Sunday 20 May 2012

Dreams, determination and vegetable juice - an inspirational cocktail(tale)

There are few experiences as inspiring as being in the company of someone who is living his dream, for whom sacrifices come easy and who thrives on “making difficult tasks easy”. One such person is Søren Ejlersen, co-founder of Aarstiderne and main attraction this past Wednesday evening at Books & Company in Hellerup.

Followers of this blog will be acquainted with Søren and his vision for Aarstiderne, but what truly came across to an engaged and interested audience this week, was not just how proud Søren is of Aarstidernes accomplishments thus far, but more what it looks like when someone has a dream (one that may seem farfetched and even at times includes a shift in fundamental societal thinking) and just seems to constantly have his eye on the ball and not waver despite what at times seem like pretty serious opposition and doubt.

What we know about Aarstiderne and what we will of course continue to include in this blog regularly is the food, the produce, the ideas and the concept behind the boxes, the producers and you, the customers.
What may not come across as often, because we don’t have a personal stake in it (yet) or are not (yet) involved in, are the “other” parts of the Aarstiderne vision.

Søren believes strongly in the need for an increased and strengthened connection between people and nature. He believes that it is only through a stronger connection with and a deeper understanding of nature that we will be able to keep the earth intact for future generations.

One of the ways he sees the creation of these stronger ties is through direct participation in the planting and harvesting of the produce we eat. Not that we should all give up our jobs, our lives and our creature comforts and move to the countryside, but perhaps by spending just a couple of hours a month in nature, on a farm, planting, tending to and harvesting our own vegetables and fruits. It sounds simple, yet we don’t do it. The challenge for Søren will be in actually getting us all out there.

What is more doable and indeed being done is another of Søren Ejlersen’s favorite projects - Haver til Maver (Gardens to Bellies) project. The best place to start when dreaming of a better future for us all, is of course to look to those with whom the future rests, our children. With Haver til Maver  school children arrive at the farm in Krogerup, jointly choose a plot of land, do a "worm dance" that brings out - yes you guessed it - the worms, plant their vegetables and come back about 8 times throughout the year to tend to, harvest and finally cook and enjoy their final product.

As Søren was leaving the farm on Wednesday to join us at Books & Company, 100 or so such students were on their bikes riding home after having cooked potato pizzas in the outdoor pizza ovens! Now, who can argue with that?
And then, of course, there were the juices. Juices, juices, juices. We were treated to the most delicious juices and to think that they were also extremely healthy……Aarstidernes juice book will be out in October just in time for cold season!

A few tips from Søren: Don’t worry about the loss of fiber when juicing, just appreciate the great amounts of vitamins and minerals that come from the juice and eat a carrot for fiber!

Also, if possible, use a “slow juicer”, as this type of machine does not oxygenate the vegetables, keeping them fresher, longer.

And here are a few of the blends we enjoyed:

The brain booster
100 gr. large leafed Spinach
2 pears,
10 gr. ginger
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

The blood cleanser that also increases your oxygen intake
1 Beet root
1 apple
4 gr. horseradish
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon or lime

And a couple that were just really tasty
1 red pepper
1 pear
Lemon juice
a bit of ginger
1/2 kg carrots
3 apples
Lemon juice
ginger to taste (app 10 gr.)
We will, of course, tell you much more about the juice book closer to publication, but one thing is for sure, you will never look at your vegetables in quite the same way again!

“When every one of our customers grows his or her own vegetables, then we’ll know we’ve made it”, Søren said.

Well…..fortunately for those of us who have yet to plant a carrot, it looks like Aarstiderne will be around for a while!

Text by Isabella Mousavizadeh Smith
Photographs by Sally McWilliam and Isabella Mousavizadeh Smith

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