Al Goetze, the Indiana Jones of spices
May 1, 2014 7:28 PM Subscribe
If you hear the term "spice buyer," you might imagine someone trading goods on a hectic futures trading or arguing with farm managers on a phone, but for Al Goetze and his team, spice buying means meeting with farmers and local distributors in more than 40 countries, often in the developing world. Goetze has been likened to Indiana Jones, part scientific in his discussion of herbs and spices, but he also travels to see the spices in person. He recalls adventures in buying nutmeg in Indonesia and sage in Albania, and has talked to NPR about how pepper gets dirty and how it gets clean. But not all are fond of the spice hunter from McCormick, as buying direct from the farmers has greatly impacted the livelihood of spice-trading companies, whose practice has been recorded as far back as 2600 BC, when onions and garlic from Asia were fed to Egyptian slaves (PDF).
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