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Organic September

How to Entertain Organically this September

This month is the Soil Association’s #OrganicSeptember – is a celebration of all things organic and the perfect opportunity to try something new (and organic) for yourself. At TOAST we love to entertain, so here are our top tips on how to get involved by entertaining organically this month.



I remember when organic suddenly became ‘a thing’. I remember a few people sneering, and brushing it off as a fad, but I am pleased to say that the organic movement has only gone from strength to strength, and for good reason too. 

In the face of climate change and rising diet-related ill-health, the challenges of producing healthier food, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, as well as protecting wildlife and animal welfare grow more acute by the year. There is no quick fire solution to tackle the challenges that face us, but the buying decisions that we make every day are a simple but powerful form of direct action. Organic means working with nature, not against it. 

The Soil Association is the UK's leading food and farming charity and organic certification body, working to save our soils and make good food the easy choice for everyone. They are also the country's leading organic certifier – so when you see their logo you know that you are buying something that is authentically organic. 

Throughout September the Soil Association is encouraging all of us to mix it up a bit and think about switching to organic produce and products. In doing so you’ll not only be helping to protect wildlife and reduce your exposure to potentially harmful pesticides and chemicals - you'll also be helping to support the farmers who work hard to grow our food for generations to come. Organic also means higher levels of animal welfare, lower levels of pesticides, no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers and more environmentally sustainable management of the land and natural environment - which means more wildlife. So it’s good news all round really. 

Whatever you’re buying – from cotton buds to carrots – when you choose organic, you choose products that ultimately promote a better world. 

This week, TOAST’s decided to give it a go by adding a splash of organic to what we do best; entertaining. Here are our top tips on how add an organic twist the next time you are hosting…

Get the (organic) party started

Nothing kicks off an evening better than good a gin and tonic before dinner; next time you serve one up why not consider using an organic gin? Distilled at Thames Distillery near Clapham in Central London, Juniper Green is the world first organic London Dry Gin. It contains absolutely nothing but the world's finest organic grain, pure water and a combination of 100% organic botanical herbs sourced from around the world. Organic juniper berries, coriander, angelica root and savory give it wonderful a flavour, and unlike most gins no chemical fertilizers or fungicides are used whatsoever, so the result is a pure, clean and incredibly smooth gin.

Price: Around £20 for 70cl. Available from Abel & Cole, Ocado, and Award Winning Spirits. www.junipergreen.org 

Juniper Green

Organic Hops

For those who prefer a beer before dinner, the Black Isle Brewery in Scotland is currently responsible for producing the finest organic beer in the UK. Since it was founded in 1998 in the Scottish Highlands the brewery has bought an impressive 125 acres of surrounding land and cultivated it into a working organic farm, which they run without chemicals and pesticides, the way nature intended. Like good beer they believe in balance: what they lose in yield on the farm they gain in birds, bees and other wildlife. The result is great beer that is tasty, organic and responsibly produced.

Price: Around £2.50 for 500ml. Available from Abel & Cole and Real Foods www.blackislebrewery.com 

Black Isle Brewery

Laying the table

Kent-based duo Bennet and Bates specialise in beautiful, organic, ethical home textiles. Having learnt about the absorption of chemicals and toxins into the skin through textiles, and researched the negative social and environmental impact that pesticides and non-organic farming have, Bennet and Bates made the decision to go all-organic. We love their 100% organic cotton napkins, placements and other table linen, which are all ethically produced in India. Their stylish prints are pretty as a picture and they offer a lovely mix between neutral stoney stripes and sophisticated florals.

Price: Start at £24.50. www.bennettandbates.com 

Bennetandbates

Bennetandbates Linen

Meat…

If you fancy serving up some organic meat at your table then have a look at The Rhug Estate, recently featured in TOAST’s guide to the best meat boxes. Situated in Denbighshire in Wales, the estate is home to Lord Newborough, as well as some very tasty Welsh lamb, Aberdeen Angus beef, Salt Marsh Lamb, chicken and geese all 100% organically reared. Usually served up at the restaurants of Raymond Blanc, Tom Aiken and Marcus Wareing – The Rhug Estate’s organic meat boxes are a chance for us mere mortals to get a taste of the action too. For a real treat - why not order one of their organic welsh lamb halves (or wholes…) – perfect for a special occasion and guaranteed to feed (and impress) a crowd. 

Price: Start from £22 for a meat box. www.rhug.co.uk

Rugh

And two veg 

Riverford have been growing since 1987 and offer organic fruit and vegetables fresh from their farm, delivered free to your door. Everything that they grow and sell is organic; looking after the soil, the environment, and the welfare of animals is at the heart of what they do. They grow their organic vegetables for flavour rather than aesthetic perfection, and they are left to grow naturally, at their own pace, resulting in wonderful flavour and food you can feel good about eating. Riverford describe their service as ‘like having an allotment of your own, but without the digging’. Sounds good to me.

Price: Start from £10.35 for a small veg box www.riverford.co.uk

Riverford (1)

Something sweet

We love rounding off a meal with a pot of fresh coffee and some indulgent chocolates. These days organic chocolate is pretty easy to come by, but Booja Booja’s organic chocolate truffles are something pretty special. These luxurious morsels are handmade in Norfolk and they contain the very best quality organic ingredients, plus they are dairy, gluten and soya free. Truffles should be served straight from the fridge, directly from the stylish colourful packaging. The ‘Around Midnight’ Espresso Chocolate Truffles and Almond and Sea Salt Caramel varieties have to be tried to be believed.

Price: From around £3 for a twin truffle pack, stockists include independent health food stores, Waitrose, Holland and Barret and Ocado. www.boojabooja.com

Boojabooja

Extra touches

Organic doesn’t have to end at the table; at TOAST we always like to have a lovely hand wash by the sink for our guests to use, and eco brand Faith in Nature have some great organic options. Their luxurious Coconut Hand Wash smells glorious and is a real treat for dry hands, whilst their Aloe Vera Hand Wash is blended with Tea Tree for its cleansing and antibacterial qualities. Faith in Nature say they believe in doing good for their customers, doing good in the way they run their business, and doing good for the planet. Lovely.

Price: £4.19 for 300ml www.faithinnature.co.uk

Faith In Nature

TOAST TIP:

If you’re lucky enough to being going to someone else’s for dinner, then how about an organic gift for the host? Neal’s Yard Remedies have been supplying organic natural health and beauty products since 1981 and recently they have teamed up with plant-based cook and blogger Deliciously Ella to create a lovely range. The Deliciously Ella Rose, Lime & Cucumber Moisturiser is the ideal organic gift this month.

Price: £25, Neal’s Yard Remedies 


The Soil Association’s top tips for going organic in September:

1. Switch to organic milk.  Organic milk is naturally different - no system of farming produces milk with higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids or a healthier balance of omega-6.

2. Eat less, but better, organic meat. Organic animals enjoy the very highest welfare standards of any farmed animals. They are fed a GM free diet and graze on organic pasture where pesticides are severely restricted.

3. Switch to organic beauty. There are currently no legal standards for organic beauty so some products may be labelled 'organic' even if it doesn't always stand true. Look for the Soil Association symbol to make sure that what you put on your body is as important as what goes in it.

4. Sign up for an organic veg box. Organic farms support 50% more wildlife than non-organic farms, so you're not just treating yourself to the best of British produce, you're also helping to protect bees, birds and butterflies.

5. Brew an organic tea or coffee.  Organic tea and coffee is grown without the use of artificial pesticides and fertilisers. This not only reduces the farmers' exposure in the developing world, it also means healthier soils and more habitats for birds and wildlife.

Soil Association 5 Reasons to go organic

Get involved by following @SoilAssociation on Twitter and tweeting using #OrganicSeptember 

 
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