Googlasin englanniksi “Muffins recipe” ja valitsin ensimmäisen sivuston “Top 10 Best Muffins Recipes” ja valitsin mustikkamuffinsin, koska siinä nimiraaka-aine voisi olla kotimainen. Resepti ja ohje englanniksi siis tässä. Ohjeessa on tietysti kuppeja ja unsseja; alla olen laskenut ne tutummiksi mitoiksi.
The other week I visited Latvia in order to see organic starch potato harvest and the starch production process at Aloja Starkelsen. You can find my earlier posts last year about the harvest in Finland and the production process at Finnamyl. My purpose was to see and photograph the harvest in Ledurga at Zigmars Logins’ Ozolini ZL organic farm (earlier photograph of his potato field here). However the harvest was postponed to following week as they were still preparing their two 3-row harvesting machines and emptying the warehouse of the organic oats they had harvested a few weeks earlier. Zigmars is Aloja Starkelsen’s biggest organic potato farmer with 55 hectares of organic starch potato. In total he is farming 400 hectares organically. Apart from potatoes his crop rotation includes grain and red-clover.
Aloja Starkelsen has 29 contract farmers for organic starch potato. Apart from a few big farms like Zigmars’ they are smaller farms with just a few hectares of potatoes. One of these is the Segrumi dairy farm just 15 km from the factory. I visit the farm together with Aloja Starkelsen’s agronomist Aiga Kraukle. Segrumi has just 2 hectares of potatoes which they were harvesting. Naturally investment in machinery has to be lower when production is smaller. The old Finnish-manufactured Juko one-rowed potato harvester is pulled by an equally old Belarus tractor. Two men need to work the harvester to ensure that the potatoes flow well into the container. Yield is expected to be almost 20 tons per hectare and the starch content is high this year. We also make a short visit to the farm where the dairy cows are on the pasture. The 2 hectares of potatoes brings the farm an important extra income.
Aiga also shows me around the Aloja factory. Previously I had not visited the factory during the campaign so it is interesting to see the factory in action. Of course the process is the same as at Finnamyl so it all looks familiar. On the Friday I visited the factory the production was conventional. The first organic production will be on Monday 16th September. Finnamyl processed its first organic starch this year on 12th September. We expect normal to good yields in both countries so the outlook for this year is good.
So the organic potato starch harvest and the campaign has started for this year!
During a 10 day visit to the Palestinian West Bank the Finnish organic consultant Erkki Pöytäniemi visited Canaan Fair Trade in Burqin, which is in the northern part of the West Bank close to Jenin. The basic business idea is simple: to produce and export Fair Trade organic olive oil from olives produced by local Palestinian farmers. Erkki with his children were guests of Canaan Fair Trade and its founder Nasser Abufarha for 2 days in June 2013 and found out that there is much more to the Canaan story than that!
The man behind the operation is Nasser Abufarha (picture) who left Palestine back in 1983 to study in the USA. He studied IT, business and anthropology. Finally, after 20 years in the USA, his PhD work took him back to Palestine where he witnessed the increased economic marginalization and cultural isolation of Palestinian communities generally and farmers in particular under Israeli occupation. This realization led to founding Canaan Fair Trade and the Palestinian Fair Trade Association (PFTA) in 2005 and to Nasser Abufarha coming back to his home village Jalame.
The olive tree is the main crop and symbol of Palestine. 80% of farmland in Palestine is devoted to olive trees, which are often over 1,000 years old – and 40% of agricultural income comes from olives. The Palestinian food market is totally ”free-trade”, which means that products from Israel and Israeli settlements flow freely into the Palestinian marketplace, whereas Palestinians have restricted access to resources, including their own land and water or the Israeli market.
10,000 new trees are planted each year through Palestinian Fair Trade Association activities. Palestinian farmers who are caught in the conflict can generally not even cover their harvesting costs with the prices paid for olives on the local market. Therefore paying the farmers a fair price is a major way of empowering the Palestinian rural communities and building sustainable peace. Planting new trees is increasingly important due to the fact that Palestinian farmers constantly lose their land and olive groves as a result of the separation walls and fences built by Israel and due to Israeli settlers and the military uprooting olive trees. Access to water and access to their own land are the key questions for Palestinian farmers.
Palestinian olive groves are largely ”organic” due to lack of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. But a conversion period to “certified organic” is still required. Cultivating olives is extensive, but the olive groves do need to be cared for. For example, the ancient terraces must be maintained. The olive groves and Canaan Fair Trade olive oil is certified organic by Swiss IMO to EU, USDA, JAS and Naturland standards. They are Fair Trade certified by IMO, FLO and Naturland. This is a ”good” example of the multiple certifications required from organic operators in developing countries.
By definition, fair trade is a commercial partnership based on dialogue, transparency and respect. When Canaan Fair Trade started, there was no standard for Fair Trade olives or olive oil, so Canaan Fair Trade initiated the development of the standard. The first Fair Trade standard for oilseeds was published by FLO in 2008. The Palestinian Fair Trade Association consist of 34 co-ops from 43 Palestinian villages and includes some 1,700 farmers and 5,100 hectares (2011), of which 3,200 hectares are also certified organic (the rest is in conversion). Most of the farms – like Palestinian agriculture in general – are located in the northern part of the West Bank around Jenin. The hybrid partnership between a for-profit, mission-driven company, Canaan Fair Trade, and a non-profit organization, the Palestine Fair Trade Association, has worked well to benefit all stake-holders.
On the second day of our visit we met Muhammed and Adil Irshaid on their farm to the south of Jenin in Sir. The 30 hectare farm is managed by four men: Muhammed Irshaid with his father and two brothers. The farm is bigger than the Palestinian farms in general and professionally managed. Employees on the farm benefit from Fair Trade rules. Muhammed Irshaid was recently elected as a new member to the Palestinian Fair Trade Association board. The farm cultivates nine crops, of which olives is most important. Increasingly, almonds have also been planted for the export market. Other crops cater for the domestic market: for example, apples, apricots, and peaches. The Irshaids are open to growing new crops: e.g. they have planted pine trees for producing pine seed.
In total, with the help of its partners, Canaan has invested US$5m (close to €3.8m) in the business, facilities and equipment that include its state-of-the-art facility with the latest technology in olive presses, storage tanks and automated bottling and jarring. We were impressed by the facilities which were introduced to us by Manal Abdallah (see picture). Developing a quality product has also required education of the farmers to supply Canaan with good quality olives. The quality of olive oil mostly relates to how the olives are harvested. Developing their practices has resulted in the proportion of extra-virgin olive oil increasing from 15% at the start of the initiative to currently 80%. Altogether, 80 workshops are arranged for the farmers every year on different topics ranging from olive quality to first-aid.
The West Bank is land-locked by Israel. The port for getting the products to market is Haifa in Israel. Exporting involves quite a few bureaucratic hurdles, so the export of perishables is not an option. Canaan Fair Trade business is now 85-90% about exporting Fair Trade organic olive oil. The biggest market is the USA with the UK and continental Europe following. Also Asia and more recently the Middle East are growing target markets. Most of the product is sold as bulk. However, even the bulk customers like soap manufacturer Dr Bronner in the USA rely heavily on the Palestinian origin and Fair Trade in the marketing and branding of their final product. Recently an increasing proportion of the planted trees are almonds which will be the second important product for export.
Until now the focus of Canaan Fair Trade has been mostly on developing the structures and the results are impressive. Now the focus will be shifted more to marketing and exports. Canaan Fair Trade has a great story to tell, which creates huge potential for developing a brand and sustainable business to the benefit of the Palestinian farming community.
Canaan Fair Trade is by far the biggest organic farming initiative in Palestine but other initiatives exist as well. On another day we had dinner close to Betlehem at the Hosh Jasmin organic farm tended by artist and filmmaker Mazen Saadeh, who combines organic and permaculture methods on the farm. The farm is in the village Wallajeh and is threatened by the Israeli separation fences approaching from both sides. No-one knows yet on which side the farm will end up.
On Saturday we visit a ”Baladi” farmers’ market in Ramalah. Baladi means fresh local food and the Sharaka initiative is trying to connect Palestinian traditional farmers with consumers. We only see the conflict from a distance – but looking more closely reveals a lot of people and initiatives trying to find solutions. Going organic and fair trade could be one part of building peace in the region.
All photos by Erkki Pöytäniemi. More pictures are available at: http://erkki.photoshelter.com/
The article was first published by organic-market.info
In early July on the way to the 7th Ifoam Conference in Vilnius we took the opportunity to visit a few organic farms. First in Estonia close to Rapla we visited the farmer Tõnu Kriisa who produces mainly organic beef on 300 hectares but has also a few hectares of potatoes. He has a small contract with Aloja Starkelsen for starch potatoes – he is one of two Estonian organic farmers producing organic starch potato for Aloja. Tõnu Kriisa is a pioneer of organic farming in Estonia – actually I have met him the first time a long time ago in late 1980’s when he was studying biodynamic farming in Finland.
In Latvia we stopped at Aloja Starkelse and joined the organic farm excursion that was arranged for the board members of the Swedish Lyckeby-Culinar – mostly farmers themselves. Our first visit was to Sigmars Logins in Krimuldas. He has 470 hectares organic cultivation of which 47 hectares organic starch potato for Aloja Starkelsen. On the field we visited he is cultivating the “Kuras” variety which has a good resistance against blight. He expects to get 17-21 tons per hectare harvest.
Our second visit was to Andrejs Hansons and his vermicompost facility where California red worms transform potato pulp and other organic material into compost. The vermicompost is supposed to have a stimulating effect on soil microbiology and it is also hoped that it could to some extent build the plants resistance towards potato late blight. According to Andrejs Hansons just postponing late blight for 1-2 weeks would have great value in terms of starch yield. Andrejs who is the former managing director of Aloja Starkelesen, is also a producer of organic starch potatoes. We visit his fields where there are also impressive field tests for different varieties of starch potatoes and fertilizers including the vermicompost.
Slideshow of the photos from Estonia visits:
Slideshow of the photos from Latvia visits:
More information at organicpotatostarch.com
Our second visit in Turkey was to Kücukkuyu and especially Dedetepe which is also a part of the TaTuTa or Turkish wwoofing network. Even though Dedetepe farm does produce olives it could rather be described as a ecovillage with a very international flavor as it is very popular among wwoofers from other European countries. At the time of our visit the team working at Dedetepe included young people from France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Palestine and of course Turkey. The gallery includes a few photos of Dedetepe; here is the Hamam which of course impressed us coming from Finand, the Sauna-country. Unfortunately we didn’t get to test it. It was hot anyway – which of course for us Finns is not a reason not to go to sauna, but…
The Italian couple Alessandro and Stefanio where responsible for baking and I tried to make a series of the baking process. Even though they used yeast instead of sour dough they where experienced bakers and used a low dosage of yeast and a long leavening process with the whole process from initially preparing the dough to ready baked bread taking 4 hours. Here is Alessandro with the breads out of the oven.
Every Friday the whole group goes down to the open market in Kücükkuyu for shopping the weeks vegetables. They have their favorite growers who are known to use traditional cultivation methods and no pesticides. However none of the growers at the market is certified organic. This lady is number one and she gets to sell quite a few baskets of vegetables to Dedetepe every week.
We also participated in the “Big Jump” to protect European rivers walking up the Mihli river behind Dedetepe to the old bridge with the whole Dedetepe team including people who had just arrived at Dedetepe for a family camp.
Watch the gallery slideshow here:
Tänään lähdimme kohti Isnäsiä kuvaamaan. Kesällä kuvasimme Södra Rönnäsin lampaita laitumella, nyt kuvasimme uuhia Samuli Närin “kasvihuone”-lampolassa. Siitä tässä muutama kuva.
Kävimme myös jouluruokaostoksilla Labbyn puodissa ja kuvasin samalla pihapiiriä ja karjaa jaloittelutarhoissa.
Lopulta poikkesimme vielä Malmgårdin joulumarkkinoilla, jossa tapasimme nuoren isännän Henrik Creutzin.
We will hold a 1-day photo exhibition at the Farmers Market (Maalaistentori) at “Kellohalli” in Helsinki putting up some 15 photos. I’ve shown a few candidates in the previous posts and here is one more. I took this photo at Ikaalisten Luomu (Organics of Ikaalinen) which is probably the biggest organic greenhouse in Finland. Quite a few salads in the room.
Please preorder our book “Tales of Organcs in Finland” here.
Hermanni Huhtala has over 100 hectares of organic starch potatoes cultivated on his farm in Kauhava, Western Finland. In total he has an organic farm with over 500 hectares making his farm one of the biggest organic farms in Finland. The average size of an organic farm in Finland is 48 hectares which is significantly more than the average for conventional farms. 9% of the field area in Finland is certified organic.
The potatoes are processed to starch at Finnamyl Oy factory in Kokemäki on Thursday – so you can expect a new story from there later this week. Organic is still just a small part of Finnamyl’s potato starch production and therefore they have an organic production run only on three days.
This organic potato field is 1 km long.
The potato harvester handles 4 rows at a time.
The farmer Mr Hermanni Huhtala is operating the machine. Finnamyl CEO Mr Ossi Paakki is following how the harvest proceeds.
At the end of the row the harvester has to be emptied. Next Thursday these potatoes will have turned into white potato starch at the Finnamyl factory.