Connecting Coffee Farmers and Consumers Around the World

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I would like to thank everyone who showed up to our “Connected by Coffee” documentary event. We had plenty of yummy treats and beverages to satisfy any mouth. (And it was all Fair Trade!)

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It was truly inspiring to see the lives that were touched by this Fair Trade movement. I was shocked to hear about the devastating threats to coffee farms from coffee rust.

“Coffee rust is caused by a fungus which causes powdery orange spots on leaves. The infected leaves drop from the coffee plant too soon. The coffee rust weakens the coffee plant, reduces yield and eventually kills it.” (Source)

Not many people realize the obstacles that coffee farmers face. But it’s the dedicated Fair Traders like you who can make a difference. Amazingly enough, Fair Trade sticks by all the hardships that farmers must endure which is what makes this organization great. I hope many viewers were motivated by this documentary and continue to choose Fair Trade and support our cause.

For more information, visit the Connected by Coffee website.

Contributed by Fair Trade Student Intern, Lisa Chun

20 Ways to #BeFair for Penn State Brandywine Students

1. Visit the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market.

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2. Drink some coffee made with Fair Trade cocoa beans at your local cafes:

Coffee Beanery & Seven Stones Cafe, Media

Burlap and Bean Coffee, Newtown Square

Fennario Coffee, West Chester

Good Karma Cafe, 3 locations in Philadelphia (The Pine St. address is the closest to school)

3. Shop at supermarkets that sell Fair Trade products.

4. Purchase some Fair Trade chocolate at the Lion’s Den.

5. Stay updated on Fair Trade news.

6. Follow us and all your favorite Fair Trade advocates using social media.

7. Not a coffee drinker? Then try some Fair Trade Tea!

8.  When you shop at the King of Prussia mall, choose Fair Trade:

9. Wear sustainable FT fashion, like People Tree.

10. Show your Penn State pride with a t-shirt from Alta Garcia. (Found at our campus bookstore)

11. Be eco-friendly at school or in the office.

12. Don’t forget America’s First Fair Trade Town is just around the corner!

13. Commute to school and spread the word about Fair Trade at the same time.

14. Bake some brownies made with Fair Trade cocoa!

15. Watch Fair Trade Films 

16. Participate at on-campus Fair Trade events.

17. Buy a bar, give a bar.

18. Stay energized with Scheckter’s Organic Energy Beverages.

19. Switch your gifts to Fair Trade!

20. Finally, spread the Fair Trade campaign among your friends and family!

Why Fair Trade Chocolate is AWESOME

As I was searching the web, I came across a fantastic poster on Fair Trade Chocolate. See it for yourself:
Fair Chocolate

Once I saw this, I was curious in knowing the special stories behind some brands. I hope you find them as interesting as I did.

Equal Exchange incorporates ties with small-scale cacao producers from different countries in South America. With the National Confederation of Dominican Cacao Producers (CONACADO) in Dominican Republic, the Fair Trade premiums have contributed to school supplies and scholarships for members’ children, paving roads, constructing wells, improving health clinics with medicine and doctors, and so much more.

Another Fair Trade brand is Divine Chocolate, a co-operative organization largely owned by cocoa farmers in Ghana. Divine Chocolate has helped the lifestyle of its workers by providing training and empowering female workers. Currently, the Divine Bicycle Challenge–which ends on June 19–initiates a new transportation movement for children of cocoa farmers in Ghana.

Click the image for more details.

With the help from one of the leading UK chocolate brands, Cadbury, the Fairtrade logo on these chocolate bars have become a huge success. As a result, solar energy has become a part of Ghanaian schools, mills, health clinics, and homes. Read the entire article here.

 

Fair Trade and its impact on chocolate is truly encouraging and enlightening the lives of our world cocoa community. All things chocolate, I can’t wait to enjoy a pint of Double Chocolate Fudge ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s.

 

Always remember…
Keep Calm Fair Trade Chocolate

 

 

Contributed by Lisa Chun, Fair Trade Intern

 

Fair Trade Plum Tart

After successfully making a fair trade blueberry pie, I decided to try another fair trade dessert, once again using a recipe from my favorite cookbook Simply in Season.  The plum tart recipe (on page 157) was in the summer section, and appeared to be relatively easy, so I decided to try making it.

The recipe calls for:

Tart crust

(Optional) 1 tablespoon of tapioca (I did not use any tapioca)

“Small blue plums” (The recipe referred to them simply as “small blue plums;” I assume it refers to damson plums, however, if you know of another variety of plum that fits that description, please share in the comments section.)

3/4 cup of sugar

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

For the tart crust, I used the Shortbread Tart Crust recipe (on page 335):

1 cup of flour (up to 1/3 a cup of whole wheat pastry flour can be used; I decided to use 1/2 a cup of flour and 1/2 a cup of whole wheat pastry flour)

1/3 a cup of butter

2 tablespoons of powdered sugar

In order to create a fair trade plum tart, I used fair trade sugar and fair trade powdered sugar.  I also used a rather special ground cinnamon; more information about this cinnamon can be found here.

Fair trade SucanatePowdered Sugar

First, the oven needs to be preheated to 350 degrees F.  The shortbread tart crust recipe was surprising simple.  The 3 ingredients (flour, butter, and powdered sugar) are mixed together in a bowl “…until crumbly, with no pieces bigger than a pea,” (Simply In Season, p. 335).  The mixture is than pressed into a 9 inch pie pan.

Once the mixture was pressed into a pan, I started the filling.  Although the recipe calls for small blue plums, I was unable to find any damson plums, and when I went to Linvilla I was told that they are not yet in season.  Instead, while I was at Linvilla, I purchased Shiro sugar plums and another type of plum.  I plan on making the tart again later this month when the damson plums are ripe.

Shiro Sugar Plums are the yellow plums on the left

Shiro Sugar Plums are the yellow plums on the left

To prepare the plums, the stems need to be removed.  Next, the plums need to be cut in half and have their pit removed.  Once the plums are prepared, they need to be placed in the tart crust “…cut side up, making slightly overlapping concentric circles starting at the outside,” (Simply In Season, p. 157).

Next, the sugar and cinnamon need to be mixed together,  This mixture is then poured over the plums.

unbaked plum tart

The tart can then be placed in the oven to bake for 45 minutes.  As tempting as it is to start eating the tart as soon as it comes out of the oven, it really needs to cool a bit before it can be sliced.

plum tartI enjoyed the fair trade plum tart (although I preferred the fair trade blueberry pie).  I thought the tart crust was excellent, and very simple to make.  In my opinion, the Shiro Sugar Plums were more suitable for the tart then the more traditional plums, and next time I would like to try making it using the damson plums called for in the recipe.

Contributed by Fair Trade Intern Megan Draper

Fair Trade Blueberry Pie

I recently baked a fair trade blueberry pie; I used a recipe from my favorite cookbook, Simply in Season.  Simply in Season is organized, as its name suggests, around the seasons, with recipes focusing on foods that are “in season” for that particular time of year.  In the summer section I found a recipe for blueberry pie under the label Fresh Fruit Pie (on page 160).  There were several different pie options, but I chose blueberry 1) because I like blueberry pie and 2) because I had a ton of blueberries.

The recipe calls for:

3 cups of blueberries

2/3 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of tapioca (I used corn syrup because that is what I had)

(Note: The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of rhubarb, but I am not a fan of rhubarb in pies, so I did not include any.  I did, however, substitute 1/2 cup of blueberries in place of the rhubarb.)

I also decided to make homemade pie crust for the pie, which can be found in Simply in Season on page 334 in the All Seasons section.

The pie crust recipe calls for:

1 slightly beaten egg

5 tablespoons of cold water

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

2 cups of flour

1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup of chilled butter

1 teaspoon of salt

To make the pie fair trade, I used fair trade sugar (you can see the fair trade logo on the Organic Sucanat).

pie_crust_ingredients

I started the pie crust before the pie’s filling because the crust needs to be chilled between 20 and 30 minutes before it can be rolled and baked.

First, the egg, cold water, and apple cider vinegar need to be combined in a bowl and than set aside.

Second, the flour, whole wheat pastry flour, butter, and salt need to be cut together; the cookbook recommended using a pastry blender.  I just used a butter knife and my hands because I do not own a pastry blender, and this worked fine for me.  According to Simply In Season, “Quickly cut together with a pastry blender until chunks of butter are nearly pea-sized,” (p. 334).  It is important to be fairly quick, because it is important that the butter does not become too warm.

Thirdly, the wet ingredients need to be mixed into the dry ingredients using a fork; the ingredients should form a dough ball.  The cookbook suggested cutting the dough ball into 3 pieces; I cut the dough into two pieces.  The dough is then chilled for 20-30 minutes ( I chilled my dough for 30 minutes).

pie_dough_ball

While the dough chilled I prepped the blueberries.  This involved rinsing and sorting and took more time than I had initially anticipated.  This is also a good time to preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

blueberries

Once the blueberries were prepped it was time to take the dough out of the refrigerator.  The two dough balls were rolled flat (using a rolling pin and a dusting of flour on wax paper) for a roughly 9 inch pan.

rolling_pie_crust

To move the flattened dough, “Fold carefully in half, then in half again, and place point of crust in center of pie plate, opening crust to fill pan,” (Simply In Season, p. 334).  Once in the pan, the crust needs to be trimmed with a knife to fit the pan.  Also, sprinkle a dash of sugar on the the crust that rests in the bottom of the pan.

pie_crust_in_pan

Once the pie crusts are prepared, the filling needs to be started so the pie can be placed in the preheated oven.  The sugar, corn syrup, and blueberries need to be mixed; I did this by hand in an effort to mix the ingredients thoroughly while avoiding damaging the blueberries.

Once the filling is mixed, it can be poured/scooped into the pie crust.

Once the filling is in the pan, the second pie crust can be moved (in the same way as the first one) and placed on top of the filling.  Like the first crust, it should be trimmed to fit the pan.

Using a fork, press the outer rims of the pie crusts together and cut vent holes in the top.

The pie should be placed in the oven at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes.

The oven’s heat should be reduced to 350 degrees F and the pie should bake for another 25-30 minutes.

blueberry_pieA picture of the finished product; it tasted great, despite (or perhaps because of) the amount of liquid in the center.

blueberry_pie_slice

Contributed by Fair Trade Intern Megan Draper