Wednesday, October 23, 2013

AJ's Fine Foods

Gourmet News' September retailer of the month was AJ's Fine Foods, right here in Arizona. Most of the AJ's stores are in the Phoenix metropolitan area, and there's only one AJ's store in Tucson. It is, however, not in my neighborhood, so I'd never been there.
The chain was recommended as the retailer of the month by a public relations agent who represents a few brands well known to Gourmet News, including a couple that advertise. She said that she loves her neighborhood AJ's so much that she goes there sometimes on the weekends just to sit and watch people, and she could stay for hours.
Since I did the story, I've visited the AJ's in Tucson a few times, and although I can't say that I'd spend hours just sitting there, it's nice to have a place that carries some of the products that I've grown to enjoy after sampling them at the Fancy Food Shows.

Helping the Women Who Grow Coffee

For the September issue of Gourmet News, I wrote about organizations that are helping the women who produce coffee for the world market, and through those women, entire communities in very poor parts of the world. I learned that in many parts of the world, women do most of the work to produce coffee that we drink obliviously in the United States under horrifying conditions. Some of them are doing it all because they live in African communities whose male populations have been decimated through genocide. Others are doing all the work of growing, harvesting and selling coffee because their men are off working in cities, leaving the women and children alone in the rural farming areas. Others are simply abused into doing the work and then surrendering the rewards.
The organizations about which I wrote are working to make sure that more of the women who do the work actually get a say in how the economic rewards of that work are used. It was a rewarding story to write.