I recently had the opportunity to work with two locally New Zealand made artisan food brands when I was asked to create a recipe that would incorporate the two. The end product – this Raw carrot and Ginger Syrup slice with Raglan Coconut Yoghurt frosting. It was definitely a crowd pleaser and being raw, and free of gluten, dairy, refined sugar and grain, it was also somewhat guilt free.
Yes, it was delicious and made it onto the blog as a feature recipe (a large percentage of my experimentations do not), but it did get me thinking. Am I being a socially conscious consumer? Living in New Zealand, I would like to think we are lucky enough to be exposed to a number of locally produced, New Zealand made products, but let’s face it… we still, all too often find ourselves purchasing from the larger, often international corporate producers… which led me to my next question. Why is it important that I choose to buy local, New Zealand made over non-local?
There are the obvious economic benefits, cutting out the middle man would mean that there is more money thrown into the local, New Zealand economy, benefitting the smaller producers, and ultimately us the consumer. Great – this one is a win-win!
Then there’s the reduction in international transportation and importation costs – yes, it would be nice to do away with those. Not to mention the number of processes these products would need to go through before they are able to even hit our supermarket shelves – pest eradication, produce preservation procedures etc. I’m sure there’s a whole lot that goes one here that I’m not even aware of.
This then, leads directly into the big scary issue of environment-destroying, and energy-wasting shipping – I may not be able to eradicate climate change all on my own, but each decision I make may certainly help the process even at a local level. Why purchase a product that has literally been shipped from the other side of the world when I can purchase a locally grown product right here? Sure, if I can’t get it here, then that’s a slightly different story, but energy conservation is certainly something I’m keen to be conscious of, after all, it’s up to me to ensure my children are aware of what they can do to preserve their environment.
There are also the more personal reasons for why supporting local products is better. I certainly prefer walking into a locally owned store and being greeted by a happy and welcoming face over being just a number at a large internationally owned supermarket and often having to serve myself at the self-serve check out, because, let’s face it, the lady at the check-out won’t know or recognise me anyway.
So, after having a little think about what buying local actually means to me, I think I will be making an effort now to be socially conscious and support the local New Zealand made businesses that have actual human beings crafting products with tender loving care.
Before jumping into the recipe, I thought I would share a little bit about the two wonderful New Zealand made brands that feature in it.
A little bit about Raglan Coconut Yoghurt: Raglan Coconut yoghurt began as a local start-up in, you guessed it, ‘Raglan’ New Zealand, and the owners, Tesh Randall & Seb Walter intend to keep it that way – local. Despite expanding exponentially in the last 12 months, the yoghurt is still made and produced in Raglan. Now stocked in over 200 stores across the country, this thriving little local business serve dairy free, probiotic yoghurt to happy New Zealanders, even using local Raglan hives to source their fresh manuka honey. The contents of these creamy jars of goodness are really a true treat for any tastebud. If you haven’t tried it already, you really must. Check out the Raglan Coconut Yoghurt Website, and just as a side note, I love that they LOVE bees!
A little bit about Hakanoa Hand-made: What started out as the sale of a few bottles of hand-made ginger beer from a van on the side of the road, has now turned into an artisan recognized brand. Rebekah Hay started the home-made brew of flavoured ginger beer in 2009, and in 2010 created the Ginger Syrup that along with the ginger beer today features in the mugs of happy customers across some of Auckland’s landmark cafes. Hakanoa prides itself in the practice of sustainable local business principles; employing solo parents in school friendly hours, using organic fair trade ingredients wherever possible and recyclable materials for packaging. Check them out here.
- 1/3 cup Coconut Oil (melted)
- 1 cup Coconut Yoghurt
- 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- Lemon Zest (half a lemon)
- ½ cup desiccated coconut
- 1 ½ cups desiccated coconut
- 1 cup walnuts
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup dates – soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2 carrots (grated)
- Juice of half a lemon
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp Hakanoa hand-made Ginger Syrup
- Place everything but the melted coconut oil in a food processor, once combined, slowly add the melted coconut oil while the food processor is on a low setting.
- Remove from the food processor and set aside.
- Place everything but the grated carrot in the food processor, pulse to combine. Add the carrot, and process again to combine loosely.
- Line a 9 inch tray with baking paper, leaving enough over the edges to lift and pull the slice away. Firmly press down the slice mixture and spread evenly over the tray.
- Spread over the Coconut Yoghurt Frosting evenly with a spatula.
- Place the slice in the freezer for 2-3 hours to set.
- This slice is best kept in the freezer, and slices best 5 mins after being removed from the freezer. It will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.