By Alix Norman
If there’s one time of the year when we really should be thinking about our health, it’s now. I write this sentence with utter sincerity as I sniffle over my keyboard, and it begins to occur to me that maybe my sporadic diet of peanut butter sandwiches snatched on the run is not really helping my health. What I should be eating is farm fresh, chemically free fruits and veggies. Exactly the stuff, in fact, that will be sold at the Heaven on Earth Christmas Farmers and Crafters Market this coming Saturday.
Organised by couple Caroline Evans and Clement Rhein, the market has been running for several months now, and is based on the premises of the Heaven on Earth Herb Garden in Pano Akourdaleia, a bit of a destination for the dietary discerning in itself. “The garden is based in the old schoolyard,” says Caroline who, as a trained herbalist, naturopath and nutrition consultant, manages the garden on a day-to-day basis. “We cultivate herbs, growing and harvesting them organically, there’s a working apothecary, and we distil essential oils and inform visitors of their uses. And we get a lot of groups coming up to enjoy our healthy teas, coffees and cakes in our café, enjoying the peace of the surroundings. It really is a beautiful place,” she adds. “The energy in the garden is simply amazing.” A vitality which, one imagines, will be even more exciting this coming Saturday at the Christmas Farmers and Crafters Market.
“The Farmers Market is all about going back to the roots of nature, keeping ourselves healthy through what we eat,” explains Clement who, as an osteopath, brings his vast expertise on health matters to the venture. “It’s an opportunity for the consumer to interact with the man behind the produce. You’re getting local foods grown in a natural environment, there’s no genetic modification so the quality is always great. And there’s a transparency which is all important: you know what you’re eating, and this is paramount in terms of your health.”
“We’ve got so far away from knowing where our food comes from,” Caroline continues. “And that’s why so many people get sick, lacking the nutrients they really need.” As an expert in the field, she’s able to explain how nature provides seasonal cures for our various ailments, and if we’re eating the right foods at the right times of the year, our body will benefit hugely: “Basically we’re empowering people to become their own doctors, giving them the knowledge to be able to treat themselves; what to eat to strengthen the kidneys for the colder months, for example, and how to treat the lungs as we move into the springtime.”
It’s not a radical idea, this premise that nature provides, but it certainly seems to get a bit lost in the hectic weekly dash down the supermarket aisles. “It’s not by chance that we have certain types of veg growing at certain times of the year,” Clement twinkles. “Our aim is to have the broadest amount of produce possible, and always seasonal stuff,” he adds, mentioning the many local farmers who sell their wares at the market. “It’s not just fresh free range eggs and chemical free tomatoes,” he says. “There’s a huge range of vegetables and fruits, lots of pies, tarts and chutneys, olive oils and nuts, plenty of cheeses and breads…”
And then there’s the gentleman from Agros who makes traditional herbal zivania (which I’m fairly sure would cure my sniffles in – literally – a shot!), the Aphrodite Rock microbrewery and their astounding variety of beers and representatives from many of the local wineries. And this coming Saturday will be even more special, with the inclusion – for the first time – of a Crafters section to the market.
The emphasis – asin the Farmers Market – is on quality, the exhibitors bringing authentic craftsmanship to the event: everything from beautiful handmade tavli sets to handcrafted walking sticks, aromatic herbal soaps to exquisite examples of weaving, handbags made from recycled denim and rocking horses carved from gorgeous woods. With tables under the trees, coffee on the porch and produce sold by the hands that grew it, the event promises to be as far from the faceless fury of stressful Saturday shopping as you can get. So do your body and your future a favour, and head on down to the market this weekend; if we really are what we eat, then you’re guaranteed a healthy winter.
Heaven on Earth Herbals Christmas Farmers and Crafters Mar13ket
Saturday, December 21, 10am to 2pm
The gardens are open from Wednesdays to Sundays between 10am and 4pm, and there are numerous events throughout the year, including a Farmers Market every first Sunday of the month, ‘Learn About Your Body Workshops’, Creative Herbies Summer Kids’ Club, volunteer garden days and a number of additional courses. For more information visit www.heavenonearthherbals.com, email [email protected] or call 99 993412