About our use of organic products

Organic ingredients are good for the soil and for nature. Being 100% organic would be wonderful, but in reality is impossible without severely restricting choice or charging you significantly more. We buy organic as much as we can but there are various instances where it is unworkable:

Organic ingredients are frequently double or triple the price. The only way to use such ingredients is to charge a significantly higher price on the menu. There are very few people in a small town willing to pay for that – they want a price roughly comparable with other similar cafes.

There is a fairly random collection of ingredients where we cannot find organic versions: Star anise, Aleppo pepper flakes, sweet paprika, sugar and sweetener sachets (but we can supply you with organic sugar from the kitchen – just ask), filo pastry, gluten-free flour, various barista-standard alternative milks.

• Pastries (we’d rather leave their production to the experts but have not yet found any decent organic ones)
• Smoothies (while we could source various organic fruits, chop them up, and store them in a freezer with special compartments, the labour cost of doing so is to high. So we have to buy ready-chopped frozen fruit, which generally is impossible to get as organic).
• Very few suppliers are organic and can supply several times a week to the small town of Stroud. Suppliers also tend to be either fully organic or fully non-organic and although it would be ideal to pick and choose between such suppliers, it’s too labour-intensive to do so and creates problems with minimum order quantities stipulated by those suppliers.

Some organic items are lower in quality. This could increase costs further if more wastage is created. The alternative is to give the lower quality item to the customer but very few people would accept this "just because it’s organic”.

Sometimes the organic version is out of stock from our suppliers, or we have to dash out to local shops and organic isn’t always available.

Sometimes organic supplies are only available from abroad when a non-organic product is available more locally with fewer food miles. We may use the local equivalent if we feel that on balance it is the most sustainable thing to do. We also support some small local cake makers who are semi-organic.

What do you think about organic food? Do let us know!

Unless where supply issues occur, the following are always organic:
Our house coffee
Various soft drinks
Baking ingredients such as flour, nuts, seeds, dried fruit
Sauces e.g. ketchup
Tinned items like baked beans, tinned tomatoes, chickpeas
Lemons (the zest, used in cakes, is sprayed with Imazalil on non-organic lemons)
Spinach (can contain high chemical residue)
Mixed fruit
Various other items – this list is work in progress

Some items are “not officially organic” – they can’t afford the certification. Our teas fall into this category.

Other ethical concerns

Our almonds don’t come from California (where monoculture is causing diseases amongst bees).
Most of the soy we use is in the form of “milk”, and that comes from France.
We don’t deliberately use palm oil but some vegan items use it, particularly margarine. Our suppliers, Suma, are careful about their sourcing. 

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