Archive for May, 2010


May 3, 2010

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at an annual fair trade market in a sunny beach town here in the San Diego area. There weren’t too many serious shoppers, more curious onlookers. I find that many people are still a little shaky on the concept of fair trade; both what it means and why it is necessary.

But they are willing to learn.

The market was full of gifts, clothing, accessories, foods, wines, and not least of all, chocolate samples- donated by both Divine Chocolate and Alter Eco. Midway through the day a young couple stopped by my booth, munching on Alter-Eco’s milk chocolate bar.

“This is sooo good!” the guy said. “I had no idea chocolate could be this good!”

“I told him he had to buy one,” his girlfriend laughed. “He ate five samples, so I thought he should buy at least one.”

“It’s sooo good, though!” he repeated. “I can’t even believe how good this is.”

We got to talking about the concept of fair trade, and quality over quantity. As I learn more and more about the different brands of ethically produced chocolates out there, I’ve come to respect chocolate as not just a rich dessert, but as a little piece of art. Those who care to make sure their cacao is purchased from farmer’s earning fair wages seem to put a lot more concern into their final product as well, taking into account the nuances of flavors and scent, and experimenting with complimentary tastes and textures.

It’s tempting in our culture of shiny-plastic-new-newer-newest to grab whatever 99 cent thing is set in front of us, but we miss out on the broader experience of appreciating the artistry that can go into even a simple things like chocolate.

So let’s not just consider factors like cost and quantity in the purchases we make, but broader aspects like craftsmanship and compassion. And perhaps as the couple at the market discovered, we’ll find an even greater depth of GOOD.