by Tim Flores, Downtown Bulk Department
Just like the lovely hummingbirds, Hummingbird Wholesale seeks to sip the nectar without harming the flower. It is a family-owned organic food distributor that carefully chooses products by considering the sustainability of farming practices, ingredients, and nutritional value.
“What if, like the hummingbird, all people would sip the nectar of the earth without harming the flower? Is it possible? At Hummingbird we know it is possible.”
When you spend time shopping in the Co-op's bulk department, and among our grocery shelves, you will start to notice the bright yellow labels identifying products from Hummingbird Wholesale of Eugene, Oregon. We highlight Hummingbird in our stores, as it is one of those rare businesses that is privately owned but operates with values similar to our co-op.
Hummingbird endeavors to serve people and planet by providing high-quality nutritious food grown as sustainably and locally as possible.
The business treats its employees with utmost respect, and operates a warehouse with laudable social and environmental practices. They track their sustainability impacts by reporting annually to the Sustainable Food Trade Association, just like we do.
Hummingbird makes an organic lunch every Tuesday and Thursday for staff who gather to share delicious food and enjoy each other's company.
Photo courtesy of Hummingbird Wholesale.
The company has helped create an incredible food system in Oregon’s Willamette Valley while serving customers as far away as Bellingham. Hummingbird has partnered with local mills and farmers to grow and process organic foods previously unavailable in our region, sometimes in response to requests for specific food crops from its customers, like our co-op.
It has grown the organic food system by helping farmers transition to organic farming and also pioneered Distributor Supported Agriculture (DSA) that, like the Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) many of us are aware of, supports and shares the financial risk faced by farmers.
taking large steps to achieve a tiny footprint and zero waste
This small family-owned company states that it is “taking large steps to achieve a tiny footprint and zero waste.” For example, a lower carbon footprint is achieved by delivering up to 2,000 pounds per delivery to local Eugene businesses via energy-efficient electric-assist cargo tricycles. Bulk liquids are delivered in reusable food grade deposit return containers with an 83 percent return rate, thereby diverting thousands of pounds of plastic from landfills every year.
Karl, above, started making cargo bike deliveries for Hummingbird in 2001. Since then, the bike delivery team has grown to three people and two cargo bikes with trailers (at right). Now, nearly all local deliveries in Eugene, Oregon, are done by bike. In 2017 the bike team: made 1,800+ bike deliveries, peddled more than 1,000 miles, and hauled 300,000+ pounds of product.
Photos courtesy of Hummingbird Wholesale.
Our bulk department stocks many amazing products from Hummingbird and, with few exceptions, they are organic: cranberry and heirloom yellow eye beans, mung dal and black lentils, dried peaches and persimmons, raw sprouted almonds and pumpkin seeds, and bulk maple syrup. There’s even organic quinoa penne pasta.
The bulk Washington honey is one of the few non-organic items (because you cannot control the nectar-collecting habits of bees) along with the chocolate covered hazelnuts and almonds. You can also find Blue Lotus masala chai, and organic black Dakota popcorn on our grocery shelves.
sip from the nectar without harming the flower
Give Hummingbird products a try—the quality and intention to “sip from the nectar without harming the flower” is undeniable!