By: Jerry Tenenberg
Founder of High Quality Organics
When I first began to travel, I was continually awestruck. Especially because I had never been outside of the United States, so every new culture was a wonderland! It was a joy to meet new, very sweet people in very remote parts of the world. To this day I consider them all friends.
At first, however, having the need to communicate and not speaking the language compelled me to adopt certain methods to gain perspective on the culture and learn where to begin our journey together. A method that became a hobby was to learn about the history of where ever I had traveled to. How far back did their family ancestry go? How long did their family work the land and for how many generations? Why did people originally settle in the area and what held them together? And most fascinating to me - were there any old or ancient relics still in existence that I could go to see?
When I first went to China, for example, the history in cities like Shanghai, Xian or Beijing was dazzling! But when I journeyed east to visit growers in the Shandong Provence, they took me high into the mountains. There I saw a unique tree with tremendous character. The “Scholar Tree” is valued for its longevity and welcomes all visitors who make it to the mountain top!
While there were not many temples in the cities or low lands, discovering a Taoist temple high in the mountains was thrilling! When my companions through an interpreter, shared details of history or legends, it provided insight into a people that were very visual and assigned deep meaning to almost everything. So, my descriptions of what I wanted to share with them became very visual and meaningful!
One really touching memory was when we were traveling north of Chengdu, near the Panda Reserves and we met with villagers on a project for medicinal plants, teas and herbs. I had studied the area and had my usual litany of questions ready to ask. But I was blown away when we walked into a very simple home and found one of the most delectable gourmet spreads of food ever laid before my eyes.
You see they had heard an American was coming and he was vegetarian, so they asked all of their neighbors to contribute any vegetables, beans or edible plants that could go into a meal for the guest. I include a picture here, which is only about a third of what was on the table! They cooked it all on the "kitchen stove" - a huge wok on an open fire comprised the entire kitchen! And the best part were the herbs and seasonings that flavored everything dish, all local and indigenous to the area.
High Quality Organics touches the life of 18,000 farmers worldwide. And we don’t forget that they all touch our lives as well. I am grateful to know this first hand. We have 3 decades of experience, maximizing the quality of our products. We hope that you our customers, can see, taste and appreciate all the love and dedication, from many, many farmers and their families and all of us at HQO Express, that goes into every ingredient.