From The Pantry side of my business I want to stock your pantry with the purest products available; free from chemicals, low in food miles and direct from farmers and makers. This is how I choose to eat and I cannot sell anything that compromises this philosophy.
Spices has been my biggest problem, in this regard. I cannot contact hundreds of small, Asian, Middle Eastern and various island growers via my laptop! I will not simply buy certified organic spices through a distributor because I am not confident that the spice farms are owned and operated in a manner that helps their local economies, but rather, I fear, are large, multinational enterprises charging too much and paying the indigineous communities too little.
Enter Barry Beach, of Beach Organics, by the sea, south of Adelaide. I have met Barry a few times at the Willunga Farmers’ Market and once visited his vegetable garden and spice business with the Hills and Plains Seedsavers group in 2008. Barry’s passion for pure, ethical, organic spices has led him on a fascinating journey, culminating in forming working relationships with a group of Indonesian spice growers. His spices are sometimes wild harvested and sometimes cultivated, but always with the benefits to the communities in mind and always organic.
Now, as The Garden Shed and Pantry is finding its niche in southern Tasmania, I feel I can benefit from all the work done by Barry and begin to offer a small range of his beautiful, and often unfamiliar, spices to my customers.
I have asked Barry endless questions in our email exchanges and I am grateful to him for his understanding that I need to know all about things, before I buy them for myself or my customers. Here is what I have so far learned from Barry…..
As for the cloves & long pepper, as a result of a long relationship with Indonesia, its people, culture & cuisine we have extended our business to this part of the world to grow our spices, cacao, produce our extraordinary honeys etc etc. This enables us to put more money into the pockets of our Growers & ensure quality control & consistency from paddock to plate. A true direct / fair trade business model. The production of our strawberry blossom honey has for example enabled the purchase of school books for all the children living in the vicinity of the production area.
Specifically the long pepper is a wild harvest from various locations within Indonesia, incredibly aromatic & highly valued as a culinary spice and used medicinally in a tonic known as Jamu.
It has recently been shown in clinical trials to target & kill cancer cells due to the presence of piperlongumine.
The cloves are grown by a very good friend of mine and are named after him – Agung’s – Cloves.
We have a licence to import both of these to Australia. Additional .. none of our spices etc are fumigated nor treated by AQIS nor the Indonesian authorities.
As for our vanilla, we grow all our spices, including our certified organic and wild crafted vanilla in Indonesia. General Balinese vanilla is considered to be of inferior quality, with much better vanilla coming from other “pockets” of the Indonesian archipelago, including Sulawesi, Alor & some areas of Java etc.
We currently have good supplies of the following single origin spices – our star anise, nutmeg & lampung black & Agungs peppercorns. Our turmeric and whole ground vanilla is also proving to be extremely popular and we have excellent supplies of both. Maybe worth your consideration.
New stock of our organic cinnamon is due Sept, as is sliced dried turmeric, galangal, ginger, Indian gooseberry & rosella petals – which is excellent as a herbal tea, reputed to regulate blood pressure etc. Also excellent gourmet grade vanilla is on the way at the same time. We are also about to launch our new single origin whole bean coffee range early Spring and organic spiced raw choclate.
First of all I am stocking the Long Pepper and cloves mentioned above. The long pepper is like nothing I have experienced before and last night I crushed two with my mortar and pestle, releasing a multitude of aromas. On potatoes freshly dug from a neighbour’s garden, and steamed for dinner it was sensational.
You will find Barry’s spices at my stall and available from my home shop.