I'm not quite sure how obvious it is but I spend a lot of time on the internet. Sometimes I don't even know how or where I come across each site, but if it's catches my attention I carefully file away each tidbit of knowledge for later use.
One recent discovery was Sqirl. I instantly became a fan once I read their tumblr, where the owner/jam maker, Jessica Koslow, would often write about sustainability and her passion for using locally and ethically sourced ingredients. Starting up Matchbox Kitchen, I've learned that it can be difficult to follow an environmentally friendly business path. It's easy (and tempting) to choose a higher profit margin and compromise your product by using a cheaper, lesser quality ingredient.
As it says on their website, Sqirl only uses "produce from family-owned farms that practice sustainable, certified organic methods that are in close proximity to our kitchen in Los Angeles, California" (close proximity being within 200 miles). Even as I look at my own jar of apricot jam, the sugar is fair trade and organic, the lemon juice is organic, and it even lists where the apricots came from. Every step of Sqirl provides not only the best product for the consumer but for our environment and other businesses as well.
A few weekends ago at Unique LA I had the opportunity to meet Jessica and finally try some jam. Now, if you've ever met me in person you will know I can be shy and awkward at times, so approaching her was a bit nerve wracking! But of course she was totally nice (and didn't seem to be weirded out by my awkwardness? haha) as I gushed about how much I admired her sustainable practices. And then I tried her jam. You guys, this stuff is amazing. I bought a jar of blenheim apricot jam and am savoring every bite. It's like eating an actual apricot. There is nothing artificial or overly sweetened about it. Even if you don't care about being nice to the planet (although I hope you do!), it is hands down the best jam I've ever tried.
If you're looking for a nice holiday gift, you can order from their website by tomorrow and still get it in time for Christmas!
Sqirl's Unique LA booth Left: apricot jam on home made bread. Right: apricot jam on peanut butter shortbread and graham crackers.