Rice cakes and soy milk paved the way on supermarket shelves for certified organic manufacturer Pureharvest, now one of the largest manufacturers of non-dairy milks such as almond, oat, rice and soy.
The new guard
It’s satisfying seeing a huge regional decommissioned milk factory brimming with life again, manufacturing over 100 certified organic products.
The factory in Drouin, 90 kilometres east of Melbourne, was once at the centre of a thriving dairy industry and had hundreds of trucks departing and arriving with milk from around the district. The milk trucks are still around but now they carry certified organic milk and the factory also manufactures non-dairy milks – a development I’m sure its founders couldn’t foresee in 1907.
Having the factory allows Pureharvest to manufacture 90 per cent of what it sells, giving the company control of quality and the supply chain. Pureharvest started out supplying seeds and beans to health food stores and from there it became one of the first to import soy milk and rice cakes. The company expanded by making Aussie Soy whole bean soy milk before diversifying into other milks in the 1990s.
Pureharvest also processes juices and rice malt syrup. With many consumers looking for alternatives to dairy, Pureharvest produces a large range of non- dairy milks. Its almond milk, Coco Quench and oat milks are among its strongest selling lines. All its products are certified with Australian Certified Organic.
The company has often been the first to go where no one else has been with many companies now following Pureharvest’s lead. It’s an incentive for the company to look for new products and it’s still growing.
When you know how much they cost, seeing huge vats full of soaking certified organic almonds is impressive – and they smell delicious. All the milks made by Pureharvest – particularly soy and almond – go through long processing stages to increase their digestibility.
The almonds are soaked to activate them (soaking deactivates the enzyme prohibitors) before being made into almond milk.
As a certified organic manufacturer, the factory is audited each year to make sure processing complies with the Australian Certified Organic Standard. This thorough audit checks to make sure all ingredients comply with the Standard and inspects other details, including making sure cleaning isn’t done with toxic chemicals.
Say No to GM
Buyers of Pureharvest products will be familiar with its anti-GM labelling, which stems from the company’s Say Not to GM policy. The company’s quality assurance manager Michael Ockerse says, “This is an absolute and includes ingredients and everything else. It makes it tricky because due to the way GM is legislated in this country, we had to drop canola oil from our ingredients.
“Theoretically you can get non-GM canola oil but legislation has left a loophole in labelling that means there’s no guarantee the oil is free from GM. If there’s not enough GM to be detected, suppliers are not required to label a product as GM.”
Corn is another commonly grown GM crop overseas. Michael says Pureharvest uses an old variety of corn from a particular supplier. It’s always sourced from its own seed, giving them confidence of its purity. He says, “From our point of view we’re secure that the certified organic corn we source is grown free from GM because the organic standards don’t permit it.”
The company continues to grow its range. Pureharvest’s next innovation is likely to please those who enjoy bite-sized snacks and a range of super food spreads. Stay tuned to pureharvest.com.au
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Coconut raspberry fudge
Makes 20 small squares
Raspberries come into season in December but if you can’t wait until then you will find certified organic frozen raspberries in organic stores and some supermarkets. This recipe also gives you a good excuse to try out some Pureharvest goodness.
2 cups desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons cashew butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1–2 tablespoons Pureharvest Organic Rice Malt Syrup (to desired sweetness)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
pinch of salt
Blend coconut and cashew butter in a food processor for around 5–10 minutes until it forms a buttery mixture. Add coconut oil, vanilla, rice malt syrup and salt, and process until well combined.
Add raspberries and continue to process until mixture is smooth. Pour mixture into a greased container, press down firmly and place in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden.
Remove from freezer, cut into squares and enjoy.
Click here for another delicious and easy recipe.
For more Pureharvest recipes go to pureharvest.com.au.