Stocking-up time!

Zaytoun products on our shelves this week. They make great presents … even if it’s just to yourself!

We’re continuing to build up our stocks and supplies, increasing our bread order and doing our best to have a decent selection of local organic veg to offer you. Due to arrive this week from the Better Food Shed is:

  • Cauliflower
  • Kale, cavolo nero
  • Red onions
  • Desiree potatoes
  • Apples (various)
  • Dirty carrots
  • Red cabbage
  • Swede
  • Brown mushrooms

Also this week we’ll be receiving the first order we’ve made from Suma for many months, which will help plug some of the gaps on our shelves and even reintroduce some chilled products again (tofu at least).

What’s more thanks to Zaytoun we have stocked up with our traditional selection of artisanal Palestinian produce, viz organic and fairtrade certified extra virgin olive oil, zesty za’atar (a traditional herb mix), boxes of Medjoul dates, freekeh (smoky green wheat) and maftoul (giant couscous).

We are open for service at the door at our normal opening times (Thurs 2-8, Fri 4-7, Sat 3-5).

So come and stock up your shelves too!

If you keep coming, we’ll keep serving

We have been providing the community with wholesome organic food at unbeatable prices for more than 30 years, and we’re not stopping any time soon.

Essential retail is allowed under the national restrictions that have just come into force, as is providing voluntary services.

So we’ll still be here at our usual opening times, serving at the door as before in order to the minimise transmission risk.

This way of serving customers is quite a bit more labour-intensive than the good old self-service muck-in, but we have recently had an influx of wonderful new volunteers, so we are managing OK, and enjoying chatting with regulars and new faces as we get your orders together.

So please keep on shopping at Fareshares.

And bring your brolly if it looks like rain.

open for service at the door

We are open again at our usual times (Thursdays 2-8, Fridays 4-7, Saturdays 3-5), volunteer availability permitting.

For the time being, customers are not being admitted into the shop, but will be served from a table at the door. You are encouraged to bring your own containers for bulk items which volunteers will fill for you. Please wear a face covering if you can … and bring an umbrella if it looks like rain!

We are also continuing to accept advance orders, either posted through the door or sent by email to food AT fareshares.org.uk — please make sure you include a phone number with your order so that we can call you with queries and let you know when your order is ready for collection, which will be during normal opening hours.

It is actually quite useful for us to have some orders in advance, especially if they’re quite large, so that we can be working on them when there are no customers at the door. The only drawback is that we have to use paper bags for loose goods (grains etc), which is wasteful and rather fiddly. So ideally you might like to send us an advance order of your non-bulk items, and then bring your reusable containers to be filled with loose goods when you come to collect your order.

Thanks!

Looking forward to seeing you again!


Why aren’t we opening Fareshares as normal?

We are sorry not to be letting you back into the shop yet, but with coronavirus still as prevalent as it is there is a consensus among Fareshares volunteers that we should err on the side of caution for the moment. Our decision takes into account the lack of space and ventilation in our little shop; the need there would be for constant sanitisation of scoops, lid handles, jars, pens, calculators and weighing machines if customers were serving themselves; and the fact that Fareshares is under much less pressure to open conventionally than if it were a for-profit business.

We understand that not everyone will agree with our decision not to open in the normal way yet but we ask for your patience and co-operation anyway. It will inevitably be quite time-consuming for volunteers to serve you, and you may have to queue for a while (though we’re finding that people are often enjoying the opportunity this provides for a natter). We are doing our best to maintain our offer of good food at affordable prices in difficult circumstances, and we will review how we work as time goes on.

Shop closed, but local regular customers can pre-order

Fareshares volunteers met again online yesterday to talk about how we might continue to be of service to our community while reducing the risk of virus transmission.

We reviewed our experiment last Friday when we ran a shift during which only one customer was allowed into the shop at a time, to be served by volunteers rather than helping themselves. It was good to be able to provide people with access to food, but volunteers said that it was quite a slow process and that they felt that there was still too much transmission risk.

So we decided that for the time being the shop will be closed to customers.

However, we did decide to trial pre-ordering for regular Fareshares customers who live locally to the shop (i.e close enough to pass by as part of your permitted daily exercise or shopping trip for basic necessities).

As a regular Fareshares customer you will be familiar with the products we sell. To make an order, please write a list of the items you would like to buy and drop it through the shop letterbox. Your order should generally be limited to two items of each type or 500g of each type of bulk goods such as grains/pulses. Please include your name and a phone number.

Our volunteers will do their best to put your order together, with regard to the current limitations of supply. They will then call you to arrange a pickup time at which you should please bring cash for payment.

We hope that this system will work out and be a useful service for people at this very difficult time. Thank you for your patience and support.

Try and steer clear of this infection

Update Thursday 19th March 2020

Fareshares volunteers have had a meeting online this afternoon, and we have decided that our only opening hours this week will be today, Thursday 19th March 2020, from 4pm to 8pm.

To reduce the risk of disease transmission, only one customer will be allowed in the shop at a time, and there will be self-service will be suspended.

One volunteer will gather the items you need, and the other volunteer will take the cash and give your change. Volunteers will be using disposable gloves and hand sanitizer.

To reduce waiting time for other customers, please try to arrive with a list of what you need.

We will only be selling pre-packaged items and fruit and vegetables. There will be no sales of bulk items unfortunately.

Because of the increased demand and restrictions on supply, we will have a general limit of one item of each type per customer, or moderate amount of fresh produce, at our volunteers’ discretion.

The shop will not be open on Friday 20th or Saturday 21st. We will use this time to prepare to continue to provide our service next week in as safe a way as possible.

Next week we hope to resume sales of bulk items (grains, beans, seeds etc) weighed and pre-bagged by volunteers in as hygienic a manner as possible.

Thank you for your co-operation and for your support of Fareshares and its volunteers. And please do check our website for further developments and certainly before you travel to the shop.

debating our response to covid-19

The volunteers who work together to bring you Fareshares are currently discussing what we should do in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

On the one hand Fareshares provides good food and other essentials at affordable prices, and people depend on that. It’s not a luxury.

On the other hand there are many practical considerations and concerns which could make closing the shop the more responsible choice for us all.

Some of our volunteers have already said that reluctantly they have will have to stop working shifts for a variety of very good reasons.

Others, though, are keen to try to continue providing the service in one way or another, in the short term at least.

So to avoid a wasted journey please check back here for the latest position before you travel to Fareshares.

Eat the rainbow

If your cupboard is looking a bit bare, get yourself to Crampton Street and fill your containers with a colourful array of pulses, seeds, grains, nuts and all the other good things to be found at Fareshares.

Gorgeous grains, beautiful beans, pulchritudinous pulses, stunning seeds and so much more

Hungry gap?

Dusting off our website with a quick post to say:

  • We’re alive! Sorry for the three-year radio silence, but we are very much still here. If you’ve not visited us yet, or haven’t been for a while, do drop by on Thursdays 2-8pm, Fridays 4-7pm, Saturdays 3-5pm to stock up on organic wholefood and other good stuff at unbeatable prices.
  • Our Infinity order isn’t arriving until next week (start of September 2019) so we’re short of various products this week. It’s not like the shop is empty. We’re just out of some things (e.g. nuts).
  • Also spread rather thin at the moment are our volunteers. Please join our collective and help keep this unique (in London) experiment in community going strong.

Newsletter Spring 2016

Everyone’s Gone Vegan!

When Ioan Marc Jones went vegan for January – to appease his veggie girlfriend & to show her it’s no big deal – little did he realise that he was embarking upon a journey from which he may not return. ‘I was dreading giving up meat – now I can’t find a reason to eat it,’ he eventually reported in The Independent. ‘To those people who love meat the way I love meat, I offer some advice: refrain from accepting the Veganuary challenge, or any similar campaign. It might just work,’ he says, before concluding with a quip about kale and quinoa.

Jones’ article comes with the obligatory mainstream media list of two dozen ‘celebrities’ – some of whom you will definitely have heard of – who have embraced the vegan lifestyle, for various reasons: ex-President of the USA, Bill Clinton, quit meat for the good of his health while his former VP is no doubt motivated by the claimed effects of animal husbandry upon climate change. An emerging cohort of celebrated vegans is the roster of first class athletes who have emulated Venus and Serena Williams, both of whom adopted a raw vegan diet in the new year of 2012. Since then, Serena has won the US Open three times!

A surprising subset of this athletic cohort is the Vegan Hard Men, led by ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, who went vegan in 2010 at the age of 43 as a key part of a wider lifestyle detox. England’s own David Haye renounced animal protein early in 2014 and, two years later, regained his heavyweight boxing championship with a first round knockout. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fans will be aware that Nate Diaz, a vegan of twelve years standing, caused a recent upset when he beat a previously undefeated champ.  That’s not to mention the increasingly numerous vegan body builders and NFL (American Football) players.

The budget cookery writer, Jack Monroe, also went vegan for January as a challenge and is also not going back. ‘My meat addiction is over,’ she announced in The Guardian. ‘I’ve gone vegan, and it’s brilliant.’ To Facebook followers, Jack explained, ‘I feel I am going to stay vegan, although I prefer ‘herbivore’ but as ever, call me what you like as long as it’s polite… you’ll all be seeing a lot more curry from now on. And a world with more curry in can only be a very good thing.’ Since Jack’s mushroom rogan josh was the most popular recipe re-posted on Fareshares’ Facebook page all Veganuary, we concur .

In A Broken Rice Dream

As everyone goes vegan and their markets expand, pioneers of popular vegan products may be obliged by market forces to compromise. In order to ramp up production and provide access to weighty distribution & savvy marketing, they take on bigger corporate partners whose priorities may not match.

A case in point is Rice Dream, of which Fareshares sells gallons. Naturally lactose, dairy, gluten and soy-free with no added sugars and low in fat, Rice Dream dairy-free milk was invented by Robert Nissenbaum, co-founder of Imagine Foods, as told in this charming video:

Twenty years later, in 2002, Imagine was acquired and now declares itself,  ‘proud to be part of The Hain Celestial Group’s family of brands that provide delicious “better for you” foods loved by people of all ages.’ In this interview from around the time of the deal, Nissenbaum said, Though the company has grown tremendously… we still adhere to those same quality standards. It is very challenging in today’s marketplace, but we have a dedicated group of people who still strive towards that goal.’

It did not take long for the online rumour mill to start turning. As far back as 2004, a phrase began to appear that has been cut & pasted all over the internet: ‘According to research by Paul Glover and Carole Resnick of the Greenstar Food Co-op in Ithaca, N.Y., Hain’s largest investors include Philip Morris, Monsanto, Citigroup, Exxon-Mobil, Wal-Mart and Lockheed Martin.’

This is not strictly true and not much research is actually necessary, because The Hain Celestial Group – trademark, ‘A Healthier Way of Life’ – is a publicly listed company whose stock is traded on NASDAQ®. Its investor profile is around 90% Institutional & Mutual Fund Owners, who may also have holdings in other companies that trade in less wholesome products. In an article from 2011, Barbara H. Peterson pointed out that Vanguard, which is now the largest stockholder of Hain,  ‘is unusual among mutual-fund companies since it is owned by the funds themselves.’

‘What does this mean? It means that the people/institutions that invest in the long list of shares from companies such as Monsanto, Halliburton, Coca Cola, McDonalds, JP Morgan Chase, Phillip Morris, Pepsico, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, and who knows how many other ne’er do wells listed on the 190 page NASDAQ report (now 200 pages), actually own Vanguard.’

This does not mean that Monsanto – say – indirectly owns Rice Dream, or can influence its commercial decisions, although rumours to that effect may have prompted its ‘Commitment to Our Customers: DREAM™ Supports NON-GMO.’ It means that people who invest in Hain Celestial via Vanguard – the largest provider of mutual funds in the world – are also investing in a  current total of 4,200 other companies, which you may assume to include not only Monsanto but also all the other Big Nasties.

On Farmwars, Barbara Peterson concluded that Hain Celestial, ‘is one of the many conglomerates that promote organics while behind the scenes, is partially owned by people who support some of the worst enemies of organics. It is a money-making enterprise with organic lipstick. Can we spell SELLOUT? Betcha they are betting we can’t.’

The case against Rice Dream is that the brand is owned by a corporate behemoth which is inevitably compromised, ethically, despite its Mission Statement. That is to say, despite the best intentions of its founder – who hasn’t been heard from for years – there is something wrong with Rice Dream and Fareshares should take it off our shelves (as others are doing).

What do say you, friend and Fareshares shopper? Can you live without Hazelnut Almond Praliné Rice Dream? Have you got your own recipe that replicates its creamy deliciousness? Or do you think we should give Rice Dream the benefit of the doubt, at least until we can source a satisfactory replacement?

Aquafabulous!

#aquafaba is the buzz word of the year and no mistake. In its announcement of 2016 as the International Year of the Pulse, the San.Fran. Chronicle reported:

‘The most exciting new ways to use pulses are in baking, pastry and even cocktails. In black bean brownies — the new gluten-free vegan potluck standby — or Chocolate Lentil Cake, cooked and pureed pulses add a surprisingly un-beany complexity. Garbanzo bean cooking water, dubbed “aquafaba” by its vegan devotees, can be whipped up into something almost identical to a meringue, an incredibly stable stand-in for egg whites in everything from macarons to Pisco sours. Eggless lemon meringue pie, anyone?’

You may be thinking, ‘Garbanzo?’ Chick Peas, by another name. ‘Aquafaba’ is the liquid that comes in the can, which has the right balance of proteins to do a lot of the things that eggs do in a recipe, from  mayonnaise to meringue via omelettes. To make aquafaba from scratch,  soak & cook chickpeas and leave them to sit in their cooking water overnight. (A pressure cooker, BTW, comes in v.handy.) You might use the peas to make hummus, but with their aquafaba you can do practically anything!

#‎heartysoup‬: Top Six

Recipe categories marked by hashtags on our Facebook page, including #vegeburger & #tempehtempeh, appear to expire and others may also use them, as you’ll see if you search #heartysoup. At the Spring equinox, however, let us review the past Winter soup season and its six most salient successes (wot, neither cauliflower nor celeriac?) In reverse order:

6= (Combined score = 56): Squash Apple Soup or Apple Pumpkin Soup With Caramelized Onions – ‘A perfect autumnal blend for when it suddenly gets a colder out. The sweetness of the squash, highlighted by apple, goes so well with the sage.’

5 (Score = 95): Slow-Cooked Split Pea Soup With Homemade Croutons and Coconut Bacon – Mmm… pig free bacon!

4 (Score = 97): Robin Robertson’s Global Vegan Kitchen’s Crockpot Callaloo Soup – R.R. substitutes spinach for callaloo and suggests chard as an alternative. It also includes thyme, but you might use za’atar

3 (Score = 103): Vegan Chipotle Corn Chowder – Robin Robertson, again, using frozen whole kernel corn with some more exotic ingredients – liquid smoke; chipotle chile in adobo sauce – that one might have fun finding substitutes for. See also Smoky Potato Corn Chowder.

2 (Score = 130): Roasted Garlic-Ginger Carrot Soup With a Miso Cashew Cream –  A classic ‪#‎heartysoup‬ given a twist with Miso Cashew Cream (blend soaked cashews with miso, lemon juice and water).

1 (Score = 192) – Chickpea Soup with Cabbage,Tomatoes & Basil – Simply the best.

Urban Leg Ends

Fareshares first Pickling Workshop on the final day of February was a great success on a number of levels. Of the 15 enthusiasts who learned and practised the art of salt fermentation, only two were regular Fareshares shoppers, so its nice to meet some new people! Everyone had a great time and we’re keen to hold more workshops on a regular basis. The next salt fermentation pickling workshop will take place towards the end of April, and there’ll be a Herbal medicine and another pickling workshop in May, so everyone gets a chance to learn and play!

Keep an eye out for posters in the shop and on our Facebook page for dates/times/locations, or e-mail Zoe at jacob.zoe@gmail.com to get straight onto the workshops mailing list.

There are plans to turn this into a series of monthly skills-sharing. So far we’re thinking: more pickling/preserving techniques, vegan cheese-making, and craft workshops for eco-friendly plastic-free food bags. If you have ideas of things you’d like to learn, or skills you could share, Zoé would love to hear from you!

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Following a year or more of talk about adding more shelving in the corner of the shop, one of Fareshares oldest – not to say, elderly – regulars caught wind of it and sorted us out without further ado. He refuses to be photographed for this newsletter, indeed wants no publicity, but big thanks are due to Billy. We probably are not going to paint your shevles in Evertonian colours in your honour though, mate. It may be a while before we get around to painting them at all.

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Myths & legends of who started Fareshares, back in the days when Pullens was heavily squatted, usually come back to a free-spirited character known simply as, ‘Martin Oddsocks’ or, as he was legally known in 2010, OddsocksmcweirdoeltuttifruttiMrfartohellohippotamusbumIthinkwecanallliveincooperationasfreeindividualswithouthurtingourfellowsentientbeingsbutwewillhavetoworkon­ittheworldisforsharing:

Fareshares Food Co-Op: Liked by 550 on Facebook! Join us!

Not a shop. An experiment in Community! An all-volunteer project.