Did you know there is a dark side to fair trade vanilla?
According to the World Fair Trade Organization, the definition of Fair Trade is as follows:
“Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seek greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair Trade Organizations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.”
What’s not to like about this? Fairness for farmers, which helps them and their families to thrive as well as to continue to produce the foods, spices and other ingredients that we love and use regularly.
My all-time favorite plums are Santa Rosa plums, created by none other than the famous Luther Burbank, who lived in the Santa Rosa Valley at the turn of the twentieth century. The flesh is yellow and red, super juicy and sweet, and the skins are tart purple. They have a heavenly flavor whether you eat, cook or bake with them. I planted a Santa Rosa plum at my home and have missed both the plum and the Blenheim apricot tree since moving.
For an update on the 2016 vanilla shortage, please see “Why is Vanilla so Expensive?“
Have you noticed that vanilla prices have been creeping up for the last two years?
Well, now the price of vanilla has gone through the roof!
Frustrating? You bet, especially as we enter the autumn baking season and the holidays.
So why are the prices climbing and where can you find cheap vanilla? It turns out the answer is complicated.
Think shortage – One cyclone can wipe out a third of the year’s vanilla crop overnight!
Nearly everything we purchase is priced according to supply and demand, and this is especially true with food. Whereas clothing, washing machines, cars and other man-made goods typically are pretty consistently available, agricultural products are subject to weather patterns, pests, pathogens and even human manipulation.
Because we live in a global economy, if there’s a wheat shortage due to bad weather in our Midwest, our government can buy wheat from another country. Prices will go up, but bakeries won’t shut down and flour will still be on market shelves. The same is true with last year’s egg shortage. Avian Flu decimated many commercial egg producing facilities but only in some regions. We could still find eggs at the market, but we paid dearly for them. Now, almost a year later, there is a glut of eggs again.
This recipe comes via Janet Sawyer, who got the recipe from Lalu Mahato, head chef at Nepal’s Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, which was opened by Edmund Hilary. A long journey, but a lovely way to enjoy yogurt as a breakfast or dessert. If you’re serving it as a dessert, it would match well with our Cardamom, Pistachio and Vanilla Shortbread.
Really. In 1985, when I wrote The Vanilla Cookbook, my editors asked me what vanilla could be used in besides ice cream, dessert and beverages. Quite honestly, the idea had never crossed my mind. However, they threw down the gauntlet next to my half-written manuscript. Experiment or give back the advance — what would you do?
Isn’t it fun to look at gorgeous pastries and desserts and fantasize about making (and eating) them? When it comes down to it, though, how often do you do it? Really, except for when I want to dazzle someone with a gift or it’s a holiday, I nearly always opt for simple.
From Desserts in Jars 50 Sweet Treats that Shine by Shaina Olmonson
For the last several months I’ve been stuck in dental purgatory — or is it hell? I’m not sure, but wherever I’ve been, it has included a root canal, a serious infection and two
With the arrival of the new year, the 2011 retail season
With winter continuing to blast nationally (mixed in with some early tornadoes) and a new series of cold storms here in California, I’ve been thinking about, making and serving yummy comfort foods to customers at New Leaf, our local community market where I reign as Demo Queen.
Three of the recipes qualify for posting as they contain vanilla and two also have additional tropical ingredients, my criteria for posting to our recipe section at The Vanilla Company. I’ve held back on posting the “non-qualifiers,” even though you’d probably enjoy them.
This morning I wanted to write about something fun for a change, but I wasn’t coming up with anything that spoke to me. Then I opened today’s e-mail and stumbled upon something that has my head spinning.
Dorie Greenspan and her son Joshua are doing a five-day pop-up cookie bar in New York City, from February 7th through the 11th! If you are fortunate enough to live in (or are visiting) Manhattan, go to Mizu Salon at 505 5th Avenue between 58th and 59th from 10:00 a.m until only cookie crumbs remain. The cookie choices sound spectacular!
As much as I hate letting go of the Christmas tree with its sweet lights and woodsy smell, when the holidays end, it is definitely time for turkey soup. Okay, maybe you didn’t have turkey for the holidays, but we did, and I made turkey soup yesterday with all the tasty last bits of leftovers, lots of veggies and nice meaty chunks of turkey. It filled the house with its steamy fragrance as I reluctantly removed the ornaments and lights of the holiday tree.
For a heartier mustard, leave out the tarragon, coarsely grind the mustard seeds, and use honey instead of brown sugar. Or…make a jar of each!