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Archive for Food Holidays/History/Facts

HOLIDAY: National Bavarian Cream Pie Day

A fruit-topped Bavarian cream pie. Photo by
J. Java | Fotolia.


November 27 is National Bavarian Cream Pie Day. Before there was Bavarian Cream Pie, there was crème bavarois—Bavarian Cream, an early 19th century dessert credited to the great chef, Marie-Antoine Carême.

While the connection to Bavaria is obscure, Carême created great dinners for royalty and others at the top of society, so the dessert may well have been created to honor guests from Bavaria.

Bavarian Cream (without the pie) is a mold of crème anglaise (a pourable custard sauce) combined with gelatin, beaten egg whites, and lightly whipped cream.

It can be flavored with vanilla, fruit purée, chocolate, liqueur, etc. It was originally poured into a decorative mold, chilled and unmolded. See the photo below of a simple molded Bavarian cream—no elaborate mold.

As with custard and other foods originally served in a dish, at a point lost in history, some chef poured the cream into a pie crust to create Bavarian Cream Pie.


Bavarian cream pie is one of a variety of creme pies. Simply stated, the cream—be it banana cream, Bavarian cream, chocolate cream, coconut cream, whipped cream, etc.—is added to a pie shell. It can be served unadorned, topped with shaved chocolate or chocolate sauce, or, as in the photo, topped with fruit.

BUT NOTE: Real Bavarian cream does not pipe smoothly because of its gelatin. In the U.S., products called “Bavarian cream” pie (and doughnuts) are actually filled with a version of a crème pâtissière (pastry cream)—so they’re “faux” Bavarian Cream Pie.



What’s the difference between creme and cream? Why do some people write “creme pie” instead of “creme pie?”

Crème, pronounced KREHM, is the French word for cream. In America, French recipes were served at the tables of the wealthy, many of whom knew how to pronounce French properly.

As these recipes entered the mainstream, people who did not know French began to pronounce crème (KREHM) as cream (KREEM). Some people dispensed with the accent mark, to provide a mashup of French and English, and either became acceptable.

But to display your erudition, when discussing a French dish, e.g. Crème Brûlée, use crème; when discussing an American dish, e.g. Chocolate Cream Pie, use cream.


Bavarian Cream, or crème bavarois. Photo by Massimiliano Pieraccini | IST.


Check out the different types of pie in our delicious Pie Glossary.



FOOD HOLIDAY: Carbonated Beverage With Caffeine Day

Do you know what this is? Chances are,
you’ve consumed it (and some people
consume it a lot!). Photo by Bob Walker |


Today is National Carbonated Beverage With Caffeine Day. Yes, some of these official food holidays are quirky. But each one offers a teaching moment.

There are only six plants on earth that contain caffeine. Quick: close your eyes and try to name them.

They are:

  • Cacao: the cacao bean (the seeds of a tree fruit) is used to make chocolate and cocoa.
  • Coffee: the leaves, cherries and seeds all contain caffeine; the seeds are roasted to become coffee beans.
  • Kola: the nut of the tree is used to make cola drinks (that’s it in the photo).
  • Guaraná: the seed is extracted as a beverage ingredient; it’s present in just about every energy drink.
  • Tea: the leaf of the plant is an herb that has become a culinary mainstay throughout the world.

  • Yerba maté: the leaf of a tree that’s a member of the holly family, it is brewed like tea and drunk in parts of South America the way some Americans drink coffee: continuously, for vitality and mental clarity (more about yerba maté).
    What do all of these foods with caffeine have in common?

  • They’re all leaves, nuts or seeds of trees.
  • They’re all used to make beverages.
    As you sip your caffeinated beverage, think of how much you’ve learned!



    FOOD HOLIDAY: Gourmet Fig Recipes For National Fig Week

    Fresh black mission figs with foie gras and a
    frisée salad. Photo courtesy BLT Steak Atlanta.


    National Fig Week is the first week in November.

    One of the simplest desserts, enjoyed since early times, is figs with honey. It couldn’t be easier: just decide how many figs you want to serve to each person (we serve three or four, depending on size), and plate them with a drizzle of honey. Other decisions:

  • One variety of fig or three? Enhance the dessert with three different types of fig to each person—a black Mission fig, a green Adriatic fig, and a brown turkey fig, for example. You can garnish one with chopped hazelnuts, one with pistachios and one with almonds. If you have rectangular or even square plates, it makes a lovely presentation (see photo and recipe).
  • With or without cheese? Figs, honey and nuts—the components of the recipe above—are all excellent complements to cheese plates.

    So why not pass a cheese plate with figs, nuts and honeycomb? It’s one of the world’s great desserts, and you don’t have to cook a thing! Check out this simple recipe for Figs With Honey.

  • Not serving a separate cheese course? You can add an optional scoop of soft cheese to the center of a fresh fig, or a slice of goat cheese log or wedge of Brie next to it. Drizzle honey across the plate before plating the figs and cheese.
  • Dessert or Snack? Ripe, luscious figs can be served like other fresh fruit: at breakfast, lunch or dinner, or at midday tea/break.

    Here’s something you don’t see every day: fig panna cotta. The recipe is from Vic Rallo, host of the television show, Eat!Drink!Italy! With Vic Rallo.


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of fig purée
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 one-ounce packet of gelatin dissolved
  • 3 tablespoons of cold water

    A seasonal surprise: fig panna cotta. Photo courtesy Vic Rallo.


    1. DISSOLVE the gelatin in 3 tablespoons of cold water, for about 10 minutes.

    2. PLACE the cream, vanilla bean, vanilla extract, fig purée and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Add the gelatin to the pan, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds, or until the gelatin is well blended with the cream.

    3. POUR the cream mixture into molds, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or until set.


    By the time of the Bible, figs had been cultivated for thousands of years. They may have been the first crop* cultivated—perhaps first in Egypt. From there they spread to Crete and around the 9th century B.C.E., to Greece, where they became a staple.

    The ancient Greeks loved figs so much that they enacted a law forbidding the export of the best quality figs (in the ancient world, at least 29 varieties of figs were cultivated).

    Figs spread throughout the Mediterranean. They arrived in the New World in the early 16th century, with Spaniards explorers. When Spanish missions were established in what is now southern California, the monks cultivated planted fig trees. Today, California is one of the largest producers of figs, along with Greece, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.

    *Agricultural historians believe the order of cultivation to be figs, wheat and barley, grapes, olives, sugar, tea, rice and sesame. Different historians have different orders; and archeological digs regularly reveal new information.



    HOLIDAY: Pork Pozole Recipe For Dia De Los Muertos

    Pork pozole. Photo courtesy Chef Ingrid


    The Day of the Dead, Día de los Muertos, is celebrated October 31, November 1st and 2nd in Mexico and elsewhere around the globe. People gather to remember deceased friends and family members, and to feast in their honor. You can learn more about it here.

    Mexican food is a de rigeur (we’re not sure if the Spanish equivalent is de rigor) part of the celebration. Ingrid Hoffmann, host of the Univision’s Delicioso and author of Latin D’Lite: Delicious Latin Recipes with a Healthy Twist, sent us this recipe for pork pozole.

    Pozole is a hominy-based stew, usually made with pork shoulder; some people prefer chicken pozole.

    Bowls of shredded cabbage, avocado, radishes, chopped cilantro and lime wedges are set on the table so that each person can garnish his or her pozole to taste. Tortillas and Mexican beer complete the course.


    Ingredients For 4 To 6 Servings

  • 4 dried whole New Mexico chiles
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 8 ounces boneless pork loin chops, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano (substitute any oregano)
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans* white hominy, drained and rinsed
  • Kosher salt
    For The Garnishes

  • ½ cup green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 Hass avocado, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup radishes, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, quartered

    *If you prefer, buy dried hominy and soak overnight.

    1. PLACE the chiles in a heatproof medium bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chiles. Let stand until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the liquid. Cut the chiles lengthwise in half and discard the stems and seeds. Transfer to a blender or food processor and purée with the reserved liquid. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Meanwhile…

    2. HEAT 1 teaspoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.

    3. ADD the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, onion, and garlic to the Dutch oven. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chile paste (purée) and oregano and mix well.


    Hominy can be purchased in cans, ready to use, or in bags of dried kernels, which need to be soaked overnight. Photo courtesy Goya.

    4. RETURN the pork to the Dutch oven. Add the broth and hominy and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended and the pozole thickens slightly, about 1 hour. Season with salt.

    5. SERVE: ladle the pozole into soup bowls. Allow each guest to top with cabbage, avocado, radishes, and cilantro, as desired, and serve lime wedges on the side for squeezing.

    Hominy is made from dried maize (corn) kernels which have been treated with an alkali (such as limewater) in a process called nixtamalization.

    After treatment, the kernels are more easily ground, nutritional value is increased, flavor and aroma are improved. Hominy is then used in the production of tortillas and tortilla chips (but not corn chips), tamales, hominy grits and many other foods.



    FOOD FUN: Candy Corn Fudge

    Fudge in an homage to candy corn. Photo courtesy The Pampered Chef.


    October 30th is National Candy Corn Day. According to the National Confectioners Association, more than 20 million pounds of candy corn are sold during the Halloween season.

    The iconic confection was created in the late 1880s by George Roniger of the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia. The first three-layer candy, it was laboriously made by hand.

    Even with today’s machinery, it takes 4 to 5 days to create each piece of candy corn (here’s a video of candy corn being made). Each kernel has 3.57 calories, and it’s all sugar (the ingredients are corn syrup, honey, sugar and food coloring, coated with carnauba wax).

    The orange, yellow and white colors of the candy corn can actually be found in fresh corn kernels—though the colors are intensified by the candymakers. Some companies create an “Indian corn” version, substituting brown for the yellow base color.

    Why not “fudge the rules” by turning fudge into candy corn? It’s vanilla fudge, made in three layers that are the color of candy corn. The recipe is courtesy of

    Don’t like fudge? Try this candy corn cocktail, or simply mix candy corn into some popcorn (almonds optional).


    Ingredients For 72 Pieces

  • 3 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 15 drops yellow food coloring
  • 10 drops red food coloring


    1. MICROWAVE chocolate and condensed milk in a 3 cup bowl, uncovered, on HIGH for 1-2 minutes. Stir every 30 seconds until melted.

    2. LINE a loaf pan with waxed paper and pour in one-third of the fudge mixture, spreading evenly.

    3. PLACE pan in freezer 5 minutes to cool. If the fudge mixture in the prep bowl has begun to set, microwave an additional 15 seconds.

    4. DIVIDE remaining fudge mixture into two bowls. Add yellow food coloring to one bowl and mix well. Add red food coloring to the other bowl and mix well.

    5. REMOVE fudge from freezer. Pour orange fudge mixture over first layer; return to freezer for 5 minutes. Then pour yellow fudge mixture over first two layers and place in freezer for about 45 minutes or until set.

    6. REMOVE fudge from pan. Cut into 4 lengthwise rows with a pizza cutter or other implement.

    7. TURN rows on their sides and cut into triangles.

    8. STORE in an airtight container in refrigerator.



    HOLIDAY: National Oatmeal Day

    It’s National Oatmeal Day.

    The original oatmeal enthusiasts were the Scots, who were eating them many centuries ago when their English neighbors were only growing oats as livestock feed.

    The groats—the hulled kernels of the cereal—required soaking overnight and cooking for perhaps 30 minutes, so oatmeal was not exactly a convenience breakfast. But modern processing has made it very easy for us to enjoy oatmeal in a minute—and good oatmeal in five to ten minutes.


    Rolled oats are what most Americans think of as oatmeal. Quaker Oats’ Old Fashioned Oats have been breakfast fare for generations.

    To make rolled oats, the groats are flattened under giant rollers, which makes them easier to cook but removes much of the fiber-filled bran in the process.

    There are different types of rolled oats:


    The most familiar form of oats are rolled oats, where the groats are rolled flat. Photo by Kelly Cline | IST.

  • Rolled oats, which cook in 5-10 minutes.
  • Quick oats which are cut into smaller pieces and rolled thinner, have less chew than standard rolled oats. They cook in one minute.
  • Instant oats, the fastest-cooking oats. They are cut smaller and rolled thinner still, then precooked and dehydrated so they can instantly mix with hot water.
    The thinner that oats are rolled, the more surface area they have, the quicker they cook. However, the more oats are processed, the more nutritional value is lost. And, alas, texture and flavor is lost as well, creating a blander, mushier product—and the popularity of highly sugared and flavored instant oats.


    Steel cut oats, the original oatmeal. Photo by
    Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.



    Steel-cut oats, also called cut oats, Irish oats or Scottish oats, and coarse-cut oats, are groats (the whole oat kernel) that have been cut into very small pieces using steel discs. This produces a different result from rolled into flakes.

    They are a far better source of fiber than rolled oats, and delightfully chewy (note: baked goods should be made with rolled oats, unless you want a chewy oat bread or muffin).

    Cooking time is considerably longer than for rolled oats—30 minutes—but the cooked oatmeal has a nice texture to it—it’s more al dente than rolled oats (and our favorite).

    The luxurious texture and longer cooking time imparts more flavor as well. Oatmeal imported from Ireland and Scotland, like McCann’s and Flahavan’s, tends to be steel-cut oats.

    Our trick to speedier steel-cut oats: Make a double or triple batch; refrigerate the extra portions and microwave them for “one-minute steel-cut oats.”

    The Health Benefits Of Oatmeal
    Oatmeal Serving Suggestions




    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Bologna Day

    Bite into a bologna sandwich. Photo by
    Francesco DiBartolo | IST.


    We haven’t had a bologna sandwich since grade school, when Mom would pack one up once a week or so, alternating with a BLT, ham, PB&J or tuna sandwich.

    Yet to other people, a bologna sandwich is a culinary staple. Beyond the sandwich, we had a college friend who would snack on bologna and cheese stacked between Ritz crackers, and add bologna strips to her pizza.

    Bologna, also Americanized (unfortunately*) to baloney, is a type of cooked pork sausage, a derivation of Italian mortadella.

    Mortadella has been made for more than 500 years. The recipe, developed in the Italian city of Bologna, includes pure ground pork studded with cubes of white fat and seasoned with anise, coriander, pepper and pistachio nuts.

    U.S. government regulations require bologna to be made without the visible pieces of lard, distinguishing it from mortadella. But it can be transformed with flavoring, such as Cajun, jalapeño, garlic or barbecue.

    Nitrates, preservatives that give cooked pork products a pink color, are used in American bologna and mortadella.

    U.S. standards allow bologna to be made from beef, chicken, pork, turkey, venison and others (bison, goat, etc.), or from soy protein (vegan bologna).

    As is typical with sausage, scraps of meat are mixed with spices, then cooked and stuffed into casings (originally made from animal intestines, which are still used in all-natural sausage).

    Bologna came to the U.S. with Italian immigrants. Because it could be made from inexpensive cuts of meat, it became a popular food for working class families on a budget. A bologna sandwich could be carried to work, school, etc. with no need for refrigeration.

    *“Baloney” is slang for “nonsense.” It appears to have entered American English around 1922, and was popularized in the 1930s by New York Governor Alfred E. Smith. The original term was used in the mode of “nonsense” or “rubbish,” believed to be a nod to either Irish blarney, or the odds and ends used to make bologna sausage.


    Garlic bologna has garlic and other seasonings added to the recipe. That’s easy enough to understand. But to make things confusing in the world of bologna:

    Germany & Austria

  • The product referred to as German bologna in other countries is called Fleischwurst (“flesh sausage”) in Germany. The name refers to the off-white color—no nitrates. It is often flavored with garlic.
  • In Austria, the same product is called Extrawurst.
  • In Germany, what we think of as “regular” bologna is called mortadella, identical to American mortadella, although in Germany it often contains pistachio nuts, like the original Italian product.
  • In Germany the original mortadella, larger and less finely ground than bologna, is called “italienische mortadella,” Italian-style mortadella.

    Bologna can be made from proteins other than pork. Here, it’s made with beef. Photo courtesy

    France & Switzerland

  • The French variation of Fleischwurst is called “saucisse de Lyon,” Lyon sausage.
  • The Swiss call saucisse de Lyon “Lyoner” or “Lyonerwurst”—Lyon sausage.
  • Unlike the German products, the French and Swiss versions typically do not contain a noticeable amount of garlic. But like their German counterpart, they an off-white color, as they do not contain nitrates.
    There is also a sausage called polony, popular in South Africa, that made from a mixture of beef and pork. It is highly seasoned and hot smoked, then prepared by cooking in boiling water. The name is believed to be derived from Polonia, an old name for Poland; although some think it is named after Bologna.

    Bologna can be pan-fried with morning eggs, added to potato salad or combined with other loaf meats and cheese, pickles and olives for an “Italian deli” sandwich.

    Here’s a recipe for a Frenchie, a battered and fried grilled cheese sandwich with cheddar and bologna. Serve with a side of pickles and olives.



    HALLOWEEN: Toffee Apple Martini (Caramel Apple Martini)

    For those too sophisticated for a toffee
    apple: a toffee apple Martini. Photo courtesy


    Forget about all those ersatz “witch’s brew,” “black cat” and other Halloween cocktails. Here’s a “real” Halloween cocktail: the Toffee Apple Martini. The recipe was developed by Belvedere Vodka.

    By the way, today is National Caramel Apple Day, a perfect day to make this cocktail. If you want to make actual caramel apples, here’s the recipe.


    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 2 ounces Belvedere Citrus or other citrus vodka
  • 3 ounces pressed apple juice
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce home made toffee syrup (recipe below)
  • Garnish: apple slice or caramel apple slice


    1. SHAKE all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled Martini glass.

    2. GARNISH with an apple slice.




  • 1/2 cup toffee, broken into chips
  • 1/2 cup warm water

    1. PLACE a handful of toffee in the bottom of a saucepan and add half a cup of warm water.

    2. COOK over a gentle heat, stirring until the toffee is dissolved. Allow to cool.



    Candy apples have a hard, bright red coating, made from sugar or corn syrup, water, cinnamon and red food coloring.

    Caramel apples
    are coated with melted caramel candies, which create a soft, slightly sticky coating.

    Caramel apples are the same as toffee apples; the former term is more popular in the U.S., the latter in the U.K. However, caramel candy is different from toffee candy, and the term “toffee apple,” while prevalent, is not accurate.

    Both caramel and toffee are made by combining sugar, butter and water. Caramels add milk or cream (and sometimes, flavors) and are cooked at a lower heat, to the firm-ball stage (248°F). Both of these factors make them softer and chewier than toffee.


    Caramel, above, is soft; toffee is hard. Photo courtesy Fannie May.


    Toffee is cooked to a hard-crack (295°F to 310°F). Toffee is harder than caramel, and even harder than butterscotch.

    So if it’s soft, it’s caramel.

    There are numerous sweets on the market called “toffee” that are actually caramel, including “toffee apples.” If the apple were coated in actual toffee, it would be even harder to bite into than the hard red candy apple coating.
    Here’s more on the differences among butterscotch, caramel, taffy and toffy.



    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Yorkshire Pudding Day

    Yorkshire Pudding is neither sweet, a dessert, or what Americans think of as pudding.

    In fact, it’s very much like a popover, an Americanized version of Yorkshire Pudding.


    In many Commonwealth countries, a pudding most often refers to a sweet, cake-like dessert. These older-style puddings are baked, boiled or steamed into a cake-like consistency.

    In the U.K., newer-style creamy puddings—those that Americans think of as puddings—are:

  • Custards, if they are egg-thickened
  • Blanc-mange, the French term, if they starch-thickened (these are our soft chocolate, vanilla and butterscotch puddings)

    Yorkshire Pudding with the traditional fixings. Photo by Robbie Jim | Wikimedia.


    “Pudding” can also be a savory dish. Some of the better-known savory puddings include:

  • Black pudding or blood pudding, i.e. a blood sausage;
  • Cheese pudding, similar to a cheese soufflé;
  • Corn pudding, a recipe with many variations (one of our favorites is like a baked custard with corn kernels, cheese and herbs);
  • Kugel, a baked dish with many variations, including noodles, potatoes or cottage cheese;
  • Kishke, an Eastern European sausage or pudding;
  • Scrapple, a loaf of pork scraps and trimmings, sliced and fried;
  • Steak and kidney pudding (or pie), diced steak and beef, lamb or pig kidney, onions, and gravy baked in a suet pastry; and
  • Yorkshire pudding, a baked batter.

    The word “pudding” evolved from the French boudin (originally from the Latin botellus), meaning “small sausage.”

    In Medieval times, sausages were an ingredient in savory puddings. According to, 17th century English puddings were either savory (meat-based) or sweet (made from flour, nuts and sugar), and were typically boiled in special pudding bags.

    Far from the creamy dessert puddings popular in the U.S., these puddings were a solid mass formed by mixing various ingredients with a grain product or another binder (batter, blood, cereal, eggs, flour or suet, for example) and cooked by baking, boiling or steaming. The “pease porridge” of the old nursery rhyme was likely a simple boiled pudding made from pease meal (pease is a legume). They were—and still are—served as a main dish; sweet puddings evolved and were served as dessert.

    By the latter half of the 18th century, traditional English puddings no longer included meat. In the 19th century, the boiled pudding evolved into the U.K.’s cake-like concept, such as the Christmas pudding that remains popular to this day.


    Yorkshire puddings, hot from the pan. Photo
    by Stef Yau | Wikimedia.



    Here’s the history of Yorkshire Pudding, courtesy of Wikipedia:

    When wheat flour began to come into common use for making cakes and puddings, cooks in the north of England (where Yorkshire is located) devised a way to use the fat that dropped into the dripping pan of roasting meats. They used it to cook a batter pudding while the meat roasted in the oven.

    There is a printed recipe for “Dripping Pudding,” which had been cooked in England for centuries to accompany meat dishes, in 1737 cookbook:

    Make a good batter as for pancakes; put in a hot toss-pan over the fire with a bit of butter to fry the bottom a little then put the pan and butter under a shoulder of mutton, instead of a dripping pan, keeping frequently shaking it by the handle and it will be light and savoury, and fit to take up when your mutton is enough; then turn it in a dish and serve it hot.


    Similar instructions were published in 1747 in “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy,” by Hannah Glasse. It was called Yorkshire Pudding, and Ms. Glasse is credited with renaming Dripping Pudding.

    The Yorkshire Pudding is a staple of the British Sunday lunch. While today it is served alongside the meat and vegetables, some people in parts of Yorkshire still eat it the old-fashioned way, as a separate course prior to the main meat dish.

    Why? The story has it that the purpose of the dish was to provide a cheap way to fill the diners, thus stretching a lesser amount of the more expensive ingredients.

    Yorkshire Pudding is quick and easy to make. Here’s a recipe.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Buy A Fair Trade Product

    October is National Fair Trade Month, so today’s tip is to buy something that’s fairly traded.

    Most people don’t understand Fair Trade. One of the reasons is that, unlike the USDA Certified Organic Seal that appears on all organic product packaging—regardless of the particular certifying agency (there are certifiers in every state)—the different Fair Trade-related certifying organizations have their own logos. Some, like Equal Exchange and Rainforest Alliance, aren’t even called anything related to “fair” or “trade.”

    Rather, the complexity is more like kosher certification, where hundreds of different kosher certifiers are involved, each with their own logo or mark (called a hechsher, pronounced HECK-sure). Consumers decide if they want to buy products certified only by the largest and best-known, or if they’ll trust a hechsher they don’t know—or recognize that it’s a hechsher in the first place.


    Pick just one product you use regularly, and make it Fair Trade. Photo courtesy Green Mountain Coffee.

    So the Fair Trade challenge is that there isn’t one logo or mark that consumers can instantly recognize as a fairly traded product. The consumer has to do the work to figure it out.

    But let’s start with the basics.


    Fair Trade International, Fair For Life, Rainforest Alliance and other certification organizations ensure that farmers are paid fair value for their products. Without Fair Trade, brokers can strike deals that pay the farmers less than it costs them to grow their crops.

    Fair Trade affords money for adult (instead of child) labor, sound agricultural practices and a minimum standard of living, including healthcare and education for their families.

    The term “Fair Trade” is used generically, but it is a trademarked term authorized by TransFair USA, a nonprofit organization that audits transactions between U.S. companies offering Fair Trade Certified™ products and the international suppliers from whom they source.

    TransFair is one of some twenty members of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), and the only third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the U.S.


    Buy Fair Traded products so retailers will
    know consumers want them, and keep
    them in stock. This product is also organic. Photo courtesy



    Fair Trade is completely separate from organic certification. Some products pursue both certifications.


    You are one of the stakeholders in Fair Trade. In addition to helping some of the world’s poorest people improve their lots, you help with sustainability.

    Small actions build into large ones. You can help the Fair Trade movement buy buying just one Fair Trade-certified product. Whether it’s your coffee, sugar, or anything else, your purchase tells retailers that Fair Trade products are important to consumers.

    If no one buys them, they won’t stay on the shelf.

    So browse your store shelf and buy one—or more—items. Help to make the world a better place.

    NOTE: If you can’t find Fair Trade Certified products in your supermarket, try a natural foods store.




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