Saturday, August 20, 2005


Organic Yerba Mate?

Is yerba mate tea organic?

We carry La Merced Organic... and, to answer your question: for the most part, yes.

Xanxere (no longer exporting)has claimed to us personally their yerba is 100% organic--but Brazil has no organic certification process for yerba yet. Argentina doesn't have the same certification process as in the United States--nor the same growing interest in claiming "organic." Yerba mate doesn't need pesticides nor herbicides in it's production--because little attacks the plant. (?)

Skeptics that we are--we visited various of the plantations in Corrientes and Misiones, Argentina whose yerba we sell. We never saw signs of pesticide control--as we do here in the United States on most modern farms today.

Numerous North American companies which repackage yerba from South America take this fact to mean their yerba is organic--and they state so to the consumers!!

Our yerba, La Merced, is certified organic... but we are skeptical of others who state theirs is. If it is certified by an objective third party group who has examined the crop in the field, then it may indeed be "organic". We have communicated to our other suppliers the need for this certification and will gladly sell organic if possible. Of course none of this matter seems to concern big-time yerba mate drinker from birth: "Grandmother Violeta" who is now pushing 100 and in great health!



Gourd Cleaning/Curing Solutions

How do I clean my mate?

First of all the mate gourd should never, of course be put in a dishwasher, and one should never use soap with it. That said it leaves us a few options for cleaning. Mostly we just rinse ours out with water. If a gourd is left with yerba for several days, moist, and begins to mold... we rinse it and scrub it inside with water only--and then coat the inside with baking soda. This can then, after it dries, be rinsed out with vinegar. (Marisa loves this process, because it has the effect of powerful chemical reaction--whether the effect is as powerful as the chemical reaction is left for scientific study.)

After this you can rinse it out with water again. Rinsing, scrubbing and thoroughly drying your gourd with a paper towel or cloth will help keep the mold from growing. The cloth will turn green, but this is from the yerba residue--not the mold. If you are more careful than we are you will never leave one of your gourds with wet yerba for long periods of time.

Also--as much as we become attached to any one of our mate gourds the fact remains that gourds were not meant to last forever.


Mate Gourd Mold Solutions.

[This comes from a client's question to us. Please also read "Gourd Curing/Cleaning Solutions."]

We are sorry to hear you are having a problem with your mate. Unfortunately I don't think beeswax will help--though the thought is logical. The beeswax will not keep the wood dry and will seal in as much moisture as it repels.

Mold will grow in any humid condition where it has "food" present. You either need to eliminate the moisture or the growth medium. Letting the mate dry out between use will help. Scrubbing it out with a clean, abrasive dish sponge and water will help. Don't let the mate sit with yerba in it after use.

After it has been "washed out" by many mate drinkings the wood should lose its ability to harbor mold like your other mate.

Any other ideas?

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