Introducing Burlap & Barrel Spices in our Trail Mixes

burlap barrel spices trail mix

People have been asking me about starting a food company since I originally started Happy Healthy Human back in 2014. I was resistant for a long time – I believe in the power of quality, homemade food, and I didn’t want to have to  compromise on my values and standards for a high quality product.


Eventually, the internal and external pressure to start a company won. I realized that creating a product didn’t have to compromise my mission of providing personalized nutrition and the best ingredients to my clients and customers. Instead – Happy Healthy Human snacks were born. Each snack is specially designed to help you feel Balance, Calm, Motivation, or Relief. Each one has a completely unique flavor profile and includes different ingredients to impact your body and mind in distinct ways.
burlap barrel spices organic trail mix

Sourcing Ingredients for Happy Healthy Human

Once I started actually building the business and buying 5, 10, 25, or 30 lbs of almonds at a time, I understood the pressure to use cheaper ingredients. Will anyone notice if the almonds aren’t organic? I decided from day one that Yes. They will. And I will. We found amazing suppliers for our ingredients (I’m particularly excited about our organic coconut from Sri Lanka). But it was amazingly hard to find high quality, traceable spices.


Where we found high quality, delicious spices

Luckily, I was introduced to Ethan. Ethan founded Burlap & Barrel, a company that makes spice supply chains transparent, direct, and traceable. He works with the best small farmers from around the world to bring high quality spices to chefs, companies, and consumers here in the US.


The first time I tried Ethan’s spices, I was in awe. His cinnamon verum is deep and rich. The turmeric  is grown in Java at high altitudes, making it fresh, lemon-y and all the more potent. Meeting him in person was even better. Ethan visits all of his farmers and is a treasure trove of information about the best growing and harvesting practices for each spice.

burlap barrel spices
We tried out his spices in our Happy Healthy Human trail mixes, and the entire team agreed: we couldn’t use anything else. It took a few months to make the transition, but now we have Ethan’s amazing spices in all of our snacks. We have Burlap & Barrel turmeric and black pepper in Balance, Egyptian fennel seed in Calm, smoked pimentón in Motivation, and cinnamon verum in Relief. Each snack now explodes with flavor, and I love that we can support small farmers around the world.


Information from Burlap & Barrel on the amazing single-producer spices we use

Ethan gave us some information about all of the spices we’re using in our blends, and I wanted to share them below so that you can also appreciate just how complex and wonderful the world of gourmet spices is.   From Ethan:

  • Turmeric: Our organic turmeric is grown in East Java, in Indonesia, where it is hand-harvested throughout the year, cleaned, sun-dried and ground with the skin on for a deeper, earthier flavor and greater health benefits. It is shade-grown and often intercropped with mangos and other fruit trees. It has a light, sweet flavor without the metallic bitterness found in lower quality turmeric, and is perfect for bother sweet and savory applications.


  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is the inner bark of several species of evergreen tree of the genus Cinnamomum. Our true cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is grown by a cooperative of smallholder farmers on the Zanzibar islands off the east coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean, many of whom have been cultivating cinnamon and other spices (including our cloves, nutmeg and black pepper) for generations. It grows on the steep hillsides rising above the beach, where it thrives in the hot sun, salty breeze and sandy soil, a terroir that contributes to a subtle, smooth flavor without any bitterness. The cinnamon is hand-cut and sun-dried to order throughout the year to guarantee the freshest and most intense flavor. Burlap and Barrel is the exclusive importer of Zanzibar cinnamon into the United States.
    Our current lot of cinnamon was harvested in November and December 2016.  Our Zanzibar true cinnamon is bright and sweet, with notes of pine, citrus peel and sea salt. Our cinnamon chips and sticks are cut from older trees, and have rich, oaky molasses undertones and forward spice, perfect for using whole or grinding into powder. Our cinnamon shavings are harvested from young trees, and have an evergreen brightness and woodsy complexity unlike any other cinnamon we’ve ever tasted. They’re perfect for infusing in teas, cooking with rice dishes, and garnishing cocktails and desserts.   Our cinnamon, like all of our spices from our partner coop in Zanzibar, is organic.


  • Zanzibar peppercorns: Black peppercorn grows in bunches, like grapes, on a climbing vine. We source ours from a cooperative of small farmers on the Zanzibar islands in the Indian Ocean of the east coast of Tanzania, where they have been cultivated for generations. Most black peppercorns are harvested when still green, and the drying process gives them their distinctive dark skin. Our black pepper is allowed to ripen on the vine before being hand-picked and sun dried, resulting in a rich chocolate-colored peppercorn berry with dense wrinkles and a bright, fruity spiciness. Zanzibar is not the ideal environment for black pepper – unlike the lush, warm environments of southern India and Southeast Asia, where most black pepper is grown, Zanzibar was thought to be too sunny, too dry, too windy and too sandy for peppercorn. The harsh environment, however, results in a unique, spicy peppercorn that is slightly smaller than other varieties with an intense burn and a concentrated lemony sweetness. Burlap & Barrel is the exclusive importer of Zanzibar black pepper into the United States. Our peppercorns, like all of our spices from our partner coop in Zanzibar, are organic.


  • Pimentón: Our smoked paprika is sourced from a single fabrica in Extremadura, a hot, dry region of western Spain. Many countries produce versions of smoked paprika, but only Extremadura has been granted a Designation of Protected Origin for the uniqueness and historical tradition of its pimentón de la vera. Sweet, locally-grown red pimentón peppers are slowly dried over oak coals, which imbue them with a rich, smoke flavor that imparts a savory depth and gorgeous color to any dish.


  • Fennel: The fennel is grown by smallholder farmers in central Egypt, in an oasis west of the Nile where ancient canal systems divert the Nile’s waters to irrigate the fields. The fennel has a characteristic slightly salty and mineral flavor from the sandy soil, and a sharp vegetal sweetness. The fennel flowers in the spring, bunches of tiny yellow flowers with a beautiful licorice fragrance, and the seeds are harvested by hand in early summer. Farmers use a special curved knife to cut the 6-8 foot tall fennel plants down, and the seeds are pulled off by hand. Our fennel is organic, and our current lot is from the summer 2016 season.


Inspiring, right?


If you want to try for yourself, I highly recommend heading over to Burlap & Barrel’s online shop to get some samples. Warning: you will never want to use another spice brand again.


Thank you Ethan for making our trail mixes all the more special!


  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig


samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.


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