When we introduce our product line to new customers, we often hear initial feedback that the prices are higher than they are used to when it comes to family foods. And we get it; our food DOES cost more than most applesauce. The price increase is something that as a company we are comfortable with…. but maybe not for the reasons you’d expect.
How We Prioritize Quality Above All Else
When we set out to create White Leaf Provisions, our passion and vision was to bring food to market that was beyond anything in its category for taste, purity, and social accountability. Considering some of the incredible products out there, this was no small feat! To meet these sky-high standards, we broke down each category of the production process to determine the most environmentally and socially responsible ways to bring our products to market.
Small, Sustainable Orchards
For our products, we knew that only U.S. grown produce would do. We made it a priority from day one to support local family run orchards that were already promoting and practicing organic and Biodynamic farming. For that reason, we concentrated on purchasing fruit from small family-run farms where our dollars could make a difference.
The apples and pears for our apple sauce are farmed at Mt. Hood Organic Farms, a family run, Demeter certified Biodynamic® farm in Oregon. The owners, John and Brady Jacobson, believe in the importance of the integration of natural landscape and wildlife into their farming practices, and returning to the deeper origins of the organic movement. Mt. Hood Organic Farms was the first certified organic commercial orchard in the state of Oregon, and became certified Biodynamic® because, in their own words, “it is the highest paradigm of sustainable farming and offers one of the smallest carbon footprints of any agricultural method."
Purity of Ingredients
Organic standards are an excellent starting point for sourcing quality fruit, but we wanted to take it one step further. What if there was a farming certification that banned the use of ALL synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, and GMOs, and replaced all that toxic stuff with herbal sprays and natural composts? And what if this farming system worked resilience into the ecosystem and created sustainable harvests that actually helped heal the earth?
Our vision was working in tandem with nature, rather than against it, sourcing fruit from orchards that cared as much about the health of birds, bees, butterflies and all biodiversity as they did about their final crop. This would take a farming method with such a low carbon footprint that it actually helped to draw carbon back out of the atmosphere, potentially reversing climate change.
We did our research, and we found that Demeter-certified biodynamic farms met all these standards. To meet our mission for sustainability, we decided that biodynamic fruit from these orchards was a must for White Leaf Provisions products.
A Fair Wage for Farmers
The unfortunate reality is that small-scale growers aren’t used to brands paying them a livable wage for their work. The costs and requirements, both financially and personally, that these farmers have to pay to uphold the authenticity of their produce would be overwhelming for the rest of us. That’s why we decided that paying our suppliers a fair wage is the least that we can do to show our appreciation for their efforts.
We spoke with many biodynamic farmers about our goals to showcase their produce in our sauce, and we shared that we wanted to pay them a price that reflected the effort involved to bring their fruit to fruition. Our comments earned us plenty of skepticism, but we refused to waver on our ideals. Since forming this dedication to the highest quality ingredients, we’ve developed fulfilling relationships with all our growers.
As part of our commitment to environmentally-friendly food, we also wanted to work with a processing facility that aligned with our vision. It’s been our goal since the beginning to complete our manufacturing as close to the farm as possible to cut down on the carbon footprint of our product, so we found a family-run fruit processor only a few hours away from the orchard.
In a society where corporations tend to dominate family businesses, this small facility stands out for its strong commitment to local environmental values. They have worked with local organic growers for generations, and we are proud to add our brand to that legacy.
No Added Sugar, Sweeteners, Flavors, or Preservatives
No one wants questionable ingredients in their children’s applesauce, so we took a novel approach to cut them out. Our strategy? We carefully paired seasonally grown apple and pear varieties to develop a refreshingly sweet and smooth sauce. We match naturally sweet apples with some tart varieties, and gently steam and puree our fruit and seal in the flavor. Does this make a difference? The proof is in the taste.
It’s our opinion that far too many brands of applesauce aim at appealing to the parent's eye and taste buds, rather than focusing on what is best for kids. As an adult, your tastes have been developing for many years. All too often, your preconceived flavor preferences will dictate how your child's taste buds are formed as well. Let kids experience the complexity of natural flavors from the beginning, and they are more likely to develop a lifelong passion for them!
Top Quality Cinnamon
Like our commitment to quality fruit, we wanted to have the best cinnamon possible to season our applesauce. Our Ceylon Cinnamon (true cinnamon) is sourced from fair trade, organic farms in Sri Lanka, and it contains lower amounts of the toxin coumarin than the cheaper cassia Cinnamon that almost all of today's applesauce manufacturers use. Having worked for many years as a chef, I knew firsthand what a difference Ceylon Cinnamon could make for the taste of a dish. It was an easy decision; we refused to compromise on quality.
We care about and consider sustainability during every part of our product’s life cycle, which is why our sauces come in recyclable BPA free 4oz cups. Why don’t we sell our sauces in bulk? From our experience, opening large glass jars completely degrades the sauce’s quality just 24 hours after opening. With individual 4oz cups, you get to enjoy the taste of a truly fresh product with every serving. Best of all, these cups can fit perfectly in lunch boxes and diaper bags, making them the ideal healthy snack for a busy lifestyle.
Make a Stand for Better Food with White Leaf Provisions
We are thrilled to offer you a product we can feel proud of from every angle. As parents and business owners, we feel obliged to do everything we can to protect the world that our children will inherit, while providing the purest foods to promote healthy lifelong eating habits.
Now, it’s time for you to take control of your food quality! We encourage you to dig a little deeper into the origins of the foods in your pantry and to ask more questions of the businesses that provide it. We always love to hear feedback on the taste and purity of our products, so please send us your comments! We promise to get back to you soon.