I said I'd bring you great food and inspiring people, and that's what my series of Food Artisans will be.
Food that sings to me and people who do much the same.
Anyone who will talk food with me.
Cocopure at the markets.
I was instantly drawn to them – especially when the only thing my little cuddlebug would eat at one stage was spoonful after spoonful of their cacao cashew coconut butter.
Their chocolate coconut butter is incredible and I love cooking with their coconut oil.
But I actually wanted to find out more about them. Maybe it's because Steven and Monique run a successful family business with five children who eat well. Maybe it's because they homeschool. Maybe it's because Steven owned a graphic design business and now makes coconut superfoods.
Or maybe it's because they went travelling and lived on a boat for three years – with not one, not two, but three children. (We just about managed four months in a caravan with one child and a dog. So, naturally, I'm intrigued.)
See what I mean? Don't you love delving into people's stories too?
So I did.*
Had you always dreamed of a food business?
Neither of us dreamed of working with food. I had always been interested in food and health, but I grew more interested when I became a mum. We found out about coconut oil and its health benefits in Airlie beach. Steven immediately thought it would be a perfect product for a cottage industry. It was when we settled on the Central Coast that Steven experimented with raw food and started making raw treats. The attraction to cottage industry is that it's a good way to include the whole family.
Would you live on a boat again?
In a heartbeat. What holds us back, beside finances, is the children have settled here. We feel like we've really landed – at least for a little while. Travelling on a boat is very challenging. I have never had a relationship with a house like I did with the boat. Sometimes, usually while I was cooking with everything rocking, I would hate the boat like it was a real living thing. But other times, it was so beautiful. So romantic. I can't even watch the movies we took or look at the photographs, because it makes me really sad that it's over. It was exactly the magical experience we were hoping for.
How did you make it work with three children on board?
We had no longing at all for city life. We really wanted to be there. I was doing everything I would be doing in a house anyway, like changing nappies, and the sleep disturbances were the same. It's weird, but I felt a bit cooped up in a house. The boat was much smaller, but we were outside a lot. When you sit on deck, the world feels much bigger than when you're in a house. We saw the sunrise, sunset and stars everyday. It wasn't always comfortable, but sometimes we even relished that.
How is life now?
We had to ration our coconut oil on the boat. Now it's delivered in large drums to the factory and Steven often brings us home a bucket full. With the business and five children the pace is non-stop, but it's also a lot of fun, because we get to participate in all that the children do.
Is it difficult running a business and keeping family life happy?
I would say so, but that is the challenge for every family, whether they own a business or not. Homeschooling helps us, because it is quite flexible. Steven might work at the markets, but then spend time with us during the week. We always try to eat family meals and have celebrations together. We also make sure family comes first before the business.
What do your days look like?
This is very changeable. I try to make a rule to wake up early and do yoga for my own peace of mind. Steven and I also drink a cappuccino together each morning. It's supposed to be uninterrupted by children, but never is. Then I usually focus on school work all morning, and we often do homeschool activities in the afternoon. Steven does the lion's share of Cocopure work, whether he works from home or the factory. Once a month or so, we all do a 'Cocopure push', which means we all pitch in and make as much product as possible. It's a very intense week.
We aim to be a healthy family. It is so important. (Drinking cappuccinos doesn't count.) I have to plan our meals, but we constantly run out of food because teenagers eat so much. We drink green smoothies regularly and because of the business, we often buy food in bulk. I like to cook food from the Middle East. Slow cooked and soups. Plus raw foods and salad. Steven makes pretty good curry.
I have found if I don't meal plan and make sure there is enough food in the house, we slide into buying take-out food and eating peanut butter sandwiches. If all else fails, I make porridge for dinner. We are a sweet-toothed family, so it's good to make protein balls out of whatever is in the house. We mix Cocopure with almond meal, coconut, dried fruit and seeds to make healthy snacks. Green smoothies are a good way to make sure children get greens and fruit in one hit.
What's your favourite Cocopure product?
Cashew lasts the least amount of time in our family. Steven and I have to hide it from the children.
What does good food mean to you?
You can read more about their story here.
Just leave a comment below to enter, along with your email address. Australian residents only - sorry! Two winners will be chosen one week from today.
And if you know anyone who'd love the chance to try Cocopure, please share!
Update: giveaway now closed. Congratulations to Carly and Joanna. Thank you to everyone who entered.
* Just so you know, I'm not paid for this post. I'm sharing this, just because.