Gourmet Gardens: Vanilla from congolese women small holders
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
Though an extremely beautiful country, the East of the Dem. Republic of Congo is not an easy place to work in. However, despite the repeated problems Gourmet Gardens has managed to establish a farmer project with the local community that is certified organic and Fair for Life fair trade and in July last year the vanilla story was part of an article in the big German magazine Spiegel in German.
Clemens Fehr discovered by chance the vanilla: "I just wanted to do it as a Hobby", he concedes. Renowned for the "queen of spices" are Madagascar and other islands in the Indian Ocean. But his own experiments have been so successfull that he decided to intensify the vanilla business. Chili and cocoa were added to the export portfolio. Clemens then founded together with his wife which came from Congo the Company Mountains of the moon. They then travelled to Congo to inform women farmers how to cultivate vanillaplants. The farmers are in the hillside of the Mountains of the moon not far from the Virunga National parc, which is the home area of the last mountain gorillas. Clemens is often visiting the farmers to see how the drying process and the fermentation is going on.
To this vanilla story must be added the growing cocoa story. "Since October 2014 a new cocoa processing station is up and running and we are now in a position to ferment and dry cocoa much better than before", says Clemens Fehr, managing the Company together with his Congolese wife.
(Photo: sun drying of vanilla and fermenting cocoa).
"The result can be tasted in the newly made 82% single origin chocolate which is made by Blanxart, exclusively with our Congo cocoa and vanilla", says Clemens Fehr. (Or page 19 in the Blanxart catalogue).
Encouraged by this success, Clemens hopes that during 2015 they will be able to add a range of couvertures to the product portfolio. In addition, they plan to add FLO Fair Trade in addition to the organic standards and convert part of our cocoa and vanilla production according to Demeter bio-dynamic standards.
Contact the responsibles of Gourmet Gardens if you want to know more about their activities per mail or meet them at BIOFACH in Nuremburg.
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