Each year in February the largest organic products fair in the world called Biofach Messe is held in Nuremberg, Germany. Our Operations Manager Jennifer Gerrity and International Farms Manager Elvira Guelzow cross the ocean to attend the show, meet with our farmers, and make connections within the herbal industry. Here are some stories and photos from their exciting trip this year!
Tradeshow visitors were streaming into Biofach Messe when we arrived that chilly morning. Being the largest organic products event in the world, the crowd was full of energy and anticipation. Jennifer and I were excited to meet with our longtime farmers and suppliers from around the globe in person. One of the companies that I had the pleasure of connecting with was our organic and fair trade Yerba Mate supplier. They had a wonderful bombilla and gourd display!
There were amazing sights around every corner. A colorful spring display by a Dutch bulb vendor enchanted us with a rainbow of tulips and daffodils. Jennifer and I also enjoyed wonderful performances by dance troupes dressed in traditional garb from Punjab to Romania. The dancers entertained show visitors while sharing their diverse cultural histories. We were also delighted to behold the amazingly long “legs” of a reishi mushroom by a Chinese vendor. An exciting surprise!
We decided to combine our trip to Biofach this year with a visit to the historic port city of Hamburg, for a chance to tour tea and spice museums in Speicherstadt. This is the warehouse district where ships loaded with spice, tea, coffee, and cacao cargo once arrived to be unloaded into multistory warehouses lining the canals. These warehouses are an incredible engineering feat.
We also spent some time touring the Hamburg Port. Founded in 1189, it is the second largest port in Europe after Rotterdam, 11th largest port in the world, and known as central Europe’s Gateway to the World. Many of Mountain Rose Herbs shipments leave the old continent from this port to embark on their journey to our Oregon shores.
It was a great privilege to be able to visit the facilities of our business friends at a highly esteemed Hamburg tea company during our trip. They invited us to their historic building within the Hamburg Speicherstadt for a truly amazing tea tasting.
Individual ceramic tea cups held black, white, and green teas that were brewed for us with precise timing. Silver spoons were used by the tasters to slurp the tea with great noise, since slurping introduces oxygen to the taste buds to facilitate aroma recognition. We spat the tea out into a spittoon after sampling and moved on the next. Only tea tasters with a minimum of 10 years of fulltime professional tea tasting experience are considered for positions at this firm. It was quite a deliciously educational experience!
I look forward to making this trip each year, as I always return with a deep appreciation for the people, farms, and relationships we've formed within the organic herb industry.
Until next year...