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about us

Exquisite and honourable food from places the supermarkets can’t reach!

I am Phillip Shallcross.  I have been fortunate and travelled widely, but always came back to Sandbach, a small historic market town in Cheshire, in England where I grew up. I gained a degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in 1981 specialising in soil science. I adore nature, and was always drawn to the organic side of things.

On graduation I started a small Wholefood shop in Sandbach. I was on a mission, appalled by where modern manufactured food was going. I did my best to champion brown rice, wholemeal flour and wholemeal pasta, and fruit and nuts, organically grown where feasible. I also had an experimental, and a fun side. I loved experiencing new flavours and aromas.

The shop prospered, and down the years many characters have been involved. I am saddened slightly that many people in my own town think of ‘Demeter Wholefoods’ as their local health shop. It is not, but over the years an overlap has developed and we do offer quality vitamin, mineral and plant based supplements, but only if we think that they have a chance of working.

Now we find ourselves with new opportunities…the internet!

The website is originally written (mostly), drawing from many years of actual experience, and is here to celebrate the marvel of flavour, nutrition, aroma and health.

I aim to provide basic information, from which you can make your own choices, largely about plants that people around the world have found helpful for one thing or another. Illness and suffering are abhorrent to me, and my base instinct is to jump in and help out if I can. Wherever there may be a plant or other natural substance purported to help, I will attempt to present the facts. No hard sell! Poorly people can be desperate, and their loved ones (often carers) vulnerable. They want to help out at all costs. What is presented on this website is as honest as possible.

The ‘authorities’ seem to want to increasingly censor what can be written, especially health claims on food. If it ever reaches the point where I am unable to write the obvious, I would be prepared to go to jail. Take it from me ….prunes are good for constipation! The day may not be far off when just saying that could get me in trouble!

We had a lovely old man in Sandbach, Mr Cross! We became great friends. On his death he bequeathed me his collection of herbal medicine books, some very old and rare and long out of print. Anything relevant today from these I have included so that the knowledge is not lost.

I held a rather low opinion herbal medicine until 1988. I wanted to sell oats grown a field by a local river where I could spend Sunday afternoons watching kingfishers and dragonflies, or fantastically fragrant Basmati rice grown in the Hunza valley, or Noblesweet paprika, or ylang ylang oil.

On a personal note, in my late teens and twenties I was always susceptible to boils. They were nasty and painful and enervating. They would appear anywhere in my body. They spoiled my life. One fateful day an old lady turned up in my shop, saw the livid outrage on the side of my neck, and harangued me for not taking echinacea. I did actually have some in my shop at the time. I didn’t expect it to work so I took nearly all the tablets I had at once. By the next morning the boil had effectively gone. Wake up time!

I quickly realised that (in me), if I took enough echinacea at the first signs of a boil taking hold, the boil would never develop. I was a convert, and began to seriously look into other medicinal plants. I went a bit overboard at first. I certainly took too much echinacea one winter. It was approaching Christmas, the shop was busy and all the staff went down with virulent ‘flu. I swallowed echinacea by the handful to try and keep it away from me. On Christmas Eve I succumbed, and I knew I had just taken too much. To paraphrase the great Herbalist David Hoffman, I had flogged my immune system just too much.

For me another of life’s interesting paths towards enlightenment!

Enjoy the website, and never abandon your own common sense. Contribute where appropriate if you like, or email me if you need further information or precise product specifications.

You’ll find Demeter Wholefoods at:

12 Welles Street
CW11 1GT
(Tel: 012707 60445)

*There are no parking charges in Sandbach!
Nantwich Indoor Market
Tuesday mornings
Thursday: all day
Saturday: all day
(Tel: 012707 60445)