Wildcrafted Shea Butter From Ghana
A few weeks ago I had a pop up shop at West Elm in Vancouver, and I brought with me a jar of handmade, wildcrafted unrefined Shea Butter for show-and-tell. Every bar of Pep Soap contains this rich creamy goodness. A customer recognized the good stuff and wanted to buy the jar from me!
The Shea Butter we use is from Baraka Shea Butter, a certified fair trade company located on Vancouver Island. Baraka Shea Butter works directly with families in Ghana to source this gift from nature.
One time I sent an email to Baraka Shea Butter at 11pm. Owner Wayne responded within minutes. It turned out he was in Wa in Northern Ghana for their fair trade and organic certification audit. I love working with local companies with transparency.
Shea butter is a natural butter extracted from the seed of the African Shea Nut tree. It is customary for women to produce Shea Butter and, traditionally, it is forbidden for men to even touch the Shea Nut tree. Shea Butter provides income and independence for women in the Sahel region.
Shea butter is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and fatty acids. It soothes and protects the skin. Unrefined Shea butter retains all the skin loving properties. The difference between Unrefined vs. Refined Shea Butter is like comparing whole ancient grains with fine white flour.
While I love the ivory color, slightly nutty aroma, and creamy texture of Baraka Shea Butter, what I love even more is the way it's made:
Elders and youth sit together and use a stone to gently tag the shea pits, with just enough pressure to break the shell but not damage the precious Shea seed that is inside. It takes time and for some it might seem tedious. But the work is done with joy, knowing that it is such an important part of the process that turns one of nature’s wonders into an incredible Shea Butter that can transform skin and lives.
— Excerpt from Cracking Good Family Fun
Here's about the rinsing process:
… the women wash and rinse the nuts, squishing and squashing them until finally they are clean enough to go into the grinder - one tantalizing step closer to the end product, the Baraka Shea Butter that we all love. And the water? Of course it isn’t just thrown away. Even though it is the rainy season and water is in abundance, the women carefully pour the water onto nearby plants after the nuts are washed. Making things naturally means working with - and looking after - nature.
— Excerpt from One Last Rinse
Making Shea Butter is no walk in the park. It is hard work, dedication, and very much a community endeavour.
The more I learn more about this raw ingredient, the more I love and appreciate it. Each and every bar of Pep Soap comes from real people working with mother nature with love and care.
Treat yourself. Everyday.
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