May 1, 2003

Aviva, your favorite source for premium yerba mate, has exciting news for our friends and customers. As our current customers know, we're dedicated to product quality, customer service, and conservation of the environment. We strive to locate and make available for our customers the highest quality product from South America that is grown and harvested in an ethical and environmentally-friendly manner. Earlier this year, we concluded exclusive partnering agreements with two highly respected entities in South America. One produces our yerba mate and the other our bombillas and mate gourds.

You have enjoyed our premium yerba from Argentina, and now you are to be treated to a product grown and harvested in a manner similar to the first yerba mate encountered by the Spanish conquistadors in the early 1500's. The forests of Estancia de Carson are located in the Paraguayan district of Amambay, near Pedro Juan Caballero. This remote frontier town is far from populated areas and city pollution.

The local Indian tribes have harvested yerba mate from time immemorial—one leaf at a time—from plants as old as the tribal elders. The trees on the Estancia are the same such trees. Many are more than 100 years old! There are no plantation rows, no plows, no sprayers, and no harvesting machinery. The yerba grows in the cool shaded depths of the forest. Measured sunlight is filtered through the high crowned canopies of 200-foot high Cedro, Inciencio, and Lapacha trees. These giants provide essential shade and insure that the yerba is not blistered by the tropical sun. They also provide protection from driving wind and rain that can strip tender leaves before they can be harvested. Forest grown mate possesses its own distinct aroma and flavor. The forest provides vital earth nutritients to assure the proper growth and health of the yerba. In the forest, no artificial fertilizers or pesticides are needed. Nature does it all!

Contrast this with growers who have had to resort to plantation methods to meet demand. Trees are cut down and forests are cleared to make way for groves of mate trees. These young plants cannot survive the onslaught of ants and other insects without the initial use of pesticides. Nor can the open land be replenished with nutrients without bringing in fertilizers. Plantation trees just can't compete with nature. At the Estancia de Carson, mate harvesting and production is done the old-fashion way— one tree, one leaf at a time. In fact, production methods on the Estancia are older than what would be considered "traditional". Workers harvest the mate in the morning, then build a fire in the forest and "flash" the mate by hand. This is opposed to plantation mate that is typically harvested and produced by machine in a factory. Less machinery means more work and jobs for the local population. These sustainable methods not only produce mate for our customers, they help protect dozens of plant and animal species on the preserve.

Although the yerba is harvested, cured, and sorted in the traditional ways, it is processed, handled and packaged to North American standards. The entire commercial production, packaging and shipping is conducted under the direct supervision of a resident American with more than 37 years experience. You, as our customer, can be assured that our yerba has been produced, packaged, and handled to exacting American quality control standards and cleanliness.

As with many of our coffee and tea counterparts, we're committed to fair trade practices and the betterment of the local community. The Carson's are the only suppliers with whom we're partnered. Currently, there are about 15 employees and their families on the estancia, made up of the local Guarani Indians, Paraguayans, and Brazilians. These local people and their families are more than residents. . .they are truly a family. Jim Carson, known as the Padrone, not only provides employment, he feeds, shelters, and administers medical care to everyone on the estancia. A portion of each purchase of our AvivaTM brand yerba mate is allocated to the betterment of those who live and work on our ranch in Paraguay. "Because We Grow, We Know"

Our new mate takes the concept of organic to the next level. The USDA states that "organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations." According to the Organic Trade Association, "the primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people." In addition to an in-process organic certification, our mate will be the only certified "Wild Harvest" product on the market today.

We're excited to have the privilege of introducing this unique mate to North American consumers!

Best of Health,

Your friends at Aviva