Fairtrade Friday Review – Big Tree Farms Amber Coconut Nectar.

Welcome to the New Year and a new segment to my reviewer blog – Fairtrade Friday!

So what is Fairtrade Friday? It’s where I find Fairtrade items and review them every Friday. Fairly easy to understand isn’t it? Basically I want to give a shout out to Fairtrade companies the world over as they are doing their best to make the world better for the farmers, producers and sellers of items. I also want to highlight how easy it is to shop and use Fairtrade items.

We are a single income family and don’t have the money to splash around on frivolous things. However, we are also a family with a big heart who want to try and help make the world a better place one tiny step at a time. We’re doing this in different ways. One is that we’re striving to become a zero waste household. Another is we try and shop and buy local as much as possible. And when we can’t buy something that is grown and made locally we strive for Fairtrade, sustainable, ethical and all round eco-friendly. You can do it too, and I hope my Fairtrade segment helps you realise how possible it is.

I feel I should explain what exactly Fairtrade is so that you know why I’m dedicating a whole Friday post to Fairtrade items. So here we go…

What does Fairtrade mean?

As I gather a lot of good information from Fairtrade Australia, here is how they explain it all:

“Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.”

The most basic explanation I can give of Fairtrade is where larger companies work with small companies in developing countries and pay them a decent amount of money for their goods, services and products. Meaning: if, in our country, it would cost $12 an hour to do something… the big companies pay the economical equivalent to people doing the same job in their developing country. What you need to understand is $12 here can be equal to $200 elsewhere… so they get equivalent rather than the exact same amount. Hopefully that makes sense?

And it isn’t all about pay. The bigger companies help set up the smaller companies in the developing countries to ensure they have better work environments, healthier/ safer conditions to work in, decent work hours and so on. Basically, Fairtrade is trying to ensure workers in developing countries get to work in the same safe, healthy environments we get to work in, they get to work decent hours and not horrendously long hours and they get paid exactly what their efforts are worth, not just a token few cents and left to toil in sweat shops and slave labour situations.

This is why Fairtrade is so important to me! It is my family’s way of supporting families in developing countries and saying – you deserve what we have! Think about it when you next go to buy something. Yes they Fairtrade item may cost just that little bit more… but when you consider where that money is going, it is the right choice.

Okay, onto the review!

And so here we go! Today’s Fairtrade Friday shout out goes to…

Big Tree Farms Amber Coconut Nectar.

4 out of 5 stars.

Why have I chosen this item? Because Big Tree Farms Amber Coconut Nectar is my current favourite sweetener and I use it nearly daily. During the colder months I use it to sweeten my breakfast porridge and during the hotter months it goes into my dairy frozen fruit smoothies. It adds an extra depth to my homemade granola and will blow your socks off when used to make a berry coulis to top my grain free, dairy free banana buckwheat pancakes… as shown here.

buckwheat panckes
Grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free banana buckwheat pancakes topped with a blueberry and strawberry coulis made with Big Tree Farms Amber Coconut Nectar and some Alpine gluten and dairy free coconut yoghurt.

Another plus is it comes in a glass bottle, rather than a plastic one. Plastic containers add a nasty and synthetic aftertaste to what is stored in them. If you’re used to that taste (you always use plastic) you might not notice it. But if you’ve become sensitive to such things like me (through health issues), you do notice the difference. And so the nectar being in glass not plastic is a huge bonus. There are other coconut products out there that come in plastic buckets – pass. Yes you may get more in the bucket and for cheaper… but saving a few cents by getting that nasty aftertaste is seriously not worth the effort… not for me anyhow. I have mentioned in other reviews I can be a bit of a diva. 😉

I will freely admit the no coconut nectar is as cheap as other sugars and sweeteners you can get at the shop, but that is because it takes a heck of a lot of effort to make coconut nectar in comparison to cane sugar or similar. The bottle you see here costs me around $9 from my local fruit and veg shop. But it does last me a month or so… depending on what I’m up to in the kitchen. And, seriously, when it comes to sugar, the cheaper it is, the nastier it is. Go figure.

If you would like to learn more about what exactly coconut nectar is, please check out a post I’ve done about it on My Thoughts on Food.

And why do I love Big Tree Farms Coconut Nectar so much?

Well, to be honest, it’s the only coconut nectar I’ve ever bought. I found it; I tried it, loved it and just keep using it. It is organic, Fairtrade (since 2014) and the profits of sale for this item go back to the 15,000 farms that Big Tree Farms work with globally. Add to that the sustainability, health benefits and ease of purchase… why would I try another brand?

There are other Big Tree Farm products out there, but for now it is their coconut nectar I adore.

I had asked them for an interview, which they agreed to and even gave me an email address to send my questions to. I sent said questions over a month ago in the hopes I could share my answers here today… sadly Big Tree Farms have not had the chance to get back to me so I can’t share that interview.

All the same their website does contain a lot of the same information – just without the personal touch I had been hoping for – so please go check them out for more information. You can buy their products directly from the site (prices are in US dollars) or you can seek them out in all good local stores near you. I am lucky enough to have a pretty switched on fruit and veggie shop near me called Mount Barker Fresh Markets and they sell an amazing array of local fresh produce, locally made products and healthy Fairtrade items. So giving them a big shout out too.

Would I recommend this product to others?

Yes I would. Seriously, this is an amazingly tasty sweetener. A little goes a long way and the benefits it brings goes beyond the health side of things and stretch into the greater community called the world. Organic, Fairtrade, healthy and tasty – how can you beat that?

Would I buy this product for myself again?

Yes. A very big yes. I’ve actually stopped buying maple syrup as this coconut nectar suits me so well in my healthy eating habits. Just remember to keep it in the fridge in the hotter months – just like maple syrup – or it will go mouldy. I’ve, sadly, learnt that the hard way.

In summary – despite not getting the agreed to interview from Big Tree Farms, their heart is in the right place as they are supporting over 15,000 farms in developing countries to make a product that not only helps the farmers, but helps those who eat it by being a healthier alternative to other sweeteners out there. It tastes great, is very versatile and is affordable for what it is. I could not recommend this product more than I am already. Go get some for your pancakes today!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO


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