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Coffee shop puts focus on fair trade

Coffee shop puts focus on fair trade

A fiddlehead is a baby fern. It is one of the most sought after foraged delicacies in Minnesota, which is why it is so fitting that it is the name of the new coffee shop open inside of Forager Brewery

Fiddlehead Coffee Co. is no ordinary café. It has been 20 years in the making, starting as a dream from childhood friends. The owners of this family-owned business are brothers, Patrick and Sean Phelan, Sean’s wife, Sarah, and Patrick’s fiancé, Samantha. 

"Fiddleheads are a sign of a healthy forest ecosystem, and we’re just trying to create a healthy environment for our customers," Patrick told me. "We wanted a place where people could settle their roots and find out what the community is about, help develop what the community is about, and grow together.”

For the Phelan family, the mission is “to provide the absolute best coffee and tea concoctions available; so that our quiet moments of solace, reflection, and connection might lead us to engage the world more fully and more compassionately.”

They carry out this connection to the world by committing to a 100 percent compostable, organic, and fair trade business. 

“If it can be grown here, then it’s local. If it can’t, then it’s as fair trade as possible," said Patrick. "The first page of our business plan is ‘do everything right’, and then every page after that is just defining what ‘right’ is. In terms of staffing, we have to decide what kind of culture we want to create; do you want a business that exists as long as you do, or do you want to create a legacy?” 

They are now working to put that plan into action. Patrick told us they are committed to working every shift on their own until they can afford to pay a barista a livable wage — because they want their shop to be completely fair trade, and they want employees with the same dedication to the culture they've created. 

As for now, they are thriving through a symbiotic relationship with their in-house neighbors, often trading beer for cappaccinos, and being very intentional with everything they do. 

Written by contributor Micalyn Maier. A senior at Mayo High School, Micalyn enjoys reading, writing and traveling. She wants to pursue a career in journalism covering social justice issues.

Cover photo courtesy Fiddlehead Coffee Co.

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