For most who have ever sprinkled maca into a blender, the Junín Valley might as well be in outer space. But at the end of a treacherous, winding road 14,000 feet high up in the Andes, there’s this place, where maca survives harsh conditions. Indigenous men and women gather in pairs to harvest it in an ancient fertility ritual before it’s transformed into the potent, edible energy source that superfood enthusiasts have come to know and love.
Why is all of this even important? Because it shows the love that goes into producing a high-quality product. And it doesn’t end there. A good superfood purveyor is hands on, making sure fair trade practices are in place, providing valuable education and training to local farmers, and improving agricultural systems for ecological responsibility. Most importantly, since not every consumer can find a direct line to the source of their superfoods, they should be able to rely on their trusted brands to do the legwork for them. That’s why we decided to source our own brand of superfoods. Introducing: Thrive Market Cacao Nibs, Cacao Powder, Chia Seeds, and Maca.
Having an intimate knowledge of where your superfoods come from is vital because the source directly impacts their nutritional value. Cacao, for example, is rich with mood- and focus-boosting phytochemicals, cell-protective antioxidants, and magnesium. But if it’s been processed at high temperatures, so much for those beneficial nutrients—the enzymes degrade at high heat. Unfortunately, in an effort to keep nutritional integrity intact by processing cacao at lower temperatures, some facilities with more primitive processes may deliver goods contaminated with mold, yeast, and bacteria.
We’ve searched the world over and found a cooperative of farms in Ecuador and Peru with the most pristine fermentation techniques and facilities to produce cacao nibs and cacao powder that are totally free of pathogens like E. coli, staph, and salmonella. And the products are certified organic, which means the farms only employ methods that help revitalize soil and water while protecting wildlife habitats.
Products: Chia Seeds
Sourced from: Ecuador and Argentina
Another ingredient that’s become a crown jewel of the superfoods movement: chia seeds. As a complete protein containing all essential amino acids, as well as fiber, iron, calcium, and potassium, chia seeds are so nutritious and versatile they’re fast becoming a highly coveted health food staple. We love that chia have found their place in the sun—after all, wholesome food for everyone is our core value—but they’re not all created equal. That’s why we went a step further to make premium chia seeds more affordable.
What we’ve learned from two farms we work with in Ecuador and Argentina is that chia seeds thrive best at high altitudes, in cold climates, and with excellent soil quality—these conditions give them the greatest nutrient density, abundant omega-3 fatty acids, and optimal mineral content. Our farmers harvest the seeds at their peak maturity to ensure the highest levels of antioxidants and omega-3s, so you can bet that Thrive Market chia seeds really are the little nutritional powerhouses they were made to be.
Products: Maca Powder
Sourced from: Peru
Back in the Junín Valley of Peru, our farmers cultivate maca with a passion, because it’s their livelihood. After harvesting, milling, and packing, Thrive Market maca powder heads straight to the Port of Lima to a ship bound for the Port of Los Angeles. And from there it continues its journey to our homes, into our smoothies, cereals, and desserts—transferring its incredible powers to sustain our bodies. In return, we do everything we can to make sure our farmers can keep doing what they love for generations to come.
From the farmers, to us, to you, and back to the farmers again, our new superfoods support a sustainable cycle in which we all Thrive together.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont