When Asa McKee goes to work in his home studio in Squamish making khala cloths, the plastic-free food wraps he invented with wife Tamar, he cranks the tunes (Grateful Dead, live concerts only) and starts cooking down beeswax, sourced from bee-first apiaries.
“The whole house gets super warm and floral-smelling,” says Tamar. It’s planet-friendly, kid-friendly, small-scale manufacturing, which is precisely the point for the couple, both in their late 30s, whose green-mindedness crystallized four years ago when the first of their two children came along.
Made from organic cotton hemp fabric infused with beeswax, coconut oil and tree resin, their hand-made food wraps replace plastic cling-wrap and bags and, because of the anti-microbial properties of beeswax and coconut oil, help food stay fresher.
“We’ve had success keeping half an avocado with the pit in, on the top shelf of the fridge, for a week, without it going brown!” the McKees enthuse. Their kitchen is a giant experiment in produce preservation, (never refrigerate your cucumbers!) and the table constantly bubbling with fermenting bowls – sourdough, turmeric ginger beer.
The whole company is an experiment, and it’s rapid growth has been an unexpected delight, given their original intention was just to create a pollution solution for themselves. But honouring your food, as their hashtag goes, is a global desire, hence sightings in Turkey, Australia and Bermuda, of the “most exciting new brand” of the 2016 Portland Green Festival, at work preserving the planet one plastic-free lunch at a time.
This story ran in the summer issue of Coast Mountain Culture magazine. Check out khalacloths on instagram – that’s where I poached the pics from.