Burlap and barrel spices – Organic
We’ve brought in three spice/spice blends from Burlap and Barrel, a Public Benefit Corporation building new international spice supply chains that are equitable, transparent, and traceable.
They work towards ending inequality and exploitation in food systems that disenfranchise skilled farmers by connecting smallholder farmers to high-value markets; educating consumers about the impact of product traceability on human rights, and sourcing unique spices and other foods with terroir that are grown organically and sustainably using traditional techniques.
Mainstream conversations around food sustainability rarely consider the people involved in growing, harvesting, transporting, processing, and cooking food. Sustainability is discussed in terms of environmental impact, or the comfort of livestock providing meat, dairy, or eggs.
They believe that the standard measures of sustainability must evolve to consider the conditions in which the farmers who drive global food supply chains earn their livelihoods. Single-origin ingredients draw attention to the unique environments in which incredible ingredients grow and to the farmers with the expertise and commitment to grow them well.
Rather than bring in spices and spice blends that you would find anywhere, we selected three that we thought were indispensable and that would add some zest to your pantry!
Their zesty and bright Oregano Flower Buds come from Turkey, where they are picked by hand just before they open into oregano flowers. These tiny pinecone-shaped buds have everything we love about oregano, but with a particularly beautiful spicy, hoppy twist. Crumble them into salad dressings and over pizza and pasta, roast chicken and meat marinades, or just sneak them into your grilled cheese. These buds will quickly become a pantry staple.
Their spectacular Cured Sumac is made using an ancient preservation technique, packing fresh, wild sumac berries in salt. A classic Middle Eastern finishing spice, swap it for lemon juice in any recipe or use it to add character and brightness to salads, fish, meat or dips. It has a bright, sour, salty, and slightly fermented flavor. This is one of our most popular spices with home cooks and professional chefs alike!
Their Za’atar is grown and blended in Palestine, where it has been a staple seasoning, topping, and condiment for as long as recorded history. The name za’atar refers to both the herb itself (a relative of oregano) and the classic blend where the herb is ground and mixed with sesame, sumac, and salt. Use it as a finishing spice, a seasoning to roast meat or vegetables, or as a dip mixed with fresh olive oil.
Good za’atar tastes savory, deeply herbal, piney, nutty, tart, and peppery. They are able to share this za’atar because of the expertise, persistence, and creativity of more people than you probably realize – they assembled a scrappy team of farmers, millers, entrepreneurs, freight forwarders, and at least one father-in-law who pieced together a whole supply chain. It represents a shared pride and passion for their land, its people and their culture. When we talk about heirloom spices, this is what we’re talking about.
The miller, Abu Ali, said, “We do this from our hearts out of love. Working in the mill and bringing the smell of the za’atar in the air makes us all love our job even more. We want the world to know we love our culture and want to share the love of our culture by working hard daily just so we can bring joy into everyone’s home.”