We braved the cold on Saturday to visit Henriette and Francois Malan at their family run farm White Mountain in the outskirts of Wolseley. Together they produce organic vegetables using organic, biodynamic, biological and homeopathic methods.
I wanted to go visit and meet Fiona & Kate, two beautiful Jersey cows, who are raised 100% on organic pasture and milked twice a day by Francois himself.
Francois a passionate farmer, along with a handful others, formed the Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS), an organic quality assurance system, making sure whoever is awarded this certificate is farming in accordance to organic standards & principles.
A I see the word ‘ORGANIC’ everywhere these days.
How do we as consumers know that what we are buying was truly grown organically without any form of certification?
Certification will always be controversial, there are those who farm beautifully naturally and in line with all things organic who doesn’t have a certificate, but equally there are those with all the certification in the world but are not doing great things. –
Growing veggies organically is, ‘moeite’ it takes a lot of care and effort to get the balance right between farming in line with nature (rather than manipulating it). It is almost always in SA on a very small scale and always seasonal.
Is it not unfair for someone like Francois to compete on the same price point with someone who farms without chemicals but do not adhere to the other principles of organic farming?
It’s important to know that farming without harmful chemicals is just one principle of organic farming, crop rotation, soil health and the environment is other crucial factors sometimes missed.
My reasons for choosing organic has changed over the years, it was first the fact that it TASTE BETTER, then I wanted to eat exclusively SEASONAL and as I grow older and I see the destruction of conventional farming and what the use of agricultural chemicals are doing to our PLANTED and our HEALTH thus it is the other principles of organic farming which is really important to me now.
Lets start asking the RIGHT QUESTIONS about our food
(1) where was it grown?
(2) how was it grown?
(3) is this in season?
(4) how fresh is it really?
(5) what footprint did this leave?
Can you pick up the phone and call the farmer? Or speak to someone in the shop or market who knows or even better went to visit the farm?
The aim of my workshops & kitchen cleanse is to help you answer all these questions with what is important to you. Maybe its just to get food on the table quick, maybe its to eat more plantbased meals etc.
White Mountain produce is available at Organic Zone, Wild Organics and OZCF market.