As a big fan of Nuts + Nuts cashews, run by two Indonesian sisters who work directly with farmers and grow their own Kaffir lime leaves, I was stoked to hear about their new mini storefront in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn at 145 Front St. Cyrilla, one of the owners, explained that an office space with the storefront just happened to open. It has pop-up written all over it.
I was also sad to hear, when I asked if they had raw cashews, that the cashew crop they normally source from was totally wiped out in 2010 due to rains — which even affected the chiles they use in my favorite flavor, the spicy Thai.
For now they have to source from another Indonesian island. I’m perfectly capable of imagining where US-grown nuts such as almonds, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts and walnuts grow but the farms who grow the nuts you might buy in bulk or in tins, grown in tropical countries, often seem a little more “hazy” as to the origin. Nona Brooklyn recently interviewed Cyrilla, revealing the source of their nuts: “ Mr. Lilik and Mr. Suraji.”
Cashews in the U.S. are never local!
When I first met Cyrilla she shared how hard it was selling their nuts since they are made and packaged in Indonesia (in very cool silver vacuum packed bags). “We want local,” people told her. What they meant was they wanted “packaged in the U.S.” or “made in the U.S.” meaning roasted or prepared in the U.S.
Obviously knowing the people who converted the raw cashews into a delicacy like Oren’s Kitchen’s Ajwain Cashews is the next best to knowing the growers.
Nuts Plus Nuts is the poster child for “good food:” Fresh healthy ingredients, relationship with the producers + growing some themselves, paying a very fair price, and excellent quality. Rather than read labels to determine the goodness of a product based only on location, consider the supply chain, accountability, etc. (like Madecasse chocolate and Fair Trade). Shall we coin “Better than local.” ?