ajiri tea, sofi award, nasft, specialty food, kenya tea
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July 2011 Posts


Blog Entry

Ajiri Tea Wins sofiTM Gold Award at NASFT Summer Fancy Food Show

Sunday, July 24th 2011 @ 7:43 PM

Upper Black Eddy, PA — Ajiri Tea won a sofiTM Gold Award from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) at the 39th annual Fancy Food Show on July 11, 2011. Ajiri Tea's Kenyan Black Tea was chosen as the winner in the Outstanding Innovation in Packaging Design or Function category.

The sofiTM Awards recognize excellence in specialty foods and beverages in 33 categories—sofiTM stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation.

Thinking Inside and Outside the Box: This win marks the second time in two weeks that Ajiri Tea won top honors. On June 24, Ajiri Tea won the Buyer's Choice award for best tasting black tea—the best of the best— at the World Tea Expo held in Las Vegas. But the sofiTM Gold Award holds special meaning for Ajiri Tea. Each box sports a unique, handmade label made from banana bark. Crafting the labels creates jobs for women in small villages in western Kenya.

Beyond its eye-catching package and award-winning tea, Ajiri Tea has a social mission—to employ women in western Kenya and to educate the local orphans in their communities. The word Ajiri means "to employ" in Swahili. 100% of the profits from Ajiri Tea are donated to the Ajiri Foundation, a 501(c)3, which is currently sponsoring 19 children in school.

In accepting the award, Sara Holby noted "we are thrilled that the specialty food professionals have recognized Ajiri Tea for its outstanding packaging. Sixty three women in Kenya design and create the labels for each individual tea box. This award is a testament to their creativity and hard work. For their work to be recognized by the specialty food industry in the U.S. is fantastic."

Ajiri Tea is a Kenyan black tea grown on small scale farms in the Kisii Highlands of western Kenya, an area known for its fertile volcanic soil and its abundance of rainfall and sunlight. The tea is produced at the Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM Nyansiongo Tea Factory, a cooperative owned by over 12,000 local farmers. The farmers hand pick the top two leaves and a bud, ensuring the highest quality of tea.

Founded in 2009 by a mother-daughter team, Ajiri Tea is available for purchase at over 300 specialty retailers throughout the United States and Canada, or online at www.ajiritea.com.

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