wonderful Nan likes to exclaim at any family meal (and please excuse the language – it’s not mine…), ill “eat shit sugared given half a chance”. However, on the top of the flan sat a mixture of sundried tomatoes, caramelised onions and, gulp, wait for it… olives. Olives have never ever been my speciality. They are just so pickle-tastic, if that is a word (?) I could use for the occasion, and just simply unpleasant as I can recall from any of the vague memories I have of previous attempts at eating them. These, combined with the polenta, which until then I had never tried but for some reason imagined to be something of a semolina type thing (why? I have no idea…), did not give me hope for the looming dinner.

The flan lay in wait on my plate. I glared at those evil olives and hopes for the best. They gained entry to my fork, and then my mouth. Then, surprise. It was actually rather tasty. My sensory organs were in defence mode for this object of previous detest, but then suddenly a change of mood. Which got me thinking, how is it possible to hate something so strongly, and yet try it maybe a year, two years down the line and find it be not half as bad, if even good to eat. 

 I read somewhere that sensory taste buds are ever evolving in preference to different tastes we experience, and I now have firsthand knowledge of how right this is….

Last week I ate baked beans. I haven’t even attempted to eat baked beans since I was about six. Conclusion: not half bad, but sorry Heinz, no loyal customer here.

n.b. Gherkins still need to be banished from the planet, and I shall stick rigidly to this view. This vinegar infested slimy creature is a slow death to the once handsome cucumber. That is all I have to say on the matter.

(Maybe if gherkins looked like these Japanese origin cucumbers …)

Oh yes, and in other news, of actual substance. (Yes, substance, no heckling needed thank you!) …

Nestle are to jump on the Fairtrade bandwagon I hear? I say bandwagon as if it is a bad thing, but I simply mean it in terms of following other large manufacturers, namely Cadbury’s who have also adopted Fairtrade practises. In fact, I congratulate them on making such a move, despite likely criticism (not directly from me..) that it is probably for their own gains – i.e. to further enhance brand image after disasters such as the baby milk crisis in the 1970s. The first product to go Fairtrade is the Kit Kat, Britain’s most popular chocolate bar, which alone will help 6,000 Africans receive a much fairer price for their cocoa. It has been reported that this move by Cadbury’s and now Nestle will increase the Fairtrade share in the overall market from just 1% to a much more positive looking 10%. Claims are that the decreased margins will not be passed onto the consumer, and so, does it matter if Nestle actually truly do have good intentions or are just doing it for a boost in consumer loyalty. I don’t personally think so, or particularly care if I be brutally honest.

All I can say is; well done Nestle in finally taking a step in the right direction. Fairtrade should be the norm in the industry, not just a label to profit from.

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