WE TAKE AS MUCH PRIDE IN THE SOURCING OF OUR INGREDIENTS AS WE DO IN OUR PLANT- BASED FORMULAS.
We believe our customers deserve to know where our ingredients come from. Each carefully selected ingredient is active and certified organic, fair trade and/or ethically harvested. Learn more about the farms we are proud to work with and the regions where our quality ingredients come from.
Due to its great nourishing properties, coconut oil is a favorite in the natural skincare industry.
We have tracked down a coconut oil that is unique in the market thanks to its traditional extraction method.
We considered putting together a profile about them and their process but our partner tells the story so well we decided it’s best if you hear it from him:
Brian, tell us how you started this business, the process you use and why your coconut oil is so special.
“When I first read about the wonderful benefits of coconut oil, I asked my wife Marianita, who grew up on a coconut plantation in the Philippines, if there was a more natural way to extract the oil from the coconut, so that we didn’t have to buy the refined coconut oils found in all the stores in the Philippines. She said there was a method the older generation used to extract the oil by grating the fresh coconut, extracting the coconut milk, and then letting the coconut milk stand in a covered container for about 24 hours. After about 24 hours, the oil naturally separates from the water producing a crystal clear oil that retains the full scent and taste of coconuts. So we started making our coconut oil that way and using it for our cooking needs with our three children. We couldn’t believe how wonderful it tasted, and how great we felt. We had been living on Mt. Banahaw in the Philippines for almost two years by that time, and in the year 2000 telephone service was provided to our rural farming community, allowing me to put up a website about our Philippine Herbs. I decided to also put our Virgin Coconut Oil up on the website, not really expecting people to order it because it was a bit expensive since we had to hire people to make the oil, and shipping cost a lot because of the weight. We were so surprised when people started ordering, and then re-ordering it because they felt so great after using it! They told us there was no other coconut oil like it on the market.
Before long we had businesses contacting us asking how to order it in bulk. So we discussed how we could mass-produce this kind of oil, and almost abandoned the product because we didn’t want to lose the traditional way of making it. In the end, we decided to just keep making it the same way, by having others in our coconut community also make the oil the traditional way. Many of our producers are in areas so remote, that if they did not use their coconuts to produce Virgin Coconut oil for us, no one would buy their coconuts because it would cost too much to transport them to manufacturing plants. In these areas, the coconuts generally just fell to the ground unused until we started training people to make our Virgin Coconut Oil. We were the first ones to export Virgin Coconut Oil from the Philippines to the US market. The success overwhelmed us.
Today, more than 14 years later, there are other companies now selling coconut oil again in the US, most of them mass-produced by machines. But we are committed to time-honored traditional practices that have produced healthy coconut oil for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Our producers have learned a lot of things over the years, since most of them have been producing this oil for over 14 years now. They have learnedhow to pick out the best coconuts from each harvest that produce the best quality oil.
It meets our strictest standards, and is also now part of our Glyphosate-tested program.
We make the highest quality coconut oil and it is still made by hand and benefiting families in the rural areas of the Philippines where the coconuts grow.”
Robusta Coffee Farmers
Robusta coffee beans have 4 times more caffeine than Arabica beans, this is the reason we spent months trying to find the right farms who can provide the best quality Robusta bean money can buy!
In our search, we made the decision to work with a distributor who has spent years building relationships with small farms from the Philippines, Vietnam and Sumatra. This distributor is a small family-run business, the husband is the owner and CEO, and his helping hands are his wife and daughter. They employ an underprivileged but elite group of friends from the Filipinas for everything the owner and his family can’t take care of themselves. They offer a living wage and a positive, compassionate working environment to their employees and count them as part of their extended family.
They specialize in heirloom varieties that modern coffee production has all but lost.
They use recycled and recyclable cardboard and paper for all of their shipping, they hold strict standards to work with coffee producers who honor the Earth, they always and only import coffee from farmers who make a fair living wage. Their coffee comes from direct trade with the farmers and gatherers. In working with this distributor we are supporting them and the growers, no middleman. Furthermore, they partner with charitable organizations like BKP (for youth literacy in the Philippines) and Catalyst (fighting to stop human trafficking in Southeast Asia).
They are happy to share with us information and images of the farms they work with.
The first one is centered in Dalat, Vietnam. These farms are exemplary in following safe and sustainable farming practices and they devote 10% of the profits to community betterment, including water projects, medical care and civic improvements. They have a number of core farms that are within the extended family and have been cultivated for generations. They also work with regional farmers to help uplift them and extend their capacity.
The second source of Robusta coffee beans is located in the Philippines. They are a non-profit organization that takes in street children who are at risk for sexual exploitation and educate them how to have a marketable set of work skills.
The husband and wife team who founded the organization are trying to help the extremely poor farmers of the Quirino region reach outside markets like us for their beans, since the local markets offer them only pennies per pound.
Natural Cane Sugar
We thought we would find our natural cane sugar supplier in South Asia, so we searched and searched, but after many failed attempts to speak with various farmers and shipping complications we had to shift our attention in other directions. After a few weeks of research we found it in our very own state! Good ol’ Florida! Who knew! We found an eco-vision farm that provides eco-friendly organic and natural sugars. They practice sustainable agriculture, along with various proactive efforts to protect our states natural resources. Turns out this farm was America’s first and only producer of certified organic sugar, grown and harvested in the United States, and the first sugar certified Carbon Free by carbonfund.org. Their sugar has also passed strict Non-GMO standards.
Their proud heritage of family farming has taught them the importance of being good stewards of the land. The facility operates on renewable energy and provides clean energy that powers the sugar operations along with thousands of area homes. In this form they reduce their use of fossil fuels. We don’t just love them for their sweet sugar but because they are also sweet to our environment!
Sugar cane converts sunlight to energy more efficiently than any other major crop. One acre of sugar cane yields 4.5 tons of sugar, 10,000 kw of electricity (one acre of sugar cane with leaves and brush can power a Florida home for 10 months out of the year), displaces 4 tons of CO2 (using fuel produced from one acre of sugar cane displaces 4 tons of CO2 that would have been emitted by a fossil fuel and contributed to global warming), and yields 800 gallons of ethanol.
This large farm also understands that wildlife is a vital part of our ecosystem. In an effort to partner with the local community in this endeavor, they have ongoing collaborations with various conservation programs, with local universities and neighboring animal conservation societies.
Desiccated coconut is the dried and shredded white meat of coconut. We use this in our Coffee & Coconut Rejuvenating Body Scrub as a wonderful exfoliating and moisturizing ingredient packed with anti-oxidants and fatty acids that provide nutrients for your skin. Its fresh coconut aroma adds to the finished scrubs invigorating scent.
Built in the heartland of sprawling coconut plantation in Luzon, which provide the continuous supply of fresh premium coconuts year round, the 13-hectare property is located about 100 kilometers south of the city of Manila, Philippines.
Here is where we source our desiccated coconut. The plant was established in 1946 making it one of the first of a then young nation.
The property includes managers' residences, a hospital, and recreational facilities for its employees.
Since inception this farm has been socially conscious and more recently environmentally sustainable by actively supporting the local community with education & healthcare programs; including assisting the region's coconut farmers with social, environmental and economic development programs.
The process of making desiccated coconut has been perfected after decades of experience. The coconuts arrive in the back of a truck from the plantations, these have already been stripped down to the shell. They are loaded off the truck and independently separated before carefully being placed on a conveyor belt where they are now organized to be dropped into workers stations in manageable amounts. These workers use saw-like machinery to remove the shell and leave a paper-thin layer of shell. The coconuts are then passed over to another line of workers who remove the thin layer with a tool that simply peels it off. It is impressive to watch how quickly these men and women can work with the coconuts. After peeling, they cut it open and remove the delicious coconut water, what is left is a beautiful white ball of goodness! They go onto another conveyor belt that drops them into a machine where they are sliced into large pieces, these pieces pass under a spray of fresh water before being examined by hand to be sure there are no pieces of shell left on them. Finally they go into a shredder where they become the wonderful tiny pieces found in our scrubs. The pieces are turned and dried before being packed into large kraft paper bags.
The advances of technology have given our supplier the ability to produce large amounts of product that is used in the baking, confectionery, health and beverage industries.
We are proud to be working with an environmentally conscious and fair trade provider who delivers top-notch product every time.