Forum Activity for @Duffy Sheardown

Duffy Sheardown
@Duffy Sheardown
03/04/09 03:27:37PM
55 posts

Help answer our survey


Posted in: Opinion

I found the survey interesting but also realised how little I know! I haven't so far tasted any of the brands listed except those readily available in the UK - Cadburys and Green and Black. Should I just say Cadburys and Cadburys :0)?I'd best get stuck into a few more so I can compare the stuff I've started to make. Any excuse!
Duffy Sheardown
@Duffy Sheardown
02/17/09 12:03:12PM
55 posts

ICE - Institute Of Culinary Education (New York City)


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Hi Andre,I will take a course but later, after I've made all the dumb mistakes that everyone probably makes when starting out. The hope is that it will sink in better that way! Good luck with it.Duffy
Duffy Sheardown
@Duffy Sheardown
02/17/09 12:06:28PM
55 posts

Source of Small Scale Cacao Processing Equipments


Posted in: Classifieds

Hi Ernesto,Once you have a list of equipment that will be suitable (regarding size, capacity and so on) keep an eye on the auction sites and you may find things turn up for you. There is an argument for buying new so that the equipment is less likely to let you down - your call I guess.Maybe you could trade beans for equipment if cash flow is a problem? That might appeal to companies/people that are upgrading.Rgds,Duffy
Duffy Sheardown
@Duffy Sheardown
02/10/09 12:40:23PM
55 posts

Askinosie Davao: The first cacao from the Philippines in over 25 years - and a mea culpa


Posted in: Opinion

Stick with it, Clay - your efforts are appreciated. We can all get cross and want to take our ball home and not play anymore sometimes but few of us have to be so consistent in public.Duffy
Duffy Sheardown
@Duffy Sheardown
06/06/09 11:06:01AM
55 posts

FAIR TRADE AND ORGANIC CERTIFICATION FROM THE EYES OF A PRODUCER


Posted in: Opinion

Hi Langdon,I agree with your point about bean-to-bar manufacturers taking a tiny proportion but I am trying to find links direct with growers - or as close as I can get - and struggling to find any way of doing this. The big dealers are looking for orders by the metric ton (or 20).Maybe a combination approach would work. As I've said before, I search "Fair trade" web-sites and only find where to buy retail products. Frustrating! If a grower, group of growers or co-operative sold direct then it might be like farmers in the UK selling part of their produce at a farmers' market - low in terms of volume but high in terms of profitability.Regards,Duffy
Duffy Sheardown
@Duffy Sheardown
01/14/09 06:03:58AM
55 posts

FAIR TRADE AND ORGANIC CERTIFICATION FROM THE EYES OF A PRODUCER


Posted in: Opinion

Hi Langdon,I have no idea how the law works regarding freedom of speech, fair comment and slander. If I was very rude about, say, "premium" M&Ms and they insited the comment be deleted one could instead leave a note saying that they'd brought the lawyers in - leaving readers to draw their own conclusions on how that company react/over-react.Another point I wanted to make is that we will find the farmers because we are looking for them. We are trying to find good quality beans and to improve the fermentations etc. If the middleman who finds the beans tells us the farmer is looking after his staff and that he pays a premium to this end then we can expect to also pay a premium to buy form the middleman and can tell the people who buy from us about the farmer and what he's doing and where the extra is going to go.We start building little supply chains with some transparency. Word gets round that Farmer A is getting more because he's taking a little more care and the middleman will have more farmers seeing that this is sustainable way to grow cocoa.Regards,Duffy
Duffy Sheardown
@Duffy Sheardown
01/13/09 05:48:30PM
55 posts

FAIR TRADE AND ORGANIC CERTIFICATION FROM THE EYES OF A PRODUCER


Posted in: Opinion

Hi Eric,That is a huge problem, and there will only be so many people able or wanting to work on cocoa farms. Tempting as that sounds in an English winter. However, your question almost answers itself: YOU take care to pay a bit extra, and to try and make sure the farmers get a little bit more. You tell us, we buy from you. Your business could also feature in the virtual "farmers market" with a degree of openness and a statement of intent.Just from this thread I now know more about one farmer and two producers and this information will be used if/when I next make purchasing decisions.If you are meeting farmers occasionally and other purchasers are also meeting other farmers occasionally then maybe we can post this knowledge. A bit clunky, full of gaps and unstructured - but still very useful.Look at it from the viewpoint of the consumer (whether buying beans or chocolates or machinery) - how can they tell who they are dealing with? Visit each companies web-site? Not practical and not subject to much centralised comment or critical review. I will (soon, fingers crossed!) be looking to buy beans, in small quantities. How do I know? Would I rather buy Fair Trade beans from someone who wouldn't know a tasty bean from a piece of wood or someone who was more obsessed with quality and incidentally trying to do the right thing.it needs a light touch and someone will take advantage and con us but it might help push the move to quality and responsibility.Regards,Duffy
Duffy Sheardown
@Duffy Sheardown
01/13/09 06:16:32AM
55 posts

FAIR TRADE AND ORGANIC CERTIFICATION FROM THE EYES OF A PRODUCER


Posted in: Opinion

Hi All,The idea that I proposed (that we generate a certification system of our own) would need thought but might work in a similar way that Tripadvisor does with hotels. Visitors can add comments to a listing, for example. Some points:- transparency. If I buy your produce I want to be able to ask questions about it, possibly in detail. I may wish to have links to your company on my web-site, I may wish to share your answers, I may wish to say that I think what you are doing is not ethical or that your chocolate is nasty.- peer pressure/approval. If I were to buy beans then I would be asking first if the people who I know take the issues of quality and ethics seriously, to see if they could fill my requirements. If we had a list of suppliers each with (hateful phrase!) a mission statement then we could try and fit our needs to those of the supplier. In a different context, if you were investing in "green" shares you might not want to invest in an arms company but be less bothered about cigarettes - there are always shades and differing definitions.- if I buy beans from Jim and then find out that he actually has no farm at all and just ships cheap beans from the next-door farm then I post this and he can't edit. He can reply saying "look we had a disease attack I have no production for 2 years and I'm changing the farm next door round to working in a decent way" and we apply our judgement.- there is no reason to apply this system solely to suppliers. Think of it as the web/chocolate equivalent of a farmers' market. Each company stands there proud of their produce, enthusiastic and ready and willing to ask questions. Again, I can try something and write in to say it might be organic, it might be ethical but it tastes horrible so they need to change something fast.- this might/should encourage to start publishing their supply chain on their web-site. It will add the "story" and lead to a greater awareness of what goes on and what the issues are.- people buy organic and fair trade because it is one of the very few ways that you feel that you can send a very small signal out that some people do care and are willing to pay a little extra.- it would all be based on trust which you assume is a given until someone takes the mickey. Some will get through the net and some will get caught. If we make it all too rigid then we end up trying to recreate the "organic" and "fair trade" labels that we suspect are only the first step in raising consumer awareness of the complexities involved in supporting sustainable agriculture. The internet is a powerful tool. If the forum is recognised as having certain good qualities and the postings support a product or suplier then it will be used to promote the product or supplier. Then peer pressure/approval becomes more desirable and then, I guess, people will start trying to hoodwink us!Is this feasible? Is this forum the right place? I'd like to know more about all producers anyway!Duffy
Duffy Sheardown
@Duffy Sheardown
01/11/09 04:50:17AM
55 posts

FAIR TRADE AND ORGANIC CERTIFICATION FROM THE EYES OF A PRODUCER


Posted in: Opinion

Hi All,We are the ones who may be able to change things - probably only in a small way but hey it might work. We are the people who buy/eat/make chocolate, we are the people who use this forum and make calls based partly on what we read here.Could we start our own system? If someone "we" trust had been to see Jim and noted that his workforce seemed well-treated, his methods looked good and that quality was a prime concern then told the rest of us we could use that judgement when making purchasing decisions.The problem isn't at the consumers' end as they are just trying to do a little bit to help the welfare of the farm workers. It sounds like the issue is partly caised by intermediate parties doing whatever they can to increase their share.Of course I'm being impractical but if everyone who'd visited a farm listed the good points and points of concern then maybe we could start something. It's surely in all our interests that we pay a fair price and that quality starts to take a more important role. The risk is that eloquent English-speaking people will shout louder than anyone else but if we started a database then maybe we might help. A little.I'll sit back and wait to be shot down now!Duffy
Duffy Sheardown
@Duffy Sheardown
11/06/09 10:55:54AM
55 posts

Describing chocolate


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Maybe different linear graphs: one for the initial taste, one for the middle section and another for the aftertaste. The shape of the graph line indicates strength and length and the colour of the line - or a written note - tells you what the flavours are. Or maybe coloured bar graph blocks underneath for each flavour.Hmmm, this does get tricky when you get past the first thoughts doesn't it!
Duffy Sheardown
@Duffy Sheardown
09/27/10 06:03:21PM
55 posts

Mast Brothers Chocolate- bean to bar producer out of Brooklyn, NY


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Their bars are available in London at Paul A Young's shops. Very nice - try them if you can.
Duffy Sheardown
@Duffy Sheardown
05/13/09 04:33:02AM
55 posts

Cool Tool: Chocoflex Spherical Truffle Mold


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Does anybody know of a UK distributor for Pavoni moulds and so on? They haven't replied to my e-mail requests and ordering Italian moulds from America makes no sense, somehow. Lots of nice stuff on their web-site but no apparent means of ordering anything!
Duffy Sheardown
@Duffy Sheardown
12/16/10 04:40:37PM
55 posts

Bean to bar chocolate makers


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I make chocolate from bean to bar in the UK - Red Star Chocolate. Clay has even tasted some of it...

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