Everyone always talks about fair-trade chocolate, but why not vanilla? It’s just as important. In fact, as an ingredient, it’s probably used in more products than chocolate — nearly every pastry, baked good, dessert item, jam and so on includes either vanilla beans or vanilla extract.
Ben & Jerry’s launched their fair-trade vanilla ice cream in 2006, complete with online photo albums of their growing operations in India, Paraguay and Ecuador (on a side note, B&J are also working on a prototype for thermoacoustic fridges powered by sound waves, their employees offset all air travel, their climate “hoofprint” is climate neutral, they use free-range eggs, their brownies come from a kitchen that teaches cooking to the homeless and they’re currently looking at converting their ice cream waste into energy with a bio-gas digester … could Vermont get any crunchier?).
Anyway, I got the Frontier brand vanilla flavour but there are other varieties out there, and you can read a bit more about all the fair-trade certification requirements here. Either way, I’ll be making sure all my vanilla from now on is from as ethical a source as possible.
Of course, some forms of vanilla are just never ethical.
Image licked from this website