I shop at the farmer’s market as often as possible. Why? It’s not the prices, as they are pretty close to those at my local food co-op. It’s the karma. Meeting the folks who grow the food. Interacting with them week after week, year after year, sharing some personal tidbit from time to time. It not only adds a human touch to the food, it connects me to those who grow it and tend the land. Just like eating good chocolate that was grown without pesticides, by people who are paid a living wage. It simply tastes better than anything mass produced.
The same dynamic occurs when I get to know a particular chocolatier and their wares. Or, I find out how well the company treats their employees, farmers, and the trees. Everything effects everything.
Can I taste the difference between a mass-produced Hershey bar and one from Theo or Republica Del Cacao? Yes. Can I parse it out? No. But I don’t need to. It’s enough to feel the good karma flowing from these companies.
Last week, I received a beautiful book from Republica Del Cacao. It was a very limited edition and not available to the public. The care and attention that went into this small run was evident on every page, in every photograph, and in every word. This is what artisanal work is all about: a loving partnership with what one does that is contagious to all who come in contact with it.
The more we consumers support companies that walk the walk, the more they will thrive. We all have to make a living. When someone chooses to make it by providing a product or service that enhances life and the environment they not only feather their own nest, they enhance our experience. We can’t separate out all the parts, but we certainly know it when we feel it.