Peace Corp Principles
In 2005 two LAFAZA co-founders, Nathaniel and Sarah, joined the Peace Corps. They were looking for a new direction and offered up a simple proposition to the world: “World, put us where you will. We are ready to get to work!”
As it turned out, almost halfway around the world, a small group of vanilla and clove growers in Madagascar were making a similar leap of faith about a much more serious matter.
Their rural farming communities were suffering from a lack of basic resources such as medicine, educational materials, and market access for their products.
With the help of a local non-profit organization, the farmers contacted Peace Corps to request volunteer assistance.
The vanilla market had recently crashed, and prices were down over 90 percent from previous years.
Farmers in the region were unable to connect with international markets, and even Madagascar export markets had to be accessed through multiple intermediaries offering below-market prices.
The local cultivation and curing skills were exceptional, the agroforestry systems used by farmers in the region almost unbelievably lush and complex. The vanilla beans were intoxicating in their flavor and aroma.
LAFAZA's First Bean Sample = Big Win
That's when a small vanilla bean sample made its way to Oakland, California to LAFAZA co-founder James Delafield.
He entered the sample into a blind test by a major Bay Area chocolate maker that had formed a panel of experts to review premium ingredients.
LAFAZA's sample was selected as the chocolate maker's top choice among vanillas from around the world.
When they asked how to get more, LAFAZA was born.
Organic Roots = Strong Principles
Our company has grown from its original village-level roots, but we remain grounded in three founding principles:
• to create sustainable, direct supply chains that protect the environment;
• to follow fair trade practices that support farmer livelihoods;
• and to only offer the highest-quality natural products to our customers.
We call it our “Triple-F” bottom line – to support Forests, Farmers, and of course, deliver great Flavors! To learn more about our practices, read on by clicking here.
LAFAZA remains the most direct source of Organic Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla and other Malagasy spices like Pink Peppercorns, Black Peppercorns, and Ceylon Cinnamon.
We're proud of our work on both continents as leaders and innovators in direct trade. We have many more delicious projects in store and we can't wait to bring more flavor to your home kitchen, or commercial project!