August 2017: It’s sweet and sour

Helen Perry, Editor

Winter has well and truly settled in – first early flooding, then an icy cold snap, now more rain and more rain so it’s understandable that people want to head for sunnier shores.

However, for those of us who must battle it out until spring, there is plenty to keep us talking. Just lately I’ve debated the remedial effects of honey, ‘cheap’ immigrant labour and fining a five-year-old for selling homemade lemonade roadside.

We all know that bee pollen and honey are used in both beauty therapy and medicinal remedies and I guess many of us have our thoughts on the effectiveness of those products.

But I just had to say that while laid low for a few days, I drank copious lemon drinks heavily laced with 100%, unpasteurised Raw Meadow Honey from Chantal Naturals and it worked a treat.

Usually, a chest infection leaves me struggling for at least two weeks, this time I seem to have overcome the worst of it in just six days. Totally unscientific I know but my, those lemon and honey drinks have been good if not cheap. Raw Meadow Honey costs about $24 for 500g but, honestly, I swear by it and it’s not often I personally endorse a product but this I’m really taken with.

And, talking of lemon drinks, I was absolutely astounded to hear of a five-year-old being fined $150 (or was that pounds) for selling homemade lemonade at the gate without a permit. I understand the fine was dropped but, I ask you, is this PC going overboard (again)?

Some folk have said, ‘too right, she should have been fined; a permit is imperative if food health and safety standards are to be maintained’ and ‘what if someone gets sick who is responsible?” However, I’m inclined to say ‘buyer beware’; if you think it is suspect, don’t buy. As for me, I’m happy to take the risk – lemon juice, water and a heap of sugar make this little one’s efforts sweet.

Yes, I applaud her enterprise. So often we encourage youngsters to be innovative, adventuresome, enterprising and to develop a sound work ethic then we slam down all sorts of regulations and rules as to why they shouldn’t be.

What’s more I’m personally happy to pick up fruit, veg, flowers and even coffee and cake from a roadside stall.

On a more serious note, I caught a snippet of news reporting New Zealand First leader Winston Peters as saying he could understand farmers employing immigrant labour because it was ‘cheap’. Strangely, the remark rankled with me because, as I understand it, employing seasonal immigrant labour is not always about the pay.

While visiting Hawkes Bay last year I spoke with an orchardist who was full of praise for seasonal workers from overseas, mostly Filipino. He said that these men worked extremely hard, were keen to reach the second pay tier, were punctual and were happy workers. Their goal was to send money home.

He had employed ‘locals’ in the past but poor time keeping, not turning up, frequent sick days and a general lethargy on the job had all been a problem. Now, I don’t know if such an accusation was true, but the person I spoke to seemed genuine and honest and had no reason to tell me otherwise.

I was told if local Kiwis worked anywhere near as enthusiastically as immigrant staff the jobs were there but it seemed that employing immigrant labour was not about getting cheap labour but about getting hardworking employees.

And, with that I’ll leave you to ponder or, better still, enjoy this month’s EastLife – grab that cuppa, put your feet up and read on…