By: Jerry Tenenberg
Founder of High Quality Organics
We want to send our thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the recent eruption of the Fuego volcano in southern Guatemala. The same force of nature that can be so destructive is also what has made this country so amazingly beautiful.
There is something very powerful in the air and in the soil of this, the geographic center between the Americas. Guatemala is a very agriculturally diverse country with five distinct eco systems. It’s typical to see several crops, such as corn, grain, beans, coffee, fruits and vegetables, grown on an individual farmer’s land.
Much of the farming is done on the slopes and valleys of this rugged country. I’ve experienced inspiring moments every time I’ve come here. The folks I have worked with are tenacious and committed to their craft.
My travels often take me to the Alta Verapaz region in central Guatemala, with fertile hills and mountains. Several altitude changes create a climate range from hot to cool and humid. Coffee, allspice and cardamom thrive in this area with its lush evergreen tree carpeting. Allspice, the dried berry fruit of an evergreen, can grow on lone trees with individual farmers or in groves as seen here.
Cardamom is a primary crop from this area. It’s a beautiful crop with individual stands of chutes spaced about 6 feet apart.
Cardamom pod production is dependent on a reliable amount of rain mixed with regularity of sunshine. The pods are harvested by hand three times each year. The pods grow at the base of the plant and are a vibrant green at time of harvest.
Traditionally, cardamom is grown under the canopy of old-growth forests. The chemistry and physical characteristics of the soils are ideal. At High Quality Organics, we work with the organic farming groups in Guatemala to protect the old-growth forests with sustainable growing techniques and a strong steady price that maintains the economic validity for the crop. The harmony and balance of organic farming along with the sustainable aspects, create an environment that is more immune to many of the disease and insect problems that plague the conventional crops as well.
Again, our best wishes to everyone in Guatemala and we hope for a rapid recovery.
Jerry under the canopy
Here is a simple chai recipe that utilizes the great ingredients from High Quality Organics.
For a strong flavor use 1 tablespoon per pint of liquid in any baking application. A half teaspoon in a smoothie is really good!
Easy Chai Spice Recipe:
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional for more spiciness)