Tag Archives: fertiliser

Bread and organic ghee

This morning’s breakfast: toast from Hobbs House Bakery and organic ghee from Pukka, both bought at the Soil Association’s Organic Food Festival this weekend.

I have wanted to buy ghee for months – it’s a healthy fat that can be used at high temperatures without burning. But I have been deterred by the ingredients list. This ghee, however, has nothing in it but clarified butter from organic milk.

I have pledged to eat unpackaged local and organic during Organic Fortnight. As this is impossible, I Ask Questions instead.

“Why is the organic ghee from Austria ?” I sternly ask Pukka’s Helena Kowalski. Turns out Pukka works with an Austrian farmer who specialises in making ghee on his small farm. Perhaps this is a new way for west country organic farmers to add value to their milk?

My breakfast toast is from Hobbs House Bakery in Bath – local points there. The Hobbs people (see their colourful stall below) were jubilant about their win at the Soil Association organic food awards on Friday. So they should be – their bread is so damn delicious, I was heartbroken when I ate my last slice an hour ago.

The whole mood of the Organic Food Festival was buzzy and warm. It’s a wonderful feeling to be involved in something which does the planet good. And is successful.

At the festival’s launch, Barny Haughton from sustainable gastro-paradise restaurant, Bordeaux Quay, said business had never been so good.

The recent food price rises are linked to the price of oil. The lynchpin of industrial farming is factory-made fertiliser, a process that relies entirely on burning oil.

In contrast organic farmers fertilise their fields naturally, courtesy of the sun, by using crop rotations, nitrogen-fixing clover and composting. As oil prices rise, organic farming becomes more profitable.

In an oil-depleted world, local organic is the future. Common sense, don’t you agree?

Food waste? Bless compost

Food waste becoming compost

I admit the contents of the plastic box (above) – with its stalks, stale bread, peelings, torn-up cardboard (more later) and discarded tea bag – is not a pretty sight.

But don’t be deceived by its appearance. The present detritus of our kitchens is the future fertiliser of our food.

Sensitive souls often feel guilty about wasting food. Guys, your instinct is correct – those scraps are meant to be put to good use.

When my eco-friend Chris showed me how to compost, my life changed. Instead of throwing old food in the landfill, I became a guilt-free fertiliser queen.

Compost is a basic principle of organic farming, and hence a friend of real food. It replenishes the soil with an amazing array of nutrients – for free.

(Chemical fertiliser is not a patch on the real thing. Plus its production is oil-guzzling, polluting and greenhouse-gas causing).

You start the composting process by collecting kitchen scraps (including cooked food). Then you need to find a covered bin (preferably outdoors) where the waste can compost down in peace.

Anything which lived can be composted. The smaller it is, the quicker it breaks down so it can go from waste to ‘black-gold’ in nine months.

I added cardboard (which used to be a tree) for dryness, and tore it up, making it easier for the worms and bugs to munch it down in the garden compost bin.

What if you have no garden? Check out the Bokashi system for indoor or balcony composting (see mine below). Brave people keep wormeries in their kitchen. The waste-turned-to-crumbly-soil or fertiliser juice (yum) can be added to plant pots or a friend’s garden.

If indoor composting does not appeal, scour your vicinity – any outdoor space to be pressed into service?

What stands in your way to happy composting? Let’s break it down…

Bokashi compost bin