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Mandelin is a Californian company that sources their almonds from Vetsch Farms. They are not organic, but they do use a form of pest control called "Integrated Pest Management" or IPM (please see this page for more information). Chemicals are used to control pests, but it is done in a considered manner (prevention, monitoring, identification, setting thresholds, and controlling). Organic almonds are unfortunately beyond my price point, and IPM is a environmentally sensitive approach to pest management.
Organic Valley pasture raised butter is certified organic, part of a food co-op and readily available. Also, this is the best tasting butter I can buy (I would love to make my own butter but am unable to unless I have a milk processing facility). It is made from the milk of pastured cows (cows graze grass) milked during the summer time. the butter is higher in fat, has better flavor than any other brand I have found. This is the butter I use for buttercreams.
Mother's Choice Organic Butter is produced by Larsen's Farm in Oregon. This is the butter I use for ganaches and caramel. It has a lower fat content and no added salt, so it works better in my ganaches and caramel.
Felchlin is a Swiss chocolate maker who pays more than "Fair Trade" prices to local cocoa bean farmers. They know where there beans originate from and this means that they can disassociate themselves from the farms that do use child labor (they only purchase from farms that comply with the International Labor Standards in regards to child labor). Their chocolate is also pretty awesome (not too sweet, smooth, bold in flavor, and a nice mouth feel).
Organic Valley butter is certified organic, part of a food co-op, and readily available.
Organic Valley and Wilcox Farms egg whites are pasteurized, and therefore have a much smaller chance of spreading food born illnesses. Wilcox Farms is located along the Nisqually River in Washington State. They produce cage free eggs on a transition farm (meaning they are on their way to becoming organic) and also use their own grown grain for feed (and this also supplemented by other local farms in the area) are Salmon Safe.
I also use Organic Valley Egg Whites. They are located in Roy Washington, Organic (Oregon Tilth), Salmon Safe, and certified Humane.
Americolor food coloring brings my macarons to vivid life. I know food coloring can be a contentious issue, but I choose to use regular food coloring simply because I have tried natural food coloring but it has the unfortunate affect of deflating my meringue which is essential in macarons. Until I find a brand that does not have this effect, I will continue to use conventional food colorings.
I buy from whomever I'm inspired by at Farmers Markets. I do tend to have a base set of farmers I'm loyal to. They include:
C&H granulated sugar is is grown in Hawaii and refined in California. It is pure cane sugar (rather than beet sugar) so I know people with beet sugar allergies won't have any reactions to it. I use refined sugar because I like the taste. It makes a caramel free of the molasses taste I don't want, and it helps me gauge the color of caramel correctly.
Washington State has some truly amazing producers of spirits, both wineries and distilleries. I use some of the following:
Wholesome Sweeteners powdered sugar is both organic and fair trade certified. I spend extra money on organic powdered sugar due to the fact that it may contain corn starch. I do not want to use Genetically Modiï¬ed Organisms (GMO) in my products. Organic certification is my only method to see whether it is intentionally avoiding using GMO corn.