Burlap & Barrel sources unique and beautiful spices for professional chefs and home cooks. They source directly from farmers and help improve the their livelihoods. We cannot wait for you to level up your home cooking!
Michelin-Starred Chefs' favourite spices are now available in Canada through SwitchGrocery!
Burlap & Barrel spices are single origin, meaning the owners of the company actually go to the farms where the spices are from, pick the harvest they want and work directly with the farmers to get it into your kitchen! What does this mean? The spices are more flavourful and potent then the ones you buy in the grocery store and have nuances in their taste that you’ve never experienced before!
Why We Picked Burlap & Barrel
The owners are extraordinary! Ethan and Ori deeply care about spices and the farmers behind them! They set up Burlap & Barrel as a Public Benefit Corporation to articulate that their goals for their company are both to build a business and build a way for farmers to earn an income and grow!
The spices are unlike anything I’ve ever tried before! There is so much more flavour and depth with just a little dash of the spice and because Burlap works directly with the farmers, you get spices directly from the source!
Behind the Company
Burlap & Barrel was founded by two longtime friends, Ethan Frisch and Ori Zohar.
Ethan started as a chef before leaving to become a humanitarian aid worker in countries like Sierra Leone, Syria, and Afghanistan. It was in Afghanistan where Ethan met a farmer and discovered his first spice — Wild Mountain Cumin — which he brought back for his chef friends to try and they couldn’t get enough of it!
Co-founder Ori Zohar is a social and serial entrepreneur who developed a love for cooking from learning how to cook Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes from his parents. When Ethan began discovering spices, the two decided to join together and Burlap & Barrel was born.
Ethan and Ori’s activism and entrepreneurial spirit seep into their business. As a Public Benefit Corporation, Burlap & Barrel’s mission is to build new food supply chains that value public benefit alongside profits. Specifically, the public benefit they aim to provide with Burlap & Barrel is:
“to promote the reduction of inequality and exploitation in food systems by connecting farmers to high-value markets, helping them access a larger share of the product value chain, and establishing long-term, mutually-beneficial trade relationships.”
What is it?
Burlap & Barrel spices are renowned by professional and home chefs alike primarily because they are single-origin; an innovative business model that produces the highest-quality products while simultaneously improving the livelihoods of their partner farmers!
What makes them stand out?
Yeah, they’re amazing spices, but WHY and HOW? 3 reasons: (1) Connecting farmers to new markets, (2) Educating consumers about the products and process, (3) Sourcing unique spices that are grown biodynamically and organically using traditional techniques to obtain the best tasting spices.
- Connecting farmers to new markets - The single-origin business model gets rid of brokers and middlemen who drive prices up and quality down. Instead, Ethan and Ori visit the farms themselves, spend time with their partner farmers, and learn firsthand everything about the spices they’re sourcing, blending, and selling. Without the middlemen, Burlap & Barrel sets their partner farmers up for economic independence and financial security -- they invest in farm infrastructure and expenses associated with exporting and pay the farmers 2-20x the commodity price for their best spices.
- Educating consumers about the products and process - Since they’re single-origin, all Burlap & Barrel spices are capable of being traced back to a single area of production. Normally, you wouldn’t be this aware of where your food is coming from, who made it, and who it is helping!
- Sourcing unique spices that are grown biodynamically and organically using traditional techniques to obtain the best tasting spices - The traditional spice model is that a large company will buy batches of spice from many regions and mix them all together and sell that spice (i.e. cinnamon) to grocery stores (after passing through up to 10 hands to get there). By the time the spices reach the consumer, years may have passed from when they were first harvested and any distinctiveness that existed in the flavour at harvest is long gone. Furthermore, high- and low-quality lots are blended together for consistency and cost at the expense of losing flavour.
Who should use Burlap & Barrel?
Everyone! If you are an aspiring chef, a foodie, or just someone trying to make a good dinner the whole family will like, you’ll appreciate the distinctive flavours and unique ingredients of these Burlap & Barrel spices!
Burlap & Barrel spices are so much more flavourful than the spices from the grocery store and will really amp up your cooking. Since they’re single-origin, the spices really exhibit the unique flavour of the environment in which they grew — similar to how grapes from France produce different wines than grapes from California! We spoke with Ori on a recent WineTea Wednesday, and his suggestion was to start with ½ the spice you would usually use and go from there since their spices are more potent then normal.
Burlap & Barrel single origin spices have really changed my cooking at home. I love adding the cinnamon to my Keto Chow shakes, putting Black Urfa chili flakes on eggs, and adding paprika to my cauliflower rice! I am still finding new ways to use everything and have adopted one of Ori’s suggestions – have a base dish that I know really well, and then play around with spices to see how different combinations work. I do that with fried eggs – I’ve added Urfa Chili, Paprika, Cumin and Pepper in all different combinations to learn how to work with these new and more flavourful spices! SwitchGrocery is your source for amazing healthy, high quality foods like Burlap and Barrel that you can’t find anywhere else. We carry amazing foods for Canadians.