The Small Guy

While we’re all familiar with food brand names like Coca Cola, Kellogg’s, and Sara Lee, it’s nice to get away from the big corporations and support the “little guy” sometimes (or most times). As my food purchasing has evolved and I’ve been exposed to all that’s available in the market, I’ve been trying to shift my food dollars to support smaller companies. I applaud their focus on making a few products the best they can rather than diversifying and saturating the market with so much of the same thing…
Of course, this isn’t true for all the small guys, nor are all the bigger ones so bad. I just wanted to highlight a couple great small companies that I’ve recently been exposed to at “foodie” conferences:

Tierra Farm – I ran across this small company based out of upstate NY at a sustainable farming conference, where they had a table featuring several of their products. They sell a variety of raw and roasted nuts, seeds, chocolate, nut butters, dried fruits, and tons more. They are USDA Organic and also run an organic vegetable farm at their headquarters. Every nut I tried at their table was delicious, but my favorite was the savory and completely satisfying Curry Cashews. I don’t even consider myself a nut person and I rarely eat cashews, but these are so addicting! My favorite part about this company is their transparency – they offered a world map to show where they source all of their ingredients. It’s refreshing to see someone that wants to showcase rather than hide where they get their raw products.

Kopali Organics – I heard the owner of this company speak at another conference (I am all over the place these days!) on a panel about getting/making your dream job. The panel discussion was great, but the samples offered were even better! Kopali provides Fair Trade and Organic chocolate covered products. My favorite are the unique chocolate covered cacao nibs…they remind me of a richer, more sophisticated Buncha Crunch! Remember those?! Anyway, I really appreciate that this company is not only organic, but also Fair Trade certified. With chocolate such a prevalent product in American society, bigger companies (and some small ones, for sure) have exploited the tropical areas where this product comes from. I like knowing that my dollars are going more towards supporting the lives of small farmers in Peru, for example.

While both of these companies have wonderful sustainability-minded ethos’ and delicious products, I understand that not everyone can afford to regularly allocate their food dollars here. But that’s the great thing about these kinds of companies for me; their nuts and chocolates are meant to be a treat, so I feel better about spending a little more to support them, while also not needing to buy more than a few times a year.

That’s just how I feel, but I hope you’ll seek out the “little guy” and support companies (food and otherwise) that fit with your values as well.

Now I’m going to nibble on some nibs….

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