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10 July 2017

The calves in the picture arrived today from another organic farm, and are part of a long term experiment in cooperation with another producer whereby he will sell us surplus calves and we will finish them for sale in the butchery. These ones are twelve weeks old and should be ready in a couple of years.

The Hadza, or Hadzabe, are an indigenous ethnic group in north-central Tanzania, living around Lake Eyasi in the central Rift Valley and in the neighboring Serengeti Plateau. The Hadza number just under 1,000. They are one of the very few hunter gatherer peoples still in existence. This very existence is threatened by encroaching land clearance for farming, tourism and the lure of ‘civilization.’ They featured in Dan Saladino’s Food Programme over the last couple of weeks. Described as always hungry but never starving, scientists are becoming entranced by the sheer number of bugs that live in their guts. There is evidence that seems to suggest a connection between the huge variety of foods the Hadza eat and the complete absence of many western diseases that keep the NHS so busy. The obvious rejoinder to this is that the Hadza die so young from other things that they don’t have time to succumb to the diseases of Western excess. It was an interesting programme and asked more questions than it answered. Nevertheless, so many diseases seem to result to some extent from bad diet that I wished them well in their research – anything that leads to a realistic prospect of spending less money on the NHS has got to be a good thing. (Don’t forget that when the NHS was started, they forecast that the cost of it would diminish as the nation’s health improved.) I also wish the Hadza well – they seemed nice people.

Which brings me seamlessly onto the humble blackcurrant, of which we grow quite a few, but sell hardly any. Blackcurrants contain eight times the anti-oxidants contained in that bland American import the blueberry. They also make the most wonderful jam and are exquisite in blackcurrant crumble. Both of these delights contain sugar, which as such is unknown to the Hadza.  Sweetness however is something they crave and an important part of their diet is honey when they can get a hold of it. Apparently they will absolutely stuff themselves with up to 15000 calories at a sitting! They are certainly in no position to criticize me for eating jam or crumble. We also are harvesting gooseberries, and raspberries and possible red currants later in the week. It’s a short season – make the most of it.

Finally, in yet another incredible demonstration of synchronized birthing, two of the sows on the farm walk have produced piglets. It’ll probably be a week or two before they come close enough to the lane for you to actually see them, but in the meantime, Hein has posted a video on Facebook.

See you soon.