Our cloves are grown, harvested and ground by our partner farmers on the small island of Pemba, which is famous for its cloves. They’re hand-picked at the last possible moment before flowering, ensuring the largest size and most mature flavor, and then dried in the tropical sun.
They're bright pink when ripe, and they turn brown as they dry. They have a bright, sweet intensity with a rich warmth and a numbing menthol buzz. Add to braised meat or mulled wine, or use in all sorts baked goods, from cakes and pies to muffins and quick breads.
- Use a pinch to season hearty vegetables like cabbage, beets or winter squash
- Add into sauces for meats
- Mix into a gingerbread dough
- Add to a pickling liquid
Cloves are the dried buds of a large flowering tree that is grown in the Zanzibar islands in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Tanzania. Zanzibar has some of the oldest clove trees in the world, and Zanzibari cloves have a significantly higher percentage of essential oils (15-18%) than cloves from other parts of the world. Their essential oil content is so high that they are used locally as a natural substitute for anesthesia.
Zanzibar was at one point the largest producer of cloves in the world, but the rise of plantation-style cultivation and exploitative labor practices in other countries have made it difficult for smallholder farmers in Zanzibar to compete, despite the fact that they produce a much higher quality product. Our cloves are grown by a cooperative of smallholder artisan farmers, many of whose families have been growing cloves and other spices (including our Cinnamon Verum, black pepper and Stone Nutmeg) for generations.
Meet the Farmer: Bwana Mohammad is one of the most successful spice farmers from our partner cooperative in Zanzibar. This photo was taken as he was putting together his own dhow, an ancient style of sailing ship, to transport his clove harvest to the main island himself.