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Update from Phnom Voar

I am in Cambodia arranging for the shipment of a ton of Kampot Pepper and Kampot Sea Salt. It is a bit of a process to be sure. Lots of paperwork and slow going but I will have lots of inventory for the upcoming holiday season. I will be launching a Kickstarter Campaign soon and am also building a FundRazr Campaign for one of our community partners – Union Protein Project next month. Here’s a preview of our Kickstarter video.

The Union Protein Project provides bulk protein at deep discounts and then further subsidizes Food Bank purchases from donations from Unions

Last year the UPP provided $900,000 at retail of salmon, tuna and peanut butter to over 100 Food Banks in BC and Alberta. By partnering with our 50 Million Meals Campaign the UPP receives 35% of all community-driven sales and their holiday goal is to sell $100,000 worth of Kampot Pepper and Kampot Sea Salt to raise $35,000 for protein for these Food Banks.

This partnership not only helps alleviate hunger in BC and Alberta but helps the small Cambodian pepper farmers who were devastated during the Cambodian Genocide. The farmers are rebuilding and with our help we can rebuild their ancient farming tradition and provide a future of hope and prosperity in a region where 70& of the population live in poverty.

Here’s a photo of my family packaging up holiday gift bags for the upcoming season.

It’s a family affair.

Please check back here to find out the exact dates for our crowdfunding launches. Akun Chiran (Thank you very much in Khmer)

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50 Million Meals

My goal is to raise enough money through the sale of the best pepper in the world to provide 50 million meals a year. Once you have tried it no other pepper will do.

It has been a little over a year since I started developing a Fair Trade distribution system for Kampot Pepper. It has been quite a journey. One thing I learned is that not many people have heard of Kampot Pepper but once they have tried it no other pepper will do! I began selling the pepper through my local foundation, then to some small grocers, gift shops, and restaurants.

Giving a pepper tasting at a local shop in North Vancouver

I have been working with a number of groups to test different ways to build a Fair Trade distribution network and in the process of doing my research discovered that Food Banks can deliver as many as ten meals for every dollar they receive. My goal is to raise five million dollars a year for food charities and that can translate into fifty million meals a year. I thank the great work of other social purpose brands for the inspiration for this campaign and in particular I am grateful to the late Paul Newman who’s company ‘Newman’s Own’ donated thirty million dollars to charity last year – surpassing the half-a-billion dollar mark since he created the company in 1982.

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Kampot Pepper Promotion Association

I have been back in Phnom Voar, the heart of the Kampot Pepper region, for about a month and have been visiting small farmers as well as the Kampot Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA) that represents hundreds of small pepper farmers in Kampot and Kep provinces – the only areas that are allowed to use the GI (geographical indication) mark.

My pepper helper

From the KPPA website:

Ancestral know-how

These pepper lovers, smitten with their product, proud of their traditional values and definitely looking into the future, are the keepers of an ancestral know-how, of a way of production where the man and his land make one with a unique goal: producing the highest quality pepper.

It is truly wonderful to witness the re-birth and expansion of such an ancient farming system that will help ensure the community and economic development of an area so devastated by civil war.

We are now working directly with KPPA to help build a Fair Trade distribution system for the Kampot Pepper Farmers. Here’s a short video I took at a local farm:

 

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Tales from the Kingdom of Wonder

Welcome to 50 Million Meals bringing the best pepper in the world in a way that not only helps the small rural pepper farmers but can provide millions of meals to needy children and families in North America.

Cambodia is a remarkable country with a rich, and in modern times, tragic history. Angkor Wat is certainly the most well known living monument in Southeast Asia, if not the world. Many consider Angkor the eight wonder of the world. Of the seven classical wonders of the world only the Great Pyramid of Giza exists to this day. Angkor Wat is an active temple, not just an archeological monument.

There is another wonder of the world from Cambodia, at least from a culinary perspective, and that is Kampot pepper. If you have never tasted the exquisite yet subtle flavour of this ‘king of kings’ then you have something to look forward to.

I have always loved pepper, freshly ground pepper is my favourite spice. Pepper has been called the ‘King of Spice’ and centuries ago when introduced to Europe from Asia it was referred to as ‘Black Gold’. My first experience of the delight of Kampot pepper was when I went to Kep, a small seaside community on the Gulf of Thailand, famous for its crab market. I had been told about Kimly Restaurant and that it served some of the best seafood in Southeast Asia. I was not disappointed. This began my journey into the world of Kampot pepper.

In 2012 I brought back a half a kilo of Kampot pepper and began to use it in my cooking as well as freshly ground at my dinner table. Over the next few years I continued to bring back black, then the red and white peppercorns. I gifted most of the pepper to friends and family. Last year I decided to try an experiment and brought back six kilos and held a fundraiser for a local foundation of which I am a member and it was so successful that…. well, the light went on.

People love Kampot Pepper. The small pepper farmers definitely need a Fair Trade distribution solution and so I decided to make it available on the net. Now when you buy Kampot Pepper, the best pepper in the world, you are not only helping the small pepper farmers in Southern Cambodia but you can also help those in need as 35% of sales through the 50 Million Meals campaign go to food charities.

A culinary note: The chef at Kimly told me of a little trick he uses and that is prior to preparing his food for the day he takes a number of peppercorns and pours hot water over them and let’s them sit. He then uses the liquid and the softened peppercorns in his sauces and his pepper dishes. I tried it with sauteed vegetables, a beef stew and my favourite chicken soup recipe. WOW! What flavour!

Giant crab at entrance to Kep.

Kimly Restaurant