Other Reasons To Choose Organic: Worldwide Agricultural Diversity
Jessica McNamara, of the Frontier Natural Products Co-op, says that, from her point of view, what makes organic herbs and spices important is that their growth assists in supporting a diversity of organic agriculture all around the world. She points out, quite rightly, that not many spices originate in developed countries. Their growers tend to live in poor nations and often contend with issues that aren’t a factor in the daily life of people in industrialized lands, such as inconsistent electricity, or lack of access to it altogether.
Ms. McNamara believes that Frontier’s best investment is trying to develop the company’s growers and suppliers, so that potential problems are dealt with in a preventive, rather than a reactive, manner. As she explains, the very conditions that make such climates ideal for the growth of spices also provide the biggest challenges. These include insect populations, an environment favorable for pathogens, molds, and other adverse crop conditions, and, not least, weather.
Above and below, organic spices from our Organic Find Of The Month, Pinch Plus.
As a result of the latter, we are currently in the midst of a worldwide shortage of organic nutmeg. Grenada, a major supplier of this spice, was devastated by a recent hurricane. Not only was the crop destroyed, but many of the trees themselves were wiped out. Frontier believes that if the processes of growing, harvesting, post-harvest treatment, and transportation can be improved from the beginning, which involves having representatives on-site, everybody will benefit. More and better-quality organic spices (and herbs) will be available to meet growing demand; that increased demand will result in more herbs and spices being grown organically. I can’t think of a prettier picture.
So next time you’re adding any of these flavor enhancers to your favorite recipe, whether it’s a teaspoon of cinnamon to cookie dough, a smidgen of fresh tarragon to soup, or enough cayenne pepper to make you cry to your “bowl of red,” think of the advantages of non-conventionally-grown herbs and spices. Go organic!
Organic Find Of The Month: Pinch Plus Organic Herbs & Spices
With all of the brands of certified organic herbs and spices available these days, why would you choose these? The best answer I know is that not only are they certified organic, but they’re multi-purpose. Pinch Plus Organic Herbs and Spices are packaged in small packets that are light-, air-, and moisture-proof; each packet contains a one tablespoon portion of a popular herb or spice. If you’re one of the millions of people who enjoy the Great Outdoors but still want to eat well, these are ideal companions on a camping trip, for that condo on the slopes, or if you’ll be doing a little cooking while sailing the high seas. If unopened, the herbs or spices in these packets can last for three years or more, so if you have no need for turmeric during your weekends at the cabin this summer, it will still be good next year.
Pinch Plus Organic Herbs and Spices also make thoughtful gifts. There’s a ten pack of cinnamon, rosemary, oregano, and other culinary standbys, there are rubs (fine for veggies, as well as meat or fish), and there are Gourmet Booklets (photo below). A Gourmet Booklet is a small, folding “booklet” featuring three herbs or spices commonly used in the cuisine of a particular country (Mexico, France or India, for instance). One side of the booklet’s pages contains the packets or descriptions of what’s inside them; the other side contains several recipes using those herbs or spices.
Pinch Plus spice packets.
Take the India Booklet, for example. The packets contain mint, garam masala and curry powder, and you’ll find practical recipes for a chicken vegetable curry, chana dal (spiced yellow lentils) and mint raita (a cooling, yogurt-based complement for a curry). So clever, and lovely for a hostess gift (or if you don’t want to have to carry a cookbook when you travel). Online ordering, of course! For more information, check out Pinch Plus Organic Herbs and Spices. They’re organic herbs and spices for people on the go!
Sources & Acknowledgements
Aaron Mosby, American Spice Trade Association
Brian R. Hill, Staff Scientist, Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)