We just had this email from Stroudco shopper, Ellie Moffat: “The food hub is having more and more great foods on it! We love it! Great news about the raw cow’s milk. We feel so fortunate to have the food hub! Thank you for all your hard work”.
Stroud’s publicly-owned Food Hub will be hosting a visit from John Barron, a farmer who will be offering Stroudco shoppers a regular supply of Milk and Cream from his Ledbury-based herd of Jersey cows. The reason the not-for-profit co-op is introducing a new dairy producer to its already thriving community of local food producers is that Beaconhill Farm does not pasteurise its milk and cream.
Lots of people are beginning to question the wisdom of pasteurising milk. Of course, subjecting milk to high temperatures kills the bacteria that may result in serious illness but studies have shown that the risk of contracting these illnesses from raw milk is exceedingly small: about 1 in 6 million. There has not been a single case of food poisoning related to unpasteurised milk in the UK since 2002 and this is despite the fact that many thousands of dairy farmers drink their own milk raw and there has been a steady rise in the consumption of unpasteurised milk across the UK.
Part of the reason for the growth in popularity of raw milk is the fact that heat treatment damages many of the minerals and vitamins contained in raw milk and encourages the growth of harmful bacteria in the pasteurised milk. Pasteurisation also denatures some milk proteins and makes insoluble most of the calcium contained in raw milk. Some studies show that switching to raw milk can help reduce digestive intolerances, allergies and asthma.
From this weekend Stroudco will be offering raw, unpasteurised Jersey cream and milk – which is naturally higher in calcium than milk from other cows. The milk won a Gold Medal at the Royal Welsh Show, has been endorsed by master chef Ed Baines and it tastes delicious! Part of the reason for this is that John’s Jersey cows are mainly pasture-fed. Cows are natural herbivores and are healthiest when they eat grass. A lot of supermarket milk comes from cows which have been fed largely on grain. John does not use artificial fertiliser, does not use and sprays or pesticides and we does not use prophylactic antibiotics. Any feed he purchases is certified free of GM. Try John’s Jerseys’ milk and you will be hooked!
Stroudco also hopes soon to be offering ice cream (pasteurised) and cheese all made on-farm from John’s Jerseys’ raw milk.
Jenni Willis, a Stroudco shopper said “I used to be nervous about drinking unpasteurised milk but since realising how much damage is caused by the pasteurising process, I am convinced that the health benefits of drinking milk in its natural state far outweigh the tiny risks involved. I am particularly reassured by John Barron having seen how careful he is with dairy hygiene and the lengths he goes to in making sure that his milk is completely clean. Once I had tasted the milk I was completely converted!”
John will be selling his products and offering tastes of his milk and cream – which is 65% butterfat – so thicker than clotted cream – at the regular Stroudco Food Drop at Stroud valleys School, on Castle Street GL5 2HP this Saturday 30th August from 11am to 1pm. John says “I have always been fond of Stroud and we are very pleased to have been welcomed by Stroudco which works as a co-operative jointly managed by the producers and the shoppers. I will be offering free tastes of my milk and cream which comes direct from my carefully-managed Jersey herd. I believe in keeping as close to nature as possible. The cows eat my grass and produce the milk, we milk the cows and then bottle the milk for you. We like to refer to it simply as “fresh milk” although it is often referred to as “raw milk” or “clean milk”. It has not been heat treated or processed in any way to alter its structure and destroy its goodness.
To meet John, taste his milk and cream and see pictures and videos of his dairy production everyone is welcome to call in to the Stroudco Food Drop between 11am and 1pm.
To see the full range of local produce available on Stroudco Food Hub or to download a catalogue go to www.stroudco.org.uk or just pop in and see the food hub in operation any Saturday from 11am to 1pm at Stroud Valleys School
More details on the benefits of raw milk:
Stroudco has won the South Zone Enterprise Category in the 2014 Towns Alive Awards.
“A hugely successful and collaborative scheme which benefits local consumers and businesses alike. The online tools are available for others to use, and there is evidence of the scheme being replicated elsewhere.”
For more details see http://towns.org.uk/2014/08/17/win-for-stroud-in-towns-alive-awards/
There are new producers joining Stroudco Food Hub all the time. To give you an idea of what is now available we have produced this Stroudco Food Hub catalogue – Spring 2014 These 10 pages don’t even cover the wide range of store cupboard products which we also sell from Essential Trading (a workers co-op based in Bristol) but it does include the 58 (and growing) local suppliers who have opened a Stroudco account.
You will notice that many of our prices are lower than supermarket prices – and most of them are not even available in any supermarket!
Please download the catalogue, print it off for reference and pass it on to anyone you think might be interested.
We have printed some paper copies so let us know if you know of anywhere we could display them, but we are trying to minimise the distribution of these to save on the printing cost.
For two years now the Stroudco management group has been working with the Open Food Network to explore ways we can replace the existing Stroudco software (which could be so much better!) with the system they are piloting in Australia. These conversations have also included online food hub pioneers in North America, Asia and all across Europe
The OFN team in Australia has similar values and aims to Stroudco – taking back control of our food system and building a fairer, sustainable alternative to supermarket domination. They’re also a brilliant team of programmers and developers, which is just what we needed!
Have a look at this video to see what they’ve achieved so far.
We particularly love the open-source, not-for-profit ethos of the Open Food Network, which encourages participation and promotes transparency at all levels.
We are now a step closer to having the OFN software in Stroudco as the Fife Diet Co-op have just launched using the software – the first UK pilot of OFN. There are several other UK hubs (many currently using the Stroudco software) planning to adopt OFN. This allows us to pool our resources and share our experiences to help us all along our journey to a better food system. We can’t think of a better example of the ‘Think Global, Eat Local’ mantra, a system which allows organisations around the world to create their own solutions locally, whilst making the best of their individual strengths and minimising duplication of work as much as possible.
The Open Food Network are now crowdfunding to support the further development work needed to make this system as good as it can be. Whilst much of their work is in Australia, all the organisations around the world using the platform will benefit from updates that can be made, and any money over AUS$5,000 (£2,737) raised in the UK will be channeled into work requested by the UK organisations.
Our friends at Weston O’Neill’s Kitchen have produced this perfect addition to any Stroudie kitchen as a limited edition, so get yours this week to avoid disappointment!
Look out for our Christmas special bumper edition of our monthly newsletter coming soon to an inbox near you! Saturday 21st December will be our last food drop before Christmas, so make sure you read it for some great food and gift ideas.
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And if you’re looking for something new to put on your statement, then Weston O’Neill’s Kitchen have added Savoury Energy Bars to their already extensive range of products. Claudia says:
“[Our] savoury bars are a very healthy snack packed with energy; made with whole oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, coconut butter, goat’s butter, goat’s cheese, carrots, onions, Herbes de Provence, a whole egg and lots of love! All of these ingredients are organic apart from the goat’s butter, goat’s cheese and eggs which are local and free range.”
Of course, we still have loads of Christmas goodies on sale too…only 4 Stroudco shopping days to go!