Wow, I have been home from South America for almost two weeks now. It seems longer than two weeks, but I was very happy to come home. My first week was spent in Buenos Aires, Argentina. What a lovely city of twelve million. My hotel was on the busiest boulevard in all of Argentina, fourteen lanes in the middle and three lanes on the sides! I was very impressed with the city as a whole... beautiful architecture, museums, monuments, and of course the tango. Even though yerba mate is in 92% of households, it is not easy to find on the streets or in the coffee house. They have mate cocido (teabag) but no mate by the cup. Coffee is king in the cafés. A person would do much better to strike up a conversation with a vendor and have a mate with him in his stand. Fortunately for me, I always travel with tea bags. I will say,one of the highlights of my trip to Argentina was meeting our bombilla and gourd provider. Alexis and his father still run the business that his father's father started in 1898. We went over some design ideas for new bombillas, and I was able to see first hand how the manufacturing process works.
Paraguay was wet and cold. I spent two days on the ranch and then we left because of the rains. I was able to see the work the Carsons have completed on both the yerba mate side of the business and the infrastructure side. Additionally, I was able to see the next load of our wild harvest yerba mate. Eight-hundred 10 kilo bags of hand picked, hand milled yerba mate. It was pretty impressive to see the effort it takes to get yerba mate from a ranch in the middle of Paraguay to our warehouse in Idaho. They were just starting to harvest the yerba mate that we will receive next year, Oct. 05. Our goal was to harvest 100,000 kilos by hand. All other yerba mate is harvested by hand, but it's then put in machines to do the rest. The fact here is when we harvest 100,000 kilos, after we remove the sticks and stems, we end of with a net of 50,000 kilos. Yes we remove the sticks and stems. My partner and I laughed quite a bit when he was telling me what he thought when I first visited the ranch and gave them our specifications. He thought I was crazy! But he came around to my reasoning after we had time to spend together and I had the opportunity to explain our philosophy. Traditional South American mate has always had sticks and stems. After we talked, I formulated my own reasoning why. Some people will say that the sticks and stems will add flavor. If you believe this, I encourage you to separate the sticks and stems and brew it up. This thinking can easily be proven wrong. Some people claim the sticks and stems are used to keep the bombilla from plugging up when mate is consumed the traditional way. This may have been the reason when bombillas were archaic, but today the manufacturers are fairly modern and offer many designs from bamboo to German silver. What it comes down to is this. The farmer or rancher for hundreds of years has been able to sell his waste to the unsuspected consumers if that is all they know and expect. When our customers order a half pound of yerba mate, they receive a half pound of yerba mate. Some of our competitors are happy to sell 50% sticks/stems and 50% powdered yerba mate. So when you buy a half pound of mate from them you get a 1/4 pound of low quality powder. If you don't believe me, open your bag and look.
Only 1 week left to take advantage of our May Special...!!
Simply add 2 bags of ginger peach summer blend to your shopping cart, and then during the checkout process utilize the promotional code below. We will add a third bag (compliments of Aviva) when we process your order! Limit one per order. Please note that you will not see the third bag in the shopping cart or on your receipt. We will add it to your package before we ship.
Ok, one last thing, we have added our new portable press that we talked about a couple of months ago. This is the best lightweight travel mug on the market, great for people on the go. Just add your yerba mate, add water and head out the door. They are great for camping or any other outdoor activity. Take care and happy mate drinking.
Upcoming News... We're currently working on a program involving all our customers that could result in a complimentary 5 pound bag of premium wild harvest yerba mate sent to your home free of charge! Look for information in our next issue of Aviva News.
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