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Saturday, February 8, 2014

An Ethical Dilemna*

*I find it mildly disturbing that spellchecker keeps autocorrecting the word “dilemna” to “dilemma.”  As part of an several generations who were taught to spell it with an “n” I don’t care what the ancient Greeks did.  I personally will continue to use the more traditional spelling despite the efforts of a robotic dictionary to change my ways.


We are not a health food company.  We don’t sell capsules or powders designed to increase joint health or improve memory.  We don’t sell additives or supplements or herbal health shakes.


We don’t want to replace the food you eat, or even provide your daily meals.  We just want to share the message that Herbs Make Good Food Taste Even Better.

Herbs make good food taste even better

So we set out to create products that you can add to your fresh vegetables,(Organically grown if you choose)

vegi dip

  or your chicken …  (free range antibiotic free if you desire,)


or your bread…   (gluten free is up to you,)  

2014-02-08 14.19.52

…to help whatever you choose to eat taste even better than it did before.

But just because we don’t sell heath foods, that doesn’t mean our products aren’t healthy. We grow without the use of any chemicals.  We don’t use pesticides or herbicides (even the word ‘herbicide’ makes us shudder) or chemical additives.  We grow our plants as close as possible to the way they would grow in the wild, naturally and without interference.  We believe that they develop the best flavor that way, and we believe that the less chemicals we put on our food, the healthier that food will be.

The DTL Herbs Jingle

And, so although we don’t set out to produce Health Food per se, (that’s one of those fancy Latin phrases that makes one sound all smart and stuff,) We do try to produce Healthy Foods.

We don’t use MSG or any kind of flavor enhancers or artificial preservatives.  We don’t use artificial flavorings, instead relying on the natural flavor of the herbs that we grow, and in only a few case do we add coloring, generally for identification purposes in products that look so similar that we can’t tell them apart without opening the package and tasting or smelling them.

We have a wide range of products with no added sugar and several products with no salt, and they are very popular.


But there are times and places where sugar and salt are necessary, or at least important factors in recipes.  There are chemical processes that take place when food comes into contact with sugar or with salt, that effect the flavor, the texture, and the ultimate result when cooking. 

And since our goal is to help everyone make good food taste even better, we try to provide a wide range of products, so that those who are not interested in eliminating the sugar or salt from their diet have options available to them.

And of course to appeal to a wide range of individual tastes as well.

So some of our products contain sugar and/or salt.  In fact, our dry rubs begin with a sugar/salt blend that makes up a large percentage of the finished product. 

dry rubs

The sugar and salt work together to tenderize the meat and lead to a juicer more tender end result.

We grow as many of our ingredients as possible. But it simply isn’t practical to manufacture our own sugar or salt.

This brings us to an ethical dilemna.



We can buy salt, mined, refined, packaged and distributed right here in Michigan. 

This supports our local businesses, keeps money and jobs in our community or our state, and helps promote our local economy. 





Or, we can use sea salt, produced somewhere in the Middle East, or in the South Pacific. Or some other overseas location.

Sea salt is generally acknowledged as having higher amounts of trace minerals and although still salt, being a bit healthier.




We face an even greater dilemna with Sugar.  We can buy sugar made here in Michigan, from sugar beets grown here in Michigan. 

Again, this supports our local businesses, keeps money and jobs in our community or our state, and helps promote our local economy. And it supports the farming industry here in Michigan.  An industry that we want to support whenever we can.





However, it is virtually impossible to find sugar beets that are GMO free.

Research at the Saginaw Valley Bean and Beet Farm has enabled farmers to harvest more beans per acre and remain No. 1 in dry bean production nationally.

And although cane sugar is produced in limited quantities in Michigan, sugar cane is not grown locally, because of the climate.

We have experimented with Stevia as a sweetener, but Stevia does not interact with salt to tenderize meat the way sugar does, so it is not an effective ingredient in dry rubs. And although Maple Sugar is made here in Michigan, it has a completely different flavor profile that would change the taste of our products. 

So once again, we choose between using a locally made product that is perhaps less healthy, or in the case of sugar, contains GMO’s, which we try to avoid, or using a product produced somewhere else and shipped into our state.

It seems that whichever we choose, there will be a portion of our customers who are unhappy with that decision.

So we can only do what seems right to us.


What would you do?


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