In March of 2019, Benjamin & Anne Marie Brewer, with Azure Market and UnCommon Carob, were invited to get in on the Carob harvest, on our farmer’s orchard in the outback of South Australia.
Here Michael & Jam Jolley, farm about 70 acres of organic carob trees.
Benjamin said: “It was an amazing experience, I felt like a kid in a candy shop, because on that farm, candy really does grow on trees! The carob pods were so sweet and good, I couldn’t stop eating them”
Michael started out 20 some years ago, as a Gardener, where he saw the destruction that chemical agriculture can have on life in and on our soils. His conviction to grow carob organically took root when he tasted some really good tasting carob pods in the nurseries he worked with. This surprised him, as he didn’t really like any of the carob he had tried in the retail shops.
As he began looking into it, he found out that traditional carob farmers don’t grow carob for eating. There is no money in that. They grow carob for the seed, which is used to make locust bean gum and other industrial thickening agents. Because this seed is so valuable, carob farmers select varieties that grow lots of seeds. But this comes at the price of the edible pods not being very good.
Michael was convinced that there could be a good market for the edible pods if they tasted sweet and flavorful like the ones he had tried at the nursery. So he set out choosing 6 of the best tasting carob varieties he could find and planting 6000 of them. These varieties don’t have very good quality seeds that are worth much. But he doesn’t grow them for that, he grows them specifically for eating. And has become the only farmer in the world, that we know of, that grows for the quality and taste of the pod.
Michael’s commitment to cleanliness and quality was evident everywhere on the farm. Because of his own gluten allergies, he understands the importance of keeping strict separations of his gluten-free products. So he chose to process everything right on his own farm, where there would be no possible contamination by sharing any equipment with neighboring wheat farmers. He had all the equipment he needed to take the carob from harvest to cleaning to kibbling to roasting to grinding and packaging, all custom built and installed right there on his farm.
We love to see this kind of commitment and quality in the family farms you support. And we’re proud to offer this truly unique carob to our customers.