When you think Organic Times, think certified organic and delicious!
Organic Times is an ethically driven, food loving, Australian-owned family business based in Melbourne, Victoria, in operation since 1999. We provide an extensive selection of only the best certified organic products available including:
Fair trade couverture chocolate
Feel good confectionary
Ethically sourced pantry staples
Grass-fed butter, ghee and milk powder
Being certified organic means all our products are grown and produced without using synthetic chemicals (such as pesticides and artificial fertilisers), no GMOS, no exposure to irradiation and where animal welfare and environmental sustainability are also priorities.
Being Organic Times means all our products are also of the highest quality, free from palm-oil, fair-trade where applicable and packaged in locally produced and printed recycled cardboard when possible.
Our brand is for the ethically and environmentally conscious consumer, family and business who seek great tasting wholesome food products that doesn’t compromise their health or our planet.
We source Australian and international organic ingredients from ethical farmers and partners who share the same standards and beliefs as us. These strong and established relationships have been built over time with hard-work, respect and loyalty.
Supported by our team and family of dedicated and customer focused staff, our operations include manufacturing, contract manufacturing, ingredient sourcing, wholesale distribution and an information rich website and online store.
Organic Times was established in 1999 by two close-knit cousins, Lawrence and KC, back in a time when organic products were only found in health-food stores or the health-food aisle of the supermarket.
Growing up in the inner city of Melbourne, they spent most of their youth at the Queen Victoria Market and their family speciality grocery stores, where they both developed a strong sense of family and love of quality food.
In adulthood, focused on ethical business and sustainability, they worked in senior positions for a leading Australia Health Food company, which gained them insight into the health industry and the benefits and necessity of eating organic foods.
With this knowledge and their passion for tasty food, it only seemed natural for them to venture out on their own and create a trusted household brand known for making organic products for everyday people just like us, for foodies who are mindful of the environment and good health, but also see food as one of life’s greatest pleasure, where taste and flavour are also paramount.
We dreamt of bringing a more natural, organic alternative to the confectionary market. With just enough capital and loads of passion, that dream came true.
That was back in ’99 and ever since it has been our mission to provide you a high-quality, better-for-you version of your favourite staples and indulgent goodies. We all enjoy a sweet treat from time-to-time, and we want you to enjoy the simple pleasures of food without harmful chemicals, GMOs and artificial preservatives and additives.
We believe in building lasting relationships whilst engaging in environmentally sustainable practices. The farmers we work with, both locally and our international fair-trade partners, care about natural cycles and use true, sustainable farming methods to work in harmony with nature.
Organic agriculture and production is not just healthy for you, it’s vital and environmentally beneficial to the natural eco-system of our planet.
We provide support to numerous conservation organisations dedicated to helping our environment and animal welfare, including World Wildlife Fund (WWF – Australia) and The Orangutan Project (TOP).
Supporting WWF – Australia.
As members of the WWF Australia since 1999, we have been providing a monthly donation for more than 19 years, to support WWF’s global mission to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment. Our money goes to helping WWF achieve the following:
Prevent dangerous climate change by reducing our ecological footprint
Protecting Australian threatened species and their habitats
Build national network of marine life sanctuaries and parks
Saving iconic creatures like the orangutan, tiger and giant panda.
According to WWF Australia, the demand for palm oil plantation has destroyed vast swathes of rich, green rainforest, threatening the habitats of endangered species like orangutans, elephants, rhinos and tigers and robbing Indigenous people of their land and livelihoods. Other environmental fall-out attributing to palm oil include: air, soil and water pollution, soil erosion and climate change.
The Orangutan Project (TOP)
Organic Times currently supports 2 programs run by The Orangutan Project:
Adopt an Orangutan
We have proudly added two members to our OT family by adopting 2 orangutans within TOP’s Adopt an Orangutan Program. Our guardianship supports jungle school training, food and medical costs and intensive post- release monitoring to ensure they are both free, safe and thriving in their jungle home.
By donating to the Save Forest Program we are helping to save the orangutan species by saving their remaining forest habitat. The program provides Wildlife Protection Units, Orangutan Rescue Units and Wardens who patrol the forest and keep it protected from illegal loggers and poachers. For every single ranger employed, over 20 orangutans can be protected each year. Our monthly donations help to protect 4km² and six orangutans’ habitat.
According to The Orangutan Project, every hour 300 football fields of precious remaining forest is being ploughed to the ground across South East Asia to make way for palm oil plantations. In the last 20 years, over 3.5 million hectares of Indonesian and Malaysian forest have been destroyed to make way for palm oil. Due to this, almost 80% of orangutan habitat has disappeared in the last 20 years. We are losing over 6,000 orangutans a year and there are now only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the world.
In 2013, female orangutan Sam was rescued from appalling conditions in a Malaysian zoo. After initial care at the SOCP Orangutan Quarantine Centre in North Sumatra, she was soon transferred to the Bukit Tigapuluh (BTP) rehabilitation and release program in Jambi.
Despite her tough start in life, we wanted to give Sam every chance to live in the jungle. We knew this would be a long journey since she had spent her whole life in captivity. Sam was housed in a pre-release enclosure and began her rehabilitation journey. This included being given forest foods such as fruits, leaves and termites to eat and foliage to learn how to build a nest. She could also watch and learn from other orangutans nearby climbing in the canopy and foraging as they participated in forest school outings.
Then, in 2015, we were surprised and excited to discover that Sam was pregnant to a released and now wild orangutan named Rocky. However, Sam’s pregnancy changed everything. Despite her progress and plans to release her in the near future, Sam would be too vulnerable to return to the wild while pregnant and for some time after the baby’s birth.
Little Cupcake was born in June 2015 and Sam has been a devoted and attentive mother. She has successfully nursed baby Cupcake and introduced him to solid food by first chewing it and then passing it to Cupcake to eat. Cupcake is an active, cheeky and adventurous little boy! The pair have been working towards freedom and a new life, by learning the skills they’ll need for independence and survival in the wild.
This information is courtesy of The Orangutan Project.
A few years ago, Ghee took the health and nutrition world by storm, quickly growing in popularity for its amazing health benefits…. And it was for very good reasons.
Ghee is made when butter is boiled, and the milk solids have been separated and removed. Once set, the remains of the butter without the milk solids is known as Ghee. This cooking process not only removes the lactose and casein from the butter but also gives the ghee a nutty enhancement to its flavour, making it perfect for savoury dishes or slathered on toast.
The word Ghee translates to ‘fat’ in Hindi and has been used for cooking in India and other Asian countries for thousands of years and for a while, was given a bad wrap because of its high fat content. However, this ancient product has made a come-back of late due to being packed full of vitamins and minerals, that your body needs to function well.
It was previously thought that the high level of saturated fats in Ghee would increase your risk of heart disease, but evidence shows that in fact it has the opposite affect. So, what are all these benefits that have made this product so popular in the ‘health world’?
Removes the impurities and lactose –
In the straining process, the common dairy allergens – lactose and casein are removed from the final product. This makes ghee the perfect substitute for people that are intolerant to dairy and lactose.
High smoking point
The removal of impurities and certain compounds found in butter removes the burning products, increasing the high smoking point. This means that the fats left behind keep their chemical integrity and the phytonutrients, which prevent the fat from oxidizing into harmful byproducts, don’t break down. This is what makes ghee perfect for cooking roasts, stir-fries and popcorn and even your baking!
Good for Heart Health
Ghee is high in conjugated linoleic acid, other wise known as CLA, which is a fatty acid that has proven to protect against carcinogens, artery plaque, and one study even showed that it could assist to prevent diabetes (Chinnadurai et al, 2013). Because of these high levels of CLA it is ghee has been linked with preventing cardiovascular disease. One study on men in rural India found that those that ate higher amounts of ghee had lower incidences of heart disease (Sharma et al, 2010).
Low in cholesterol
The high fat content of ghee was often thought of as bad fats and cholesterol. However more recently, studies have shown that ghee is high in HDL, or ‘good’ cholesterol (Chinnadurai et al, 2013). HDL acts to reduce the effects of cholesterol and can also help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Packed with fat soluble vitamins
Ghee is packed with vitamin A, E and K which are all play a very important in maintaining healthy skin and more importantly good vision. These vitamins are fat-soluble, making ghee the perfect carrier to help them absorb easily into your gut lining.
Loaded with Butyrate
Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid that has been found to inhibit inflammation in some studies as well as helping to maintain healthy insulin levels. Our bodies produce this short chain fatty acid when you eat a high-fibre diet, so the extra boost of butyrate in Ghee can help to increase your gut micro biome for a healthy digestive tract (Rivière, A et al, 2016).
In a lot of cases it can be a great substitute for butter and other oils. Though it is important to remember it is still high in fat, no matter how healthy too much of anything can be bad for us. So enjoy in moderation on your organic time popcorn, delicious roast dinner or use it in your baking!
Chinnadurai et al, 2013. High conjugated linoleic acid enriched ghee (clarified butter) increases the antioxidant and antiatherogenic potency in female Wistar rats. National Dairy Research Institute. 12:121
Rivière, A et al, 2016. Bifidobacteria and Butyrate-Producing Colon Bacteria: Importance and Strategies for Their Stimulation in the Human Gut. Frontiers in Microbiology. 7: 979
Sharma et al, 2010. The effect of ghee (Clarified butter) on serum lipid levels and microsomal lipid peroxidation. Journal of Research in Ayruveda. 31(2): 134-140
Palm-Oil Free & Approved
Organic Times products have always been palm-oil free, and we are proud to say we are now POI approved.
We aim to bring you only the best sustainable and ethical products, so it is no surprise that Wildlife Conservation is important to us. With our high ethical standards and our love for the welfare of animals comes the promise that we never use palm oil. The palm-oil industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights.
Being POI approved means:
We have passed POI’s stringent ingredient checks for our products to be verified as completely palm oil free.
POI monitor our products to ensure our products remain completely palm oil free.
We support the initiatives of POI and in partnership work to provide ethical, palm-oil free products.
The effects and usage of Palm Oil
Indonesia is being deforested faster than any other country in the world, and it has everything to do with one product: palm oil. Large areas of tropical forests and other ecosystems with high conservation values have been cleared to make room for oil palm plantations, essentially killing the biodiversity of the ecosystems that they replace.
Palm Oil is used in around 50% of products consumers purchase and used daily. The derivatives of palm oil otherwise known as fractions of the oil are used in the manufacture of pre-packaged food, cosmetics, cleaning products, hair care, soaps and personal care items. Palm Wax is used in the manufacture of candles.
The food industry is responsible for 72% worldwide usage of palm oil.
Clearing rainforests to make way for plantations has taken a heavy toll on local communities, destroyed natural habitats for endangered species, and become a critical factor in climate change. Replacing natural forests with palm oil plantations vastly diminishes the ability of vegetation to capture and store carbon dioxide. It’s estimated that deforestation contributes up to 20 percent of global warming.
About Palm Oil Investigations (POI)
Founded in 2013, POI is a voluntary not-for-profit organisation focused on raising awareness and educating us on the impacts of unregulated Palm Oil production and how often it is used in every day household products. The aim of the organisation is to educate consumers on how to identify palm oil content in products and inform consumers about the certification status used in such products. By finding, investigating and exposing products that hide palm oil as an ingredient to consumers, POI is helping us to make better choices.
To find out more about POI and the amazing work they do, go to their website.
Fair Trade is a partnership based on transparency and respect that seeks justness in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions and rights to producers and workers. Backing fair-trade means you make a difference through your choices. Your demand for fair-trade will extend the reach to marginalised producers in earning a fair and sustainable livelihood.
Fair trade is a way to buy and sell produce, from ‘developing’ countries, that allows farmers to earn what they deserve for their labour, under suitable working conditions. When chocolate companies pay fair prices for cacao/cocoa, this helps eliminate child labour. Workers are treated well, so children aren’t forced to work and can go to school.
Fair trade is about:
Decent working conditions
And fair terms of trade for farmers and workers
Our chocolate, rapadura sugar, and any relative products are fair-trade. The Hand in Hand fair-trade programme works collaboratively with local, fair-trade partners, looking after farm workers’ rights and well-being through education and support; creating economic self-sufficiency, while protecting the natural ecosystem and encouraging biodiversity. Organic production and fair-trade are inextricably linked: what’s better for the planet has to be better for the people living and working on it.
If you’re interested in further reading about fair trade, the World Fair Trade Organisation (WTFO) has developed 10 fair trade principles that must be followed to ensure accountability.
“We have not inherited the Earth from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children.” Lester Brown
Since establishing our business in 1999, we have been committed to producing products that are organic, high quality, tasty, sustainable and ethical. Being certified organic allows our practices and processes to be checked and scrutinized by an independent body. Our certification gives us the confidence that we are providing organic products to world with integrity. Putting the NASAA certification mark on our packaging enables consumers to buy with the knowledge that Organic Times complies with strict Organic Standards. Certification is also important to us because we believe it adds another step in the chain, to have a third party authority sign-off and provide extra assurance and peace of mind that our organic ingredients are produced and grown without the use of nasties, such as herbicides, pesticides, artificial fertilizers, chemicals, hormones, genetically modified organisms and frighteningly more……
Basically NASAA has a set of rules and regulations, which is called Organic Standards, This is a handbook for operating under certification. It includes labelling requirements, list of prohibited products etc.
Annually we are required to complete an Operational Handling Plan (OHP), which outlines our processes and activities ensuring we adhere to the NASAA Organic Standards. This also includes a physical inspection of the operations and products and an audit on ongoing records on inputs vs outputs of all certified ingredients. As well, there is ongoing record keeping and compliance data to provide throughout the year. Any new ingredients introduced must be pre-approved by NASAA, any new recipes and packaging using the NASAA logo also needs to be approved. NASAA periodically runs test product on the retail shelves.
NASAA certification also provides its operators with other resources to help with our business. Such as keeping us informed with relevant issues etc. Refer to their website for more info.
Mono-cropping is the practice of planting large plots of land, year after year, with the same crop. This practice leaves the soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients, as there is no natural diversity of plant life. To make up for this, chemical fertilisers are used. Ironically, crops are also more susceptible to pests, making farmers more reliant on pesticides. These chemicals are ingested by you, the consumer, and also the farmers who mange the crops, not to mention the hazardous environmental effects they’re instrumental in.
In fact, cacao trees grown in open crops are known to be one of the most highly sprayed crops, as they’re highly susceptible to pests. However, organic cacao trees are grown using no chemicals, within their natural ecosystem. Organic farming begins with the nourishing of the soil which then leads to the nourishment of the plant and ultimately the flavour and goodness of the food. Natural growing conditions promotes biodiversity and decreases the incidence of disease.
Food choices you make now will impact on future generations’ health.
The Value of Cooking with Kids
My mother never played blocks with me. She never sat down on the floor and played dolls. Instead, I would sit on the kitchen bench as young as two and cook with her. At two I was using my thumb to make imprints in cookies for jam drops. At three, I was rolling out hot cross buns for Easter. And as soon as I could hold a knife, I was chopping soft veggies, mixing cake batter, and cutting out cookies. I learnt from a very young age, that food is something to be cherished, enjoyed among family and friends and is something much more than just nutrients.
As home cooking has decreased, the consumption of fast food has increased exponentially over the last 10 years. With that we see the rise in children being unable to cook when they leave home, an increase in obesity and chronic diseases (Gibbs et al, 2013). A recent study found that children that were taught to cook from a young age and assisted in the preparation of the meals they ate were more likely to eat a wider range of fruits and vegetables (Hercsh et al, 2014).
To get children in the kitchen, you don’t have to start with anything complex.
Invest in a child safe knife and get them to chop veggies, make scrambled eggs or roll out cookies or bliss balls for a school lunch treat. Cooking with children can be hard and it can be messy – there is no denying it requires a bit of patience. However, the value they get from being in the kitchen, learning about food from young age is invaluable and something they will hold on to for a lifetime.
Start with just once a week, set out little tasks for them, let them ask questions; feel the ingredients and textures that they are later going to consume – even let them try it along the way. This is a great way to get fussy eaters eating everything you cook as well; it is proven that when kids prepare the food they are more likely to eat it (Hersch et al, 2014).
If they aren’t interested in helping out with dinner, get them started with something they will love over the school holidays as a treat. Decorated sugar cookies are a favourite amongst all children, they can dye the icing their favourite colour and top it with all of their favourite treats. It might not be the healthiest food to give your children, but cooking with kids is more than learning about nutrition, it is learning skills for their future. Not everything has to be healthy, baking treats is a big component to building up their healthy relationship with food and teaching them that they can eat these delicious treats every now and then.
If you are looking to get the kids involved in some baking adventures in preparation for a healthy school lunch why not try out these nut free apricot muesli bars or for something a little special, homemade BBQ flavoured popcorn.
Cream the butter and sugar with electric beaters. Then add in egg, vanilla and milk and beat to combine. Sift in flour and baking powder and use a wooden spoon to fold into the butter mixture to form a smooth dough. Divide the dough into two and wrap in cling wrap. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hr.
Preheat the oven to 160C and line two baking trays with baking paper. Take one piece of the dough out of the fridge and dust with a little icing sugar. Roll out to ¼ inch thick and then use your favourite cookie cutters to cut shapes. Repeat with remaining dough. If it starts to stick, dust with a little more icing sugar. Carefully transfer the shapes onto the baking trays. Bake for 10-12min.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Meanwhile make the icing. Add the icing sugar into a medium bowl, add in the butter and milk, 1 tbsp at a time until the icing comes together in a smooth, thick paste. Divide the icing into 2-3 bowls and add in 1-2 drops of food dye. Use the back edge of a teaspoon to spread a little icing over the top of the cookies. Top with all of your favourite Organic Time goodies.
Preheat the oven to 160C and line a 8inch x 8inch baking tray. In a large bowl combine flour, bi carb, baking power, coconut, oats, sunflower seeds, apricots and sultanas. Place butter, molasses and rapadura sugar in a small saucepan over low heat stir until butter is melted and combined with sugar. Pour butter mixture into the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to mix. Finally add in the egg and mix to form a sticky mixture. Spread mixture out in prepared baking tray using a spoon to flatten the top. Sprinkle with remaining 1tbsp sunflower seeds. Bake in the oven for 15-20min or until golden. Allow to cool completely before slicing into 10 bars.
Melt half of the ghee in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir through paprika, oregano, thyme, onion powder, and salt. Then set aside. Heat the remaining ghee in a large saucepan. Place two kernels in the ghee and you will know it is hot enough when they start to spin. Add in the remaining kernels and top with a lid. Once they start to pop shake the pot every few moments so that no kernels burn on the bottom. As the popping starts to slow down, remove from the heat, keeping the lid on for 2min for the popping to cease. Pour popcorn into a large bowl and drizzle over spice mixture. Use a large wooden spoon, or your hands to mix the popcorn ensuring it is all covered in spice mixture.
Shelley founder of Shelley’s Good Eats is a nutritionist, recipe developer, food photographer and all-round food creative. She has been cooking alongside her mother since she was a little kid and is now loves putting a healthy nutritious spin on the classics. Shelley studied a Bachelor of Food Science and Nutrition and Masters in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Queensland. In the past, she was a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador, working with schools to inspire change and educate children around food and nutrition. She is passionate about using her knowledge in nutrition to share the message of health and educate others about the importance of a healthy relationship with food – yes that means she loves eating cake.
Hersch D PL, Ambroz T, Boucher JL. Peer reviewed: The Impact of Cooking Classes on Food Related Preferences, Attitudes and Behaviors of School Ages Children: A Systematic Review for the Evidence. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2014;11.
Gibbs L SPea. Expanding Children’s Food Experiences: The impact of a school-based kitchen garden program. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2013;45(2):137-46.
‘Raw’ or ‘Baked’ it is still a Treat!
How do you make a cake?
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla, add in the eggs then gradually mix in flour and milk, and place it in the oven…. Except now it is all cashews and dates (but not just standard dates, it has to be medjool) and there is no baking involved. There has been a rise of the healthy desserts but that doesn’t mean that they are any superior to a traditional cake. They still contain sugar, and are still high in calories, in essence they are still just meant as a treat.
If you like the traditional baking or the new age stuff, it doesn’t matter. Using caster sugar, dates or maple syrup to sweeten your cake or biscuits is still using sugar. It is all broken down the exact same way in your body, into small glucose molecules that are used as energy. We are surrounded by information about what we should eat, what we shouldn’t eat, but what we forgotten is how to enjoy the food we eat and where it comes from.
Instead of focusing on what type of ingredients are used in a sweet treat we need to draw our attention back to the quality of the ingredients we use, and why we eat cake in the first place. Knowing where your ingredients are sourced can help you to ensure the quality, which is not only vital for the taste, but also benefits the environment.
A sweat treat is just that a treat.
However, the main thing to remember when we eat is to enjoy it. It is something to be savoured, something to be appreciated and most of all something to be eaten in moderation. Just because something is on trend and labelled as clean or raw, doesn’t make it any healthier. It is still a sweet cake or slice that should be enjoyed in a celebration with family, friends on occasion.
Words like ‘guilt’, ‘clean’ and ‘whole’ are not words that should be used to describe food. That is unless you have cleaned a potato or have a ‘whole’ cake in your hands. This language insinuates that we should feel guilty for eating something that contains, gluten, white sugar or dairy but in the end, these are just foods. We need to draw ourselves back to develop a healthy relationship with food. Eat healthy, nourishing food 80% of the time and the other 20% of the time, allow yourself to live a little and treat yourself to that cake or burger.
Focus on the quality and how the ingredients are made opposed to cutting out what makes a treat a treat. Because, in the end cake is cake, whether it is raw or baked, made with white sugar or dates and it should be eaten and enjoyed!
Revolution Ambassador for the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution. As founder of Shelley’s Good Eats, she wants to use her knowledge in nutrition to share the message of health and educate others about the importance of a healthy relationship with food – yes that means she eats cake.
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