I gave up using plastic wrap (gladwrap) a long time ago. In the microwave I use paper towels. In the fridge I used Tupperware containers. It wasn’t a hard thing to do. The only thing I hate is having a draw full of plastic containers that never stack properly and always looks a mess. And then you have to find the matching lid! I’m positively sure I’m not alone in this frustration!
Plastic is a wonderful invention which has meant huge advances for industries like medicine, electronics, construction and transport. It has its place but we do need to shift our mind set and look for other solutions to keep it from polluting our earth.
We are now seeing the effects that plastic has on our planet. Every day there is an article highlighting the plight of polluted rivers, the oceans full of plastic, and the effect this has on our wildlife – fish and birds in particular. It’s heartbreaking when you see animals that have died because their stomachs are full of plastic. This is a human fault. No other animal pollutes like we do.
Every year, approximately 252,000 tonnes of plastic end up in our landfills in New Zealand, and over 8 percent of waste in our waterways is plastic. Worldwide, an estimated eight million metric tonnes ends up in the oceans each year – a rubbish truck's worth a minute, 50 per cent of consumer plastics are single use. There has now been plastic debris found in every one of our oceans, even the Antarctic, and by 2050, our seas are forecast to contain more plastic than fish. These facts make me really sad.
Recycling is not the solution – it only defers the problem, it is still rubbish that has to be got rid of.
The problem is immense, and we asked ourselves, how could we make a difference? We developed our Beeswax Cloths with plastic pollution in mind. If we can encourage people to reach for the Beeswax cloth rather than plastic wrap, then we are making a difference. It’s only a small difference, a tiny drop in the ocean, but we had to start somewhere.
I’ve been using our Beeswax cloths now for a while. I find they keep food really fresh. Cheese stays as fresh as the day you bought it. Avocado, bread, sandwiches, I’ve not been disappointed yet with anything I’ve tried it with.
And it beats trying to find those matching lids in my Tupperware drawer!
Sadly, our 2018 harvest is over. It's two weeks of hard work, but there's nothing like being outdoors in the elements, frost under your feet, sun shining, fantails flitting amongst the trees saying hello, and the olives raining down on you. At the end of each day you see the fruits of your labour with 1200kg of olives sitting in the bins, you know you are that much fitter and toned. Heck - I have biceps on me that I've never seen before - and won't again until the end of 2019 harvest!
I've had several people ask me how the harvest is done so here goes.
We meet early in the morning, and team get ready. We all help to put down the long mats under the trees. The compressor gets taken off the trailer, gets topped up with gas, and 'clappers' get attached to the compressor. The battery operated clapper gets attached to the huge battery and we're ready to go. The team using the clappers start at the end of the grove and work their way down. Meanwhile, the 'bin lady' goes and puts bins down the side of each mat ready to collect the olives. That was my job and I would say that was the most important job of the day!
The team using the clappers rotate. The Battery clapper is slightly lighter and can go higher, so the person using that collects the olives from the top of the tree. The other two work on opposite sides of the tree on the branches in the middle and bottom. If the ground team haven't anything to keep them occupied, they grab the plastic rakes and work the bottom of the trees as well. Once the team moves down the row of olives a bit, then team working the ground, roll the olives together using the mats. When there is enough in a pile, they are flicked into the bins and placed on the side of the grove ready for collection.
Once a whole row of olives have been collected they are lifted onto the trailer and poured into the main bin. While they are being poured, we use a blower to blow the leaves from the olives for two reasons. The first being that leaves add to the weight of the olives and we don't want to pay the press for leaves, and the 2nd, it's best for the press that there are few leaves and twigs as possible.
Once the end of the row has been reached, the mats are then moved to the next row and the process starts again. At the end of the day, Chris takes the olives to the Marlborough Olive Press, while the rest of the team roll up the mats and puts everything away. I'm already looking forward to 2019 Harvest!
Here's a little video I've compiled of the harvest this year.
This blog was written by the Bin Lady.
The Mediterranean diet has recently become very popular with medical researchers. It includes vegetables, and grains and not so much meat, and generous portions of olive oil. The evidence that olive oil is good for your heart has never been more clear. Mary Flynn, an associate professor of medicine at Brown University considers it more medicine than food.
A big study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, had men and women in their 50s, 60s and 70s who were at risk of heart disease follow one of three diets. Some ate low-fat, another group ate Mediterranean diet with nuts and a third group ate a Mediterranean diet that included almost four tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil a day.
The researchers found that the Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 30 percent.
Olive oil is good for two reasons - it’s mostly unsaturated fat, and extra virgin oil which is the highest grade and least processed contains a whole range of other beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols.
Many Olive oils imported into NZ and in our supermarket shelves are too old. It’s often been shipped from place to place and sometimes not stored well, which means many of the heart-healthy compounds have degraded and fizzled.
So where can you get your hands on the healthy stuff?
Look for brands that carry a harvest date on the bottle. Isobel Olives includes the date that the olives were harvested to produce the oil on the label, and the olives were pressed very quickly so the oil is fresh.
The most important thing to remember is that EVOO is not wine and it does not get better with age. However, as long as the olive oil is properly stored the freshness will hold in the bottle for two years. As soon as you open the bottle and expose the oil to oxygen and light, it will slowly start to degrade.
Oils with the highest level of heart-healthy compounds tend to be pungent and peppery. If the oil stings the back of your throat a little that tells you the beneficial polyphenols are really there.
So grab a bottle of Isobel Olives Olive Oil from the Farmers market this week or contact me today, and start protecting your heart.