Taste test: Just Fair Coffee and Mundial Coffee

griffiths-coffee

I was keen to try Griffiths Coffee after I found out that not only was it organic but fair trade as well. You can trace the journey of the beans by typing in the code found on every Just Fair Coffee can.

Just Fair Coffee is a smooth and dark coffee made from 100% Arabica coffee beans from Honduras and Peru. The coffee is rich and full-bodied with a smooth nutty cocoa taste and sweet honey undertone. It is best for espresso, if you like dark Italian coffee and has a nice cremea.

We tried the whole beans, but it also comes pre-ground. There is also a decaffeinated blend available that comes from Peru, and has a nutty flavour with a clear citrus aftertaste.

For a limited time, Griffiths Coffee has created the Mundial 14 blend using coffee beans from countries in the 2014 World Cup including Brazil. I enjoyed my cuppa while watching the football early in the morning.

Just Fair Coffee is the only Fair trade organic coffee on the Australian market that comes in a reusable and fully recyclable can.

Available from independent supermarkets and delis and direct from Griffiths Coffee.

Thank you to Griffiths Coffee for providing samples.

Northey Street City Farm tour

Northey Farm Tours sign

Northey Street City Farm is a permaculture garden in the centre of Brisbane. It is located on 2 hectares of flood-prone area, which is leased from the Brisbane City Council.

buliding

In Zone One is the cafe, kitchen gardens and building. The building has been positioned on poles so that it is at the highest point of a 1 in 100 years flood, so that it will not be flooded. The kitchen gardens are for demonstration purposes and are in the shape of keyholes to maximise the output.

There are at least three large meeting places which can be used by visiting groups, but in particular school groups.

Bob gave us an eye-opening demonstration of earth art.

Across the road, there is a regeneration area, which is maintained by the local Bush Care group. There are also groves of native fruit trees in outer zones.

compost

There is a dedicated green waste recycling centre, which includes a large worm farm and compost tunnels. They use the worm liquid to fertilise their plants, rather than as castings. Northey St uses a three bay compost system to rotate the waste matter.

chicken

There are three chicken tractors and these are moved every fortnight.

Also across the road are the productive gardens for the markets and lunches. The new vegetable beds are made up of cardboard, compost and straw. Northey St use the no-dig technique and the beds are raised to make the most of mini floods. They plant open-pollinated seeds and collect them again for saving.

allotments

Nearby are the allotments which are available for hire. Some people are using nets to keep the bush turkeys away.

orchard

There is also a citrus orchard and this area includes sub-tropical fruit trees. As an investment in the future, there is a grove of hardwood trees which will be harvested in 20 years time.

Northey Street Farm sign

There is a nursery on site called Edible Landscapes Organic Nursery. The organic markets are held in the car park on every Sunday.

Thank you to Northey Street City Farm for the free tour. Tours are held every Tuesday at 9:30pm and highly recommended. 

Taste test: Beet It! organic beetroot juice

beet-it

I was intrigued to try Beet It – an organic beetroot juice. It comes in a 1 litre bottle or three types of shots – Organic, Sport and Ginger.

I tried the Beet It organic shot and boy did it pack a punch, but I liked it. I’m keen to try the organic beetroot juice straight up next.

Beetroots are packed with antioxidants and contain potassium, magnesium and iron as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, and folic acid.

Research has shown that beetroot can help reduce blood pressure as well as its associated risks such as heart attacks and strokes. This is because the high content of nitrates in beetroot produce a gas called nitric oxide in the blood which widens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. A daily dose of 250ml of beetroot juice or 1 to 2 cooked beetroot (approx. 100g) can help dramatically reduce blood pressure and its associated risks.
Love Beetroot

The regular juice would be ideal to add to homemade fresh fruit juices such as Dr Emerson’s daily juice. 

Beet It is available from independent grocers and health food stores.

Organic pest control recipes

pest_detective

It’s important to think of your backyard as a mini ecosystem where all the elements need to be balanced. So when you do get an invasion of pests, the predator bugs will deal with them in a few days and keep their numbers down. Some times the best solution is just to sit back and let nature sort itself out.

If that doesn’t work, then you can make your own pest control solutions with these organic recipes:

Chilli soap mix – Aphids
Add a generous handful of hot chilies and a tablespoon of pure soap flakes to a litre of hot water and puree in a blender. Strain the mixture through  a stocking. Spray directly onto the aphids and they will quickly die. Several applications may be necessary for particularly bad infestations.

Coffee spray – Slugs and snails
Dilute one part strong espresso coffee to ten parts water and spray it liberally over the foliage of plants that are being eaten by slugs and snails, and on the soil around their base. When the pests travel across the coffee mixture, they absorb it and quickly die.

Milk spray – Fungal diseases, including powdery mildew
Combine one part organic milk to ten parts water and cover the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves and stems thoroughly. This can be used as a preventative measure during humid conditions which favour mildews.

Vegetable oil soap mix – Mites and scale
Blend 2 cups of vegetable oil with half a cup of pure liquid soap and mix thoroughly. Dilute one tablespoon of the mix with a litre of water and spray over infestations. The pests will suffocate and soon die.

Do you have any tried and true organic pest contol methods?

How to make your own stain remover

A solution of half vinegar, half water sprayed on stains half an hour before washing helps to remove grass, juice, mildew, coffee and tea.

Hairspray helps remove ink stains.

Other green stain remover products to try are:

  • Cinderella Stain Remover

 

Steve Solomon’s formula for complete organic fertilizer

grass-lawn

I like the idea of Steve Solomon’s formula for complete organic fertilizer (COF). He recommends you purchase the ingredients in bulk from farm stores. Measure the material out by volume, that is by the scoop or bucketful, and then mix it together in a bucket.

Seedmeals are a by-product of making vegetable oil and mainly used in animal feed. Coprameal is a by-product from coconuts with the bonus is that is usually grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

Blood and bone is also known as tankage.

There are three types of lime – Agricultural lime – pure calcium carbonate, Dolomite lime – calcium and magnesium carbonate, and Gypsum – calcium sulfate.

Mix together uniformly in parts by volume:

  1. 4 parts any kind of seedmeal except coprameal OR
    3 parts any seedmeal except coprameal and 1 part blood-and-bone. (This higher nitrogen option is slightly better for leafy crops in spring) OR
    4.5 parts less-potent coprameal, supplemented with 1.5 parts blood-and-bone
    BLEND WITH
  2. 1/4 part ordinary agricultural lime, best finely ground AND
  3. 1/4 part gypsum (or double the amount of lime) AND
  4. 1/2 part dolomite lime PLUS
  5. 1 part of one of these phosphorus sources: finely ground rock phosphate, bonemeal, or high phosphate guano
    1/2 to 1 part kelpmeal or 1 part basalt dust

Gardening when it counts
by Steve Solomon

My potato project – The importance of organic

This is a short video that demonstrates the differences between growing an organic vs a store bought sweet potato in a glass of water.

Notes:

Almond Flour

Almonds are high in manganese, vitamin E and magnesium. As they have a high fat content, it is important to store them properly to stop them from becoming rancid. Store shelled almonds in a tightly sealed container, in a cool dry place away from exposure to sunlight. Almonds and nut flours can be stored in the refrigerated for several months, and in the freezer for up to a year.  Almonds still in their shell have the longest shelf life.

Almond meal is the same as almond flour.

Here are some of the Australian companies that can supply you with bulk quantities of almond flour for cooking:

GAPS Australia
$105 for 5kg certified organic blanched almond flour
Email: linda@gapsaustralia.com.au

Almondco Almond Hut
Sell almond meal (blanched) in a 10kg carton for $100.00. Freight to Queensland will be a further $33.65.
Phone: 08 8586 8800 Email: admin@almondco.com.au

Queensland Fruit and Nut Distributors
Almonds blanched meal is $12.80 per kg. Delivery to Brisbane was $7.58.
56 Parramatta Rd, Underwood, QLD 4119
Phone: 07 3208 9488 Email: sales@qnf.com.au

Hellene Food Brokers
Almond meal is $10.50 per kg in a 10kg carton. Delivery to Brisbane is $1.00 per order.
17 Duncan Street, West End, QLD 4101
Phone: 07- 3844 2822 Email: sales@hellenefood.com.au

Kumari Spices and Things
$13.30 per kilogram. No minimum amount.
199 Robinson Road, Geebung.
Phone: 07 3265-2099

Mrs Flannerys Natural Grocers
Sells almond meal for $18.99 per kilogram. No minimum amount.

Prices current as of August 2011.

Long time gardening

turtle

I have recently been reading books on longevity and incidentally discovered that organic gardening plays a large part in their secrets.

The Blue Zones book covered centenarians from Nicoya, Sardinia and Okinawa. These people ate what they produced in their home garden, supplemented by staples. They avoided processed food, and ate a predominately lean semi-vegetarian plant-based diet.

The Okinawans’ from Japan eat lots of turmeric, garlic and mugwort and fresh, organic vegetables. Food that is packed full of nutrients and antioxidants. Every day they spend some time outdoors and therefore receive a good level of Vitamin D. They were found to be active walkers and gardeners.

Costa Ricans over 100 follow a low calorie, low fat, plant-based diet, with huge quantities of fresh tropical fruit.

Healthy at 100 book follows in a similar vein. The Abkhasians eat a large quantity of fresh fruit and vegetables from their home garden. While in Vilcabamba, they eat a mostly vegetarian diet based on whole grains, seeds, beans and nuts along with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Gardening can help to relieve stress and involves frequent low-intensity movement with a full-range of motions. To top it off you get fresh organic fruit and vegetables which may lead to a longer life.

The Blue Zones
By Dan Buettener – Good introduction and easy reading, although recommendations are on the conservative side. Blue Zones website.
Healthy at 100
by John Robbins – A well researched look at four cultures with the healthiest and longest living people. (He is the son of one of the Baskin-Robbins founders). Typically promotes a plant-based vegan diet. Healthy at 100 website.
The Okinawa Program and The Okinawa Diet Plan
by Bradley Wilcox and co – The original book on centenarians, diet and lifestyle, based on the Okinawa Centenarian Study.

The importance of being organic

It was an easy decision to grow our fruit and vegetables organically.

Organic practices prohibit the use of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, antibiotics and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Chemical fertilizers and pesticides can cause health problems, pollution, groundwater contamination, environmental destruction, and contribute to algal blooms.

Eating organic produce reduces your exposure to pollutants and pesticide residues.

Organic produce has more antioxidants and phytonutrients, and polyphenols. These plant compounds help combat cancer  and other illnesses. Organics tend to have higher levels of Vitamin C and essential minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium.

“Higher levels have so far been confirmed for lycopene in organic tomatoes, polyphenols in organic potatoes, flavonols in organic apples, and resveratrol in organic red wine. A recent review of the subject estimated that organic produce will tend to contain 10-50% higher phytonutrients than conventional produce.”
– Shane Heaton

Certified organic products come with a guarantee that they have been grown, handled, packaged and distributed without chemical contamination. You can trace where the food has traveled along the food supply chain.

Organic practices support local wildlife and habitat areas. Farm animals are raised in a more humane ways.

Perhaps our favourite reason for buying organic food is that it tastes so much better. Most organic fruit and vegetables tend to be produced locally and so they will be also be fresher. I’ll admit sometimes there is a negligible difference. But if you are a skeptic, try an organic heirloom tomato and let me know what you think.