ingredients 2018-05-22T00:24:05+00:00

ingredients

Want to feel good about where your dollars are going? Well here’ ya go. Our aim is to create a magical food experience while being transparent about the value of what we’re providing. We’re excited to expose taste buds to things that have become scarce in the packaged foods industry – real, unrefined ingredients. The energetics of simple nourishing plantbased food hums a clear and uplifting song to our minds and bodies, unlike the cacophony that comes with highly processed industrial foods. And we’re excited to make treats that we adore. We could all use comfort food for our inner child at times. Let it be a sacrament to our wellbeing as well!

NORTHWEST BEE-CENTRIC RAW HONEY

“The taste of honey on the tongue is a lightness, a quickening, a deep emanation of the sun’s light as all of creation bears witness and answers. One’s heart is warmed.” ~ a message from the bees in The Song Of Increase by Jacqueline Freeman

“Bee-centric” is a phrase we’ve borrowed from people who are keeping bees in a non-conventional way that aims to support the colony’s well-being and respects its evolutionary past as wild, swarming pollinators of growing things. It’s also known as “natural beekeeping”. These keepers tend to be hobbyists and small scale farmers who offer their limited harvests with generosity and a true love of the plants and pollinators. We are proud to say that one hundred percent of our raw honey is sourced directly from local bee-centric keepers. We pay a high premium for this very limited type of honey but feel so much better about doing it! Here is some info about the types of honey you’ll find in a grocery store. Bee-centric raw honey is something you will rarely find these days, even at a farmer’s market. By purchasing a Cobb’s peanut butter, sunbutter or walnut crunch cup, you’re providing a rich, diverse, healthy habitat for about ten female worker bees, as well as the vitality of their hive and local ecosystem!

Did you know that honey is the only raw, naturally occurring sweetener that we consume? Even the best quality unrefined maple syrup, coconut nectar and cane juice are all boiled and reduced in order to evaporate water and reach the level of sweetness we like. Even raw agave, like brown rice syrup, requires the addition of enzymes in order to create sugars. Prior to the development of industrial agriculture, honey was considered precious, something gifted to a friend or used to sweeten a bitter medicine. How honey is created is truly a miracle. Once a female worker bee collects raw nectar (the female reproductive juices of a flower) it is transformed in her “honey stomach” by mixing with the “bee enzyme” invertase. The nectar’s sucrose, which is originally a disaccharide (two sugar molecules bonded together) converts into dextrose (glucose) and levulose (fructose), two monossacharides (basic sugars). These monossacharides happen to be easier for humans to digest than their bonded counterparts that you’ll find in other sweeteners. They also happen to be in a natural balance with each other, unlike many other sweeteners we like that contain a much higher level of fructose (easier on blood sugar) than glucose (easier on your liver). This liquid gold, once used as a preservative, is the only food we know of that can last thousands of years in its raw state without losing any of its nutritional content. No wonder ancients revered the symbol of the honey bee!

Most of the food crops we eat depend on pollinators. While our current staple crops such as corn, wheat, rice, soybeans and sorghum are wind-pollinating, most of the other plants we eat rely on bees. The honey bee is by far our primary pollinator. Common fruits that require pollinators include the apple, mango, avocado, apricot, cherry, plum, peach, pear, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, kiwi, citrus fruit, most melons, and even cacao and coffee. Common nuts requiring honey bees include the almond, macadamia and cashew. And the aforementioned is certainly not an extensive list. Many veggies can technically reproduce by either hand pollination or if planted by seed, but pollinators are, at the least, essential to maintain healthy seed sets. And if/when pollinators aren’t used, these unlisted crops require more manual labor and will naturally become more homogenized. When it comes to the process of commercial pollination – something we now rely on in our industrialized food system – two things that work hand-in-hand to the detriment of our ecosystem are the continual transportation of bees for pollination and the short-sighted reliance on monocultures, a type of farming in which vast distances of soil are growing one single non-rotating crop. These serve as “food deserts” to all surrounding life, including ground-dwelling microorganisms and pollinators. As all life naturally thrives with diversity, these monocultures are much more prone to disease. Hence the dependence on toxic chemicals and, recently, the GMO crops that are designed to withstand them. This is of course a purely human-centric way to grow food, as we are the only ones who appear to benefit, and only in the short term. All sorts of insect populations, including the honey bee, have suffered drastic diseases in the last couple decades, primarily because they have been exploited and not provided a healthy habitat. What can we do to help? Avoiding commercial honey is certainly one step. Supporting bee-centric beekeepers and spreading this information is another. If you don’t eat honey for ethical reasons, know that quitting almond milk is likely a more effective action. But most importantly – eat as much organic, local, seasonal produce as you can. It tastes the best anyway!

Cheap commercial honey, which is often imported and sold in the big groceries is often diluted with high-fructose corn syrup and other cheap sweeteners. Typical “100% pure honey”, while not diluted, is full of toxic pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics. And it’s been heated, homogenized, and ultra-filtered so that little soul and “nutrients” of this beloved bee food remains. Raw honey, which has gained much commercial popularity recently, hasn’t been heated or filtered and is said to contain 22 amino acids, 27 minerals, a spectrum of vitamins and thousands of enzymes. However, commercial raw honey is economically profitable only if bees are being continually transported cross-country to pollinate seasonal crops – something that depends on reliably “healthy” hives, which unfortunately gets keepers into the business of annually replacing queens with purchased artificially inseminated ones, as well as treating bees with antibiotics and miticides if a colony gets sick. Also, in order to maximize profits, bees will be fed corn or sugar syrup instead of their usual honey through the winter. Refined sugar syrup from distant lands is a very different diet than pure pollen-rich fermented nectar that’s tuned to the bee’s local ecology. The best raw honey that you’ll find in stores is from farms that only treat their bees when sick (as opposed to preventative methods) and only use organic sugar when required. The bees are still being driven around on big trucks, pollinating distant sprayed crops, and will never experience the joy of a swarm or a winter of quality homemade food.

For more information about bee-centric beekeeping, we suggest googling the term. There are plenty of wonderful films to check out, such as Queen of the Sun and More Than Honey. Marla Spivak did a great job explaining things in an easy 16-minute 2013 TED talk, here. We’re all so interdependent!

CHOCOLATE

Our chocolate is a custom blend of premium roasted cacao, coconut sugar and coconut. We are not a bean-to-bar company and rely on processors to do the fermenting, roasting (or not), conching and grinding of the cacao beans. We’re always excited to hear about new processors who are delivering a good tasting product while putting people and planet first, so please give us a shout if there’s someone we should know about. Here’s a look at our current sources.

TCHO is a San Francisco-based chocolate company that’s doing very cool things for the cacao industry. They have solid relationships with processors in four countries. Their certified organic and fair trade roasted cacao we use comes from Peru and Ecuador. It’s rich and nutty with complex undertones of who knows what. It’s amazing. About half of our cacao currently comes from TCHO.

Santa Barbara Chocolate Company (located in the same town Rebecca & Stephen met!) has some great tasting offerings that we’ve used in our blend: true Arriba cacao from remote Eucadorian highland jungles, plus a mix of UTZ-certified ethically sourced Cuchillo Criollo cacao from the Northeastern Rio Tigre Valley in the Peruvian Amazon and Trinitario cacao from a northern Hispaniola (D.R.) micro climate area. Their beans are purchased through UNOCACE, which guarantees fair trade and organic compliance. About half of our cacao currently comes from SB Chocolate Co.

CASHEWS

Due to the rise in popularity of plantbased diets, the cashew trade is in quite a flux at the moment. Currently, our certified organic and fair trade cashews are coming from El Salvador, Brazil, and/or Honduras via Equal Exchange. When they run out, our lovely distributor will source Vietnamese cashews, which are also delicious and work well with our cashew cheese flavor profile.

DRIED RAW COCONUT

The dried coconut meat we use is raw, organic, and low-temp dehydrated. It tastes fresher and naturally sweeter than anything else we’ve tried. Most dried and shredded coconut meat is pressed to remove excess milk and then heated at high temps. Low-grade big-store commercial stuff has even been sterilized in chlorinated water and mixed with sweeteners and/or preservatives. The coconut we use comes from farms in Sri Lanka and is one of our favorite ingredients. Wish we could visit these farms as they’re doing a great job!

RAW COCONUT OIL

We love coconut oil! Especially the good stuff. High quality coconut oil will taste fresh, reminiscent of raw coconut meat, and won’t have any strange off tastes. We use raw, organic, centrifuge-pressed oil from the Philippines. It’s deeelicious. The centrifuge process doesn’t use heat to extract the oil, and takes a matter of hours between opening of the coconuts and packaging. So fresh. We also highly recommend the coconut oil coming from Dua Dua in the Solomon Islands, which we use sometimes. It’s heavenly.

WATER

The water we use in our cashew cheese comes from a tested well in Olympia WA where we live and breathe, and where most of the produce we eat at home is grown. It is living and mineral rich as it is meant to be, not distilled, and not municipal tap water.

NUTS & SEEDS

Our peanuts, sunflower seeds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios and buckwheat groats are all domestically and organically grown and roasted! And our peanuts are custom roasted by locals, CB’s Nuts. While we appreciate raw food, something about roasting nuts is simply meant to be. And it does make them easier to digest than their unsoaked or unsprouted raw buddies.

HIMALAYAN SALT

We’re lovers of pink Himalayan crystal salt. We have salt lamps in every room and use it as a primary salt at home. Something about its firey color and ancient crystaline purity is enchanting. It contains all 81 trace minerals that our bodies need to live, and it’s incredibly bio-available. How cool is that?!

SEA SALT

Our Pacific Northwest sea salt is provided by Oregon locals, Jacobsen Salt Co.

COCONUT SUGAR

Our coconut sugar comes from Indonesia and is certified organic and fair-trade. Second to honey, coconut sugar seems to create the mellowest sugar buzz out of the other natural sweeteners we’ve tried. This means we can eat more of it without going nuts! Plus it hasn’t been stripped of its brown minerally goodness.

MAPLE SYRUP

Our organic maple syrup comes from Butternut Mountain Farm in Vermont, where the Marvin family has been stewarding forests and harvesting maple sap for half a century. Other than perhaps honey, what sweetener tastes better than boiled sap from the sugar maple tree?!

FLAVOR EXTRACTS

We use certified-organic CO2 processed flavor extracts. It’s the cleanest way of extracting a plant essence. They taste true-to-source whereas other natural flavors (which use a refrigerant named HFC-134a) we’ve used are fun but are artificial tasting, like the candy we grew up on.

COFFEE

In our sunbutter cups, we use Olympia Coffee Roasting Co‘s direct-trade “Fair For All” organic coffee beans!

TRUFFLE OIL & SHIITAKE POWDER

In our garlic & truffle cashew cheese, we pay a premium for real organic truffle-infused olive oil and domestically grown organic shiitake mushroom powder.