As New Yorkers, we pride ourselves on loving our city, from the tips of our tallest skyscrapers down to the deepest of subway tunnels. We keep the multicultural origins of the boroughs with names like Canarsie and Manhattan, and Schermerhorn and Brooklyn. Many of us hang our hats on how long we've been in the city, whether we've been here five years or all our lives. In honor of Indigenous People's Day on October 12, we pay homage to the original New Yorkers, while we highlight delicious ways to support Indigenous communities beyond the scope of our fair city, near and far.
Last year, we were proud to highlight both Séka Hills and Red Lake Nation. This year, we want to bring attention to them as always, but we’re even prouder to debut new products—not just from these producers, but from producers we’ve never carried before, including a local producer from as close as Long Island!
Séka Hills' olive oil will make for an instant upgrade to your culinary game, whether drizzling a hot pan or finishing a cool salad; local Brooklyn chefs like it for its peppery flavor. Named in the Patwin language by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation that owns it for the blue hills that overlook northern California's Capay Valley, Séka Hills focuses on sustainable cultivation of a variety of native crops, using time-honored practices like crop rotation, drip systems, cover crops, and IPM, with a zero waste goal. They also produce wine and wildflower honey!
Red Lake Nation Foods is 100% First Nations grown and harvested, located on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota, boasting a long and rich history with the land there. Wild rice actually isn't a rice at all, but technically a wild grass (and totally gluten-free). It’s a nutritious alternative to white or brown rice, high in fiber and flavor, rich in B vitamins and protein, with an earthy, nutty flavor and an excellent chewiness, whether on its own, or mixed with basmati rice in their Wild Bits medley. That’s not all you can do with their wild rice, either! New to our shelves, Red Lake Nation Foods’ Pancake Mix and Fish Batter Mix uses their wild rice as a hearty flour, blended with others like buckwheat and rye, for easy and flavorsome meals, whether at breakfast or dinner.
Thunder Island Coffee Roasters
Speaking of breakfast, we’ve brought in a new way to wake up every morning—with Thunder Island Coffee Roasters, an organic coffee roaster operating on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, Long Island. They’re not just organic, either—they’re Fair Trade certified, as well as GMO-free. They find their mission in sourcing 100% organic green coffee beans directly from native farmers in Guatemala and Peru, forming what they call a “Native to Native exchange” for a network of Native American commerce and employment for both their local community and communities abroad.
You might want breakfast to go with that coffee, and for that, Passamaquoddy Maple has you covered. While their maple syrup doesn’t feature in their tasty blueberry muffin mix, what *does* is wild Maine blueberries, grown on land also owned by the Passamaquoddy tribe! The Passamaquoddies have lived in the area now known as Maine for centuries, bringing traditional methods of living off the land into the 21st century when they started sustainably tapping maple trees—today 10,000 and counting!—and bottling their maple syrup. Passamaquoddy Maple is certified organic by the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association, and while we don’t have their signature syrup quite yet, you can pick up a taste of it with their maple drops and candy.