Almost all Indian green cardamom (organically certified or not) is sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers between 10-30x before harvest. We spent over a year sourcing 100% pesticide-free, heirloom cardamom that met our high standards of taste, quality and sustainability, and we’re finally ready to share it with you!
$25,000 allows us to purchase the entire 400 lb 2019 spring harvest, and package it in our beautifully redesigned recycled glass jars.
Anything we make over $25k, will go towards purchasing milling equipment, sourcing Coorgi rainforest pepper, Gujarati sea salt, Rajasthani desert cumin and regional chill peppers from Karnataka and Andhra, coming end 2019!
This cardamom has been a long time coming...
I first tried to source organically farmed Indian green cardamom in the spring of 2018. I called all my contacts at the Indian Institute of Spice Research and the Indian Cardamom Research Institute (ICRI), and put the word out amongst my network of South Indian farmers and their communities.
By summer 2018, I collected samples from several certified organic cardamom growers, but heard a very concerning story from the spice research community. Dr. Vijayan, a trusted resource and the deputy director of research at ICRI, bluntly explained to me how big commercial cardamom growers cheat the organic certification process to sell pesticide-ridden cardamom labeled as organic to the global market. Sure enough, every single lab result for the samples I received came back positive for pesticides.
Just when I had given up on sourcing pesticide-free cardamom, I got a call from Mr. Abraham Chacko- a farmer bang the middle of the cardamom hills- the region where commercial and corrupt cardamom agriculture is at its worst. Shockingly, his sample came back 100% pesticide free. I booked a flight to visit him the next day.
Abraham started farming over 20 years ago on his family estate with little success. In 2017, after adopting a new low-budget biodynamic farming method, he noticed some of his cardamom plants were faring much better than the rest. He began to selectively breed the older, hardier plants bearing healthy fruit and withstanding the pests that usually devastate organic cardamom.
The resulting cardamom seeds are fruity, incredibly potent, with a lasting fragrance. I could already imagine the kadak, spicy cups of chai, or the aromatic, heady pastries we could make with them!
Abraham has tried to sell his cardamom at the local auction house for years, but commodity cardamom is chosen based on size and color alone, factors that have no relation to their taste or quality. His paler, smaller pods fetch a low price, and since the auction houses are usually financed in some part by pesticide and fertilizer companies, there is no market for anything grown organically.
The commodity price of cardamom is 15x the price of every other spice on the Indian spice market. After saffron and vanilla, it's the third most expensive spice in the country. So naturally, it is a game of big players with big cash, and whilst we're a small player with small cash we've always had big dreams, big impact, and big community :)
WHO WE ARE:
Diaspora Co. was founded in August 2017 to disrupt and decolonize the spice supply chain. Our first offering, a high-curcumin, freshly-milled, heirloom turmeric called Pragati, was born out of the idea that if turmeric was going to explode and have its "moment" in the U.S., we wanted to make sure that it was sourced equitably, transparently and sustainably. We've since become known as the highest standard of turmeric in the U.S., used in your favorite turmeric latte brands, restaurant menus and in over 15k homes across the country.
Our business promise is to pay our partner farms between 2x-10x the commodity price (more on that below), and source the freshest, heirloom, single-origin spices from India. You can read our entire founding story here.
NICE THINGS PEOPLE HAVE SAID:
"Compared to the turmeric you get in the grocery store, it's night and day. You need to know about this organically-farmed, single-origin turmeric." - Food & Wine
"Diaspora turmeric is brighter and warmer tasting, with a stronger smell. It also doesn't hurt to know we're supporting farmers with a fair and living wage." - Cooking Light
"Best Decolonized Food Company of 2018" - East Bay Express
You can access our press kit including logos, photographs and video here.
Cardamom - The Princess (50g) and The Queen (100g):
Harvested: 2/2019, Best By: 2/2020
Turmeric - Lil' Goldie (70g) and The Essential Gold (140g)
Harvested: 2/2019, Milled: 3/2019, Best By: 3/2021
Raaka Chocolate - A pioneer in transparently traded cacao, Raaka Chocolate was one of the companies that set the standard for how we wanted to do business. Making incredibly delicious chocolate helps too.
One Stripe Chai Co. - In a sea of terrible chai, One Stripe Chai Co. is making store-bought chai delicious again, and sourcing equitably to boot!
Bean Voyage Coffee - Women-powered coffee that collaborates directly with smallholder coffee farmers in Costa Rica to grow, harvest and roast their own beans. Taking back ownership of a colonial supply chain, one cup of coffee at a time!
Brooklyn Delhi - Bringing delicious, natural Indian condiments to the grocery stores that taste as delicious on pizza as on dal-chawal, we truly couldn't go a day with this stuff.
Indian-ish - Priya Krishna's bestselling book that is about to become a classic - featuring family style home cooking from her Indian-American kitchen.
Diaspora Marigold Apron - Hand-embroidered on organic cotton canvas and featuring a completely adjustable fit!
Risks and challenges
We've already imported the cardamom to the United States, and getting it here was truly the hardest part, so that's done!
We'll be working with a family owned co-packer in Tracy, CA to package this entire harvest, which is different from how we've usually done things, but we're confident in their abilities and ours to get them everything they need to do a great job!
Our biggest concern is that we only have so much cardamom, and won't have more until the end of 2019, so stock up now! This is a very, very limited drop of the good stuff!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)