Tag Archives: Fair Trade


Tamales are a great way to get the entire family in the kitchen to spend time together! This super simple recipe is a great introduction to the classical hispanic dish of Tamales! To begin you’ll need: -12 corn husks soaked … Continue reading

Organic Cajun Pumpkin Seeds

Since we are all carving pumpkins, and most of us just throw away the pumpkin “guts”, we thought this recipe would be a great way to use those pumpkin seeds.


You’ll need:1 tsp organic paprika, 1 tsp cajun seasoning, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp butter


Step 1: Carve a hole in the top of your pumpkin and scoop out the seeds a flesh. A spoon works well for this.


Step 2: Using your hands, separate the flesh from the seeds. This doesn’t have to be perfect, a little pumpkin flesh will add flavor!


Step 3: Melt you butter in the microwave and add your seasonings and worcestershire sauce .


Step 4: Coat your seeds in your seasoning sauce.


Step 5: Place your seeds on a foil-lined baking tray and bake in a 350F oven for 20 minutes. This healthy and flavorful snack is great to much on through out your day or even for Halloween parties! Enjoy.

Homemade Organic Apple Cider


As the weather begins to cool and there is a nip in the crisp autumn air, this homemade spiced Apple Cider will make you reminiscent of pumpkin picking and hay rides when you were a child.

To Begin you’ll need:

6 organic Granny Smith apples, 6 organic Red Delicious Apples, 1 organic orange, 1 cup brown sugar


1 whole nutmeg, 4 whole cinnamon sticks, 1 tbsp cloves, stock pot, strainer, potato masher and cheesecloth.


Step 1: Wash you fruit and cut it into quarters


Step 2: Add all your fruit to the pot with the sugar.

Step 3: Prepare your spice bouquet: lay out the cheesecloth and add the cloves, cinnamon and diced nutmeg. Wrap up tightly and place in the pot.


Step 4: Cover everything with water and bring to a boil, covered for 1 hour. After 1 hour, mash your fruit, reduce your heat and allow to simmer for 2 hours.


Step 5: Allow the cider to cool, remove your spice bouquet and using your strainer and cheesecloth, ladle your cider into a bowl.

You can serve your cider hot or cold, but I prefer mine hot with a cinnamon stick! I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe on how to make homemade Apple Cider and perhaps now you can start your own family tradition!

Top Trends from the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show

Specialty Food Assn LogoThe Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC is the largest specialty food show in North America.  With over 180,000 products and nearly 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries, New York’s Fancy is the place to spot emerging food trends.

William Madden, Vice President of New Business Development, and East Coast Sales Manager Michael Klass were on hand to roam the isles, meet with customers and spot the top trends.  Below is their top ten list from the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show.

1. Quinoa and Ancient Grains – Ancient grains, especially quinoa, have seen a huge surge in demand in a very short period of time.  We see this trend continuing as more people look for gluten-free options and pure, natural ingredients.
2. Salsa – This one doesn’t surprise us. The fastest growing demographic in the U.S. is Hispanics (click here to read our white paper on Hispanics) and salsa sales far outpace ketchup. It makes perfect sense that this beloved condiment is booming in popularity.
3. Brines – This speaks to the trend we’re seeing in fermenting and the resurgence of homemakers growing their own food and preserving it via canning. What once was a tradition we only vaguely recall our grandmothers doing is now all the rage with the hippest foodies. Modernizing the preserving process with ready-made brines in a wide variety of flavors makes perfect sense.
4. Sauces –  As consumers look to cook with more fresh and healthful ingredients, they’re still demanding big flavor in a variety of ways. Baby boomers want more flavor in healthful ways and millennials want convenient ethnic flavors. Sauces bring these solutions and more to the convenience-driven consumer.
Whole Grain Council_SproutedGrain5. Sprouted – Health and wellness are driving a lot of food trends these days and sprouted seeds and grains is a great example of a food trend becoming popular based on its health benefits.  Sprouted grains and seeds claim to be easier for the body to digest and the nutrients (especially B vitamins and vitamin C) more bioavailable. Several research projects are underway to quantify sprouted grains health benefits. (Click on the image at the right to read more about sprouted grains.)
6. Superfoods – These have been a trend for sometime and we continue to see new products emerging claiming a superfood ingredient. Maca, baobab and chia are just of the few latest and greatest superfoods gaining popularity.
7. Fair Trade – More and more consumers demand transparency from the products they consume. Not only do they want a pure, safe and natural product but they want to make sure the people growing that product were paid fairly. Fair Trade speaks to the growing trend on corporate social responsibility and transparency. While the certification has been around for some time, we are seeing a growing use and demand for the seal.
8. Gluten-Free – This trend is most-likely what sparked the ancient grains trend. Gluten-free is another trend that’s been around for awhile and appears to continue to grow. Allergen-free is definitely the way of the future for many product lines.

Read more about the trends spotted at the 2013 Fancy Food Show in these great articles:

5 trends spotted at the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show by Kelsey Blackwall of NewHope360.com

5 top trends we saw at the Summer Fancy Food Show 2013 by Hannah Crowley of America’s Test Kitchen

Specialty Foods Association reveals top 5 trends from the Fancy Food Show

Chickpeas and kale and goat, oh my! Trends from the Fancy Food Show by Beth Snyder Bulik of AdvertisingAge.com


The Faces of Thanksgiving

This gallery contains 6 photos.

It is said that the greatest of virtues is gratitude. At HQO, we believe this to be true and thank each and every one of our customers, employees, partners and family farmers for the blessings they bestow upon us daily. … Continue reading

Toby’s Travels: Growing Fair Trade Supplies in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a fascinating place.  The island sits just to the east of India, in the Indian Ocean, and has one of the oldest recorded histories.  Despite its small size and secluded location, Sri Lanka is home to a land rich in biodiversity — including a plethora of organic spices and teas.

Sri Lanka Map

Map of Sri Lanka from http://www.gundam.wikia.com.

I traveled Sri Lanka last fall to work with our partners on growing the current supply of Fair Trade ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. I also was there to meet with some small farmers that grow clove, black pepper, several essential oils and green tea.



Cinnamon Tree

Cinnamon Tree in Sri Lanka

Cinnamon, the bark of the laurel tree, is actually native to Sri Lanka and often grows in plantations.  While the tree can grow over 200 feet high, most trees are maintained like bushes for ease of harvest.  We’re going to be posting a detailed post about cinnamon later this fall so stay tuned.

Cinnamon Plantation in Sri Lanka

Cinnamon Plantation in Sri Lanka

Because the farmers’ fields were in very remote parts of the country and my time there was short, I wasn’t able to make it out to the growing sites of all the crops.  However, I did a thorough visit of all the production facilities as part of our HQO quality assurance process. Each year I audit our growers’ production facilities to ensure we’re all working together to adhere to the highest quality and safety standards.

Sri Lanka Fair Trade Culture Center

Sri Lanka Fair Trade Culture Center

Sri Lanka Culture Center Event

Sri Lanka Culture Center Event

Another exciting part of my visit was securing more Fair Trade certified product.  One of our big initiatives at HQO is growing our Fair Trade program.  We recognize consumers not only want a healthy and safe product but they want a product that was grown with great consideration for the environment and the farmer.  This is were the Fair Trade program answers the call.  From holding monthly medical and optical clinics to building a cultural center on their plantation site, our partners in Sri Lanka have done an amazing job in providing much-needed healthcare and farmer education to those in the most remote parts of Sri Lanka. The funds from the Fair Trade program have also helped build homes for the farm families and purchase school supplies for their children. Everyone in the community benefits.

Fair Trade Certified Logo

Fair Trade Certified Logo

It was really neat to see some of the amazing things the Fair Trade program provides for families in need.  My visit reinforced the call we all should have to look for the Fair Trade logo when we’re purchasing tea, chocolate and other food products.

You can learn more about the Fair Trade program by visiting www.FairTradeUSA.org or contacting us directly at http://www.HQOrganics.com.

Next stop, India!