Why pay more for organic Yerba Mate?
People often ask us, “Is organic yerba mate really that much better for you? I can pop into a Latin grocery store and get a bag of conventional yerba mate for way less than what your organic yerba mate costs.”
A lot of “mainstream” shoppers will buy organic milk for their kids to ensure the absence of hormones and antibiotics. But they may balk at paying premium prices for organic yerba mate, since they figure that this leafy tea probably doesn’t require a lot of pesticides or fertilizers.
The price of Yerba Mate
It’s true that yerba mate doesn’t require much fertilization. It grows in a lush environment. As a consequence of this region’s natural fertility, the moment you turn your back on a yerba mate grove, it is thick with weeds. There are two ways to deal with this constant weed pressure. The industrial solution is to apply heavy doses of chemical herbicides. When you buy certified organic yerba mate from us, you are ensuring that weeds are controlled without the use of agro-chemicals. Organic yerba farmers control weeds with cover crops, organic mulch, and mechanical means, much of the weeding being done by hand with machetes. The price of our organic yerba mate reflects the higher cost of controlling weeds without using herbicidal sprays. It also reflects the costs of organic certification and fair trade practices.
Herbicides and Yerba Mate
Beyond the issue of what happens to herbicides once the rain washes them into the nearby rivers, or the issue of whether the workers who produce yerba mate are receiving a living wage to work in a safe environment, let’s pause to think about our personal yerba mate consumption practices. If you’re a regular yerba mate drinker, there’s a good chance that you use a big scoop of loose yerba mate in a gourd or French press every day. You’re not just having a cup of mate with a tea bag once in a while, right? Over the course of a lifetime, a little bit of residue on a lot of yerba mate starts to add up. This residue, mixed with hot water, is getting pumped through your bombilla into your mouth every day. Conventional yerba mate may not have the chemical load of a conventionally farmed apple, but you’re not eating apples the way you’re drinking mate.
Of course, we genuinely believe that our family farm partners grow the best organic yerba mate you can find anywhere. It is flavorful, frothy, and full of life. When you drink ECOTEAS organic yerba mate, you know exactly where your yerba mate is coming from. You know it was grown with respect for the land and the workers. And you know that it’s free of smoke byproducts and herbicidal residues.
The organic agriculture movement
We started ECOTEAS as true believers in the organic agriculture movement. We are grateful that you, our customers, align with this vision and choose to support us. Thanks again, and enjoy our organic yerba mate!
Originally featured on ECOTEAS’ website.