The connection between the healthy foods we eat and where they come from is at the core of Nourish Boston’s mission. It is important to choose wholesome, minimally processed foods, but it is equally important to pay attention to how and where the food we consume is grown, and how it makes its way from the farm to our plates.
Purchasing products that are labeled Direct Trade Certified is an easy way to ensure that the ingredients involved are environmentally and economically sustainable. Direct Trade means that the products are purchased directly from the grower – there is no middleman involved. Importers purchase goods from the growers at a negotiated price that is often much higher than the market price. These price negotiations create incentives for farmers to produce the highest quality crops possible, as buyers will only pay top dollar for exceptional products. This relationship empowers small farmers and gives them the means to compete in the global economy.
This close connection and interaction with the growers also allows buyers to be familiar with the source, involved in the growing process, and control the quality of the product every step of the way. Buyers can choose to work with and support local farmers who use sustainable, organic agricultural practices. Direct Trade products are good for the Earth, for hard working small farmers, and for our bodies. Taza chocolate is Direct Trade Certified – so what happens before the beans arrive at the factory in Somerville?
The Taza team sources its beans from the Cocoa Belt, an equatorial region in which cacao trees are grown. Most of the cacao beans used by Taza come from the Dominican Republic. Cocoa farmers are organized into cooperatives, and the growers bring their harvested crops to a shared, central location to begin the fermentation and drying process. These farmers receive direct compensation for their harvest based on the quality and quantity of their beans.
By choosing products like Taza chocolate, we can play a part in supporting small farmers on an international scale. So stock up on some favorite flavors, and consider visiting the Taza factory for a tour. Not only will the tour make the chocolate come to life, but one dollar for every factory tour ticket sold goes to Sustainable Harvest International, an organization that works with farmers in Central America to preserve our planet’s tropical forests and overcome poverty.