In 2016 I travelled with my family to the highlands of Sumatra to visit the Giant Cabbage of Berastagi.
The trip was an investigation into humanity’s love affair with all things “Big” combined with my personal fascination for the humble cabbage (If you need a silly distraction from Stage Four you can find the last chapter from the Cabbage Hearts of Darkness here).
Anyway, acutely aware of my cabbage obsession, Fair Food marketing manager, Isabelle Fouard, casually let slip that we were doing a special on all our cabbages, including wombok, during a Zoom conversation on Friday.
Isabelle’s cabbage comments brought to mind an article I’d recently read where Jean Bousquet, a French scientist, had been examining the connection between the low COVID-19 death rates in Germany and South Korea with high levels of fermented cabbage consumption.
Bousquet hypothesised the anti-inflammatory properties of fermented cabbage reduced levels of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2) which are also the main entry point for coronavirus into cells.
Further research revealed the word on kraut and kimchi had clearly gotten out – The Fermentation Association of America, the peak body supporting food, beverage, and supplement producers who work with fermentation, reported local sauerkraut and kimchi sales surging by more than 900%.
Sourdough may have been the defining food of the first lockdown, but will kimchi and sauerkraut be the food heroes of ISO part two?
My imagination fizzed and bubbled with images of Australian shoppers fighting in the aisles over drumheads, savoys and womboks.
For the moment, anyway, our cabbage supply is good and during the next six weeks if you do find yourself with a bit time, a head of cabbage and a mandolin slicer then why not get out the jars and put down a little kraut or kimchi.
Please remember an email article from your local food delivery service should never be substituted for medical advice from a real health professional, no matter how keen on cabbage the author seems. Ed
Fire wood for good
Today is World Tree Day, normally on this day 300,000 people would be gathering around Australia to plant about a million trees and do activities that connect us with the Earth.
This year, well needless to say, World Tree Day activities are not happening.
And while we haven’t been planting trees or going to school or work or sport or out for dinner we have been at home burning a lot more firewood than we usually do.
So much so there’s been a shortage of firewood across Victoria.
About 25% of Victorians heat their homes with firewood, and like food, our heating choices can make a big difference to our environment.
In 2003 the CSIRO compared emissions of greenhouse gas pollution from a range of energy sources including coal and gas.
The study found that firewood sourced from tree plantations was carbon-positive, because the plantations removed carbon from the atmosphere but also reduced consumption from dirty energy sources.
Where we get our fire wood from is also important when it comes to our environment.
CERES Fair Wood has been working with Wood4Good, who manage tree plantations near Bendigo.
Mal and Ben from Wood4Good see their plantations as perennial forests regulating and protecting land, water, biodiversity and climate.
To Mal and Ben timber and firewood are by-products of a sensitively managed tree plantation.
Wood4Good are currently working in a 300 hectare red ironbark and sugar gum plantation owned by Greater Bendigo City Council.
Planted on degraded grazing land, the plantation is now twenty years old – time for smaller trees to be selectively thinned giving larger trees room to mature into saw logs.
The thinned trees, thick as fence posts, are traditionally seen as waste and pushed into piles and burned.
Wood4Good use this “waste product” as an income generating opportunity that pays for better forest management as well as reducing pressure on native forests to supply firewood.
CERES Fair Wood is selling cubic metre cages of Ben and Mal’s dry sugar gum firewood for $290 plus delivery, contact Hayden at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find 15kg bags of Wood4Good sugar gum here on the Fair Food website – we deliver them with your grocery orders.
Stay warm and safe