Vegan's Chronicles + [vegan product]

Supporting the Korean organic farmer

So my first week of buying organic has been totally awesome! I know I said that I'd just focus on buying organic for anything on the "dirty dozen" list, but I've actually been buying practically everything as organic. So far, I'm lovin' it. It makes me feel good about myself and the fact that I'm essentially voting for cleaner, environmentally-friendly, sustainable food systems. I've also noticed that the produce is way fresher and even tastier. For example, the other day, I cooked some organic collard greens the way I normally do, and noticed that they just had more flavor! haha.. It could just be all in my head, but for some reason, they tasted sweeter. Hm.

So anyway. Now that I'm starting to get more serious about the whole locavore, organic, earth-friendly way of eating (it's the hippie in me coming out), I've been researching the possibility of joining a CSA of some sort. Well, I was recently contacted by Mike, a reader and blogger living in Daegu, who writes a pretty neat blog about eco-living in Korea. He's even done some WWOOFing here (something I soooo want to do!), and tipped me off to a new Korean CSA called "Heuk Salim," which basically translates to "dirt saving/living." :) I like the name! I was really excited about the possibility of joining this CSA because the thought of getting a box of organic, local, seasonal produce at my front door every week just makes me giddy. Based on what I learnt from their website, the price of joining the program varies depending on how frequently you want to get their boxes (twice a month? every week?). The produce you get differs every week so it's like a box of chocolates- you never know what you're gonna get! :) Fun, right?

I was literally this close to signing up, but then I noticed that they don't yet have an option for vegans! Bummer. Their boxes often include eggs and occasionally dairy milk. Hm... . so I'm holding off on signing up. However, I'm not gonna totally write them off yet because there's a chance that they will make that option available for vegans in the future, which would be totally rad. So anyway, just wanted to let you guys know of 'Heuk Salim.' Perhaps vegetarians and omnis would be interested. And even if you don't join the CSA, you can still order their stuff individually, on their online shop.

Organic store

And now from one organic food supplier to another... . I was hanging out in the Kundae/Ttukseom area the other day, and found this awesome organic shop called "Han Salim." The name is very similar to the previous "Heuk Salim" (you know, to confuse us non-Korean speakers!), but they're two different organizations, with different business principles. While Heuk Salim is more of a CSA that regularly sends you a selection of organic produce, Han Salim is more of a CO-OP where a group of Korean farmers have banded together to supply organic, local, seasonal foods, and where we (the consumer) join the organization by investing in their capital.

I don't fully understand all the details of the membership program as it's rather complex, but basically, for an investment amount of 30,000 won, and an additional 3000 won membership fee, you can become a member of this group, which will then allow you to buy their produce (at their physical stores as well as online), and participate in their community events, etc. What's cool is that they will return the investment money (30,000won) when you leave or cancel membership. Anyway, there's more to it, but that's the basic info for joining this Co-op. You can check out their website (link for the English side is at top right corner) for more info, or call them to have your individual questions answered. They seem like a pretty big organization, so I'm guessing they'll be able to help foreigners.

Organic store

What's also great is that Han Salim has store locations all over Seoul and the rest of Korea, for their members to shop at. Here's a map of all the stores in Seoul alone. The one I found by Kundae/Ttukseom is pretty small (obviously not as big as Orga Whole Foods, or department stores), and they don't have a huge selection, but it's cute and I actually like that they promote a more simple, mindful shopping experience.

Organic store

They have organic, Korea-grown lemons (from Jeju)!

Organic store

A section of healthy, packaged organic snacks, many of which are vegan.

Organic store

Eco-friendly home cleaning supplies.

Hansalim

Vegan jelly & juice packs.

Hansalim

Usually, non-members aren't allowed to shop at the stores, but the lady at the counter was really nice and allowed me to buy a few things this one time. :) I grabbed a snack cup of clementine jelly/pudding (made with agar, not gelatin) and a bag of black puffed rice snacks. Vegan, organic, locally produced, blah blah blah~ :)

Hansalim

I know what y'all are thinking... "Ew! A bag of ugry turds!" Lol. Yes, these were scary to look at, but they tasted better than they looked- evidenced by the fact that the bag was empty within about 2 minutes flat. Airy, crispy, and mildly sweet. Tasty turds to satisfy those late-night cravings.

IMG_7790

I haven't had anything jelly-like in the loooongest time, so this agar-based clementine jelly was a sweet little treat. Every time I see orange jelly, I think of 'The Office' episode where Jim puts Dwight's stapler in jello. hehe.

Anyway, I'm really excited about discovering both Heuk Salim and Han Salim. I'm not yet a member of either, but I told my parents about both and they just became members of Han Salim. Looks like I'll get to enjoy lots of organic food when I go home to Cheonan! Yay! :) If my parents like everything they get, I think I might invest in the co-op and become a member myself.

Aiight, that's all I got for today. Anyone else interested in joining a CSA or Co-op here in Korea? Are you also trying to eat more sustainably? I'd love to hear your thoughts/ideas/suggestions.