Since a cyclone (hurricane) devastated the vast bulk of Australia’s banana crop earlier this year, prices have been through the roof. There’s been a running joke that if you really loved someone you’d buy ‘em a hand of ‘nanas — only a cheapskate would resort to cut flowers. Now that the bendy things are slowly returning to a value that doesn’t require a mortgage, attention might turn to other impressive indulgences. How’s about a $15 AUD bar of soap? Not just any soap, of course. No artificial fragrances, colours or preservatives. In fact, it only has two ingredients; 98% biodynamic olive oil and two % Elmswood honey. Both ingredients grown on the same farm in the Hunter Valley of NSW. The extra virgin olive oil is apparently from the olive varieties leccino, frantoio and correggiola, and is hand harvested, as well as being certified ‘biodynamic’ by Demeter. Read more about the property and it’s farmers here. Biodynamic is a form of holistic organic farming, developed in the early 1900’s by Rudolf Steiner (also of Steiner education fame). One of it’s tenets is soil fertility, which is largely premised on taking cow manure, stuffing it in a cow’s horn and planting this under soil for the winter. The resulting decomposed humus, known as ‘500’, is mixed with water and applied to fields, with results, scientifically verified, often better than conventional synthetic chemical farming. ::Patrice Newell’s Virgo, available via Biome.