Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Organic India

We love our producers, suppliers and vendors and we think most of them have some pretty interesting stories behind their products too. We’re sharing some of our favorites here in an ongoing series.

When a company cares deeply about the people and animals that create their products, it comes through in the quality and taste.

Organic India purchases ingredients directly from small farms in India to produce traditional ghee, teas, herbs, spices and wellness supplements.

Not only does this empower rural farmers, especially women, it also helps them preserve their traditions, culture and tribal lifestyle.

One of those traditions is ghee, a type of clarified butter used in Indian cooking for thousands of years. It has a high smoke point, ideal for high-heat cooking, and a luscious, spreadable texture. Ghee adds rich flavor to any recipe, including baked goods.

"The cows that produce Organic India Desi Ghee are celebrated, respected and milked by hand. They are raised as part of the family,” says Heather Henning, national sales manager for Organic India. “The cows have a very special place in their owners’ hearts. They are decorated with beautiful necklaces, bells and flower garlands. They are taken on walks and they spend time with their calves. Of course, they are never given antibiotics or added hormones.”

Organic India works directly with the farmers, no middlemen, and guarantees wages and a fair market price for crops, whether they fail or flourish. They pay women and men equal wages and part of their mission is to create work for widows, whom often face exceptional social and economic hardship.

The company also operates the Organic India Foundation to provide free health care centers and health education for farmers and their surrounding communities, job training, and education and scholarship programs for girls.

The farmers own their land and Organic India provides seeds, training and support from agricultural experts in each village.

Organic India pursued and obtained organic certification for a 562,000-acre forest where wild-crafted herbs are harvested.

“People who live in this forest are able to continue their tribal traditions and make a good living,” Heather explains. “It protects the forest and people’s livelihoods at the same time.”

Have you cooked with ghee? What do you use it for?