Early one morning in 1992, a local Mendocino sculptor by the name of Howard Wheatley Allen was shaking in his boots. He had just been informed that he would be presenting a gift to a world leader on behalf of the United States, and the recipient was none other than Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. With a steadying hand, he held his bronze sculpture before the President and said, “Mr. President, this is a snow goose that migrates between our two countries.”
“You mean a living link,” Gorbachev replied, understanding the significance.
Gorbachev later recalled that, “During the nuclear arms race, I was given a gift by an American, a little figure of a goose in flight. I still have it at my dacha. It is a goose that lives in the north of Russia in the summer and in the winter migrates to America. It does that every year regardless of what’s happening, on the ground, between you and us.”
It was one year later, in 1993, that International Migratory Bird Day was established. While IMBD is celebrated from Canada to South America to support the hundreds of Neotropical migratory bird species that travel across the continent, Gorbachev’s goose is a beautiful reminder that birds will always rise above our imaginary borders, transcending beyond the cultural or political boundaries of the time.
Here in the United States, we sometimes claim a cultural ownership of beautiful birds like the Baltimore Oriole, perhaps forgetting that the very same species could just as easily be named the ‘Panama Oriole’, or the ‘Nicaraguan Oriole’, as it spends half it’s life in Central and South America. IMBD is a reminder that the health and abundance of these birds that are so much a part of our heritage does not stop at our own backyard feeders. If we wish to enjoy their beauty and their songs for generations to come, we must care for them and their well being across all borders.
The growing demand for coffee, and the rise of the mono-cultured full sun coffee plantations, has demolished much of the wintering habitat for iconic birds like Orioles. In fact, many of these species are now referred to as ‘Coffee Birds’ because the only forest home left to them are the shade-grown coffee farms that preserve the jungle canopy.
For over 20 year, Song Bird Coffee has been a leader in supporting the farmers who protect their native forests by growing delicious coffees under the jungle canopy, preserving priceless habitat and biodiversity. This year, on International Migratory Bird Day, we hope you will join us in protecting our precious songbirds, just by enjoying a great cup of shade-grown coffee. Not Just a Cup, But a Just Cup.
A Selection of Recipes for National Coffee Cake Day
Coffee cake comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors – but if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that you can always count on that crumbly cinnamon goodness. April 7 marks National Coffee Cake Day, and we’ve compiled a few recipes for you to try out!
2½ Cups Flour
¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon, plus more for topping
¼ Teaspoon Salt
¾ Cup Canola Oil
1 Cup Almond Milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
¼ Cup Plain Coconut or Soy Yogurt
1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
It is an unmistakable feeling when you find the right one. Your pulse quickens, your lips curl involuntarily into a coy smile, and warmth radiates from deep within as your thoughts swirl upward. When you meet, the worries of the world melt away, and for a few sweet moments you know contented bliss.
I’m not speaking of love (though the feeling is remarkably similar). No, I am talking about the complex and wonderful pairing of coffee and chocolate. Those of you who have experimented with such delicious decadence surely know what I am talking about. Your whole pallet comes alive, as nuances explode and recede in a dance of flavors. For those of you that haven’t enjoyed a nibble of chocolate followed by a sip of coffee, oh are you ever in for a treat!
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we hit the dating scene to find our Valentine- a chocolate company that shares our values of sustainability and social justice, one who is dedicated to the pursuit of delicious perfection. And much like a grand love story, we found THE ONE, our perfect pair- fellow California B Corp Alter Eco. To win their affection, we sent them some coffee in a box with hearts drawn all over it, and asked them kindly to ‘Be Our Valentine’… they said yes!
Very much in love, we decided to move in together right away. Our Roastmaster Jacob Long was tasked with the deliciously difficult challenge of tasting Alter Eco’s many chocolates, and combining them with our coffees to find the perfect pair.
After many rounds of tasting countless coffee/chocolate combinations, we all agreed on one pair that was truly a world-melting flavor experience:
Our Fair trade Organic Mocha Java Coffee and Alter Eco’s Chocolate truffles. Oh yes!
The creamy smooth chocolate truffles blend seamlessly with the complex flavors of our beloved Mocha Java blend. Try this: take a bite of a chocolate truffle and let it melt away on your tongue. Just before the last bit of truffle melts away, take a healthy sip of the Mocha Java and loose yourself in the exquisite moment when these flavors combine. Then take a long, deep breath, and reflect on how excellent life is in this moment.
“In the midst of winter, I at last discovered that there was, within me, an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, today marks the beginning of winter and the end of daylight’s steady retreat. It is the winter solstice, our shortest day and our longest night.
There is a poetry to the seasonal shifts created by the Earth’s axial tilt. Every revolution around the sun brings the fresh new wonders of spring, the joy of long summer days, the beauty of autumn’s transition, and the tranquility of long winter nights.
It is no wonder that people from cultures all over the world gather close with their loved ones when the nights get long. It is a timely reminder that even when the night seems endless, when it feels like cold and darkness might prevail, the light always returns. As we gather with our loved ones this winter, take solace that starting tomorrow, every new sunrise brings with it more daylight then the last.
From all of us here at Thanksgiving Coffee, we hope your short days will be merry and bright, and that your long wintery nights will be warmed by the love of friends, family, and a Just Cup of Thanksgiving Coffee.
The image above is an “analemma” – a series of photographs of the sun taken from the same location, at the same time each day, over the course of an entire year. The sun that appears at the top of the image was taken during the summer solstice, and the one closest to the horizon is the winter solstice sun.
The holidays are all about spending time with the people you love. It’s the time for ice skating and caroling and snuggling up by the fire with a cup of coffee.
Our friend Sulin Bell created a cookbook that we just had to share: Two Hearts, Four Hands. This collection of thirty recipes was designed for two people to enjoy together. Separate directions for two cooks come together for a collaborative experience in the kitchen: desserts, dinners, brunch, baking and more. And this cookbook isn’t just for couples, but friends, family, roommates and anyone!
Two Hearts, Four Hands:
Put love into your food and food into your love at the same time! This is the first cookbook designed for two people cooking together. Join with your partner, family, friend, co-worker, or new relationship for a fun, creative and tasty experience. A date in the kitchen provides quality time for your relationships while preparing delicious healthy food.
Two Hearts Four Hands is a lighthearted approach to expanding culinary awareness while addressing the time challenges of food preparation in our fast-paced lifestyle. Cooking together allows you the extra time for deeply nourishing yourself and your relationships.
Many of us were raised to think a certain way, regarding wolves: they’re to be feared, they’re dangerous, they’re destructive. This manner of thinking has been the cause of decades of wrongful acts against wolf populations all over the US. This is something we need to change.
For over thirteen years, Thanksgiving Coffee has partnered with the people at Defenders of Wildlife. Defenders is one of the leading wildlife information and action organizations in the United States, and a non-profit that we admire greatly. This partnership was born out of a realization of the decreasing wolf populations here in America, and the idea that a cup of coffee can do so much. Learn more about our partnership on the Thanksgiving Coffee Store.
Fact + Fiction About Wolves
This week, we want to challenge all of our supporters, our families, friends and fans to reevaluate the way you look at wolves. During National Wolf Awareness Week, we encourage you to read through the Defenders of Wildlife Wolf Fact v. Fiction page, and adjust your perspective on these animals. Take some time to understand that there are nonlethal options for protecting livestock, and read through the coexisting project in Idaho’s Wood River Valley.
If you’re interested in learning more, the Defenders of Wildlife website is a wealth of information, dedicated to the protection of endangered and threatened species all over the United States. Learn more at www.defenders.org.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company supports Defenders of Wildlife by donating a portion of the proceeds of the sale of our Save Our Wolves Coffee. Choose your favorite roast, and every sip you take goes to support the Defenders of Wildlife program.
How else can you participate during National Wolf Awareness Week? Adopt a wolf! The Defenders of Wildlife offers the opportunity to “adopt a wolf” through their website. This is an awesome way to spread awareness of the plight of the wolves, as well as pick up a few plush toys for the kiddos when the holidays roll around.
Join the Conversation about Wolf Awareness
Join the conversation on social media, and share the information you’ve learned today with your friends during National Wolf Awareness Week!