You know a spice shop when you smell it. The collection of aromas knocks your head back. As we walked into Curio Spice Co. to meet its founder, Claire Cheney, for the latest installment of our Meet the Maker profile series, we collectively suffered whiff-lash.
With each breath, your sense of smell shifts into overdrive, teleporting you around the world in a millisecond. Cambodian peppers, Sri Lankan cinnamon blends, and herbs from local New England farms create a truly sensational experience — one that Claire hopes is brought home to your kitchen.
She wants to help cooks of all experience levels be more creative. To wow their friends and family. In fact, she actively encourages it with her own friends and family by giving them spice blends as gifts. More than anything though, she wants you to know these spices and where they came from. The farms, the farmers, the region, and their collective impact on the product in your hand. That’s what impressed us the most.
Curio Spice Co. is a Public Benefit Company, a business designed to make a positive impact on society and the environment. That mission touches every aspect of the final product.
90% of her ingredients are certified organic and half are Fair Trade. This practice works double time by reducing CO2 emissions and meeting labor, social, and environmental standards set by FLOCert, in addition to being a superior product. Even the spice tins and lids are American-made and recyclable to limit their global carbon footprint.
Claire sources spices from local farms in regions she’s visited — Vietnam, Greece, Madagascar, Japan — partnering with farmers and producers in the area to ensure the product stems from outside the commodity spice market. She pays more for spices grown responsibly to combat exploitation that’s run rampant in spice trading for decades. She also sources from women-owned businesses and spice co-ops contributing to female education and improved livelihoods.
She works with farms in her own backyard to ensure a fresher product. She teaches workshops for kids as part of school programs and for the public at her shop. All are focused on teaching them the origin of the spice and the cultural heritage it represents.
Curio Spice Co. has products with stories upon stories behind each. We’re thrilled to help Claire share them with you on The Grommet. And we count ourselves lucky that her store is just a 5-minute walk from our office.