Cooking with Fair Trade Ingredients Just Got Easier!

Recent Release of a Fair Trade Cookbook

To celebrate Fair Trade Month, we interviewed Nettie Cronish, culinary instructor and cookbook author, regarding the recent release of her new cookbook, The Fair Trade Ingredient Cookbook. This vegetarian cookbook shows both new and experienced consumers of fair trade products how to source and use the ever-growing selection of these products readily available at your local supermarket.

Fair Trade Means Fairness for All

May is Fair Trade Month and a great time to discover new fair trade products. More than that, it is an opportunity to raise awareness about the food supply chain issues. Combating poverty and unfair labour practices, while ensuring living wages for producers, and fighting climate change are some of the core issues. Nettie Cronish emphasizes that fair trade ingredients “…Support producers who are more climate resilient through environmental standards, encouraging farmers to pursue organic farming, reforestation projects, water conservation and environmentally friendly practices.”

Understanding and Exploring Fair Trade Products

Throughout her cookbook, Nettie demystifies the fair trade labels, and explains their social impact. She guides consumers in their choices while providing delicious and creative recipes.  She explains, “Through the recipes, l tell the ingredient story, from co-op farm to supermarket shelf.”

This is Nettie’s seventh cookbook, which she says is a labour of love that grew out of one of her cooking courses called How to Set Up a Natural Foods Kitchen. With over 30 years of experience in teaching cooking classes and her long-time passion for fair trade foods, this cookbook reveals a treasury of not only delicious recipes, but reliable information about fair trade. The goal is to incorporate more fair trade products in our daily meals.

In particular, Nettie’s latest cookbook features the following fair trade foods:

  • Bananas
  • Coconut milk
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Quinoa
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Spices

Nettie describes how her interest in fair trade food began in 1993 when she

was a member of a food buying club, the Ontario Natural Food Co-op (ONFC), with three other families. They purchased bulk ingredients such as coffee, tea, chocolate and cheese. She states, “Our four families would gather and divide up the ingredients. It was a very good experience for our young children. They shared in the tasks and learned a lot.” While on the board of the ONFC, she was introduced to the executive director of Fairtrade Canada.

She eventually joined the board of Fairtrade Canada and had the opportunity to meet fair trade farmers and producers. This allowed her to promote fair trade ingredients and educate consumers about incorporating these products in their lifestyle. While she is sensitive to costs, Nettie insists, “Profit and principles can co-exist. Why not buy ingredients that offer the most transparent, sustainable business models?”

Fair Trade Ingredients Mean Quality

Using fair trade products, such as those from Camino, in her own daily recipes led to discussions with visitors and friends who noticed the difference in quality and taste.  Nettie is emphatic, “Fair trade ingredients taste better than conventional ingredients.” Tasting the difference of this quality in her cooking translated to an openness to buying fair trade products for themselves.

What are some of Nettie’s favourite fair trade ingredients? She likes olive oil for salad dressings, baking and stir fries. Chocolate finds its way into her Jalapeno Chocolate Chili, as well as in glazes, sauces, beverages, smoothies and alcoholic drinks. She prizes Camino baking products for their quality which she says is reflected in the taste. Her favourite Camino ingredient is whole brown sugar, which she uses in her gingerbread recipe. “Everyone has at least two pieces.”

Nettie states, “There is an ethical integrity in buying fair trade products. Through this cookbook I hope to reach a wider audience in order to encourage more consumers to buy fair trade products through mark recognition.”

The Fair Trade Ingredient Cookbook, published by Whitecap Books, is for sale at various book sellers. If you subscribe to Camino’s newsletter, watch for our giveaway at the end of this month. If you’re not subscribed, you can sign up today!

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