fair trade coffee

Consider Giving Local, Organic, Fair Trade Gifts This Holiday Season

My cousin recently called me up to ask me what her family should get my dad for his birthday. I have a hard enough time figuring out what to get him myself, let alone telling other people what to get him. But then she told me that they were going with consumables as gifts from now on because the members of our family can sometimes be hard to shop for. It occurred to me (although people have been doing this forever) that this was a smart idea.

As the holiday season approaches and the search begins for gifts for those hard-to-shop-for people, consider keeping that idea in mind -- with local, organic, fair trade, and delicious treats. Here are just a few possibilities to get the ball rolling on the shopping list.

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The New Peace Coffee Shop Combines Fair Trade Ideals with Great Coffee and Food

Earlier this week, when I slipped through the front doors of the new Peace Coffee shop in Longfellow, I had to stop for a moment to take it all in. Despite the fact that I had come on what was only the third day of their “soft” opening, the place had that wonderful feeling of having been there for a long time. My gaze flitted from the beautiful intricate tile floor at the entrance, to the marquis lights on the rough hewn menu board, to the tree mural complete with a sweet little hidden bird nest, to the giant, and I mean GIANT, disco ball and all I could think was Man, this place is cool! Cheery sounds of whirring and clinking drifted from the big u-shaped coffee bar and sun streamed through vast windows, casting swaths of light over people chatting or sitting with their laptops, sipping coffee and looking contented as cats.

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Can a Locavore Eat Chocolate, Coffee and Bananas with a Clear Conscience?

Chances are, if you’re a regular visitor to this web site, you proudly support the mission of local, sustainable farms: you’re a member of your neighborhood food co-op; you shop at farmers markets; you subscribe to a regular CSA delivery; you spend your Saturdays crop-mobbing; and you eat in restaurants that are similarly committed to supporting local farmers.

Pat yourself on the back. You’re an informed and conscientious locavore – and darn proud of it. You care about your food’s origin, its environmental impact, and its connection to the community.

So, tell me: Is it possible to honor these values if you eat food that’s not grown within a 100-mile radius, maybe even a 1,000-mile radius, of where you live? Are you able to eat bananas, grapes and chocolate, and drink coffee and tea, with a clear conscience?

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October Simple, Good, and Tasty Bookclub Pick: Javatrekker

In honor of Fair Trade month, October's Simple, Good, and Tasty book club selection is Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee. In the book, author Dean Cycon -- founder of Dean's Beans Organic Coffee, activist, and entrepreneur -- describes the many issues and implications around producing fair trade coffee in Africa, Central America, South America, and Asia. Javatrekker is a fantastic mix of travelogue and social commentary, with a healthy dose of history, politics and economics.

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New Coffee Shop Helps Peace Coffee Tell Their Whole Story From Bean to Cup

When I heard that Minneapolis-based Peace Coffee would be opening their own coffee shop this fall, my first reaction was not overly enthusiastic. Apart from a select few, coffee shops are not known to be hugely profitable, and I feared this new venture would pull resources from one of my favorite local companies and drag it down. Peace Coffee has been growing its fair trade, organic, bike-delivered, coffee bean business for years. Why risk all that the company has worked for rather than simply add new accounts and products to their already successful model? When I got the chance to speak with Lee Wallace, Peace Coffee's CEO ("Queen Bean" on her business cards), it all made sense.

"The new coffee shop allows us to prepare our coffee the way we envision it when it comes out of the roaster," Lee tells me, "most roasters know roasting but not about being a barista, and most baristas don't know much about roasting."

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Highlights from Our Peace Coffee Cupping: Win a Pound of SGT's Ugandan Peaberry!

The blustery weather provided the perfect backdrop for this past Saturday's free Peace Coffee cupping, attended by more than 20 coffee lovers. When we arrived at Peace Coffee's Minneapolis headquarters, we were treated to Peace Coffee's new seasonal Pollinator blend (which replaces the well-loved Winter Snowshoe Brew), muffins and scones from the Birchwood Cafe, and Marketing Director Mel Meegan's tour of the warehouse and its impressive roasters. A few minutes later, we were sitting at long tables, staring at delicious-smelling cups of coffee grounds. I don't think any of us knew what to do.

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Writers Wanted: Join the SGT Team!

Are you a talented writer with a passion for local food? Spend your time hanging out with local food chefs, organic food organizations, fair trade coffee makers, co-ops, and/or farmers markets? Read books by Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman in your spare time? Anxiously await the next film from the folks who brought us "King Corn" and "Big River"? Have you been admiring this site from afar?

If so, we've got an opportunity for you!

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Looking Back and Looking Ahead: Our 2009 Simple, Good, and Tasty Recap and 2010 Resolutions

What a year it's been! Between our first post - proudly proclaiming that we joined a CSA - and our recent letter to Santa Claus, we've grown gardens, pickled dilly beans, and made lifelong friends. Here are just a few highlights from 2009:

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Simple, Good, and Tasty Offers Fair-Trade Ugandan Peaberry Coffee

I'm super excited to let you know that, for a limited time, Simple, Good, and Tasty is offering our own fair trade coffee through our partnership with Peace Coffee. This coffee is one of my absolute favorites, organic Ugandan peaberry. The gorgeous label, shown above, was designed by my friend Stuart Flake of What Agency Inc., who also designed the Simple, Good, and Tasty logo.


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