Reko farmer's market in Hilton, South Africa, means fair-consumption, endeavouring to produce wholesome, organic fruit and vegetables and many other edibles.
The concepts behind ‘organic’ food are wonderful, grown without toxic chemicals and utilising natural fertilisers, but in today’s dishonest world, it has become an almost meaningless term. It’s just another marketing tool of dubious value.
Reko is a Finnish trading movement meaning ‘fair consumption.’ It enables you to meet directly with producers so that you can assess for yourself just how nutritious and healthy these foods are.
In the main it consists of small-scale farmers, dairymen, bakers, beekeepers, jam-makers and so on. You can buy ‘organic’ chickens, ducks and eggs, different cheeses and yoghurt, smoked meat, free-range pork and even a game farmer.
You can pre-order on Facebook, and in fact some producers insist on it. Signing up is made very easy. Some have excess products that you can buy on the day, but it is certainly not assured. The farmer will bring say 65 litres of milk and fifteen lettuces knowing that he will not have to take any back home. Food wastage is greatly decreased.
In each case you get to meet the producer yourself and you can ask ticklish questions like ‘where do you get the fat to put in your sausages’, and ‘do you use sodium nitrite as a preservative?’ Is the flour used to bake this bread grown organically; one interesting question was, ‘is this honey organic?’ Or to rephrase it, can you guarantee your bees only visited flowers that were organically grown? Well, no, of course not!
There is an administrative council that is not always popular as they try to negotiate this nightmare but the basic concept is that reselling is not allowed, but even there is conflict to be found. Was the sugar used to make the gooseberry jam grown organically? They do their best to ensure that in the main it is a market where you can find fresh, healthy local produce.
It is not perfect, perfect doesn’t exist, but my experience is that they are in the main honest people doing their level best to produce the best food they possibly can and, where there are compromises, they will be candid about it. And you can meet the producer every week in person and ask your questions.
There are three Rekos in our area; in Hilton, Howick and Nottingham Rd. Type Reko Hilton into Facebook to find out what is available and who is producing it. Shopping out of doors means less threat from the virus. It is palpably a happy place.
By and large Reko is not cheap. Don’t come expecting to find bargains, though you will get them occasionally. Producing fresh vegetables, ethically produced dairy products and food grown in compost without inorganic fertilisers and toxic poisons takes attention to detail and hard work. Expect to pay more; it’s worth more, a lot more.
No “Roundup Ready” seeds are planted so the small producers actually weed their veggies themselves; obviously some have helpers. Genetically modified foods are discouraged by the Administrators but in many situations it is difficult to be absolutely certain how the sugar, wheat and chickpeas are grown.
During the recent unrest Reko really came into its own, providing huge amounts of food and stretching producers to the limit.
Type Reko Notties into FB, click on Join Group, you don’t even have to answer the questions and your membership will be approved within a day. You have 3/4 hour on a Thursday to fetch your fresh produce. Even if you don’t buy initially, it’s worth a visit just to see what is available.
Cheese, good bread and honey, you'll find all of them at Reko Farmers' market.
Reko farmer's market is based on a Finnish concept; mostly you need to pre-order online.
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