We have two Well Earth origins for our vanilla — India (which is also Fair Trade Certified™ vanilla) and Madagascar.
Our Well Earth vanilla from both countries comes from small–scale farmers who are organized into self–governing cooperatives. Indian vanilla processing is highly centralized, with green beans being brought to one location that specializes in blanching and curing the beans and has highly specialized equipment. Madagascar vanilla processing is much more decentralized, with the majority of the blanching and curing being done by the farmers themselves prior to sale to exporters. Good quality beans come from both origins, but flavor profiles are slightly different.
In addition to fair pricing and expert agricultural training, we provide a stable market for our Well Earth partners' beans on an ongoing basis, an important factor in helping these marginal small farmers cope with the often–volatile markets. Our Well Earth partnership also provides a means to help with community problems such as the lack of clean drinking water for the villages. Meet one of our Well Earth vanilla partners.
We met Sripathi Ramayya Hegde when we went to India to talk with the small vanilla farmers who produce Indian Select Vanilla. Sripathi has been a farmer all his life, raising betel nuts on his less-than-an-acre farm since his youth. He told us how for most of his life he had sadly watched the slow erosion of the land and decline of the small farms in the area.
Three years ago he learned about biodynamic farming and decided to give it a try. Sripathi insisted we see his fields, and we hurried to get to them before it got dark. He was proud of his healthy, lush vanilla vines intertwined with the betel nut trees. He took us to a bank cut away to expose the layers of dirt and showed us how the biodynamic materials were working their way down through the layers to energize the soil and nurture his vanilla.
Sripathi and other farmers like him produce Indian Select Vanilla. Frontier is providing this group of farmers with fair prices and the support they need to produce and sell top quality organic products so there will be more farmers like Sripathi.
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