Friday, 9 May 2008

the reason for the grapes..............

just a quick note today as lots to do...
but i had to pop in to respond to a comment left yesterday.

we are strict vegetarians so fruit and vegetables are obviously of huge importance to us!!!
when we lived in Kent we had a massive allotment where we grew all of our vegetables - we ate what was in season and i can honestly say it was the best veg i have ever eaten.
fruit was a different matter entirely - to eat just what we could grow - strawberries, raspberries etc would have meant reducing our fruit intake drastically.

when we moved to Scotland i had no idea how hard it would be to buy fruit and vegetables.
we are currently in rented so cannot grow our own, we have supermarkets near us but use them as little as possible, but to be totally honest we are finding it really hard to be as green as we would like!!

i am totally aware of the fuel it takes to import all these delicious items and the subsequent damage it does to our precious earth.
if i had a choice i would eat only locally grown and in season produce - but it seems that this far North they do not have greengrocers!!!
you can buy a tiny amount of veg from the butchers but this seems to be root veg when in season and cauliflowers, and as a veggie i just will not buy my vegetables from a butchers shop.
you do not see folk selling salad produce or cut flowers from there own gardens at the end of their driveways, there are no farmers markets anywhere near us, and the very limited fruit and vegetables that are available in the supermarkets are frankly pretty awful :(
so at the moment we eat what we can find!!!
we have cut down on our fruit intake and we both feel worse for it - any fruit we do buy is never wasted - and yes i do feel guilty when i look at the packaging it is in and how far it has travelled.

at the moment i am not sure what the answer is - any ideas?
perhaps i should just stick to Jane's rhubarb vodka.......
will that count as one of my five a day?

this post is not meant as a backlash to the comment left, and i am sorry if it seems that way - but i feel that as a household we do a damn sight more than most to recycle and protect.

i am however delighted that on the back of all this so many of you are going to try the shampoo bars - they will not disappoint!
one thing though - do not be tempted to buy the shampoo bar tin - they are useless - the bar gets wedged in and then is a devil to remove.

the other good thing that this discussion has raised is the fact that so many of us do want to make a difference, and are looking at ways to do this.
i think i may start a weekly post looking at a "greener option"
perhaps on the same day each week - it will incorporate all the green build options that we are adding to our house, cleaning tips (of house and bodies!) and anything else i can think of.
if any of you have any ideas or questions please email me

ohhhh - exciting!

right - off to check up on a new addition to Sea House..........
pictures coming soon x

t x


GenerallyGemma said...

First off ((( hugs ))) it isn't easy when you get comments that you feel attack you personally.

Secondly I think that everyone should do what they can, which quite clearly you more than do! However, I think that to expect people to be green at the expense of their health isn't something I can condone. There isn't a great deal of local grown produce at this time of year and I think so long as you do what you can when you can then you are entitled to a bunch of grapes!

Jane said...

I remember reading once about a landowner in the Western Isles I think trying to grow scurvy grass there - this was C19th and it cost a lot to import the seedlings - I shall have to look it up as I've forgotten all the details but it perhaps pertinent here.
I actually don't think that Francoise meant to attack Tracy at all, I just think that comments are a very bald format and don't have a proper tonal range so are open to misinterpretation.
My fruit bowl has bananas and kiwi fruits in it - and that is simply because the children eat them.

Two Crofters said...

just to reassure all - i do not feel under attack - in fact i am delighted that folk are leaving comments about green issues ....
but thank you so much for the hug Gemma - it means more than you know xxx

now - who else is going to be brave enough to voice an opinion?


t x

Two Crofters said...

if i could just stop looking at this computer -

off to the plot in my LPG car :)

fran├žoise said...

Of course, it wasn't a personal attack but rather a comment on the challenge presented by eating green, especially as a vegetarian. ON the contrary,I admire and applaud your dedication to your principles and what it has cost you in dashed expectations to move into your new home.
Below is a mail I exchanged with Jane , and it is my LAST comment on the topic of green grapes!;-)

"Yes, trying to eat ethically can be a quandary, and I am far from perfect in that respect. I grew up in war and postwar Belgium and I remember that summer was a time of almost ceaseless fruit and vegetable canning (or do you say bottling?) and jam making. I still make jam because the berries are so delicious up here but I haven't canned anything since my kids left home two decades ago. It doesn't seem worth the labor. Our apples are harvested in season and then kept in cold, dark, oxygen deprived storage, then released to meet the demand. Probably not ideal for the fruit but they taste nice and fresh all the same.
We also get early harvests from Mexico which come north in big truck. Uhuh, not very eco friendly either. On the other hand, thanks to a more diverse choice at the market, kids today don't get into the endless rotation of cold, earache, bronchitis, strep throat, earache, flu, sinusitis, cough, earache, headache, cold of my childhood. We looked consumptive by April!
My block shampoo arrived today, so I'll give it a try and see how it works for me. Right now the whole house reeks of herbs and exotic butters and oils."

Keep healthy, keep posting, and I'll keep on reading you x
PS for some reason, my new blog url won't kick in. It is

weebug said...

even a little bit helps, i like the idea of a shampoo bar! one of the hardest things for me has been the transition from the huge garden i had when i was a girl, to living in the city with out one. . .

Daniela said...

Hello hmmm nice posts I really love this blog and I specially loooove your dogs. I have never been to Scotland but from the pictures I bet it is a cold place and therefore to harvest fruits and vegetables is hard. I live in Mexico and we are lucky enough to have local fruit and vegetables all year round (when temperature drops to 10 F we are shivering cold), there is a saying that in Veracruz the only thing you have to do is stretch out your hand and eat (because of so much fruit they have!). Unfortunately our government with the TLCAN (neoliberalism) is killing our crops, farmers are leaving their most beloved land and family to go work to the USA (mainly as "brazeros" they pick up USA's crops) all because of selfish policies the Mexican government makes with the USA. Whatsoever being vegetarian is one of the greenest moves you can make, the farm industry releases more gas emissions than cars, you can check out this research paper called “Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options” its from the FAO and here is the link:

fran├žoise said...

Oops, the url is :

Kitty said...

I've been using those shampoo bars for years ... do you remember the company 'Cosmetics To Go'? Forerunner of Lush. Their catalogue was the first time I saw them, and I was intrigued enough to order one. Have used them eversince (especially good when needing to pack to go anywhere).

Take care. x

mollycupcakes said...

Hey Tracy,
I've just sat and read the whole grape saga, not nice.
You just keep doing what your doing and if you have to get grapes from another country then so be it hun. No ones perfect. Even though you are pretty close to it to me ;)
I myself was naughty and didn't check the salard items in our shopping this week and they all come from other countries apart from the tomatos, so now I'll have to do something extra green this weekend to make up for it.
I'm thinking buying some gorgeous shampoo bars for myself, Ben and the girls will make up for it. What do you think?
I'd love to have a veggie plot but sadly we rent too and our garden is the size of a shoe box :( When we buy a place of our own, it's veggies, fruit and chickens all the way. Your our biggest inspiration honey and we love watching all the hard work you and Stephen put in on here. Keep up the good life.
Loads of love.

Catherine and her family x

Lucy Bloom said...

Hi Tracy, thank you for your sweet comments, as for where I put all the stuff - on top of all the other stuff I bought the time before! I don't really have the room for it all but can't help buying - oh well at least it is recycled stuff and not new ;-)
Have a lovely weekend, and give those gorgeous dogs a big hug from me.
Lucy x

Katie twinkles said...

Hello missy,

It's blinkin' hard being Green int it?
My reasoning is that I do what i can which is quite a lot compared to some.
I have been recycling and doing organic stuff all my life because my Dad's an Eco-nut and a war-baby.
we basically grew everythign possible- 'Jerusalem Artichoke wine anybody?'
No no no the Artichokes did not come from Jerusalem-we grew them! In Kent!
We folded every single paper, carrier or other bag that came into our house and re-used every flipping one.
My favourite seasonal phrase is 'save the wrappers'.
I joined Friends of the earth twenty years back and being an arty person I save absolutely every last thing. I am known to stand over people retrieving trimmings. My cupboards are made of empty wine crates.
And so it goes on.
Last year I stayed in an Eco community in Spain and by the end of my visit I found out from the villagers that their green, eating off the land, solar powered, loving and giving existence took them about twenty five times longer than living this crazy life here...
I feel I have the Green Gene running through me well and truly and that in itself is a good thing. in my case my caring for the planet has extended into my work with people too.
I make compromises. Tonight I am drinking Tesco's wine.
Bought simply because my student budget cannot stretch to organic this very day. This could be because I blew the budget on all those organic ingredients with which I am about to make my own facial spritzer for this hot weather!

Poppy Black said...

I'm thrilled about your eco ideas post once a week. I was feeling so virtuous on Sunday after doing lots of fabulous cooking from scratch, but had a massive anxiety headache when I went back to school and totally lost my resolve and got stuck into the chocolate and other naughty stuff. I should do some research on the evils of chocolate production (I'm sure there are some). I'm not sure what the solution for the fruit and veg issue is! Especially when you are not living on your land yet. I guess now would be a great time to start a vege patch. Another good reason to go up to the building site. How do fruit and veges grow in Scotland? Maybe kind friends who are coming to visit could bring a shipment from the south to make their trip even more worthwhile. And you could do lots of preserving, which sounds like fun. Not sure about the sugar situation. Very complex, being green! Hugs to all furry creatures XXX

Barbara said...

I think we all do what we can do within the constraints of our lives.

Some people like shampoo bars, some prefer liquid shampoo.I read a blog this week about using bicarb (I think or was it baking powder) and apple cider vinegar instead of shampoo and conditioner. What about only using water? Which of us is greener based on these choices? Well of course it depends on everything else we do in our lives as well.

I prefer liquid shampoo but I'm vegetarian so does one thing make me green and the other not!

We can't all be super duper eco warriors but we can be good enough eco warriors. In our own way and in our own time.

I remember cosmetics to go Kitty. I loved their products and especially their sand bar!

the flour loft said...

Hi Tracy,
Very topical as gordon ramsay has been speaking this week about the resturant trade and how they should be fined if their foods are not seasonal.Now that's an interesting debate....
I think we have to do what we can and boy you do a lot more than most.
I think for those of us with strong opinions on green issues and low impact living we are almost judged if we fall short. A lady came onto our stand at Hampton Court and asked if our t-shirts were organic cotton. I would have loved them to be but sadly we could not afford them. we were however working with a local printer and supplier. She made a face and i said... well just look around at all the other stuff... we had been recycling fabrics for 6 years into our handmade locally produced products and all new cotton/canvas bags and aprons were despite being double the price per metre of sbp marked sustainable cloth. i was narked!
We do as much as we can and i am always willing to learn and do more.
I am looking forward to your green posts... and please do let me know about these shampoo bars... missed the discussion about those.
... they sound intriging. (Sorry can't spell).
Happy sunny Sunday.
ginny x

Elizabeth said...

Hi - Just a thought (and I expect you've already checked it out), but does anyone offer an organic fruit and veg 'box scheme' in your area?

Love the idea of a 'green' post once a week. I do my best but I'm certain there are lots of things I could do better.

Katy said...

It is hard, I buy local as much as I can, to support our local farmers as much as anything. Farming in the UK has become such a non-profit way of life, and that saddens me. I am not a veggie, but most of my meat is locally sourced, and humanely (which to me is the most important part). I so, so admire you for being so green. You put me to shame, but I think if we all try, even if it is just a bit then we help. And that can't be bad, can it?
Can't wait to see pics of sea house.

Anonymous said...

I recently got to thinking about this for my family -how to home grow as much of the veggies/fruits as possible without relying on the market - just as you said. Wanting to avoid the environmental impact.

Then I read something about some "Grow-Ops" where people grow their own pot in their homes. Lightbulb!

We have this large spare room downstairs that I would absolutely love to turn into a veggie/fruit-op for us. But I still haven't looked into whether or not this has an impact on our house - mold or high humidity (even though we have an air exchanger). Otherwise, I'm interested in building a small greenhouse that will weather well in 16 feet of snow.

Whatever you choose, I hope it's right for you and your family.

For me, I wouldn't mind having a greenhouse full of strawberries, grapes and blueberries. Maybe a raspberry bush, too! Too bad banana, orange and apple trees wouldn't fit :(

Pipany said...

Didn't realise Scotland was quite so bereft of fresh foods - wonder why? Is it the climate - too cold perhaps, though I can't quite see that as the reason? Interesting stuff though Tracy.

Looking forward to your new posts xx

The Devil Makes Work said...

Hi T,

I am also a big fan of the shampoo bars, they're great and really handy.

About the fruit and veg, my parents moved from Fairlight to Scotland and although they were pretty far south compared to you, they had the same problem. In fact, they got pretty fed up and then decided to move down to Lincolnshire.

I must admit that here in Hastings we're very lucky in that we can easily get hold of local produce.

I think that you do so much to be responsible in terms of the environment that it's great, and I think that everyone can do something even if it seems like quite small things, they all add up.

I really admire you for taking the step to move where you have.


Anonymous said...

It's brilliant that everyone does what they can, in whatever circumstances they find themselves.
Just a tiny tip for the renters - we are renting too and can't dig a plot for our veggies. I have planted in containers, enough herbs and salad ingredients for our family. I actually have enough herbs to share with neighbours and friends, but our lettuce, spring onions and tomatoes is just enough for the four of us. It works well, and if we have to move sometime soon, I shall gather up my pots and take them along with me!

Lesley said...

It seems an interesting debate has started thanks to your grapes picture :)
I agree that small steps can make a difference. In an ideal world we would all prefer to have a constant supply of locally or home produced food all year round.
I've been doing a fair bit of reading up on food miles recently and it's frightening how many of our modern day 'staple' foods like coffee, chocolate and rice we would have to do without if we wanted to really cut back on how far our food flies.
Have a look at this article:

....if you fancy taking the next without chocolate!


Kristy said...

Before I start I do understand the importance of buying local and the whole green movement.We recycle as much as we can and compost waste etc.I only buy 'local' (as in British) meat and eggs.Free range of course as is the chicken.Fish is harder to source locally though but we do try.
Where fruit and vegetables are concerned though we probably fall well short of all green expectations.We do not and will not buy from supermarkets unless it's the odd bag of salad. All of our fruit and veg comes from my husbands business.Wait for it you may need to be sitting down with your fingers crossed in front of you...........he is a fruit and vegetable importer.Shocking I know!!
He has a business that employs about 20 people and deals with lots of small independent growers all over the world. So many families livelihoods are based around the growing, exporting, importing and selling of fruit and vegetables.He sells to many of the small independant restaurants and green grocers aswell who definitely cannot buy enough locally to survive in business.The same greengrocers who are constantly under threat from the large supermarkets who force local growers prices down to fill the 'green niche'. I seriously do understand the importance of reducing our carbon footprint but there is also a whole economical side that has to be considered too.Hubby will always bring home British seasonal fruit and veg but he will also bring home whatever is best at the time.
So for us I guess it means weighing up the importance of our carbon footprint against actually been able to provide for our family and those of our staff and suppliers. I really don't think enough fruit and veg will ever be available locally.So there definitely needs to be more done to ensure the importation is as ethical and environmentally friendly as possible.

Kristy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristy said...

Just playing devils advocate here Tracy but is there really any ethical difference from buying fruit and veg from a butchers to buying from a supermarket? They both sell meat don't they? In fact the butchers is likely to be a more ethical choice if they sell local produce isn't it?

Katherine said...

I think once you are in your own place things will improve dramatically as you can grow your own stuff. We've just come back from Orkney (where I grew up) and it is hard to get hold of fresh, local produce but there are people growing strawberries, tomatoes etc during the summer. We are very lucky in Edinburgh that we have a fantastic farmer's market and live round the corner from a city farm so can access some amazing food, which there is a lot of in Scotland, unfortunately it depends on facilities for farmers markets etc where you live as to whether you can get hold of them.

I think you are over in the far n-e, but have you been over to the Hyrdoponicum in Achiltibuie? They grow bananas there, yes, in the Highlands.

I think it's a case of 'do what you can', I know if we move back north we may have to make a few food mile sacrifices for the sake of our health.

Finally, have a look at what some friends of mine are doing with the Fife Diet, an easier thing to do in Fife than in the north, but lots of food for thought (no pun intended!)

jillytacy said...

I'm interested to see what green elements you are putting into your home. I thinking a going green post with green products is a great idea! I'm interested!