We have followed the take off in organic and sustainable food products with great interest over the last ten years. We have been unsure of what our role should be here. We are big proponents of shopping locally whenever possible and it is one of our great weekly pleasures to shop at our local farmer’s market.
Yet if you were only to cook with locally grown products, your food would be sadly lacking, as you would be spiceless. The climate in this country simply allows for the growth of herbs, but never spices. The third world countries that spices grow in, are not necessarily on the organic band wagon yet, and in some scenarios, we feel it is not our place to force our American demands upon these poor farmers. We have also made it our lifelong mission to bring you the highest level of quality in our spices, would we find organic spices with our desired level of quality?
Over the last decade, I have been excited many times to receive emails about wonderful organic spices from various companies, only to be extremely let down when the samples arrived. I kept these on hand, when customers really wanted organic I let them taste our organic samples and compare to the product we sell, not surprisingly, no one wanted to sacrifice taste for organic. This past spring, while at the ASTA conference, we were thrilled to find out how proactive our organization has become in this area. Recognizing that this is the future, there are several organizations who have spearheaded the growing of organic spices in a manner that allows farmers to enter into organic co-ops with infrastructure that does not bankrupt the farmer in the process. And there is a focus on quality product as well. So we are extremely pleased to begin our product line with a few products that have the quality we have always tried to provide our customers. We foresee this line expanding as more growers come around to this way of thinking. We also have to see what our customers think and how they react. In the case of organic spices, you really are not getting an overwhelmingly better tasting product, and as spices are used in such small amounts, that they do not provide nutriative value into your diet. The costs associated with organic certification is going to naturally make them cost more than non certified spices. It is my opinion that in the match up of organic and spices, it really boils down to removing chemicals from your food intake, even in the infinitesimal portion that spices might contribute, AND taking care of our planet Earth. Are people willing to pay more to do that? I would like to think yes, but time will tell.