Just when I wonder whose insane idea this all was, something always happens to remind me we are on the right track.. This week we put the NICE BLOCKS in. What a great idea - Tommy arrived with a car load of gorgeous ice blocks, all organic juices, fair trade, just the business. I asked him why he thought no one had picked up on such a great idea before, and his reply was that it is really hard. Well yes, I guess that is the thing, and it puts all but the most committed players off. Our commitment to good food and home wares is in the same box, really hard, but when I see the groundswell from people like Tommy and James, striving to offer only the best at affordable prices, I am sure we are just a bit ahead of our time.
Twenty years of supermarket advertising has convinced young men, and moreso, young women that they offer the quickest, most cost effective means to buy food. I remain unconvinced, but then I was roaming Glen Innes fifteen years ago buying spices, fish, vegetables, and meats from people who knew their product intimately. Anything to keep out of the supermarket. I know good food when I see it and I don't need to choose from 26 options to buy the same thing each week.
I had a customer in yesterday who works in a holistic medical practice in Mount Eden, and we both commented on the stress our young women are putting themselves under in these modern times. While many men help so much more, I see it still usually to be the women in the household who have the ultimate responsibility for housekeeping, home making, and child rearing. Not always, but usually. Added to this is the expectation of at least a part time job, earning at least 20,000 and preferably 50,000 per year, and the need to look good - young and vibrant. A big ask. When my generation fought for women's choice, we never considered we might be creating a trap where we were expected to fulfil all these roles. And how does a man support a woman in all this? No easy answer to this either.
So my customer was saying her medical practice is full of women making themselves unwell because of their attachment to these ideas of time and money parameters.I get many women down from the hospice wearing scarves, looking for healthy options in their food and cleaning products, moving away from budget teabags and looking for beautiful, quality leaves they will enjoy for no more money, just a little more ritual in the making. I wish quietly to myself they had done this before they had to face the chemotherapy which has catalyzed their new thinking.
All these things this week reminded me what it is what we set out to do. To offer lovely foods and home-wares, not as expensive specialty items for guests, but for the everyday table. I would bet my breakfast that the saving in less impulse buying of "bargains""and reduction in waste at the back of the frig would more than offset any savings from corporate purchasing power. There is a place for the supermarket, to be sure, but it is once a fortnight, after buying what is available from artisans, not the other way around. Come in, buy your children a NICE BLOCK so they will enjoy the shopping process, or involve them in the purchasing so they learn to eat well, enjoy an organic fair trade coffee yourself while you shop. Look around, and see what might suit your weekly needs from your local stores, talk about what is fresh, available at a special price or just enchanting to take home and share with your family.
If it works, plan an order to pick up, a week of fine food, boxed ready to go. Some ideas...
Chicken, roast veg in Israeli couscous, rocquette, yoghurt and mint dressing
Veal and venison Hunters sausage (no nitrites, gluten or nonsense), potatoes for mash, sauteed courgettes, tomatoes, lil sweetie capsicums in garlic and olive oil
Risotto with Spencer's free range chicken stock, roasted mushrooms with porcini (expensive but a couple of dollars goes a long way) or roast pumpkin, salad greens fragrant with lemon balm and three basils dressed with olive oil, lemon, garlic)
Kebabs of organic beef mince, ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric on new season basmati rice, Zinos hot aubergine chutni, small salads - cucumber/yogurt/ coriander raita, roast tomato, grated carrot with fried cumin,
Pizza bases (frozen uncooked) with tomato passata, chorizo, mozzarella balls, basil, artichoke hearts, olives
Penne with garlicy Omega clams, rocquette salad with fromage blanc and aavocado dressing
Takeaway Green Beef Curry, fresh coriander, new season organic jasmine rice, salad of roquette, cress, sprouts, julienne capsicum or green mango dressed with fish sauce, lime and a squigeon of chilli
I will price this up out of interest, and add
Earthwise washing powder, washing up liquid, Methven body wash
Ciabatta, bread rolls,baguettes, ham, cheese, Zinos beetroot and horsradish relish, mesclun
Harraways organic rolled oats (porrige, bircher muesli), Zinos marmalade, strawberry jam, fruit, tray organic eggs
Ginger syrup, Elderflower cordial
and see how we look.
My pick is quicker, cheaper, tastier and way more fun!
Thanks to Tommy and James for the inspiration...