‘Organic-shmorganic ya-ya.’ And sometimes I have to agree with him (no, he’s not Pawel). It’s a murky food descriptor. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there were a place where that stuff is all sorted out? Sustainable, conscionable, free range, gluten-free, nitrates-free or even preservative-free, reared without hormones or antibiotics, unirradiated food. Could it please also taste nice?
We’ve found it (this is where Pawel does come in). It’s the only one in the country, a smallish, exciting shop: the Jozi Real Food Revolution. Activist-owner Debbie Logan spells it with the R in brackets. “People want it but don’t know where to start.”
Whatever we want to know about foods, Debbie and the staff on the first floor, at the rooftop entrance of the Bryanston Shopping Centre, have the answers. The shop is called the Organic Emporium. “Organic”, as Debbie agrees, is a word beloved by “greenwashers” trying to make food labels credible. Debbie makes it her mission to visit every place whose goods are recommended, looking at what is used in creating or feeding it, or killing it.
“I even want to know how far the abattoir is from the animals.” As apprentice food (r)evolutionaries, we taste dried boerewors, fudge and choc-chip cookies, nougat. A shopper sidles up and mentions that her dog, waiting outside, “will taste anything”. She indicates the meats platter. “If it’s going begging.” It doesn’t seem to be.
The shoppers are noticeably unlike the bunny-hugging, crochet-and-patchwork, hairy ones I might have expected. The cross-section I see are men and women, 20s to 50s, asking about things like cuts of mutton or cheese types. I do notice, though, that Debbie is wearing all natural fibre stuff. Even her jewellery is made of wood and seeds.
Among all the wonders of food stocked I see my local Leopard Food Company sausages, real bone stocks from Heversham Farm, fish from fishermen. This approved farm-to-store approach does quell any needs I’ve felt to be vegetarian and, if I were, I could get Aloe Dale produce.
“Once you’ve tasted the difference, all that doubt about real food disappears.” Wrapped, I have the most beautiful rump steak I have seen. I’ve got to give this taste revolution a serious try.