We are excited to announce that we have received a fresh new delivery of Vanuatu grown Whole Black Peppercorns delivered courtesy of our friends on SV Akimbo!
We met Dorh back in October 2015, a week after we arrived in the Southern Islands of Vanuatu after sailing from Fiji. Cyclone Pam had been through there earlier that year and we found out that most of the food crops were badly affected and the people were still receiving food parcels of rice from the government.
After we dropped anchor we were greeted by a young man in a traditional dugout canoe with the biggest and brightest looking oranges wrapped in a woven green coconut leaf basket. We thought fresh fruit was hard to come by and these must have been the only ones on the island! He wanted to exchange these oranges with us in return for movies on his USB stick. We gave him movies, but educational and factual movies the likes of BBC’s Blue Planet which were maybe not what he was after!
After making our way ashore we were greeted by a young woman who we asked if she knew if there was anyone we could buy cacao beans, vanilla beans or any other produce we could bring back with us. We’d met the right person as she led us straight to her father Dorh who was sitting outside his small handmade leaf house and grows the most amazing vanilla beans, coffee and black peppercorns.
Black Pepper, a Common Spice with a Long History
Black Pepper would have to be the most commonly used spice second to salt. It is second nature for us to grind and sprinkle Black Pepper onto our food to add flavour without giving one thought to it’s health benefits or history. Black Peppercorns are the dried unripe fruit and seed of the peppercorn vine (piper nigrum) which is grown in the tropical regions of South Asia and native to India. Since antiquity it was a commonly traded spice being carried by ships along the spice route from South Asia to Europe and has been valued by people for thousands of years. Like cacao beans it was also sometimes used as a currency.
Organic Gardening is a Way of Life
Dorh took us to his garden where he grows all his food traditionally like his ancestors have been for hundreds of years. His village is so remote and without any communications, too far away from the capital Port Vila . Everything is grown organically and naturally. For Dorh it’s a way of life.
Black Peppercorn’s Medicinal Benefits
There is a reason why we put Black Pepper on our food before eating besides flavour. It is supposed to aid digestion and absorption of certain nutrients. The compound Piperine which gives Black Pepper it’s pungent flavour has shown in recent studies to increase absorption of selenium, vitamin B12, beta-carotene and curcumin, as well as other health-giving anti-cancer compounds. The main ingredients in our favourite Golden Milk – turmeric and black pepper are a match made in heaven.
Marijuana is not the only medicinal plant that contains cannabinoids. Research has found that Black Pepper acts as a cannabinoid and has anti-inflammatory properties that make it suitable for treating arthritis and osteoporosis. Further research has found that Black Pepper can also increase the effectiveness of cancer treatment drugs.
We at The Little Shipping Co. are proud to be selling Dorh’s Black Pepper in our online store. The majority of the world’s Black Pepper is grown in Vietnam and India. We are happy to be supporting our Pacific neighbours and keeping it ‘local’. By supporting a small scale organic agriculture industry in Vanuatu they are less likely to invite damaging industries such as logging and mining into their beautiful lands.