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January 19, 2009

Indonesia Flores from Peet's

I just received this from Peet's -- A special roasting of Indonesia Flores, with only two roasting days. You can see more and order online.

I have taken advantage of these special online-only offers, and they have been wonderful. They ship immediately in a special package that keeps the beans fresh. Here is their email message:

Indonesia Flores

Nice ripe fruitiness and earthy finish. A memorable coffee from one of the least known coffee islands of Indonesia.

We are only offering Indonesia Flores on two roast dates - Jan 21st and Jan 28th.

The island of Flores, 200 miles east of Bali, lies in a vast archipelago of some 18,000 islands stretching from Sumatra, Indonesia to the eastern sovereign nation of Papua New Guinea.

A blessing to Flores' rugged terrain is its numerous volcanoes, the ashes of which create soils for coffee to thrive in. In this remote origin, coffee has traditionally been natural processed – which is to say, dried whole in its "cherry" – and sold into anonymous supply chains for relatively small amounts.

That all changed in 2005 when the Indonesian Coffee & Cocoa Research Institute set out to work with small farmer groups to improve coffee quality and shorten the marketing chain from farmer to supplier. Farmers were taught the lengthy value-added way to process their coffee with the semi-washed method, both transforming the cup quality and returning them a greater piece of the value supply chain.

To start, only two farmer groups participated in this project but by 2007 the price incentive motivated four more to join. In our supplier’s words: coffee quality improvement for smallholding farmers is not only a question of technology, but also social and economic awareness.

We love seeing these examples of quality delivering farmers a better return. We also particularly enjoy introducing you to new coffee origins which deliver such quality beans. The cup has nice ripe fruitiness and that slightly funky, earthen aftertaste of the most interesting Indonesian coffees. If you like these full-bodied, full flavored coffees, try this newly styled cup from one of the least known coffee islands of Indonesia. After a few sips, we think you'll find Flores very memorable.

We are only offering Indonesia Flores on two roast dates - Jan 21st and Jan 28th.

January 16, 2009

Starbucks New Corporate Jet - And labor law Violations

This just in: Starbucks spends lavishly on corporate jet for CEO while cutting back on worker benefits and hours,

The IWW Starbucks Workers Union has issued a statement in response to Starbuck’s expression of its corporate values by purchasing a new $45 million jet for CEO Howard Schultz. Starbucks workers recently won a court victory when the company was found guilty of violating labor laws.
Go read the rest.

January 9, 2009

Urban Homesteader

I read the article (How You Can Start a Farm in Heart of the City) that was quoted by Dave in an earlier post. That is exactly what I am – an urban homesteader. This paragraph is me:

Before you start thinking that you have to move somewhere else to grow your own food, take another look around. With a couple of notable exceptions, American cities sprawl. They are full of wasted space. As a homesteader, you will begin to see any open space as a place to grow food. This includes front yards as well as backyards, vacant lots, parkways, alleyways, patios, balconies, window boxes, fire escapes and rooftops. Once you break out of the mental box that makes you imagine a vegetable garden as a fenced-off parcel of land with a scarecrow in it, you'll start to see the possibilities. Think jungle, not prairie. The truth is that you can grow a hell of a lot of food on a small amount of real estate. You can grow food whether you're in an apartment or a house, whether you rent or own.

Do you have 4' ? 8' feet of open ground? If you don't have a yard, do you have room on a patio or balcony for two or three plastic storage tubs? If you don't have that, then you could get a space in a community garden, a relative or neighbor's house, or become a pirate gardener, or an expert forager -- some of the tastiest greens and berries are wild and free for the taking.

I do exactly what this says. I look around at every available space and wonder why there is nothing growing on it. The concrete triangle of wasted space at the beginning of the street I live on upsets me because there is nothing on it – just concrete. If we owned the house? The grass would be gone bye bye IMMEDIATELY and fruit and veggies would be there. That is why I keep saying I could not live in an apartment and when we move it has to be somewhere with a garden or space for one.

-- Sudeep

Update - This post inspired the creation of a new blog: Growing the Garden

Click the Dog

Click the dog!
Espresso dog

Local Food

We grow some of our own food in a small garden. Our garbage largely goes into a compost pile. This is in a regular neighborhood. So I thought I would pass this along: How You Can Start a Farm in Heart of the City,

Once you taste lettuce that actually has a distinct flavor, or eat a sweet tomato still warm from the sun, or an orange-yolked egg from your own hen, you will never be satisfied with the pre-packaged and the factory-farmed again.

. . . When you grow some of your own food, you start to care more about all of your food. "Just where did this come from?" we'd find ourselves asking when we went shopping. What's in it?

It's not just about flavor and health and quality. It's also about local control and about putting carbon into the air. Food that is shipped means carbon going into the air. Food from a giant supermarket is more money going to the corporate system and away from local farmers.

I stopped buying imported olive oil when I realized that this is something that is very heavy that is being shipped across the planet. What's the point of that?


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