As the global supply chain struggles to meet growing demand, fair trade efforts are becoming a low priority for many American businesses. October is Fair Trade Monthwhich highlights the efforts of companies dedicated to a fairer international trading system with respect and transparency.
Throughout the month, consumers can #FindFairTrade products both in local stores and online to support companies like these Texas-based brands that are living up to their commitment to conducting ethical and fair business.
Joaihú Craft Brazilian Cocoa
Joaihu (pronounced jo-eye-hoo) is a new direct-source, tree-to-bar chocolate company that produces fine cocoa products from its agroforestry project and rainforest reserve in Bahia, Brazil.
The name is an ancient Tupi word meaning “to love and be loved”, and that’s exactly what co-founders Kate Robberson and Charlie Stewart think of the farmers they work with. Their business practices go far beyond fair trade, which is why they chose not to pursue official certification, opting instead for direct trade.
“At Joaihú, our co-founder is also our cocoa farmer,” says Robberson. “It’s about as straightforward as it gets. We don’t use third-party systems or services for sourcing, which allows us to ensure the best quality cocoa and excellent working conditions. During my trips to Brazil, I prioritize supporting the harvest and developing relationships with farmers.When we can identify needs within the collective that can improve farming practices, this ultimately leads to better harvest quality and amazing chocolate.”
Stewart and Robberson have a deep respect for the environment and for people. That’s why their company is committed to regenerative farming practices and ecological preservation.
“Joaihú started when we started to think of ourselves as guardians of the Earth,” explains Robberson. “Kate and I had built careers around environmental and social causes; working as artists, biologists and community organizers. But it was through our own health and spiritual journeys that we were led to the magic of the Brazilian rainforest. And through relationships with allied plants and medicines, our bond with cocoa was born.
Joaihú produces three SKUs of ethically sourced chocolate, 75%, 85%, and 100% cocoa, available at select Central Market locations and at independent retailers across Texas. It can also be bought online with delivery nationwide.
“We plan to do something special with each of these expressions later this fall, which will involve a trip to our nature reserve at Fazenda Boa Vista in Bahia, Brazil,” says Robberson. Those interested in possibly visiting the Atlantic Coastal Rainforest in 2023 should keep an eye on the Instagram page for updates.
Big Country Organic Hard Seltzer
Big Country® Organic Hard Seltzer is the first and only hard seltzer to carry three of the most distinctive and respected certifications in the food and beverage industry – USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified and Fair Trade Certified™.
For nearly 10 years, they have worked with the same network of farmers in Paraguay, facilitating symbiotic partnerships and investing in local economies. Big Country works with a family factory called The Felsina to ensure that farmers work in safe conditions, practice environmentally friendly agriculture, create sustainable livelihoods and earn extra money to empower and uplift their communities.
In an effort to simplify the supply chain for equal trade and quality, Big Country imports organic cane sugar directly from Asuncion, Paraguay to Austin, Texas, where it is fermented and processed into a hard seltzer. refreshing alone Certified organic brewery in Texas.
“Our philosophy is based on the simple idea that the products bought and sold every day are connected to the livelihoods of others,” says Founder and CEO Bill Gillies. “Fair Trade is a way to make a conscious choice for a better world.” To date, Big Country has sent over $91,000 in revenue to farmers.
Big Country Hard Seltzers are currently available at grocery and liquor stores statewide in Texas, at select retailers in California, and online. Each 12-ounce can contains 90 calories, 0 grams of sugar, 4.5% ABV, and is gluten-free. The 12-pack variety features a newly refreshed packaging design and offers four new flavors: Blackberry Grapefruit, Passionfruit Kiwi, Prickly Pear Peach and Watermelon Pineapple.
Cafes Casa Brasil
Casa Brasil started in 2005 as a Brazilian Cultural Center in Austin, Texas, providing free translations to Brazilians for immigration, legal, and medical matters; teaching Portuguese and Brazilian music and organizing cultural events. They also sold imported Brazilian products, but struggled to find quality coffee. This sparked interest in Casa Brasil founder Joel Shuler.
Over the next three years, Shuler spent much of his time in Brazil learning about coffee by doing internships in cooperatives, visiting hundreds of farms, and practicing the art of cupping or tasting coffee. coffee. He eventually worked his way up to judging various regional and national competitions and began building the relationships that would lead to the first importation of coffee beans from Casa Brasil.
Fifteen years later, Casa Brasil is a full-time coffee roaster, with menus in some of the region’s top restaurants and cafes and a diverse retail portfolio.
As her coffee career took off, Shuler continued her education with a master’s degree. Since graduating from one of the world’s top coffee research institutions, Schuler has taught hundreds of coffee growers and baristas how to taste and process coffee.
Unlike other coffee roasters that blend flavors for consistency, Casa Brasil imports beans directly from independent farms and allows each batch to express its own unique flavors. Shuler seeks passionate coffee growers throughout Brazil who produce high quality beans, regularly buying above the fair trade floor price.
“We’re proud to be pioneers in promoting high-quality Brazilian coffees in the United States,” says Shuler. “Through it all, our love of Brazilian culture remains stronger than ever.”