It’s been a while since I’ve had time to sit down and write to you. Some months it’s easier than others and wow it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find time at the moment.
Yet, time and time again I realise how important it is to stop for a moment and put this first.
Something happens when I don’t, it’s as if there is a lack of focus and clarity about what is important in this small but sacred space that contains the hearts and minds of good food consciousness.
This store stands firm in redefining new ways of selling food in one particular way – by connecting to and being informed by South Africa’s most sustainable farmers. We don’t say that lightly. We have proven our integrity in that mandate over a long and arduous eight-year road. The short cuts we could have taken to fast track growth, paths not taken and over those years, we’ve built up a network of the right people and learnt as much, who they are and who to avoid. The strength of that network and the trust built up slowly over time now has us surrounded by formidable supporters of solid green heart and soul.
I often get accused of being an influential thought leader in the evolvement of the organic food conversation and whilst there are days when succumbing to flattery might make my relationship with myself easier (especially bad hair days), the truth is I know that it has little really to do with me.
It’s more about the fact that I allow my mind, heart and soul to be shaped by incredible farmers.
It’s all their fault I’m doing this work. It’s their connection to the divine energy of nature’s laws of creation that I connect to. They are the primary source of that access to the energy of the whole. Which is – divinely loving, in infinite creation and always serves growth and evolvement towards love.
All I do, is leave farmers hell bent on doing what I can to try and pass on to you, what I have learnt from the best of them. If I have anything valuable to say that helps evolve the vital food revolution conversation – it all goes back to the farmers. It’s from them I learn. I don’t take mentorship from retailers, no quicker way than to mess up this business, my mentors are farmers.
It’s their voice and influence I’m trying to connect us all too. It’s not ‘me’. It’s their story, their knowledge and their inherent wisdom that informs me and how I get to access the healthiest food in the country.
The best farmers I connect with – all share this in common – a reverence for the connection of all life, a respect for the wisdom of natural laws and an instinct to farm in a way that honours that. The best farmers I have met share something else striking in common – a humility about their role serving as custodians of the life they watch over.
I think it is especially important at the moment while we have so much going on behind the scenes to get ready to evolve into a new space, to put the energy about why this food, these farmers and this store is important – back into focus. I’m seeing much disillusionment and lack of clarity about what organic food is and isn’t – occurring right now.
As new types of retailers come in with a lack of clarity and integrity about why this food is important to start with, it’s having impact in the form of a sense of disillusionment – almost depression in some quarters – as if the voice that would describe what I’m hearing and sensing would say ‘ok, is this what we can expect going forward? More retail manipulation and a compromise on integrity? We’ve definitely gone through another dip of people becoming disillusioned as the energy of it being manipulated for commercial advantage has effected how everybody feels it.
It’s on ‘the grid’ so to speak. We all connect with intent to like energy and are all impacting one another energetically – all the time.
What is going on in your life – is always – a manifestation of energy on your grid.
Energy that you connect to by your own intent. So there is a ‘grid of energy’ connected to sustainable and organic food and how we all behave in it – impacts it.
The disillusionment I believe on the grid that has almost injected it with a very definite lack of soul – is felt by us all. The only way to heal that is to put right energy back on the grid. To focus the right energy back onto it. It’s that powerful – the grid – that it only takes a few of us to have this conversation with emotional energy and the grid will change again and become infused with the heart sparkle and meaning that should characterise it.
Right energy – in the food revolution space – comes from the right farmers connected to natures’ energy. If we lose focus and feel deflated by conversations about retail manipulation – it’s our work to re-focus the right energy. That is the core basis upon which all healing occurs. Blast good intent and love and the right values into places where there is darkness which is behaviour only driven by fear. This business is all about – farmers first and then your connection and support of them. The energy a good farmer connects you to is larger than anything else – because they are tapped into the energy of creation and nature – the most powerful over-arching creative energy of all.
I am clear that I want to focus on the customers that are most right for our store. Those are the people that care about farmers. If you are more interested in knowing about the content of a sausage and obsessing over whether there is gluten or additives in it, than you are about wanting to know about the farmer behind it and how anything connected to the process of producing that food was treated, you probably aren’t an exact match for us. If you aren’t concerned firstly with who the farmer is behind the food and why we choose them for the store, then you won’t fully connect to the real value of what it is we are selling. Then I can’t adequately explain to you why the beef from this store is unlike anything you’re going to find elsewhere, much the same with the chicken, and then you won’t be comparing apples with apples when you’re choosing. I will battle to connect you to the gold nugget. That always being – the farmers philosophy that informs the energy of the food you purchase.
If you are a person that really understands that the most important people in the food revolution are the farmers and want to know who they are and why we’ve chosen to represent them in a store that will not make compromises, then you’re my most valued type of customer and I have your back and I’m here to take you on a fascinating and empowering journey, connecting you to what I believe, in my ongoing search, to be the best farmers in South Africa. You couldn’t be in better company because I want you to eat the best food I can find and I don’t stop looking for the best farmers to bring it to you.
It’s that need to re-focus right energy on our ‘grid’ together with the loss of another farmer last week, another man who stood for uncompromising integrity in everything he did, that has me setting aside this time. We all need it.
The food (r)evolution has nothing to do with clever retailing. Clever retail success in the current food paradigm has very little emotional or spiritual intelligence. It’s a game of numbers, truth distortion, consumer disempowerment and manipulation. It isn’t clever at all, despite the fact that a successful food retailer in the traditional paradigm will make a lot of money, it’s only about being masterful at manipulating customer perceptions and bullying suppliers behind the scenes. If you can do that well, you will be a very successful retailer in the current paradigm about what types of retailers grow quickly. They do it on the backs mostly of manipulation and exploitation.
My measure of success in my quiet moments – will never be about how successful I was or wasn’t in making money, I’m simply not motivated that way, my measure of success is how well I was able to serve the farmers I find and connect them to people who value what they do. The more people I can make understand why all food conversations need to start with a farmer first – the more successful I will feel.
It is high time that retail climbs off a pedestal we should never have put them up on and that they surely never deserved in the first place – food comes from farmers. Food comes from the wisdom of nature and from labour that does it either in a way that works in harmony with natural systems – or not. In a way that enables natures great wisdom and leaves no harm, or that harms. That in between space that determines whether the earth and health is harmed or supported – has one custodian of importance – and that’s always a farmer standing on fertile soil.
Losing Barry Sergeant last week spun my week into chaos. Bewildering pain actually, it was only a few days before he passed away that I had an excited conversation with him planning my next visit so that we could plan the cheese counter we always envisaged for the store when we had a larger space. It was a week of feeling the loss of one of the greatest shepherds and cheese makers I have ever had the honour of working with.
One of Barry’s outstanding characteristics, proven in journalism where he had courage we might never see easily again to stand up against giants of corruption, was an uncompromising and unswerving commitment to truth and integrity.
I never met this truth metal in him as a journalist, I met it in him as a farmer.
The upside of being a person often labelled ‘too purist’ and ‘too idealistic’ – is that by being this person I have attracted like energy and met some of the most incredible people in this country and – I attract farmers and philanthropists with the highest levels of integrity. Over and over again.
Anybody looking for the mid-road of compromises isn’t going to get on well with me and I’m not going to want to represent them in-store. My best relationships with the best farmers – all have this in common, they are giants among men that I trust implicitly.
So it is indeed time – while we’re preparing for our next leap – to get back to basics.
Finding the best farmers in the country and then connecting you to them through having their produce in store.
I have a long series of farm visits to get back to.
We are starting to attract more of the best of them. Its beautifully interesting and true that the best farmers are ones that are very fussy about where their produce appears. They are not happy to be represented by retailers who don’t really understand the value of what we bring. Good farmers who stand out from the crowd, trust Organic Emporium customers. Commonly referred to as fussy, highly educated and discerning about food and not easily fooled – why we love you – because our core and loyal customers are this kind of person. Just by virtue of you being who you are and standing firm with us and showing an appreciation for the farmers we represent which they so value – we’re all attracting more of the same.
I’ll be hitting the road again for the next spell as I have so many new farms to visit as well as treasured ones we work with already. It’s time for me to re-connect you to them as they come forward with us into the new space. It’s time to remember who they are and why this produce is very different to what you’ll find elsewhere. It’s time to put their energy – back on the grid.
To go back to bringing into focus why their food is exceptional. If the grid got flattened by a lack of soul recently, I mean to put the sparkle back into it, with the farmers and with you by focusing back on what is beautiful about this food – farmers.
They need to be the focus – not retailers.
With that all said, I’ve just returned from spending a day in the North West with Tom from Brennaissance and his beautiful herd of Boran, remembering why this beef is unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere and how blessed we are to be able to access beef of this caliber.
So let me remind you about why the Boran we get through Tom is so special and a cut above the rest, you can read my article here – Brennaissance Boran Beef – A Cut Above The Rest. Why indigenous breeds are the key to sustainable beef farming.
I am not ecstatic about the fact that we have had to put this beef on sale for February to be honest – because it de-values it. This beef is so exclusive it can never be ordinarily brought to you at this price but having space constraints makes this a necessity for now until we move into the right store.
As part of our farm visits, we’ll be off shortly to visit James Moffett and Bertie Coetzee – ongoing daily trials going on between a very exciting character who will be running our bakery that I’ll announce when the time is right.
We mean to have a bakery that is centered around the most exciting true organic and heritage grain farmers in the country so we’ll be going to talk grain and chatting to those that have the best experience with working with it as we consistently hit our target to fail at, at least 500 loaves before we get it just right.
Trust me, it’s necessary😊 This wheat just doesn’t behave like industrial wheat and nobody wants to touch it because its inconsistent. We hate ‘consistent’ so we’re willing to fail 6000 loaves until we truly understand its character.
Consistency comes from mechanisation – most certainly not from nature or the hand of man. We love ‘inconsistent’, it means there is real life in a thing or process. Creative life force.
The recipe this week has to be about Moffett’s wheat. We made an organic pasta at home using a simple recipe and a home pasta machine and it was – hands down – the most beautiful tasting pasta I have ever eaten. Never mind – no energy dips or bloat afterwards either.
It’s a beautiful week-end Sunday thing to do, as the making of it is fascinating for children to get involved with – easy, fun and rewarding and just such a satisfying meal to make.
We will be bringing you a fridge – fresh ready-made organic pasta range soon. You will literally then be able to get home on a busy day when thinking about what to feed your family makes your head want to explode – boil some water – tip it in – and have an organic hearty tasting pasta ready in 3 minutes.
Stay in touch with our FB and Instagram pages for more short snippets of produce in-store and quick news. I think it would be timeous to make sure we’re back on track with the Brennaissance Beef bolognaise when the pasta is ready.
Please forgive us the delay in that production. The real issue there is that I need to be very, very circumspect about hiring the right chef for that position. It requires somebody who can follow my recipes and direction without being micro managed and that has a high level of responsibility and work ethic. Having made 2 mistakes in that regard and having staggering rates of shrinkage and waste occur – I have to be very circumspect about that position – they have too much access to stock and I need somebody that really looks after the interests of the business. I’m waiting to find just the right person who won’t take advantage of the disconnect between the kitchen and the store. It also needs to be somebody who I can groom forward for the eatery kitchen so it is a very particular type of person I’m looking for. Currently interviewing and I know what I’m looking for, the moment I find it, the convenience meals will be back on track.
Righty – I’m off to another new farm I’m very intrigued by. I’m looking for a very particular butter for the eatery and this farmer is focused on improving the levels of the disease fighting carotenoids and fatty acids in exclusively pasture raised cattle and I need to explore that. I had a steak sample sent to me from this farm and it was the only steak I have ever eaten that was comparable to that x factor we have in the Boran – so curiosity on peak – I’m off to find out what’s going on there tomorrow. I’m on the hunt right now for the best butter of them all.
As always, feel free to chat to me in-store.
Lovely chatting to you and let’s put the diamond light of integrity and the right energy back in this space and on the grid. By talking to the pivotal people that this food revolution should always focus on and revolve around – farmers.
Those giants among men.
The stuff and nonsense of marketing terms and labels is just all that really – stuff and nonsense.
The word organic really has little meaning in South Africa right now – and everything else is a mess – from the bucket full of terms with no standards that are continually used in the wrong way – it’s become a green mine field out there – free range, artisanal, pasture raised, organic, cage free, real, honest, natural – just all a blanket of perversion. I don’t care for any of them anymore – nobody really knows what those words mean. We are clear though.
What we stand for and care about the most – is finding the most compelling farmers we can and telling their story and then connecting you to it in-store.
Please stay tuned for another new uber exciting initiative we will be launching shortly – where customers that want to join a very special group do farm visits for us. There are so many new exciting farmers that I need to get to – I can’t put anything in this store unless I’ve been to them and I can’t get to them all – so the best people I’d like to commission to help us do farm visits, is you.
Customers who want to go even deeper into choosing their food. If you’re keen to be on that group, send me your details and I’ll mail you our first meeting invite. More info in next week’s newsletter – right off to another farm, time to love and leave you, stay in the light and stay nourished.