Thursday, February 14, 2013

Karen's Food Picks #1: Mountain Rose Herbs

 Sustainable Tea Packaging

This is the first installment in a new series featuring some of my favourite food products and producers. Some of them will be local foods and some will be products that are more widely available, so there should be plenty to interest both my local and non-local readers.

I'm kicking things off with a pick that is accessible to everyone: Mountain Rose Herbs. You may have noticed that I recently added one of their banners to my site. I am really particular about what I choose to promote, and I only recommend things I love! Fortunately, there is much to love about Mountain Rose Herbs. They are a Zero Waste company, and a leader in socially and environmentally responsible business practices. They also happen to offer an incredible range of organic herbs, spices, teas, and other herbal products at amazing prices. Many of their products are also Fair Trade. I really appreciate their commitment to offering top quality organic products at very affordable prices.

This is a company that also pays attention to all the little details. The ordering process is very smooth and orders are shipped in a timely fashion (even though they are based in Oregon and I'm in Southern Ontario, my international order did not take long to arrive!) All of their packaging is beautifully done as well (that tea box pictured above is just one example). The labels on their herb and spice packages even peel off easily so I can affix them to the Mason jars I store them in. 

Of the Mountain Rose products I have tried so far, my favourites include:
Peppermint leaf: This is the most amazing smelling dried peppermint! It's incredibly fresh and makes a fantastic cup of peppermint tea. 4 ounces of this wonderful organic peppermint is only $3.00 (green leafy type dried herbs are very light, so this is more than enough to fill a quart Mason jar).

Vanilla beans: These are high-quality, organic and Fair Trade vanilla beans, again at a fantastic price: $7.00 for 1 ounce, which is 6-9 vanilla beans. You can use these to make your own homemade vanilla, or make fancy treats like vanilla sugar.

Fairytale tea: This is the first of their tea blends that I've tried and it is the perfect before-bed tea for me! It contains a variety of herbs, including skullcap, catnip, chamomile and lemon balm, all of which have soothing properties (there are also spearmint, lavender, lemon peel and other herbs in the mix to create a complex and tasty brew). 4 ounces of this tea is $6.85 (again, it's enough to fill a quart Mason jar, so it's a great value compared to high-quality teas sold in tea bags).

In addition, I've ordered a number of culinary herbs and spices from Mountain Rose, including ginger, parsley, paprika, basil, cumin, mustard powder and black pepper and been very impressed with their quality. I've also tried a couple of their essential oils and found them to be of excellent quality at great prices.

I do find that the cost of international shipping adds about 30% to the total price of my order; but that the prices are so good that it is still an excellent value. In talking with my American friends, it seems that domestic shipping is roughly half the cost of international.

If all those fabulous organic products at affordable prices weren't enough, they also have an extremely generous affiliate program. I am now registered as a Mountain Rose affiliate, so if you place an order after clicking on the banner ad or any of the above links, I will receive a commission equivalent to a percentage of your purchase. This is a company that everyone can feel good about supporting! If you feel like taking a leisurely browse through their site, start HERE.

Do you have a favourite place to buy high quality herbs, spices and teas at great prices?

Want to know more about the specific food products I use and where I buy them? Check out my new "What's In My Pantry" board on Pinterest. I will keep this board updated with current information on what products we use, where we're buying them, and how much we're paying. It's a work-in-progress, and you can find it HERE.
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