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Summer 2008

Public Sales 2008

Our Public Sales are held in selected communities in BC and Alberta, and are advertized in local newspapers and posters displayed two to three weeks prior to the event. Here you will find the dates and locations of our Public Sales for 2008. Details of our Sales, hours of operation, and any changes will be posted on our website and on our toll free line.

BRITISH COLUMBIA November 7th & 8th Friday: 9am - 7pm • Saturday: 9am - 5pm 7801 Okanagan Landing Road

Salmon Arm

November 14th & 15th Friday: 9am - 5:30pm • Saturday: 9am - 5pm

Holiday Inn

1090 - 22nd Street NE

(on the hill near the RCMP station)

November 15th & 16th Saturday: 10am - 5pm • Sunday: 10am - 5pm

Parkinson Recreation Centre

1800 Parkinson Way For information: 250-470-7897 (Raven Ventures)

Abbotsford

November 21st & 22nd Friday: 9am - 5:30pm • Saturday: 9am - 5:30pm

Windsor Greenhouses #18 Ross Road, Abbotsford (access from ‘O’ Avenue)

For information: 250-832-8563

ALBERTA Camrose

November 14th & 15th Friday: 9am - 7pm • Saturday: 9am - 5pm

Order online at www.ranchovignola.com

A Fruitful Adventure!

Paddlewheel Park Hall

Kelowna

December 1st to 15th

Mexico:

Vernon

For information: 250-832-8563

Online Public Sale

Best of the New Crop

Camrose Regional Exhibition 4250 Exhibition Drive

(Highway #13 - 1/4 mile east of Camrose)

Airdrie

New Crop Price List: Early September Wholesale Order Deadline: September 27th

Rancho Vignola’s public sales are the perfect introduction to our top quality nuts, dried fruit and confection. We encourage you to come see us, browse our product display, and taste everything we have to offer. As well as full cases, items are also available in smaller quantities: 5lbs, 2lbs, and some in 1lb. We also offer a great selection of beautiful Gift Packs, of all descriptions and sizes, which make decadent and delicious gifts sure to please.

7877 Wilson-Jackson Rd Vernon BC V1B 3N5 Toll free: 1-877-639-2767 Fax: 250-546-6653 Email: info@ranchovignola.com www.ranchovignola.com

This winter Sue and I tore ourselves away from home and from our favourite cross-country ski trails and headed to Mexico in the motorhome. Apart from a much needed rest after a busy nut season, we were looking for adventure; as well as the opportunity to visit the Mexican Orphanage where we’ve been donating food for many years (see page 2 for full article). Also, there’s a certain tropical fruit beloved to all the magnificent mango - which grows in the agricultural area south of Mazatlan, where we met with ‘Mango Man’ Rusty Brown (see mango article on page 4). Leaving home in late January and getting caught in a snowstorm in northern California quickly brought the realisation that we should waste no time in reaching warmer climates. A week later we were at the coast in San Carlos, northwest Mexico, walking the sandy beach and carefully exposing our lily white skin to the tropical skies! Mexico is truly a delight for all the senses; colours, tastes, sights and smells constantly merge to create a smorgasbord of sensation impossible to ignore! We visited a Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in the high mountains, learning about the incredible journey these beautiful creatures make covering thousands of miles. We experienced the intense heat of the sun and the might of the pounding ocean at the coast near Manzanillo. We were also deeply moved by a live performance of ‘The Passion Play’ in a tiny village in Mexico’s interior, during the annual Easter holiday of Holy Week (Semana Santa). Mexico is truly a land of contrasts, from hopeless poverty to unfathomable wealth. But one thing unites Mexicans, and that is the love they feel for their families and country, and the kindness they show towards visitors. In this summer’s newsletter, we aim to convey some of the sights and sensations we experienced in Mexico. It’s been an incredible year for us so far, and the best is yet to come as we invite you to join us once again in this fall’s bountiful harvest!

November 21st & 22nd Friday: 9am - 7pm • Saturday: 9am - 5pm

Town and Country Centre 275 Jensen Drive

(Ten minutes drive north of Calgary on Hwy #2)

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www.ranchovignola.com

Summer 2008

New Crop Price List: Early September Wholesale Order www.ranchovignola.com Deadline: September 27th

Summer 2008

Page


Hogar de Refugio Infantil

RANCHO POLICIES: Update

Our visit to a Mexican orphanage - Navojoa, Sonora

One of Rancho Vignola’s beneficiaries of our donation program for many years has been Refugio de Infantil, an orphanage in the north-west Mexican state of Sonora. It was therefore a delight to finally make a personal visit to the orphanage this winter and meet with Okanagan residents Bob and Annette Mason, who have been the guiding light for the orphanage during the past seventeen years.

tireless enthusiasm for the very physically demanding labour involved in the construction. With several full time Mexican labourers on staff, the labour force is supplemented by volunteers from the US and Canada who stay for a week or many months to help on the project. We were introduced to the orphanage’s new directors, a Mexican couple who will live in the new building, and who Bob is mentoring to take over the daily running of the orphanage. Bob and Annette will continue to visit the children, and to fundraise on behalf of the orphanage, but their time will be more equally divided between Canada and Mexico.

Driven by a desire to be of service to disadvantaged children, and having sold Bob’s business, Bob and Annette’s original destination back in the late 80’s was an orphanage in Thailand for mentally challenged children. Annette’s background working in this particular realm seemed at first to indicate a good fit, but the language barrier and other issues proved a major hindrance. Their travels then took them to It was exciting to meet the children, who are currently Mexico where they met a young Mexican who had recently Bob Mason & Sue with the donated Rancho products being housed in temporary accommodations on campus. started a small orphanage and was in need of help. With When told we were the ‘nut’ people, the older teenagers financial backing from their Seventh Day Adventist Church, Bob and Annette sincerely thanked us for our donations, at the same time wanting us to know took over operating the orphanage in 1993, spending several months each which were their favourite products! We handed out year in Mexico, then returning home to fundraise through Bob’s presentations t-shirts and played with the smaller children, while at churches and businesses throughout British Columbia. trying to converse in Spanish with their house parents. From tiny tots to teenagers, it was Our visit took place at the new location, currently under construction, as obvious the love and respect shown to Bob the original orphanage was badly damaged a few years ago by a severe and Annette is more than reward enough for hurricane. The new orphanage is being built on five acres donated by the Unitheir devotion to these deprived children of versity of Navojoa, and located on the campus of the Seventh Day Adventist Mexico’s poorest citizens. College, approximately 11 kilometres southwest of Navojoa, Sonora. The new 16,000 sq. ft. facility is designed like a Mexican colonial hacienda, with suites and rooms facing a central courtyard. Initially accommodating thirty-two children and their house parents, the building also has a suite for the directors and To visit the orphanage, donate funds or to the cook, as well as three volunteer apartments to house up to ten workers. volunteer, please go to the following websites: www.haciendanavojoa.com Bob and Annette gave us a tour of the new building, where we dodged electric www.masonsinmexico.homestead.com cables and the dust from the adobe blocks that are produced on site. A small group of dedicated Canadian volunteers live on site in their RVs and show Richard with orphanage resident Tomas Sosa

What’s Inside...

Buying Club Referrals

Hogar de Refugio Infantil 2 Charitable Donations 3 Recipe of the Year 3 Mexico’s Magnificent Mangoes 4 Meet the Rancho Staff 6 Crop News 8 Marich Confectionary 8 Rancho Talk: Product Care 9 ‘Health by Chocolate’ 9 ‘Health by Chocolate’ Recipes 10 New Customer Welcome 10 Rancho Vignola Policies 11 Public Sales 2008 12

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Notify us early!

If you have people in your buying group who you wish to refer as a separate customer, and earn commission this year, please visit our website and fill out the online Buying Club Referral form BEFORE September 2008. You may also fill out the paper version enclosed, and fax or mail it back to us. We will enter these potential new customers into our database, and you will automatically earn commission on their first three consecutive wholesale orders! Please note that referrals will no longer be honoured unless we receive notification from you, the sponsor, before the September price list is released. This is to avoid the confusion that has ensued in previous years, thereby enabling us all to enjoy an organized referral program for years to come!

www.ranchovignola.com

Summer 2008

Wholesale Ordering System

Payment

The wholesale price list will be available on or before September 10 and customers can access it either by downloading it in PDF format through our web site or by regular mail – customers with email addresses will receive an announcement when the price list is ready. Since regular mail is the slowest, most customers opt for the ‘electronic’ option. Customers with email addresses, please let us know if you also want a paper copy of the price list sent to you, as we prefer to avoid sending out paper unnecessarily

All first-time wholesale customers are required to pre-pay as soon as the order is placed. For existing customers with established credit terms, payment is required within 15 days from receipt of the order. We accept payment by credit card, cheque (one cheque only, representing the total order – please do not send us your individual club member’s cheques!), and money order. New for 2008: Customers using our online ordering system, you may now safely use your credit card online to pay for your order!

Order Minimum: $500.00 - product available in full cases or 5lb bags. Order Deadline is Saturday, September 27th. Please note this is an

absolutely firm order deadline – any orders received after the deadline will not be guaranteed delivery, and will be dealt with on a first in, first served basis.

Order Shipment: Directly after the order deadline, we consolidate all the orders and place our final order quantities with our suppliers. The products begin arriving in our warehouse from mid-October onwards, and wholesale orders are shipped out from the end of October to late Novermber. Sometimes we experience delays of a particular product, due to many unforeseen circumstances such as ports being closed due to strikes. Please be aware that our warehouse crew are diligently working ‘with all the stops out’ to get your orders shipped to you as quickly as possible. However, there is a very short time frame in which to receive product, package it, and prepare the final order for shipment. We will try to meet your requests for a specific delivery day, but any customers setting up their own sales (or advertising a delivery day to their club members) are advised to err on the side of caution and plan for later in November. Please note: Any special delivery requests must be made at the time of order placement in September. Order Delivery/Pick-up: Orders are sent pre-paid by commercial freight

carriers or courier service to a freight depot in your nearest town centre. You should receive a call from the freight operator indicating the shipment has arrived (make sure you have an answering service in place!). If you live centrally, there should be no problem in delivering to your door. However, some freight carriers will not deliver to a private residence due to the poor driveway turnarounds etc. in which case you may be required to make arrangements for pick-up at the depot. If you live in a remote area not covered by our regular freight carriers, an ‘inter-line’ service may be required and the cost of this service covered by you. If in doubt, please discuss this at order time. Customers wishing to pick up their wholesale order at our warehouse please let us know when you place your order. When your order is ready, we will call and arrange a mutually convenient time for order pick up.

Shipping Charges:

Please review this section carefully

(1) Standard Freight policy: We will cover freight costs to the nearest town centre on our regular shipping routes for central regions of BC (including Vancouver Island and Victoria) and Alberta. Customers are responsible for any inter-line charges incurred for delivery beyond the freight depot. (2) Regions east of Alberta: Shipping charges based on 20¢/lb will apply to orders shipped to a central freight depot and will be added to your invoice (please note that the added charge is only a fraction of the total shipping cost to these regions, the main portion is still covered by us). Again, customers are responsible for pick-up or shipping charges beyond the freight depot. (3) Northern regions and Maritimes: Shipping charges to remote northern areas and the Maritime provinces will be determined on a case-by-case basis and discussed at the time of order placement. Summer 2008

Discount for Pre-paid Orders

We are pleased to offer a 2% discount to all customers who pre-pay their orders (this includes new customers). Pre-payment is required immediately after the order is placed and you have received a phone call or email with your order total. Please note: Any discrepancies in invoice total due to product unavailability, discovered after your order is received will be dealt with promptly and a credit cheque issued accordingly.

Return Policy At Rancho Vignola, we stand behind all of our products and will gladly take back anything that is not up to our standards. However, we ask that you contact us with any concerns immediately after you receive and go through your order. Please note: We will not accept product returns later than 30 days after order shipment.

Fundraising with Rancho Vignola! Many groups use our products in their fundraising campaigns and are very pleased with the results. We are happy to assist with helping you pinpoint popular products and in creating your group’s own customized retail price list. Please contact us before the wholesale price list is released in early September. To receive the fundraising information package, please go to our website or contact us to request a mailed copy.

Buying Club Referrals – Earn Commission! We offer 5% commission to the Buying Club coordinator (that means you!) of an existing wholesale club who refers us to friends, family members and other contacts who start a new club and place a wholesale order. The amount of the commission is determined by the new club’s wholesale order total and is awarded for three consecutive years from the first wholesale order. Commissions earned are calculated at the end of the season and cheques mailed out early in the new year. To be eligible, when referring new customers to us you must provide their full name, address, telephone number, and email address before we send out the wholesale price list in early September. New clubs must have their own coordinator and a separate shipping address from their sponsor.

Toll-free Information Centre Our toll-free line connects you to our information system offering three menu options: you can hear details of all this year’s Public Sales, request a new customer info package, or leave us messages. During the ordering period (September 8th - 27th) you can also leave small orders on the message system (please speak clearly), order add-ons, or ask us to call you back to take your order.

Toll-free nation-wide: 1-877-NEW-CROP

www.ranchovignola.com

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Charitable Donations

New customers

Health by Chocolate ...continued

As our regular customers know, Rancho Vignola supports a variety of charities and community groups, both domestic and international, through product donations. Here are some of the worthy organizations that have benefitted by donations from Rancho Vignola during the 2007/2008 season.

Almond Coconut Joy Bars

½ - ¾ cup (125-175 ml) Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped 1 cup (250 ml) honey, or brown rice syrup 1½ cups (375 ml) unsweetened coconut 1½ cups(375 ml) almond flour meal* ¾ cup (175 ml) chocolate chips *Can be found in health food markets, or make your own in a food processor or Vita Mix blender using blanched almonds. These require no baking! Line a 9” x 11” cookie sheet with waxed or parchment paper. Chop brazil nuts. In a large saucepan heat honey over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer for approx. 3-4 mins., until thickened. Add coconut, almond flour meal and chopped nuts. Remove from heat and spread onto lined cookie sheet, approx. 1/2” thick. Smooth out batter with wet fingers, sprinkle immediately with chocolate chips, allowing them to melt on the warm mixture. After a few mins. smooth the melted chocolate with the back of a large spoon or spatula, to spread out. Sprinkle top with coconut. Allow to cool in fridge, then cut into small squares or bars. Sue’s notes: I found the bottoms a bit sticky, so after cutting them into squares I set them on a plate sprinkled with extra cocoa and coconut.

Macadamia Nut Truffles

½ cup (125 ml) maple syrup ½ cup (125 ml) macadamia nuts ½ cup (125 ml) almond flour meal (finely ground blanched almonds) ¼ cup (60 ml) cocoa powder 2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut milk ⅓ cup (75 ml) cocoa powder to roll truffles Put the syrup in a heavy pot and bring to a boil. In a food processor with the ‘S’ blade, pulse the macadamia nuts until finely ground. When syrup has boiled for 3-5 mins., add the almond flour meal and ground nuts. Continue to allow the syrup to thicken, stirring frequently, until mixture is almost dry and nuts are all sticking together (syrup is not runny.) Add the cocoa powder and coconut milk, stirring well. Remove from heat. Scrape truffle mixture into a container and place in the fridge to cool for approx. 30 mins. When mixture has cooled, roll into ping-pong size balls, and roll each ball in dry cocoa powder to coat. Makes 20 - 26 truffles. Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, they will keep for several weeks if you hide them well! Can also be frozen to give as gifts. Options: Replace macadamia nuts with cashews, or almonds with hazelnuts.

All recipes re-printed with permission from the author Victoria Laine, NCP. Email: info@wholefoodsrescue.com www.healthbychocolatebook.com

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• Salvation Army / Vernon Food Bank • Westbank Single Parent Family Food Bank • Lake Country (Winfield) Food Bank • Airdrie Food Bank • Mustard Seed Kitchen - Calgary • Roots & Blues Music Festival - Salmon Arm • Komasket Music Festival - Vernon • Hogar de Refugio Infantil - Mexico • Upper Room Mission - Vernon • Fiji Mission (Seventh Day Adventist Church) • Good Food Box / First Nations Friendship Centre • Armstrong Boys and Girls Club • Caravan Farm Theatre - Armstrong • Cedar Bridge School (Waldorf Initiative) - Lumby • Muktuk Adventures - Whitehorse • Runaway Moon Theatre - Enderby • Tom Velisek (Olympic Athlete) • Nicaragua Mission • Akonjo Youth Empowerment Project - Enderby / Africa

By now you have read through our summer newsletter, enjoying our stories and making mental notes to try out some recipes. Perhaps you are thinking to yourself ‘I would like to purchase some wonderful, fresh Rancho products when the new harvest comes in! So, WHAT DO I DO NOW?’

Wholesale Ordering Rancho Vignola operates mainly in the fall, at the time of the harvest, when the food we love is just coming off the trees and is at its freshest! Our best possible prices are available on wholesale pre-orders, which we must receive by the end of September. These orders are then shipped out in November, after the products have arrived in our warehouse and the orders are put together. Wholesale orders must meet the minimum of $500, and products are available in full case or 5lb quantities only. If this sounds like a lot, consider teaming up with friends to meet the minimum. Many of our customers form groups (called Buying Clubs) to place large wholesale orders and split up full cases themselves, thereby getting the best possible price – and shipping to their door! If you are interested in wholesale ordering and wish to know more, we have a free introductory package available which contains all the necessary information. Just contact us by email or phone and we will gladly send it to you via email PDF or regular mail.

Starting Small If you would prefer to order in much smaller quantities, there are still options available to you. Each November, we hold retail Public Sales in communities across British Columbia and Alberta, where you can visit with us, sample products, and purchase in smaller quantities. See the back page of this newsletter for dates and locations of our Public Sales. For those of you who are unable to make the trip to any of our Public Sales, we also hold an online retail sale in early December, when you will be able to place an order online, as big or as small as you like, and we will ship it directly to you. This is a great time for wholesale customers to pick up some extra things in smaller quantities, or for brand new customers to try out a few of our products without having to place a large wholesale order. Please note that prices during our December online retail sale will be higher than our wholesale price list, and shipping costs may be added, depending on the size of your order. For further information on wholesale or retail sales, visit our website, call us, or email us anytime, and we will be happy to help you in any way we can. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in Rancho Vignola, and we look forward to bringing the Best of the New Crop to you and your community!

www.ranchovignola.com

Summer 2008

We are delighted to be able to offer this service to so many people who would otherwise never have access to these sorts of products. We are told by each of our Food Banks that the arrival of the Rancho Vignola donation every December causes tremendous excitement among staff and volunteers. They tell us our top quality nuts, dried fruit and chocolate treats really help to add a festive feel to the Christmas hampers they assemble for people in need. Thanks to everyone - customers, staff and friends alike - for helping our business grow, so that we can continue to share the harvest with those less fortunate.

From one customer to another...

Rancho Vignola’s Recipe of the Year

Last summer, we announced Rancho Vignola’s Recipe of the Year Challenge. Customers were invited to submit their original recipes using the selfpropagating Recipes page on our website, and a few of us eagerly appointed ourselves official judges of the results. We are pleased to announce that the winner of the very first annual Rancho Vignola Recipe of the Year Challenge is Jody Nuttall of Kamloops, BC, for her Winter Pie recipe. We have included Jody’s amazing recipe here, and we highly recommend you give this one a try - you won’t be disappointed! All submissions can be found in the Recipes section of our website, and we would like to thank all of you who have contributed to our growing archive. The Recipes section is starting to really fill up with some wonderful and delicious ways to use Rancho products; the perfect place to get great recipe ideas from other members of the Rancho community

Rancho Vignola Winter Pie

Combine the wine or juice, water, sugar, butter, ginger and allspice in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add all the dried fruit and bring mixture back to a boil. Simmer over low heat, covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add an additional tablespoon or two of water if necessary to keep mixture moist. Remove from heat and let cool. Set aside for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

Submitted by Jody Nuttall of Kamloops, BC

Delicious dried fruit cooked into a rich, spicy pie filling. A wonderfully warming winter dessert! 1 cup white wine or apple juice 1 cup water ¼ cup sugar 2 tbsp. butter ¾ tsp. ground ginger ½ tsp. ground allspice 12 ounces dried apples 7 ounces dried peaches or dried apricots 1 cup dried blueberries 1 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries Pastry dough for a 9-inch, two-crust pie

Roll out pastry dough into 2 rounds large enough to fit into a 9 inch pie pan. Line the pie pan with one round of dough and spoon the cooled fruit and its juices into it, spreading evenly. Using the second round of dough, fit the top crust over the pie, crimp the edges and cut several slits in the top for steam to escape. Bake in a preheated 400ºF oven for 30 minutes, or until the crust is browned.

Using kitchen scissors, snip apples and peaches into large pieces; snip apricots in half. Summer 2008

Keep those creative ideas flowing! We are now accepting submissions for the 2008 Recipe of the Year Challenge. The winner is awarded a $100 credit, to be used during the fall wholesale ordering period or the spring public sale. Recipes are judged by a select group of Rancho staff members who will focus on the most creative use of Rancho products, nutritional density and, of course, overall flavour. Sweet desserts, savoury snacks, and hearty meals - share your best with the Rancho community!

If freezing unbaked pie, do not cut slits in top. Wrap pie carefully in tin foil and place inside a plastic bag before freezing. Cook pie from frozen state, cutting steam vents in top before putting the frozen pie in the oven. After 30 minutes at 400ºF, lower heat to 350ºF and cook for a further 40 – 60 minutes. Crust should be golden brown. Serve small slices with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 8.

www.ranchovignola.com

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Magnificent Mangoes! It has been many years since our first meeting with our organic mango supplier, Rusty Brown of Fine Dried Foods, which took place at his office and warehouse in Santa Cruz, California. Now, ten years later, we are driving through Mexico heading to one of three processing plants Fine Dried Foods operates here. Rusty is fortunately on a trip to the plant too, arranged to coincide with our visit. Called Mazazul Organics, the plant is located just outside the town of El Rosario, roughly 100kms south of Mazatlan. After driving from Guadalajara, we arrive in El Rosario late on a white hot Friday afternoon. El Rosario was once the richest town in the state of Sinaloa due to the local mining operations, but now this area is one of the most prominent states in Mexico for agriculture.

with the area’s mango trees just finished blooming, the plant’s approximately seventy full-time employees are busy packaging dried mangoes into small retail packages for one of their private label contracts. During the busy harvest season, Mazazul’s full labour force often reaches up to seven hundred. The workers earn average Mexican wages, but the added benefits almost double the amount of earnings compared to those available elsewhere in Mexico. The main fruit processed here is everybody’s favourite: the luscious mango. Mangoes grow in abundance in this part of Mexico as well as in the south, assuring a fairly consistent supply from the differing growing seasons. Mazazul also handles organic dried bananas, pineapple, and papaya. Rusty informs us organic pineapple is always in short supply, and much of the fruit is brought in from Costa Rica where Rusty has a small plantation managed by local people. Rancho Vignola is hoping to secure a supply of this fabulous pineapple for this fall’s ordering season.

Fine Dried Foods (and Mazazul Organics, its Mexican counterpart) is comprised of a group of shareholders committed to fostering sustainable agriculture in developing countries. Rusty, as the company’s leading light, not only manages the office and warehouse in Santa Cruz, California, but also custom designs all the equipment used in the Mangoes ripening under the Mexican sun processing plants here in Mexico. After completing Healthy expansion university with a background in alternative engineering, Rusty was the recipient of a US government grant to build solar drying equipment in Hawaii. Being young As we marvel at the impressive equipment required for processing, Rusty tells us and adventurous at the time, Rusty decided to spend a few years traveling through that “the key to product quality is consistency in processing,” and to have consisEurope and Asia before returning to the US and forming Fine Dried Foods. tency means having the right equipment for the job and keeping it well maintained. Improvements to equipment and processing systems are ongoing at Mazazul Organics. They are currently installing a reverse osmosis water system, although Rusty welcomes us Jesús assures us the plant’s water source is already of good quality, being from A quick call to Rusty and we are directed a couple of kilometres out of town, where the treated water system in nearby El Rosario and very low in solids. we’re greeted and ushered through the gates of Mazazul Organics by the security guard, Rudy. With the temperature hovering at 37º C degrees, the workers have all Rusty tells us the company is experiencing so much demand for its natural dried gone home and all is quiet in the shimmering heat. fruit that they desperately need to expand their capacity and build plants in other locations in Mexico. In exchange for the guarantee of jobs, the Mexican governFrom the balcony of his modest but blissfully air-conditioned second floor office, ment has agreed to help with financing for the building of another processing Rusty and his wife Faydra welcome us and plant in Veracruz. Jesús says that he is currently introduce us to Mazazul’s Plant Manager, Jesús negotiating with the government on the finer points Cantú López. Jesús (pronounced Hay-zoos) is a of the contract, but is satisfied it will be a beneficial Mexican national short in stature but big in persondeal for all. ality, and who thankfully speaks excellent English! - Cont’d next page Being late in the day, we arrange the schedule for our visit to begin with a tour of the processing plant first thing in the morning. We then park the motor home in a prime spot in the plant’s yard, enjoying the luxury of our own private campground for the night, complete with Mazazul’s high speed internet!

At the mango processing plant

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FRUIT

Each season, one question we get asked time and time again is: ‘What is the best way to store my fresh Rancho products?’ To answer this question, here is some basic product care and storage information. This should assist greatly in keeping your nuts and dried fruit tasting wonderful for as long as possible! NUTS

Rancidity is a common hazard with nuts, due to their high oil content. For this reason, nuts should always be purchased as fresh as possible, as rancidity will give them quite a noticeably unpleasant flavour. All nuts are best stored cold, or frozen, in airtight containers and used within a year. The exception to this rule applies to nuts that have been processed or flavoured, as this generally means they contain salt. Nuts cannot freeze properly when salted, and tend to lose their texture and flavour in the attempt. We therefore recommend that you only buy salted or flavoured nuts to last you over the holiday season.

Using Dried Fruit To cook dried fruit, cover with boiling water and simmer covered until tender (about 15 minutes). If needed, sweeten to taste near the end of cooking or after removing from heat, although most dried fruits need no extra sweetening. If desired, add a few grains of salt to help bring out the fruit’s natural sweetness, or add a little lemon, orange or grapefruit juice just before serving. This helps give fruit a fresh flavour and adds vitamin C. To reconstitute fruit for use in a cooked dish, such as a pie, place it in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak until tender and liquid is absorbed (one hour or longer). Thinly sliced fruits may not require soaking before using in cooked dishes.

Saturday morning blooms bright and sunny, like almost every single day during our stay in Mexico. Waiting for Rusty and Faydra, who are commutJosé, Rusty, Richard and Pepé talkin’ mangoes ing from Mazatlan, we head to the gate to have a chat with Rudy, the security guard. Rudy tells us he’s been with Mazazul Organics for nine years, which is when Fine Dried Foods acquired these four hectares and began building its first processing plant in Mexico.

After Rusty’s arrival, we begin the plant tour by donning hairnets and being shown through the processing plant by Rusty and Jesús. This being the ‘off season,’

Product Care & Storage

Rancho Talk

Reconstituted or dried fruits are excellent in cobblers, breads, pies, puddings, milk shakes and cooked cereals.

Most dried fruit will keep very well in cool storage or in the fridge for much of the winter. However, if you would like to keep dried fruit for longer, we do recommend freezing it and storing in an airtight container. The best way to freeze dried fruits, particularly sticky, soft ones like raisins or dates, is to spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze overnight. After they’re frozen, transfer them to your airtight container for long term storage. We still recommend consuming within a year, as long term freezer storage will affect the flavour after enough time. When you’re ready to eat your fruit, spread it out on the cookie sheet again and let it thaw.

CONFECTION

All of our chocolate coated or otherwise flavoured nuts and dried fruit are made with ‘new crop’ centres to our precise specifications. Because of the presence of natural enzymes, chocolate products are affected by various factors such as changes in temperature and length of storage. In the space of 2 or 3 months you may notice chocolate products sometimes develop a somewhat cloudy appearance. This is called ‘blooming.’ It is by no means an indication that the product has spoiled or is harmful to ingest, but rather that it may have lost some of its peak flavour. We therefore recommend that you keep your chocolate products in cold storage or frozen if you intend to consume more than 2 months after manufacture.

Health by Chocolate

Sounds sweet to me!

Plowing through the intimidating pile of mail awaiting us on our return from Mexico, we were delighted to discover a new recipe book, ‘Health by Chocolate.’ Sent to us by the author, Edmonton customer Victoria Laine, the book is full of deliciously tempting recipes featuring tantalizing chocolate in all its forms! Now, I don’t profess to be much of a baking expert, but I couldn’t wait to give some of these recipes a try! Using all natural ingredients, ‘Health by Chocolate’ aims to take away the guilt many of us associate with desserts. With helpful dietary symbols, nutritional information, hilarious quotations and ‘Tester’ comments, the book is also full of gorgeous photos guaranteed to get your mouth watering. Here are a few of the recipes I’ve tried. Look for ‘Health by Chocolate’ at your health food store, or contact Victoria through the website on the following page.

Raspberry Chocolate Oat Bars 2 - 3 large ripe bananas 2 cups (500 ml) oat flakes or quick oats 1 tsp (5 ml) salt ½ - 1 tsp coriander or cinnamon pinch of cloves (optional) ½ cup (125 ml) chopped walnuts 1 cup (250 ml) unsweetened coconut ⅓ cup (75 ml) maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar ¾ - 1 cup (175-250 ml) raspberry jam ¾ - 1 cup (175-250 ml) dark chocolate chips

Rusty on our ride to the mango plantations

www.ranchovignola.com

Summer 2008

Summer 2008

www.ranchovignola.com

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mash bananas. Mix together all ingredients except jam and chocolate chips. Flatten half the batter into a 9” x 9” greased baking pan. Spread with raspberry jam, sprinkle with chocolate chips, and spoon remaining batter over top, spreading with the back of a large metal spoon. Bake 25-30 mins. until lightly browned. Slice into squares or bars. Makes 12 bars - keep leftovers in fridge. Cont’d page 10 Page 9


Crop News

Our field trip to the mango plantations...

As a result of the continuing drought in California, water shortages are being experienced industry-wide this season. For some crops, the continuing mysterious decline of the bee population also means higher costs for the rental of bees for orchard pollination. Coupled with high fuel costs world wide, it is likely we can expect rising prices on some products. Weather wise, the 2008 growing season in California has already seen some extremes, from severe frost in late April, affecting certain varieties of walnuts and some soft fruits, to the current heat wave searing California’s central valley. However, heat can be great for certain crops, especially dates, so we can look forward to some truly luscious Medjool and Deglet dates come October!

The new Jewel Date organic weeding crew hard at work!

Almonds

With the plant tour completed, we climb into a pick-up for the hour-long drive to the mango plantations. Our driver is Mazazul’s agronomist, José Lorenzo Jimenéz Palacios - Pepe for short. Pepe keeps up a constant stream of chatter in rapid Spanish during the drive - most of which I think I get the gist of! Richard and Rusty are riding in the pick-up’s box under the beating hot sun - a familiar form of travel in Mexico. Pepe, who completed his studies at the University of Culiacan to the north, informs me mangoes are one of the main crops in these parts, with chili peppers a close second. This was evidenced by the huge fields of red and sometimes almost black chili peppers we passed, as well as by the lovely smell of toasted chili peppers wafting through the air. After driving through a shallow river, we find ourselves on the dusty road to the remote village of Chemetla, founded around 1533 and definitely not on the regular tourist route! Although our meeting was not pre-arranged, a few enquiries and a walk around to a dusty side road reveals the man we’re looking for: organic mango farmer José Luis Nava.

Predictions call for another record almond crop this year, roughly 9% higher than last year’s crop which was the second largest on record. California is experiencing a huge increase in both domestic and export shipments of almonds, with new records being established every month. Despite this, the industry as a whole does not want to implement a major price increase, although other factors may come into play as the harvest gets underway. On the negative side, due to state wide water shortages, water rationing in the almond growing region has hit growers hard. Although the effects on the trees may not be felt this season, a negative impact is likely for the 2009 harvest unless California gets some much needed rainfall this winter.

California raisins were in hot demand for export this year due in part to the shortfall in the Turkish crop, down by 25% as a result of the Mediterranean basin experiencing the hottest summer in 105 years! This kind of occurrence has an impact globally, so prices between Mediterranean and California raisins will be more even. Mike McCutcheon, organic raisin (and pistachio) grower, tells us other factors will definitely impact pricing too, including the cost of organic fertilizers which have quadrupled in the last few years. Mike says the raisin Greg Raumin of Jewel Dates and Sue with date buds crop is looking really good, with nice long bunches of ripening berries which are beginning to develop the correct sugar/acid ratio. This is also an ‘on’ year for pistachios, with an anticipated bountiful harvest. Nut size is good and everyone is looking for consistent temperatures for harvesting, which is beneficial for both the farm workers and the crop.

Climate Change

The drought situation is even more severe in Australia where farmers in certain areas are limited to a 43% water allocation, which means that some crops will perish as a result. Our organic raisin grower, Andrew Jones of Mildura tell us many farmers have already been forced to sell their land and any crops or cattle they have left. Obviously, if this trend continues, crops normally abundant in Australia will soon be in much shorter supply. Luckily for us, we have managed to secure our quantities of those incredible raisins and organic macadamia nuts for the 2008 season, and prices will likely be similar to last year. We’re all getting used to stories of how climate change is having an increasing impact on all areas of our lives, not least of all our food supply. Farmers especially deserve our praise and gratitude for the increasingly difficult task they face, in trying to make a livelihood while helping to sustain humankind. Our thanks to farmers everywhere!

Mangoes:

from fresh to dried

First and foremost, the orchard floor must be kept clean. As in other orchards, nitrogen rich green manure is used as fertilizer (in this case, beans are planted then turned into the soil to create the green manure.) For insect control, microscopic larvae called Crysopa are released from white paper cones hung in the trees. As they mature, the predator insects crawl throughout the tree and eat any ‘bad guys’ which may be present. The Crysopa release is repeated 15 days later, to ensure a thorough saturation of the tree.

On our way home through California this spring, we visited some of our long-time growers, and also made contact with some new suppliers. One of the newbies (to us at least) is Marich Confectionery, a candymaker and chocolate panner based in Hollister, a truly glorious part of California in San Benito County.

Leaf cutter ants are a big problem in Mexico, and can destroy trees if not controlled. Luckily, they are distracted by the ‘green manure’ beans growing on the orchard floor. Sometimes organic insecticide use is permitted, but must always be pre-approved by the organic certifying body, in this case CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers.) Organic growers can also check with OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute,) an agency that regulates the use of organic insecticides. CCOF regularly sends inspectors to Mexico to certify organic orchards, a very costly but necessary expense in organic farming. Fortunately for the growers, Fine Dried Foods covers these expenses, and are reimbursed at harvest time with a share in the hopefully bountiful crop!

Company President Brad van Dam and his brother Troy carry on the candy-making tradition started by their Dutch father, the late Marinus van Dam, who brought his expertise from the old country to the US more than fifty years ago. Like their father, Brad and Troy worked their way through every aspect of the business that they manage today. Marich continues to experiment with new products and are passionate about sourcing top quality ingredients, many certified organic, to create their delicious candies and chocolate confections. With Brad as tour guide, we had a really fun, educational experience at Marich - what can beat embracing a huge cauldron of warm chocolate? Sue almost had to be restrained from immersing one or more body parts into the creamy mass! We will be listing some of Marich’s great products with this fall’s line-up. Look for organic chocolate coated espresso beans, gourmet chocolate nut mix and organic dark chocolate raisins on the September wholesale price list. A big ‘Thank You’ to Brad for his warm - and sweet! - welcome to us, and for taking time to show us around Marich Confectionery’s wonderful plant. www.ranchovignola.com

Rusty checks on the Crysopa larvae

Hopping back into the pick-up, Pepe drives us out to one of the many mango plantations, farmed organically and naturally irrigated by the river. Although too late in the season to see the spring time flowering, save for the dried remnants, we are able to see and touch the little green mangoes that will reach their full size sometime in June. As we stand in the shade of the mango tree, with the sound of the river and children playing in nearby caves, Pepe fills us in on the growing of mangoes in an organic plantation.

Mango Methods - Organic style

Brad and the ory t c a F e Marich Chocolat

Page 8

A trim, grey-haired man with piercingly clear eyes, José proudly tells us he comes from a large family of twelve children, some of whom are engineers, doctors and lawyers. His sister, an archeological expert, was recently called in to a dig at a plantation where Indian graves had been found. He informs us that hundreds of years ago the nearby river was so much higher that the Spanish invaders were able to arrive by boat from what is now Baja California, and chase the local Tortoramis Indians up into hiding in mountain caves. The caves are still there, marked by a huge well-maintained staircase which winds up the side of the mountain.

Summer 2008

During mango harvest, Rusty explains that the team has to do multiple cuttings to ensure the mangoes are at the perfect ripeness for picking. This is becoming more complicated in these times of global warming. Rusty says, “climate change has definitely mixed up the formerly defined seasons, making the harvesting of the crops more of a guessing game.” The day is wearing on and the heat intensifying, so it’s time to rejoin Faydra and head back to the plant. We drive into El Rosario for a late lunch at the town’s best eatery, where Rusty points out the walls graced with photos of the town’s famous singer, Lola Beltrán. It’s been a delightful and informative day, and we are glad of the opportunity to get to know Rusty and Faydra better, as well as to learn so much about mango growing in Mexico. When we see those beautiful packages of dried mangoes arriving in the warehouse this fall, we’ll have powerful memories of this hot, dusty day under the mango trees in a tropical paradise.

Summer 2008

During the harvest season (mid-June to mid-October,) approximately 48 tons of fresh mangoes arrive daily at the processing plant. Rusty says removing the skins and slicing the firm ripe flesh from the large seed is an incredibly messy, labour intensive job - as many a mango lover already knows! It takes a lot of fresh mangoes to make 1 pound of dried: approx. 14 to 1! Mangoes are dried in large metal tunnels, each about the size of a semi trailer, on drying racks at a temperature of 130 F. Due to the evaporative process, the temperature of the actual mango flesh never reaches beyond 95 F, preserving the fruit’s natural enzymes and vitamins. Mazazul’s drying technique takes four times as long as most other commercial fruit drying operations - approx. 22 hours - which is better for both colour and moisture content, since no sulphur is being used. Finished, dried mangoes are stored frozen, to prevent insect damage. Rusty informs us that the whole mango is used and never wasted, with smaller pieces and slightly blemished fruit being processed, diced and sold as ingredients in natural food products such as cereals, energy bars and herbal teas.

www.ranchovignola.com

Page 5


As many of you know, Rancho Vignola is a seasonal business which operates mainly in the fall. A seasonal business comes with its own very unique needs and challenges, requiring a large team of people working ‘all out’ to strict deadlines during a very busy, short period of time. Finding staff who fit into that sort of work schedule has never been easy, as most people obviously require a job that employs them for most of the year. Consequently, many talented people of all ages and backgrounds have come and gone over the years, some moving on after one or two seasons in search of a full-time position, others starting a family or changing provinces. However, we are extremely fortunate to have some key people who do return every year, who manage to work their schedules around our busy season and be available to devote all their energy to getting your orders packaged and shipped. We would like to say a big ‘Thank You’ to our staff for their commitment to Rancho Vignola - we couldn’t possibly manage without them!

Meet the

Rancho Staff! Cathy

Here are a few of the wonderful people behind each successful Rancho Vignola season:

Mahina Mahina Rose has been with Rancho Vignola for well over ten years, and has done nearly every job there is to do, from Bag Lady to warehouse worker, to Forewoman. In the fall, she helps coordinate the everyday operations of our busy warehouse, and gives care and attention to each order that goes out. In the off-season, Mahina spends her time at her home in Armstrong with her horses and her three children. Her commitment to healthy living goes well beyond Rancho: she practices yoga regularly, and teaches courses in First Aid as a certified instructor. She is also heavily involved with the Caravan Farm Theatre Company, where she drives horse-drawn sleighs and helps put on seasonal theatre productions.

Keith Keith Parks is our warehouse coordinator and resident handyman. Over the ten or so years he has been with Rancho Vignola, his friendly demeanor and ease with people, as well as his excellent work ethic, have made him invaluable in our everyday operations in the fall. A family man with four grandchildren (and counting!), Keith likes to spend his summers fishing and enjoying the Okanagan life at his cabin on the lake.

Like most of us at Rancho Vignola, Cathy Ruthven started out in the bagging room five years ago. However, her comfort with computers, telephones, and her outgoing personality quickly moved her into the office, where she has ever since been one of the ‘voices’ of Rancho Vignola. In 2007, Cathy was promoted to the much needed position of Shipping Coordinator, and is now responsible for getting all the orders out in the most efficient and convenient way possible. A big job, considering we must ship well over 1,000 orders in about three weeks! In the off-season, Cathy travels back home to rural Ontario, where she spends her summers working with boats at family-owned Ruthven Marine.

Food Bank Donation Day Each year, Rancho Vignola gives thousands of pounds of fresh nuts and dried fruit to various charities and organizations. As you can imagine, getting all that food organized is a lot of work! At the end of each selling season, Rancho staff - plus a few friends and customers - donate their time for one volunteer day, getting the donations packaged and ready to go to their various destinations. It’s a day of celebration, when we get together in the spirit of friendship and community, and share another bountiful harvest. We believe that everyone should be able to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and good food, which is why it is so important that we share our fresh nuts and dried fruit with those less fortunate than ourselves. As a smaller company, years ago when we first had the idea to give our surplus product to the food bank, it took only a small group of us and a nice lunch to get the job done. However, as we have grown and have had an increasing amount of food to give to the many worthy charities and non-profit groups in our community, it has become a much bigger event. We are constantly amazed at the willingness of our staff and friends to come and help out. Even Keith’s brother, Kerry, has made it a tradition to show up in full Scottish dress and play his bagpipes for us in celebration of the day! Without the help of everyone involved, these donations would simply not be possible. Once again, the wonderful Rancho staff of past and present deserve a huge Thank You! for all their hard work and generosity!

Page 6

www.ranchovignola.com

Summer 2008

Summer 2008

www.ranchovignola.com

Page 7


As many of you know, Rancho Vignola is a seasonal business which operates mainly in the fall. A seasonal business comes with its own very unique needs and challenges, requiring a large team of people working ‘all out’ to strict deadlines during a very busy, short period of time. Finding staff who fit into that sort of work schedule has never been easy, as most people obviously require a job that employs them for most of the year. Consequently, many talented people of all ages and backgrounds have come and gone over the years, some moving on after one or two seasons in search of a full-time position, others starting a family or changing provinces. However, we are extremely fortunate to have some key people who do return every year, who manage to work their schedules around our busy season and be available to devote all their energy to getting your orders packaged and shipped. We would like to say a big ‘Thank You’ to our staff for their commitment to Rancho Vignola - we couldn’t possibly manage without them!

Meet the

Rancho Staff! Cathy

Here are a few of the wonderful people behind each successful Rancho Vignola season:

Mahina Mahina Rose has been with Rancho Vignola for well over ten years, and has done nearly every job there is to do, from Bag Lady to warehouse worker, to Forewoman. In the fall, she helps coordinate the everyday operations of our busy warehouse, and gives care and attention to each order that goes out. In the off-season, Mahina spends her time at her home in Armstrong with her horses and her three children. Her commitment to healthy living goes well beyond Rancho: she practices yoga regularly, and teaches courses in First Aid as a certified instructor. She is also heavily involved with the Caravan Farm Theatre Company, where she drives horse-drawn sleighs and helps put on seasonal theatre productions.

Keith Keith Parks is our warehouse coordinator and resident handyman. Over the ten or so years he has been with Rancho Vignola, his friendly demeanor and ease with people, as well as his excellent work ethic, have made him invaluable in our everyday operations in the fall. A family man with four grandchildren (and counting!), Keith likes to spend his summers fishing and enjoying the Okanagan life at his cabin on the lake.

Like most of us at Rancho Vignola, Cathy Ruthven started out in the bagging room five years ago. However, her comfort with computers, telephones, and her outgoing personality quickly moved her into the office, where she has ever since been one of the ‘voices’ of Rancho Vignola. In 2007, Cathy was promoted to the much needed position of Shipping Coordinator, and is now responsible for getting all the orders out in the most efficient and convenient way possible. A big job, considering we must ship well over 1,000 orders in about three weeks! In the off-season, Cathy travels back home to rural Ontario, where she spends her summers working with boats at family-owned Ruthven Marine.

Food Bank Donation Day Each year, Rancho Vignola gives thousands of pounds of fresh nuts and dried fruit to various charities and organizations. As you can imagine, getting all that food organized is a lot of work! At the end of each selling season, Rancho staff - plus a few friends and customers - donate their time for one volunteer day, getting the donations packaged and ready to go to their various destinations. It’s a day of celebration, when we get together in the spirit of friendship and community, and share another bountiful harvest. We believe that everyone should be able to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and good food, which is why it is so important that we share our fresh nuts and dried fruit with those less fortunate than ourselves. As a smaller company, years ago when we first had the idea to give our surplus product to the food bank, it took only a small group of us and a nice lunch to get the job done. However, as we have grown and have had an increasing amount of food to give to the many worthy charities and non-profit groups in our community, it has become a much bigger event. We are constantly amazed at the willingness of our staff and friends to come and help out. Even Keith’s brother, Kerry, has made it a tradition to show up in full Scottish dress and play his bagpipes for us in celebration of the day! Without the help of everyone involved, these donations would simply not be possible. Once again, the wonderful Rancho staff of past and present deserve a huge Thank You! for all their hard work and generosity!

Page 6

www.ranchovignola.com

Summer 2008

Summer 2008

www.ranchovignola.com

Page 7


Crop News

Our field trip to the mango plantations...

As a result of the continuing drought in California, water shortages are being experienced industry-wide this season. For some crops, the continuing mysterious decline of the bee population also means higher costs for the rental of bees for orchard pollination. Coupled with high fuel costs world wide, it is likely we can expect rising prices on some products. Weather wise, the 2008 growing season in California has already seen some extremes, from severe frost in late April, affecting certain varieties of walnuts and some soft fruits, to the current heat wave searing California’s central valley. However, heat can be great for certain crops, especially dates, so we can look forward to some truly luscious Medjool and Deglet dates come October!

The new Jewel Date organic weeding crew hard at work!

Almonds

With the plant tour completed, we climb into a pick-up for the hour-long drive to the mango plantations. Our driver is Mazazul’s agronomist, José Lorenzo Jimenéz Palacios - Pepe for short. Pepe keeps up a constant stream of chatter in rapid Spanish during the drive - most of which I think I get the gist of! Richard and Rusty are riding in the pick-up’s box under the beating hot sun - a familiar form of travel in Mexico. Pepe, who completed his studies at the University of Culiacan to the north, informs me mangoes are one of the main crops in these parts, with chili peppers a close second. This was evidenced by the huge fields of red and sometimes almost black chili peppers we passed, as well as by the lovely smell of toasted chili peppers wafting through the air. After driving through a shallow river, we find ourselves on the dusty road to the remote village of Chemetla, founded around 1533 and definitely not on the regular tourist route! Although our meeting was not pre-arranged, a few enquiries and a walk around to a dusty side road reveals the man we’re looking for: organic mango farmer José Luis Nava.

Predictions call for another record almond crop this year, roughly 9% higher than last year’s crop which was the second largest on record. California is experiencing a huge increase in both domestic and export shipments of almonds, with new records being established every month. Despite this, the industry as a whole does not want to implement a major price increase, although other factors may come into play as the harvest gets underway. On the negative side, due to state wide water shortages, water rationing in the almond growing region has hit growers hard. Although the effects on the trees may not be felt this season, a negative impact is likely for the 2009 harvest unless California gets some much needed rainfall this winter.

California raisins were in hot demand for export this year due in part to the shortfall in the Turkish crop, down by 25% as a result of the Mediterranean basin experiencing the hottest summer in 105 years! This kind of occurrence has an impact globally, so prices between Mediterranean and California raisins will be more even. Mike McCutcheon, organic raisin (and pistachio) grower, tells us other factors will definitely impact pricing too, including the cost of organic fertilizers which have quadrupled in the last few years. Mike says the raisin Greg Raumin of Jewel Dates and Sue with date buds crop is looking really good, with nice long bunches of ripening berries which are beginning to develop the correct sugar/acid ratio. This is also an ‘on’ year for pistachios, with an anticipated bountiful harvest. Nut size is good and everyone is looking for consistent temperatures for harvesting, which is beneficial for both the farm workers and the crop.

Climate Change

The drought situation is even more severe in Australia where farmers in certain areas are limited to a 43% water allocation, which means that some crops will perish as a result. Our organic raisin grower, Andrew Jones of Mildura tell us many farmers have already been forced to sell their land and any crops or cattle they have left. Obviously, if this trend continues, crops normally abundant in Australia will soon be in much shorter supply. Luckily for us, we have managed to secure our quantities of those incredible raisins and organic macadamia nuts for the 2008 season, and prices will likely be similar to last year. We’re all getting used to stories of how climate change is having an increasing impact on all areas of our lives, not least of all our food supply. Farmers especially deserve our praise and gratitude for the increasingly difficult task they face, in trying to make a livelihood while helping to sustain humankind. Our thanks to farmers everywhere!

Mangoes:

from fresh to dried

First and foremost, the orchard floor must be kept clean. As in other orchards, nitrogen rich green manure is used as fertilizer (in this case, beans are planted then turned into the soil to create the green manure.) For insect control, microscopic larvae called Crysopa are released from white paper cones hung in the trees. As they mature, the predator insects crawl throughout the tree and eat any ‘bad guys’ which may be present. The Crysopa release is repeated 15 days later, to ensure a thorough saturation of the tree.

On our way home through California this spring, we visited some of our long-time growers, and also made contact with some new suppliers. One of the newbies (to us at least) is Marich Confectionery, a candymaker and chocolate panner based in Hollister, a truly glorious part of California in San Benito County.

Leaf cutter ants are a big problem in Mexico, and can destroy trees if not controlled. Luckily, they are distracted by the ‘green manure’ beans growing on the orchard floor. Sometimes organic insecticide use is permitted, but must always be pre-approved by the organic certifying body, in this case CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers.) Organic growers can also check with OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute,) an agency that regulates the use of organic insecticides. CCOF regularly sends inspectors to Mexico to certify organic orchards, a very costly but necessary expense in organic farming. Fortunately for the growers, Fine Dried Foods covers these expenses, and are reimbursed at harvest time with a share in the hopefully bountiful crop!

Company President Brad van Dam and his brother Troy carry on the candy-making tradition started by their Dutch father, the late Marinus van Dam, who brought his expertise from the old country to the US more than fifty years ago. Like their father, Brad and Troy worked their way through every aspect of the business that they manage today. Marich continues to experiment with new products and are passionate about sourcing top quality ingredients, many certified organic, to create their delicious candies and chocolate confections. With Brad as tour guide, we had a really fun, educational experience at Marich - what can beat embracing a huge cauldron of warm chocolate? Sue almost had to be restrained from immersing one or more body parts into the creamy mass! We will be listing some of Marich’s great products with this fall’s line-up. Look for organic chocolate coated espresso beans, gourmet chocolate nut mix and organic dark chocolate raisins on the September wholesale price list. A big ‘Thank You’ to Brad for his warm - and sweet! - welcome to us, and for taking time to show us around Marich Confectionery’s wonderful plant. www.ranchovignola.com

Rusty checks on the Crysopa larvae

Hopping back into the pick-up, Pepe drives us out to one of the many mango plantations, farmed organically and naturally irrigated by the river. Although too late in the season to see the spring time flowering, save for the dried remnants, we are able to see and touch the little green mangoes that will reach their full size sometime in June. As we stand in the shade of the mango tree, with the sound of the river and children playing in nearby caves, Pepe fills us in on the growing of mangoes in an organic plantation.

Mango Methods - Organic style

Brad and the ory t c a F e Marich Chocolat

Page 8

A trim, grey-haired man with piercingly clear eyes, José proudly tells us he comes from a large family of twelve children, some of whom are engineers, doctors and lawyers. His sister, an archeological expert, was recently called in to a dig at a plantation where Indian graves had been found. He informs us that hundreds of years ago the nearby river was so much higher that the Spanish invaders were able to arrive by boat from what is now Baja California, and chase the local Tortoramis Indians up into hiding in mountain caves. The caves are still there, marked by a huge well-maintained staircase which winds up the side of the mountain.

Summer 2008

During mango harvest, Rusty explains that the team has to do multiple cuttings to ensure the mangoes are at the perfect ripeness for picking. This is becoming more complicated in these times of global warming. Rusty says, “climate change has definitely mixed up the formerly defined seasons, making the harvesting of the crops more of a guessing game.” The day is wearing on and the heat intensifying, so it’s time to rejoin Faydra and head back to the plant. We drive into El Rosario for a late lunch at the town’s best eatery, where Rusty points out the walls graced with photos of the town’s famous singer, Lola Beltrán. It’s been a delightful and informative day, and we are glad of the opportunity to get to know Rusty and Faydra better, as well as to learn so much about mango growing in Mexico. When we see those beautiful packages of dried mangoes arriving in the warehouse this fall, we’ll have powerful memories of this hot, dusty day under the mango trees in a tropical paradise.

Summer 2008

During the harvest season (mid-June to mid-October,) approximately 48 tons of fresh mangoes arrive daily at the processing plant. Rusty says removing the skins and slicing the firm ripe flesh from the large seed is an incredibly messy, labour intensive job - as many a mango lover already knows! It takes a lot of fresh mangoes to make 1 pound of dried: approx. 14 to 1! Mangoes are dried in large metal tunnels, each about the size of a semi trailer, on drying racks at a temperature of 130 F. Due to the evaporative process, the temperature of the actual mango flesh never reaches beyond 95 F, preserving the fruit’s natural enzymes and vitamins. Mazazul’s drying technique takes four times as long as most other commercial fruit drying operations - approx. 22 hours - which is better for both colour and moisture content, since no sulphur is being used. Finished, dried mangoes are stored frozen, to prevent insect damage. Rusty informs us that the whole mango is used and never wasted, with smaller pieces and slightly blemished fruit being processed, diced and sold as ingredients in natural food products such as cereals, energy bars and herbal teas.

www.ranchovignola.com

Page 5


Magnificent Mangoes! It has been many years since our first meeting with our organic mango supplier, Rusty Brown of Fine Dried Foods, which took place at his office and warehouse in Santa Cruz, California. Now, ten years later, we are driving through Mexico heading to one of three processing plants Fine Dried Foods operates here. Rusty is fortunately on a trip to the plant too, arranged to coincide with our visit. Called Mazazul Organics, the plant is located just outside the town of El Rosario, roughly 100kms south of Mazatlan. After driving from Guadalajara, we arrive in El Rosario late on a white hot Friday afternoon. El Rosario was once the richest town in the state of Sinaloa due to the local mining operations, but now this area is one of the most prominent states in Mexico for agriculture.

with the area’s mango trees just finished blooming, the plant’s approximately seventy full-time employees are busy packaging dried mangoes into small retail packages for one of their private label contracts. During the busy harvest season, Mazazul’s full labour force often reaches up to seven hundred. The workers earn average Mexican wages, but the added benefits almost double the amount of earnings compared to those available elsewhere in Mexico. The main fruit processed here is everybody’s favourite: the luscious mango. Mangoes grow in abundance in this part of Mexico as well as in the south, assuring a fairly consistent supply from the differing growing seasons. Mazazul also handles organic dried bananas, pineapple, and papaya. Rusty informs us organic pineapple is always in short supply, and much of the fruit is brought in from Costa Rica where Rusty has a small plantation managed by local people. Rancho Vignola is hoping to secure a supply of this fabulous pineapple for this fall’s ordering season.

Fine Dried Foods (and Mazazul Organics, its Mexican counterpart) is comprised of a group of shareholders committed to fostering sustainable agriculture in developing countries. Rusty, as the company’s leading light, not only manages the office and warehouse in Santa Cruz, California, but also custom designs all the equipment used in the Mangoes ripening under the Mexican sun processing plants here in Mexico. After completing Healthy expansion university with a background in alternative engineering, Rusty was the recipient of a US government grant to build solar drying equipment in Hawaii. Being young As we marvel at the impressive equipment required for processing, Rusty tells us and adventurous at the time, Rusty decided to spend a few years traveling through that “the key to product quality is consistency in processing,” and to have consisEurope and Asia before returning to the US and forming Fine Dried Foods. tency means having the right equipment for the job and keeping it well maintained. Improvements to equipment and processing systems are ongoing at Mazazul Organics. They are currently installing a reverse osmosis water system, although Rusty welcomes us Jesús assures us the plant’s water source is already of good quality, being from A quick call to Rusty and we are directed a couple of kilometres out of town, where the treated water system in nearby El Rosario and very low in solids. we’re greeted and ushered through the gates of Mazazul Organics by the security guard, Rudy. With the temperature hovering at 37º C degrees, the workers have all Rusty tells us the company is experiencing so much demand for its natural dried gone home and all is quiet in the shimmering heat. fruit that they desperately need to expand their capacity and build plants in other locations in Mexico. In exchange for the guarantee of jobs, the Mexican governFrom the balcony of his modest but blissfully air-conditioned second floor office, ment has agreed to help with financing for the building of another processing Rusty and his wife Faydra welcome us and plant in Veracruz. Jesús says that he is currently introduce us to Mazazul’s Plant Manager, Jesús negotiating with the government on the finer points Cantú López. Jesús (pronounced Hay-zoos) is a of the contract, but is satisfied it will be a beneficial Mexican national short in stature but big in persondeal for all. ality, and who thankfully speaks excellent English! - Cont’d next page Being late in the day, we arrange the schedule for our visit to begin with a tour of the processing plant first thing in the morning. We then park the motor home in a prime spot in the plant’s yard, enjoying the luxury of our own private campground for the night, complete with Mazazul’s high speed internet!

At the mango processing plant

Page 4

FRUIT

Each season, one question we get asked time and time again is: ‘What is the best way to store my fresh Rancho products?’ To answer this question, here is some basic product care and storage information. This should assist greatly in keeping your nuts and dried fruit tasting wonderful for as long as possible! NUTS

Rancidity is a common hazard with nuts, due to their high oil content. For this reason, nuts should always be purchased as fresh as possible, as rancidity will give them quite a noticeably unpleasant flavour. All nuts are best stored cold, or frozen, in airtight containers and used within a year. The exception to this rule applies to nuts that have been processed or flavoured, as this generally means they contain salt. Nuts cannot freeze properly when salted, and tend to lose their texture and flavour in the attempt. We therefore recommend that you only buy salted or flavoured nuts to last you over the holiday season.

Using Dried Fruit To cook dried fruit, cover with boiling water and simmer covered until tender (about 15 minutes). If needed, sweeten to taste near the end of cooking or after removing from heat, although most dried fruits need no extra sweetening. If desired, add a few grains of salt to help bring out the fruit’s natural sweetness, or add a little lemon, orange or grapefruit juice just before serving. This helps give fruit a fresh flavour and adds vitamin C. To reconstitute fruit for use in a cooked dish, such as a pie, place it in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak until tender and liquid is absorbed (one hour or longer). Thinly sliced fruits may not require soaking before using in cooked dishes.

Saturday morning blooms bright and sunny, like almost every single day during our stay in Mexico. Waiting for Rusty and Faydra, who are commutJosé, Rusty, Richard and Pepé talkin’ mangoes ing from Mazatlan, we head to the gate to have a chat with Rudy, the security guard. Rudy tells us he’s been with Mazazul Organics for nine years, which is when Fine Dried Foods acquired these four hectares and began building its first processing plant in Mexico.

After Rusty’s arrival, we begin the plant tour by donning hairnets and being shown through the processing plant by Rusty and Jesús. This being the ‘off season,’

Product Care & Storage

Rancho Talk

Reconstituted or dried fruits are excellent in cobblers, breads, pies, puddings, milk shakes and cooked cereals.

Most dried fruit will keep very well in cool storage or in the fridge for much of the winter. However, if you would like to keep dried fruit for longer, we do recommend freezing it and storing in an airtight container. The best way to freeze dried fruits, particularly sticky, soft ones like raisins or dates, is to spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze overnight. After they’re frozen, transfer them to your airtight container for long term storage. We still recommend consuming within a year, as long term freezer storage will affect the flavour after enough time. When you’re ready to eat your fruit, spread it out on the cookie sheet again and let it thaw.

CONFECTION

All of our chocolate coated or otherwise flavoured nuts and dried fruit are made with ‘new crop’ centres to our precise specifications. Because of the presence of natural enzymes, chocolate products are affected by various factors such as changes in temperature and length of storage. In the space of 2 or 3 months you may notice chocolate products sometimes develop a somewhat cloudy appearance. This is called ‘blooming.’ It is by no means an indication that the product has spoiled or is harmful to ingest, but rather that it may have lost some of its peak flavour. We therefore recommend that you keep your chocolate products in cold storage or frozen if you intend to consume more than 2 months after manufacture.

Health by Chocolate

Sounds sweet to me!

Plowing through the intimidating pile of mail awaiting us on our return from Mexico, we were delighted to discover a new recipe book, ‘Health by Chocolate.’ Sent to us by the author, Edmonton customer Victoria Laine, the book is full of deliciously tempting recipes featuring tantalizing chocolate in all its forms! Now, I don’t profess to be much of a baking expert, but I couldn’t wait to give some of these recipes a try! Using all natural ingredients, ‘Health by Chocolate’ aims to take away the guilt many of us associate with desserts. With helpful dietary symbols, nutritional information, hilarious quotations and ‘Tester’ comments, the book is also full of gorgeous photos guaranteed to get your mouth watering. Here are a few of the recipes I’ve tried. Look for ‘Health by Chocolate’ at your health food store, or contact Victoria through the website on the following page.

Raspberry Chocolate Oat Bars 2 - 3 large ripe bananas 2 cups (500 ml) oat flakes or quick oats 1 tsp (5 ml) salt ½ - 1 tsp coriander or cinnamon pinch of cloves (optional) ½ cup (125 ml) chopped walnuts 1 cup (250 ml) unsweetened coconut ⅓ cup (75 ml) maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar ¾ - 1 cup (175-250 ml) raspberry jam ¾ - 1 cup (175-250 ml) dark chocolate chips

Rusty on our ride to the mango plantations

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Summer 2008

Summer 2008

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Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mash bananas. Mix together all ingredients except jam and chocolate chips. Flatten half the batter into a 9” x 9” greased baking pan. Spread with raspberry jam, sprinkle with chocolate chips, and spoon remaining batter over top, spreading with the back of a large metal spoon. Bake 25-30 mins. until lightly browned. Slice into squares or bars. Makes 12 bars - keep leftovers in fridge. Cont’d page 10 Page 9


Charitable Donations

New customers

Health by Chocolate ...continued

As our regular customers know, Rancho Vignola supports a variety of charities and community groups, both domestic and international, through product donations. Here are some of the worthy organizations that have benefitted by donations from Rancho Vignola during the 2007/2008 season.

Almond Coconut Joy Bars

½ - ¾ cup (125-175 ml) Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped 1 cup (250 ml) honey, or brown rice syrup 1½ cups (375 ml) unsweetened coconut 1½ cups(375 ml) almond flour meal* ¾ cup (175 ml) chocolate chips *Can be found in health food markets, or make your own in a food processor or Vita Mix blender using blanched almonds. These require no baking! Line a 9” x 11” cookie sheet with waxed or parchment paper. Chop brazil nuts. In a large saucepan heat honey over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer for approx. 3-4 mins., until thickened. Add coconut, almond flour meal and chopped nuts. Remove from heat and spread onto lined cookie sheet, approx. 1/2” thick. Smooth out batter with wet fingers, sprinkle immediately with chocolate chips, allowing them to melt on the warm mixture. After a few mins. smooth the melted chocolate with the back of a large spoon or spatula, to spread out. Sprinkle top with coconut. Allow to cool in fridge, then cut into small squares or bars. Sue’s notes: I found the bottoms a bit sticky, so after cutting them into squares I set them on a plate sprinkled with extra cocoa and coconut.

Macadamia Nut Truffles

½ cup (125 ml) maple syrup ½ cup (125 ml) macadamia nuts ½ cup (125 ml) almond flour meal (finely ground blanched almonds) ¼ cup (60 ml) cocoa powder 2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut milk ⅓ cup (75 ml) cocoa powder to roll truffles Put the syrup in a heavy pot and bring to a boil. In a food processor with the ‘S’ blade, pulse the macadamia nuts until finely ground. When syrup has boiled for 3-5 mins., add the almond flour meal and ground nuts. Continue to allow the syrup to thicken, stirring frequently, until mixture is almost dry and nuts are all sticking together (syrup is not runny.) Add the cocoa powder and coconut milk, stirring well. Remove from heat. Scrape truffle mixture into a container and place in the fridge to cool for approx. 30 mins. When mixture has cooled, roll into ping-pong size balls, and roll each ball in dry cocoa powder to coat. Makes 20 - 26 truffles. Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, they will keep for several weeks if you hide them well! Can also be frozen to give as gifts. Options: Replace macadamia nuts with cashews, or almonds with hazelnuts.

All recipes re-printed with permission from the author Victoria Laine, NCP. Email: info@wholefoodsrescue.com www.healthbychocolatebook.com

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• Salvation Army / Vernon Food Bank • Westbank Single Parent Family Food Bank • Lake Country (Winfield) Food Bank • Airdrie Food Bank • Mustard Seed Kitchen - Calgary • Roots & Blues Music Festival - Salmon Arm • Komasket Music Festival - Vernon • Hogar de Refugio Infantil - Mexico • Upper Room Mission - Vernon • Fiji Mission (Seventh Day Adventist Church) • Good Food Box / First Nations Friendship Centre • Armstrong Boys and Girls Club • Caravan Farm Theatre - Armstrong • Cedar Bridge School (Waldorf Initiative) - Lumby • Muktuk Adventures - Whitehorse • Runaway Moon Theatre - Enderby • Tom Velisek (Olympic Athlete) • Nicaragua Mission • Akonjo Youth Empowerment Project - Enderby / Africa

By now you have read through our summer newsletter, enjoying our stories and making mental notes to try out some recipes. Perhaps you are thinking to yourself ‘I would like to purchase some wonderful, fresh Rancho products when the new harvest comes in! So, WHAT DO I DO NOW?’

Wholesale Ordering Rancho Vignola operates mainly in the fall, at the time of the harvest, when the food we love is just coming off the trees and is at its freshest! Our best possible prices are available on wholesale pre-orders, which we must receive by the end of September. These orders are then shipped out in November, after the products have arrived in our warehouse and the orders are put together. Wholesale orders must meet the minimum of $500, and products are available in full case or 5lb quantities only. If this sounds like a lot, consider teaming up with friends to meet the minimum. Many of our customers form groups (called Buying Clubs) to place large wholesale orders and split up full cases themselves, thereby getting the best possible price – and shipping to their door! If you are interested in wholesale ordering and wish to know more, we have a free introductory package available which contains all the necessary information. Just contact us by email or phone and we will gladly send it to you via email PDF or regular mail.

Starting Small If you would prefer to order in much smaller quantities, there are still options available to you. Each November, we hold retail Public Sales in communities across British Columbia and Alberta, where you can visit with us, sample products, and purchase in smaller quantities. See the back page of this newsletter for dates and locations of our Public Sales. For those of you who are unable to make the trip to any of our Public Sales, we also hold an online retail sale in early December, when you will be able to place an order online, as big or as small as you like, and we will ship it directly to you. This is a great time for wholesale customers to pick up some extra things in smaller quantities, or for brand new customers to try out a few of our products without having to place a large wholesale order. Please note that prices during our December online retail sale will be higher than our wholesale price list, and shipping costs may be added, depending on the size of your order. For further information on wholesale or retail sales, visit our website, call us, or email us anytime, and we will be happy to help you in any way we can. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in Rancho Vignola, and we look forward to bringing the Best of the New Crop to you and your community!

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Summer 2008

We are delighted to be able to offer this service to so many people who would otherwise never have access to these sorts of products. We are told by each of our Food Banks that the arrival of the Rancho Vignola donation every December causes tremendous excitement among staff and volunteers. They tell us our top quality nuts, dried fruit and chocolate treats really help to add a festive feel to the Christmas hampers they assemble for people in need. Thanks to everyone - customers, staff and friends alike - for helping our business grow, so that we can continue to share the harvest with those less fortunate.

From one customer to another...

Rancho Vignola’s Recipe of the Year

Last summer, we announced Rancho Vignola’s Recipe of the Year Challenge. Customers were invited to submit their original recipes using the selfpropagating Recipes page on our website, and a few of us eagerly appointed ourselves official judges of the results. We are pleased to announce that the winner of the very first annual Rancho Vignola Recipe of the Year Challenge is Jody Nuttall of Kamloops, BC, for her Winter Pie recipe. We have included Jody’s amazing recipe here, and we highly recommend you give this one a try - you won’t be disappointed! All submissions can be found in the Recipes section of our website, and we would like to thank all of you who have contributed to our growing archive. The Recipes section is starting to really fill up with some wonderful and delicious ways to use Rancho products; the perfect place to get great recipe ideas from other members of the Rancho community

Rancho Vignola Winter Pie

Combine the wine or juice, water, sugar, butter, ginger and allspice in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add all the dried fruit and bring mixture back to a boil. Simmer over low heat, covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add an additional tablespoon or two of water if necessary to keep mixture moist. Remove from heat and let cool. Set aside for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

Submitted by Jody Nuttall of Kamloops, BC

Delicious dried fruit cooked into a rich, spicy pie filling. A wonderfully warming winter dessert! 1 cup white wine or apple juice 1 cup water ¼ cup sugar 2 tbsp. butter ¾ tsp. ground ginger ½ tsp. ground allspice 12 ounces dried apples 7 ounces dried peaches or dried apricots 1 cup dried blueberries 1 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries Pastry dough for a 9-inch, two-crust pie

Roll out pastry dough into 2 rounds large enough to fit into a 9 inch pie pan. Line the pie pan with one round of dough and spoon the cooled fruit and its juices into it, spreading evenly. Using the second round of dough, fit the top crust over the pie, crimp the edges and cut several slits in the top for steam to escape. Bake in a preheated 400ºF oven for 30 minutes, or until the crust is browned.

Using kitchen scissors, snip apples and peaches into large pieces; snip apricots in half. Summer 2008

Keep those creative ideas flowing! We are now accepting submissions for the 2008 Recipe of the Year Challenge. The winner is awarded a $100 credit, to be used during the fall wholesale ordering period or the spring public sale. Recipes are judged by a select group of Rancho staff members who will focus on the most creative use of Rancho products, nutritional density and, of course, overall flavour. Sweet desserts, savoury snacks, and hearty meals - share your best with the Rancho community!

If freezing unbaked pie, do not cut slits in top. Wrap pie carefully in tin foil and place inside a plastic bag before freezing. Cook pie from frozen state, cutting steam vents in top before putting the frozen pie in the oven. After 30 minutes at 400ºF, lower heat to 350ºF and cook for a further 40 – 60 minutes. Crust should be golden brown. Serve small slices with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 8.

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Hogar de Refugio Infantil

RANCHO POLICIES: Update

Our visit to a Mexican orphanage - Navojoa, Sonora

One of Rancho Vignola’s beneficiaries of our donation program for many years has been Refugio de Infantil, an orphanage in the north-west Mexican state of Sonora. It was therefore a delight to finally make a personal visit to the orphanage this winter and meet with Okanagan residents Bob and Annette Mason, who have been the guiding light for the orphanage during the past seventeen years.

tireless enthusiasm for the very physically demanding labour involved in the construction. With several full time Mexican labourers on staff, the labour force is supplemented by volunteers from the US and Canada who stay for a week or many months to help on the project. We were introduced to the orphanage’s new directors, a Mexican couple who will live in the new building, and who Bob is mentoring to take over the daily running of the orphanage. Bob and Annette will continue to visit the children, and to fundraise on behalf of the orphanage, but their time will be more equally divided between Canada and Mexico.

Driven by a desire to be of service to disadvantaged children, and having sold Bob’s business, Bob and Annette’s original destination back in the late 80’s was an orphanage in Thailand for mentally challenged children. Annette’s background working in this particular realm seemed at first to indicate a good fit, but the language barrier and other issues proved a major hindrance. Their travels then took them to It was exciting to meet the children, who are currently Mexico where they met a young Mexican who had recently Bob Mason & Sue with the donated Rancho products being housed in temporary accommodations on campus. started a small orphanage and was in need of help. With When told we were the ‘nut’ people, the older teenagers financial backing from their Seventh Day Adventist Church, Bob and Annette sincerely thanked us for our donations, at the same time wanting us to know took over operating the orphanage in 1993, spending several months each which were their favourite products! We handed out year in Mexico, then returning home to fundraise through Bob’s presentations t-shirts and played with the smaller children, while at churches and businesses throughout British Columbia. trying to converse in Spanish with their house parents. From tiny tots to teenagers, it was Our visit took place at the new location, currently under construction, as obvious the love and respect shown to Bob the original orphanage was badly damaged a few years ago by a severe and Annette is more than reward enough for hurricane. The new orphanage is being built on five acres donated by the Unitheir devotion to these deprived children of versity of Navojoa, and located on the campus of the Seventh Day Adventist Mexico’s poorest citizens. College, approximately 11 kilometres southwest of Navojoa, Sonora. The new 16,000 sq. ft. facility is designed like a Mexican colonial hacienda, with suites and rooms facing a central courtyard. Initially accommodating thirty-two children and their house parents, the building also has a suite for the directors and To visit the orphanage, donate funds or to the cook, as well as three volunteer apartments to house up to ten workers. volunteer, please go to the following websites: www.haciendanavojoa.com Bob and Annette gave us a tour of the new building, where we dodged electric www.masonsinmexico.homestead.com cables and the dust from the adobe blocks that are produced on site. A small group of dedicated Canadian volunteers live on site in their RVs and show Richard with orphanage resident Tomas Sosa

What’s Inside...

Buying Club Referrals

Hogar de Refugio Infantil 2 Charitable Donations 3 Recipe of the Year 3 Mexico’s Magnificent Mangoes 4 Meet the Rancho Staff 6 Crop News 8 Marich Confectionary 8 Rancho Talk: Product Care 9 ‘Health by Chocolate’ 9 ‘Health by Chocolate’ Recipes 10 New Customer Welcome 10 Rancho Vignola Policies 11 Public Sales 2008 12

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Notify us early!

If you have people in your buying group who you wish to refer as a separate customer, and earn commission this year, please visit our website and fill out the online Buying Club Referral form BEFORE September 2008. You may also fill out the paper version enclosed, and fax or mail it back to us. We will enter these potential new customers into our database, and you will automatically earn commission on their first three consecutive wholesale orders! Please note that referrals will no longer be honoured unless we receive notification from you, the sponsor, before the September price list is released. This is to avoid the confusion that has ensued in previous years, thereby enabling us all to enjoy an organized referral program for years to come!

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Summer 2008

Wholesale Ordering System

Payment

The wholesale price list will be available on or before September 10 and customers can access it either by downloading it in PDF format through our web site or by regular mail – customers with email addresses will receive an announcement when the price list is ready. Since regular mail is the slowest, most customers opt for the ‘electronic’ option. Customers with email addresses, please let us know if you also want a paper copy of the price list sent to you, as we prefer to avoid sending out paper unnecessarily

All first-time wholesale customers are required to pre-pay as soon as the order is placed. For existing customers with established credit terms, payment is required within 15 days from receipt of the order. We accept payment by credit card, cheque (one cheque only, representing the total order – please do not send us your individual club member’s cheques!), and money order. New for 2008: Customers using our online ordering system, you may now safely use your credit card online to pay for your order!

Order Minimum: $500.00 - product available in full cases or 5lb bags. Order Deadline is Saturday, September 27th. Please note this is an

absolutely firm order deadline – any orders received after the deadline will not be guaranteed delivery, and will be dealt with on a first in, first served basis.

Order Shipment: Directly after the order deadline, we consolidate all the orders and place our final order quantities with our suppliers. The products begin arriving in our warehouse from mid-October onwards, and wholesale orders are shipped out from the end of October to late Novermber. Sometimes we experience delays of a particular product, due to many unforeseen circumstances such as ports being closed due to strikes. Please be aware that our warehouse crew are diligently working ‘with all the stops out’ to get your orders shipped to you as quickly as possible. However, there is a very short time frame in which to receive product, package it, and prepare the final order for shipment. We will try to meet your requests for a specific delivery day, but any customers setting up their own sales (or advertising a delivery day to their club members) are advised to err on the side of caution and plan for later in November. Please note: Any special delivery requests must be made at the time of order placement in September. Order Delivery/Pick-up: Orders are sent pre-paid by commercial freight

carriers or courier service to a freight depot in your nearest town centre. You should receive a call from the freight operator indicating the shipment has arrived (make sure you have an answering service in place!). If you live centrally, there should be no problem in delivering to your door. However, some freight carriers will not deliver to a private residence due to the poor driveway turnarounds etc. in which case you may be required to make arrangements for pick-up at the depot. If you live in a remote area not covered by our regular freight carriers, an ‘inter-line’ service may be required and the cost of this service covered by you. If in doubt, please discuss this at order time. Customers wishing to pick up their wholesale order at our warehouse please let us know when you place your order. When your order is ready, we will call and arrange a mutually convenient time for order pick up.

Shipping Charges:

Please review this section carefully

(1) Standard Freight policy: We will cover freight costs to the nearest town centre on our regular shipping routes for central regions of BC (including Vancouver Island and Victoria) and Alberta. Customers are responsible for any inter-line charges incurred for delivery beyond the freight depot. (2) Regions east of Alberta: Shipping charges based on 20¢/lb will apply to orders shipped to a central freight depot and will be added to your invoice (please note that the added charge is only a fraction of the total shipping cost to these regions, the main portion is still covered by us). Again, customers are responsible for pick-up or shipping charges beyond the freight depot. (3) Northern regions and Maritimes: Shipping charges to remote northern areas and the Maritime provinces will be determined on a case-by-case basis and discussed at the time of order placement. Summer 2008

Discount for Pre-paid Orders

We are pleased to offer a 2% discount to all customers who pre-pay their orders (this includes new customers). Pre-payment is required immediately after the order is placed and you have received a phone call or email with your order total. Please note: Any discrepancies in invoice total due to product unavailability, discovered after your order is received will be dealt with promptly and a credit cheque issued accordingly.

Return Policy At Rancho Vignola, we stand behind all of our products and will gladly take back anything that is not up to our standards. However, we ask that you contact us with any concerns immediately after you receive and go through your order. Please note: We will not accept product returns later than 30 days after order shipment.

Fundraising with Rancho Vignola! Many groups use our products in their fundraising campaigns and are very pleased with the results. We are happy to assist with helping you pinpoint popular products and in creating your group’s own customized retail price list. Please contact us before the wholesale price list is released in early September. To receive the fundraising information package, please go to our website or contact us to request a mailed copy.

Buying Club Referrals – Earn Commission! We offer 5% commission to the Buying Club coordinator (that means you!) of an existing wholesale club who refers us to friends, family members and other contacts who start a new club and place a wholesale order. The amount of the commission is determined by the new club’s wholesale order total and is awarded for three consecutive years from the first wholesale order. Commissions earned are calculated at the end of the season and cheques mailed out early in the new year. To be eligible, when referring new customers to us you must provide their full name, address, telephone number, and email address before we send out the wholesale price list in early September. New clubs must have their own coordinator and a separate shipping address from their sponsor.

Toll-free Information Centre Our toll-free line connects you to our information system offering three menu options: you can hear details of all this year’s Public Sales, request a new customer info package, or leave us messages. During the ordering period (September 8th - 27th) you can also leave small orders on the message system (please speak clearly), order add-ons, or ask us to call you back to take your order.

Toll-free nation-wide: 1-877-NEW-CROP

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Summer 2008

Public Sales 2008

Our Public Sales are held in selected communities in BC and Alberta, and are advertized in local newspapers and posters displayed two to three weeks prior to the event. Here you will find the dates and locations of our Public Sales for 2008. Details of our Sales, hours of operation, and any changes will be posted on our website and on our toll free line.

BRITISH COLUMBIA November 7th & 8th Friday: 9am - 7pm • Saturday: 9am - 5pm 7801 Okanagan Landing Road

Salmon Arm

November 14th & 15th Friday: 9am - 5:30pm • Saturday: 9am - 5pm

Holiday Inn

1090 - 22nd Street NE

(on the hill near the RCMP station)

November 15th & 16th Saturday: 10am - 5pm • Sunday: 10am - 5pm

Parkinson Recreation Centre

1800 Parkinson Way For information: 250-470-7897 (Raven Ventures)

Abbotsford

November 21st & 22nd Friday: 9am - 5:30pm • Saturday: 9am - 5:30pm

Windsor Greenhouses #18 Ross Road, Abbotsford (access from ‘O’ Avenue)

For information: 250-832-8563

ALBERTA Camrose

November 14th & 15th Friday: 9am - 7pm • Saturday: 9am - 5pm

Order online at www.ranchovignola.com

A Fruitful Adventure!

Paddlewheel Park Hall

Kelowna

December 1st to 15th

Mexico:

Vernon

For information: 250-832-8563

Online Public Sale

Best of the New Crop

Camrose Regional Exhibition 4250 Exhibition Drive

(Highway #13 - 1/4 mile east of Camrose)

Airdrie

New Crop Price List: Early September Wholesale Order Deadline: September 27th

Rancho Vignola’s public sales are the perfect introduction to our top quality nuts, dried fruit and confection. We encourage you to come see us, browse our product display, and taste everything we have to offer. As well as full cases, items are also available in smaller quantities: 5lbs, 2lbs, and some in 1lb. We also offer a great selection of beautiful Gift Packs, of all descriptions and sizes, which make decadent and delicious gifts sure to please.

7877 Wilson-Jackson Rd Vernon BC V1B 3N5 Toll free: 1-877-639-2767 Fax: 250-546-6653 Email: info@ranchovignola.com www.ranchovignola.com

This winter Sue and I tore ourselves away from home and from our favourite cross-country ski trails and headed to Mexico in the motorhome. Apart from a much needed rest after a busy nut season, we were looking for adventure; as well as the opportunity to visit the Mexican Orphanage where we’ve been donating food for many years (see page 2 for full article). Also, there’s a certain tropical fruit beloved to all the magnificent mango - which grows in the agricultural area south of Mazatlan, where we met with ‘Mango Man’ Rusty Brown (see mango article on page 4). Leaving home in late January and getting caught in a snowstorm in northern California quickly brought the realisation that we should waste no time in reaching warmer climates. A week later we were at the coast in San Carlos, northwest Mexico, walking the sandy beach and carefully exposing our lily white skin to the tropical skies! Mexico is truly a delight for all the senses; colours, tastes, sights and smells constantly merge to create a smorgasbord of sensation impossible to ignore! We visited a Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in the high mountains, learning about the incredible journey these beautiful creatures make covering thousands of miles. We experienced the intense heat of the sun and the might of the pounding ocean at the coast near Manzanillo. We were also deeply moved by a live performance of ‘The Passion Play’ in a tiny village in Mexico’s interior, during the annual Easter holiday of Holy Week (Semana Santa). Mexico is truly a land of contrasts, from hopeless poverty to unfathomable wealth. But one thing unites Mexicans, and that is the love they feel for their families and country, and the kindness they show towards visitors. In this summer’s newsletter, we aim to convey some of the sights and sensations we experienced in Mexico. It’s been an incredible year for us so far, and the best is yet to come as we invite you to join us once again in this fall’s bountiful harvest!

November 21st & 22nd Friday: 9am - 7pm • Saturday: 9am - 5pm

Town and Country Centre 275 Jensen Drive

(Ten minutes drive north of Calgary on Hwy #2)

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Summer 2008

New Crop Price List: Early September Wholesale Order www.ranchovignola.com Deadline: September 27th

Summer 2008

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Rancho Vignola's 2008 Summer Newsletter