Ask Claire Stewart about the taste of organic food and you don’t get an answer per se, you get a response akin to the feeling of eating the tastiest piece of fruit that you’ve ever eaten.
That’s why she started a business that delivers predominantly certified organic produce, as well as a small selection of biodynamic, locally grown and certified products.
Why is Genevieve Jacobs clutching a bunch of kale? It’s not any ordinary bunch of kale – it’s just one example of the fresh, certified organic produce that’s been arriving on Canberra doorsteps thanks to ARC Organics. Genevieve spoke with Claire Stewart about how the home-grown business is delivering affordable, flavour-packed, locally grown fruit and veg to Canberra households.
Posted by The RiotACT on Monday, 4 November 2019
In the end, though, Claire’s case for organics is pretty simple: “It just tastes better.”
“It makes you feel better and you can feel the difference, probably from the happy flavour buzz you get when you eat something that’s really tasty. The apples are always so crunchy. It’s not a mushy, pale, disgusting tomato that you buy from the supermarket. It’s a proper tomato that takes you right back to your childhood when you might have been picking things out of your parent’s garden.”
Her business is Arc Organics and it all started in March last year with 16 orders for boxes of certified organic fruit and vegetables, sourced from a supplier in Sydney.
Demand has taken off and with the help of Koomari, Claire is now delivering more than 80 boxes a week to Canberra, Queanbeyan, Royalla, Googong and Bungendore.
“It’s no big mystery that food grown naturally is good for you,” says Claire.
“There are plenty of studies out there that show the nutritional content is higher in certified organic food than it is in the food you get from the supermarket.
“You can actually taste the vegetable and not the modification that has been done to it for it to have a longer shelf life or make it look better.”
Claire is passionate about the food she offers, which is always seasonal and fresh. She has strived to make it affordable after being dismayed at the mark-ups on prices in certified organic shops.
“My big focus on pesticide-free, GMO-free, good-tasting certified organic food that is also affordable.
“In Canberra, up until now, it hasn’t been affordable. The mark-ups in the shops are a bit offensive and as a single mum, I just could not afford to shop at the certified organic places.”
Claire also maintains a great relationship with her suppliers and local growers. She often visits some of the farms and has even helped plant next year’s garlic at Ya Ya Garlic at Mulloon near Bungendore. She gets all her leafy greens from Prana Produce, which also makes beeswax wraps and is working on organic dishwasher tablets and dishwashing soap bars, made without toxic chemicals.
This week, Claire is offering a gutsy smoked garlic kraut and Australian cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. She is also stocking a selection of grocery items such as butter, coffee, passata, pasta sauces, coconut oil and balsamic vinegar. Everything is organic.
“Organic is really important to me because I don’t like people playing with my food,” says Claire. “I especially don’t like the chemicals they spray such as glyphosate which is a big no for me.
“This is my calling and I love it, and I’m really looking forward to growing the business in the same way that all of our yummy food does.”
Small boxes are $45 delivered while large boxes are $85 delivered (and there are always some yummy extras thrown in, too).
Orders need to be in by 12:00 midday on Tuesday for packing and delivery on Thursday.
There are also a number of collection points available on Friday in Kingston, Tuggeranong, Wanniassa, Belconnen Mall and Queanbeyan. Collection points are perfect for people working in town or living regionally and who want to enjoy fresh organic produce.