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!

*

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.

*

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!

Newsletter Yule 2015

Xmas Opening Hours

During the holidays, Fareshares shall open to supply your festive needs* at the following times:

Weds 23rd: 2pm to 6pm
Thurs 24th: 2pm to 5pm
Weds 30th: 2pm to 4pm

*Festive requisites include:
Infinity Foods organic vegan Christmas puddings (454g, £5.64)
Artisan Grains Nut Roast with Cashew & Cranberry (gluten free) (200g, £2.23)
Old Post Office Bakery Mince Pies (gluten free)

Zaytoun Festive Selection

However Christ-orientated you are, artisanal produce of the original Holy Land makes an appropriate gift at this time of year, especially when its fairly-traded with farmers in Palestine, giving them a lifeline to the wider world and a glimmer of hope that they may one day be left in peace.  “If Christmas is about giving and about receiving, then you can give two or three times over by choosing a product from a social enterprise,” said Cathi Pawson of Zaytoun CIC, which on 26 November won the prize for International Impact at the UK Social Enterprise Awards.

PrintWe are talking about fairly-traded olive oil (1L/£11.54; 500ml/£7.29; 250ml/£3.94), za’atar (never mind the price as it is  sold out, but you can buy it online) and maftoul (250, £1.54). All are supplied by the Palestine Fair Trade Association, based in Jenin, and sold by Fareshares at wholesale prices. As a gesture of solidarity, we do not put a mark-up on Zaytoun products.

The Zaytoun folks recommend this unusual festive stuffing, made with their Palestinian freekeh (250g, £1.69), the ancient grain that is now recognized as a superfood, packing twice the fibre of quinoa! Freekeh is essentially roasted green wheat, but one might think of and cook with it like green rice. Roasted on an open fire before being rubbed to remove its husk and reveal the aromatic grain, its taste has a subtle smokiness to it that’s typically complimented with onion, garlic and herbs. But this recipe incorporates cranberries and apples & is finished with scallions, parsley, and walnuts!

‘OK,’ you say,’ enough already!’ ‘Sympathetic as I am to the plight of the Palestinian farmers, I can’t be sending foodstuffs through the Christmas post.’ Never mind, Zaytoun has a gift solution for you: support an olive tree planting project. £20.88 pays for five, three year old olive tree saplings (25 trees = £100.88). The 88p is the postage cost of the commemorative certificate that they send your loved one.

Seasonal Alternatives

If we sell out of Zaytoun Palestinian olive oil, or anyway, you might consider the Lesbian Donkey Olive Oil (1L/£8.82) produced by a small family owned business with a social orientation on the largest island of the north-east Aegean, which has been bearing the brunt of the refugee exodus.

If you don’t fancy sponsoring olive tree planting in Palestine, or as well, please consider a seasonal donation to the Refugee Community Kitchen in the Calais Jungle, where they serve hundreds of nutritious meals every day to those who have fled war zones, crossed a continent and have next to nothing left, except their humanity.

Festive Veggies

ThBrusselse perennial Christmas question generally focuses on the availability and quality of the Brussels sprouts. As it has been unseasonably warm, Autumnal growth has been too vigorous, making large and squashy sprouts that quickly rot. However, our sprouts this Christmas are the smaller, more compact and favoursome Suffolk version from Home Farm, Nacton, on the stalk (try roasting a whole one!)

We shall also have organic parsnips from Lincolnshire; Chinese Clementines and a selection of nuts – chestnuts, walnuts, almonds – in their shells. Fareshares’ veg is always in great demand and likely to be especially popular at Christmas, so do try and visit the shop on Wednesday 23rd if possible, as they are liable to be sold out by Chrsitmas Eve.

In The Fridge: #tempehtempeh & Fridge Cakes

oasis_tempehDue to canny wheeling and dealing, prices of some of your favourite items from Fareshares’ magic fridge have plunged, with your favourite Oasis Organic Original tempeh slices, marinated in tamari & ginger and deep fried, so you can eat them from the packet or just reheat, at the new lower price of only £1.75!

We will also have strictly limited supplies of Natural (240g, £1.95) and Oak Smoked Tempeh (200g, £2.20) for those who might like to stuff a Tofucken this Xmas, or experiment with the recipes collected at Fareshares Facebook under the hashtag, #tempehtempeh. Please note that these products are supplied to us frozen, i.e.: they are slowly defrosting in our fridge. Therefore, the six month ‘use by’ date on the packaging is invalidated and the defrosted tempeh should not be refrozen. It will, however, keep in your fridge at home for a week from purchase, although it may start to look a bit sweaty.

We’ve laid in a good supply of Ploughshares Organic Fridge Cakes, which make great stocking stuffers, missus, and we’ve got all seven varieties at the lower price of only 90p each. Not only that, but we are gratified to announce the return of three varieties of gluten-free Organic Raw fruit/nut slices for a mere £1 each. Verily, it must be Christmas!

Fareshares on Facebook

Over at the Fareshares Food Co-op Facebook page, the big question is, will we reach 500 ‘likes’ this year? This time last year, we were celebrating our 400th ‘like’, so it would be gratifying to have gained a hundred new Likers in a calendar year, without resorting to buying ‘likes,’ even though we could reach 220,000 people nearby, starting for only £13.00, if we had the budget and requisite insane mentality. Of course, FS doesn’t care that much about FB, but our page IS curated and a good source of vegan news and recipes. This winter, we’re collecting hearty soup recipes under the hastag, #heartysoup, and the one for Thai Red Lentil & Butternut Squash Soup is possibly the most popular item ever posted on our page!

Newsletter Samhain 2015

Bag-ism

Éire was the first country to introduce a plastic bag fee – ‘PlasTax’ – in 2002. Its primary purpose was to reduce the consumption of disposable plastic bags by influencing consumer behaviour and its effect was immediate, their use plummeting by 90% overnight! The average Irish person used an estimated 328 bags each year, but now they are down to 21.

It took a decade to catch up in the North, where the carrier bag levy was first introduced in April 2013. At first, the levy applied to single use carrier bags, but since January 2015, the 5p levy now applies to all new carrier bags with a retail price below 20p, whether they are single use or reusable and regardless of the material they are made from.

Wales introduced a 5p charge in 2011 and Scotland followed suit just one year ago, in October 2014. Now, finally, England is making the big supermarkets charge 5p for carrier bags. However, unlike the straightforward schemes in Wales and the Irish Republic, small businesses are exempt, so some of us will no doubt continue to accumulate those utilitarian blue ones and the dinky black ones that carry the beers home from the nearest ‘convenience’ store.

Still, to extrapolate the results from N.Ireland and Scotland, where plastic bag usage dropped by 80%, we are going to be seeing a lot less ‘London bunting,’ as Danny Baker used to refer to bags blown into trees. In some parts of Wales, allegedly, the number of bags being used has been reduced by 96% and so – according to some – has the number of shopping baskets available at larger supermarkets!

What this means for Fareshares is that people may be less willing to donate carrier bags; indeed, they will have fewer of the bloomin’ things lying around. This is a Good Thing, but it may be too much to hope that those Fareshares users who persist in giving us useless bits of old food packaging, or doing their recycling by proxy, might desist. Seriously. We regularly complain about people dumping their rubbish on us, yet on it goes…

Never mind the PlasTax, Fareshares is proud to announce two radical initiatives:

Branded tote bags & a DIY bag-making workshop!

Fareshares fine & sturdy tote bags, crafted from canvas and emblazoned with our logo, shall be available soon, very soon. Look, it’s in the newsletter now, so before Cristmas, anyway. Their cost to you, dear shopper, shall be £3.50 and funds raised used to plug our trading deficit, repair the building and, perhaps, supply paper bags for folks to weigh stuff into…

What’s more, three Faresharees volunteers are pledged to organisize an exciting bag-making workshop, one Saturday lunch time early in December. See our Facebook page for details, as they develop. There are also plans for a pickling workshop, watch this space.

#howedoit – Nākd Bars, 75p each

nakedbarsmain

Standing behind Fareshares’ counter, one does hear some dark rumours, but the one about the people behind Nākd having sold out and incorporated GMOs into their hitherto organic, gluten-free wholefood bars never had the ring of truth. If you have, virtually single-handedly, created a new category within the retail snack market – as Californian-born, Oxfordshire-based brothers, Jamie and Greg Combs, have since they started Natural Balance Foods in 2005 – why would you compromise your USP?

In fact, what happened was that they got Nākd Bars into supermarkets and sales grew by over 70%, from £7.5m to £13.2m, in the year ending 31.03.14. Having made it so far in 10 years, some early Natural Balance Foods shareholders chose to retire and, therefore, the company hired specialist advisers to seek new investors to take its brands to the next level. They attracted interest from bidders including Burtons Biscuits (maker of Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels), Kelloggs, and Hain Celestial (owner of New Covent Garden & Linda McCartney).

In the end, though, Natural Balance sold 67% of its stock for £60 million to Lotus Bakeries, the Belgian company that makes those frightfully more-ish caramelised biscuits. A statement said both parties see the transaction as long term and “there is a clear agreement that the DNA of the brands will be kept unchanged… The Natural Balance Foods mission steadfastly remains to pioneer and champion the Wholefood Revolution around the globe and the team continues to be passionately committed to the business.” Fat Gay Vegan, for one, was chuffed.

At Fareshares, we stock a changing selection of Nākd Bars that we sell for 75p each, but we tend to stay with the classic varieties: Cashew Cookie; Berry Delight; Ginger Bread Bar. Some folks, however, order their Nākd Bars by the box of 18, paying only a 10% surcharge over the wholesale price, which means they can try the more unusual flavours, like Cocoa & Orange; Coffee Mocha or the new Bakewell Tart.

Don’t forget about new Nākd Nibbles, either! Made from raw fruits and nuts lovingly ‘smooshed’ together in sweet shop favourite flavours, with no added sugars or syrups, these nibbles are also wheat, dairy and gluten free. With a soft, chewy texture they fill you up till your next meal and most count towards 1 of your 5 a day too. With trick or treat season approaching, you might want to lay in a supply.

Volunteer Opportunities

Fareshares is entirely run by volunteers, who are always welcome and needed.

Shiftworkers work two hour shifts; three of those on Thursdays, when we most need help on the closing shift, 6-8pm. If you’ve turned up to Fareshares after 7pm one Thursday recently and found the shop shut, it’s because we really need you to volunteer as a shiftworker! If not on Thursdays, then perhaps you can join the Wednesday afternoon crew who unpack and display our weekly deliveries?

If you can’t commit to a regular shift in the shop, perhaps there’s another way in which you can help Fareshares,  by contributing a more specialised skill? For example, we have put out a call in the past and are still waiting to hear from a Refrigeration Engineer who is qualified to service our Graf commercial ‘fridge.

Now, there are several carpentry jobs that we need someone with the skills and tools to do for the Collective:
1.    Remake the disabled access ramp so it’s not so steep.
2.    Construct shelving under the window, behind the counter, for customer orders.
3.    Construct a shelving unit to display Zaytoun products.

If you think you might be able to take on any one of these tasks, please contact us by e-mail – info@fareshares.or.uk – or come into the shop and have a word with the shiftworker. Why not join us for a late Sunday lunch (see below) where you can meet some of us?

November 15 Meeting – Sunday Lunch @ Pullens Centre

When the Pullens Centre is free on the 15th, Fareshares has held it monthly meetings there, preceded by a vegan potluck meal, to which all who might want to be and those who used to be as well, as those who are actively involved with running Fareshares are warmly invited.

Sunday the 15th November is our final get together of 2015 and you are welcome to join us, upstairs at 184 Crampton Street, where a fabulous nut roast shall be served in all its glory, accompanied by lashings of with onion gravy & roasties at 3pm. Please bring salads & puddings.

The door will be open from midday, if you’d care to peel spuds or help get set up. Please let us know if you’re coming, if possible, so we have an idea of numbers, but come anyway. Join the event via Facebook, or by e-mail to info@fareshares.org.uk. Or just turn up.

Fareshares’ monthly meeting will start at 4pm. All prospective and past members of Fareshares are welcome to eat with us, but only current members of the collective may participate in its business meeting.

Bio-D: return your empties!

19536-BIO-D LAUNDRY-LIQUID-1LOne of the least popular chores among Fareshares volunteers is refilling the recycled washing up and laundry liquid bottles – we lack one of these – but that isn’t currently an issue, because we haven’t got any empty laundry liquid bottles to refill! By retuning your empty bottles, you save the environment (see plastic bags, above) AND  money, because we buy 15L drums, which works out cheaper (currently, £3.80/L).

As you probably do not need to be reminded, domestic pollution causes more damage to the environment than industrial pollution. At least, that was the state of play back in 1980, when A.M.Gower produced ‘Water Quality in Catchment Ecosystems’, which The Bio-D Company continues to quote on its web site page devoted to ‘Our Philosophy‘. Over the intervening 35 years, British industry has shut up shop and environmental awareness has increased exponentially, but still.

Michael Barwell, the man who started Bio-D in 1988, knows all about the social trends of the past decades. From Hull, he used to clean ships before realising that household cleaning products contained the same petrochemicals, phosphates, preservatives, enzymes and synthetic perfumes as the stuff he wore industrial protective clothing and a respirator to use in his job. ‘We’re proud of our funky (recycled and recyclable) packaging,’ say Bio-D, ‘but overall it’s about what’s NOT on the inside that counts!’

Fareshares on Facebook

Fareshares Facebook page is the place to keep up with the day-to-day goings on within our collective and key suppliers, such as Suma and Infinity, and smaller suppliers such as Zaytoun and BioD. We don’t (often) post mawkish animal-related stuff, give or take the odd skipping rhino, but we do seasonally appropriate recipes. Fareshares currently boasts 14 reviews and a perfect score of five stars on Facebook, but we could score more, maybe, if you were to like and rate us too.

Newsletter Summer Solstice 2015

Summer recipe: Hummus

hummus1From time to time, especially in the Summer months, some bright spark will suggest that tubs of ready made hummus be kept in Fareshares fridge, so that they may snack like Potentates, but that is not what how we go. Mistake not Fareshares for a convenience store! We sell chickpeas, both tinned (400g, 80p) and dried in bulk (250g=50p); we sell organic light tahini (280g, £2.80); and sell oil, both good quality olive oil (500ml, £3.68) and organic sunflower oil (500ml, £3). Freshares usually sells garlic & lemons,  too.

Do not, however, use tinned chickpeas to make hummus, if you can avoid it, as they are far too farty. This undesirable fartiness becomes enhanced by the canning process, which traps the potentially flatulent gasses. Although there is no scientific evidence for this, it is non the less true that, for a chickpea pedant, such as Yotam Ottolenghi, the rules are respectfully time-honoured and perfectly clear: ‘The chickpeas must be dried and soaked overnight with some bicarbonate of soda: the texture of hummus should be utterly smooth and soft and this is the way to prepare the peas before they are cooked.’ Yes, Fareshares sells bicarbonate of soda, of the poshest kind: Dove, 200g (200g, £1.40)..

Online, Ottolenghi’s basic hummus recipe gives quantities:- 250g chickpeas; 1 tsp bicarb; 270g light tahini paste; 4 tbsp lemon juice; 4 cloves o’ crushed garlic; 100ml ice cold water; salt – but, for the method, you are directed to Yotam’s offline ‘Jerusalem’ cookbook, which costs £27! Eh? If you can’t imagine what happens next, Julia Moskin spelled it out in the NYT. Pay special attention to the cooking instructions and the roll played by the bicarb in making smooth hummus, if not ameliorating its fartiiness.

BBQ Season: #vegeburger

BBQ season is never an easy time – boozy carnis gnawing charred chunks o’ flesh – but vegeburgers may be the way to go. Myriad permutations are possible and burger recipes are regularly re-posted on Fareshares Food Co-op Facebook page, using the hashtag #vegeburger. Search Facebook & you’ll find our ever-growing portfolio of meat free bun fillings as well as some delightful surprises such as this fellows #vegeburger.

tofuburgerOasis Organic Tofuburgers cost two quid, which is £1 per burger, and offer a swift tasty and portable meal/snack solution when served in a bun stuffed with salad. Keep a supply of these little darlings and you won’t have to go hungry at tedious BBQs this Summer!  Fareshares offers a random-izised and revolving selection of the following organic Tofuburger varieties:

  •     Beetroot & Walnut – commended in the Organic Food Awards
  •     Chick Pea – a little extra ‘crunch’ without the addition of nuts
  •     Chilli – including red kidney beans and ‘hot’ stuff!
  •     Celery – very distinctive fresh celery flavour
  •     Leek – super tasting leeks
  •     Garlic mushroom – if you like them you’ll love these burgers
  •     Apple & Raisin – a little sweetness under your grill
  •     Tomato – yes real tomatoes in this one
  •     Peppers – both the red and green varieties!

Also in the ‘fridge, you will see Oasis Marinated and Deep-Fried Tofu (200g, £2.25) which requires no further cooking to add instant plant protein to salads and sandwiches.

Potluck on Saturday August 15th @ Pullens Cemtre

The reason why Fareshares can afford its low prices is that nobody gets paid. Everyone involved with our project donates their time and expertise for free. Fareshares depends upon its volunteers, who are always needed and welcome. We hold monthly meetings on the 15th and we invite you to join us at the Pullens Centre, 184 Crampton Street, on the 15th of August – Saturday – from 6pm to share some hearty vegan fare and talk about Fareshares!

If you’re thinking you may volunteer with Fareshares, or you used to be involved, this is an opportunity to meet the people behind the scenes, or to catch up with old friends. There’s currently about a score of people associated with our collective – not just those ones you see behind the counter – and new volunteers are always welcome & needed to manage all the various facets of our project. Please let us know in advance if you plan to attend, so we have an idea of numbers. Join the event via Facebook, or e-mail, info@fareshares.org.uk.

After supper, Fareshares’ monthly meeting takes place from 7pm. All prospective and past members of Fareshares are welcome to eat with us, but only present members of the collective may participate in its business meeting.

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