Friday, January 23, 2009

New product

I was thrilled to find that Doves Farm now make organic rice pasta only containing brown rice, and Tesco stock it. It is also much cheaper than the pasta mentioned below but so far only one shape is available in my Tesco (penne).

Thanks Doves Farm, I love it.

How organic is organic?

I used to drive past an organic farm on my way to work, they had a bakery making bread and cakes from their own grain, and a small shop where you could buy the goods and a few other organic products.
On Thursday they had a delivery of organic veg which they set up on a table in the barn, that was the best day to buy it as they left the barn door open and the sun was on the veg every day. After I suggested they should move the table back into the shade in the barn they did this and it made a difference.
The baker used to check the veg and select the most unappealing dried up veg to cook into pasties.

When the supermarkets cottoned on to the organic food idea the farm shop closed down as they couldn't compete on price.

Those early days of supermarket "organic" were interesting. The produce had some words in very small print on the packaging stating that the produce was grown with less chemicals or something like that.

There was a two page spread in a national newspaper once that compared organic chickens in various supermarkets from the most upmarket downwards and only two of them stocked genuine organic chicken, and they weren't the ones you would have thought of first!

I believe that the only truly organic food carries the soil association logo, there is another organic standard that was introduced by the supermarkets to get round being able to call food "organic" and that is the one that gives the food a bad name where farmers can just alter one item in the food of chickens and call them "organic" (I have heard this from a farming family), and maybe put less chemicals on the crops but not have the clean soil that the soil association demands.

Now the reason that I thought of this is that I recently bought "organic" food in two different supermarkets, M&S and Sainsburys, the veg and chicken I bought didn't have soil association on the packaging, and I worry about that. I think some of Sainsbury's food has the logo though but not all.

Tesco and Waitrose on the other hand do have soil association on the packaging so I feel happy about buying it.

Packaging is a different story, if like me you hate the amount of packaging that has to go to landfill and welcome compostable packaging you will be thrilled to find your "plastic" bag is compostable.
Tesco do sell some organic food in totally compostable packaging but not consistently, one week yes one week no, and not all of it.

For example there are packs of 4 pears ready to eat (from the USA so lots of food miles too) and they are in the most amazing poly clear shell with about three layers. This is not recyclable round here.

Sainsburys sell all their organic produce in compostable bags from my experience, good for you Sainsburys. M&S don't appear to do this at all, not the stores I visit anyway! Waitrose also use compostable packaging.

I was really disappointed to hear the promised Waitrose is not now coming to town, they sell a lot of the things I want in one place. I don't blame them with the current economic climate but we are doomed to many more years of derelict factories and mount crushmore (the pile of rubble that used to be Tesco before they built a much bigger store on the town outdoor swimming pool leaving the old store empty, to be knocked down later by a developer that never seemed to want to actually build something that might be competition for Tesco, funny that).