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!

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One Response to Newsletter Spring 2016

  1. Rachel Porter says:

    I concur, great to see you promoting veganism! I don’t know a single person who has gone vegan and regretted it :)

    The workshops sound a fantastic idea – a nut milk/cheese making one would be so useful but I’m especially interested in plastic-free food bags. You are one of my very few saviors as I try to cut out plastic packaging from my life!

    Keep up the good work!

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