Shea Butter comes from a tree called KARITE, which grows in Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso and other Savanna Grasslands of West Africa. It is a wild growing tree that produces tiny, almond-like fruit from which Shea Butter is extracted. The harvest time for Shea Butter is an interesting process.
There are currently no shea plantations, only wild trees. Also, Shea Butter is made from wild harvested fruit kernels. It takes Karite trees 20 to 30 years to begin to bear fruit, so the trees must be protected by local communities. In most parts of West Africa, destruction of the Shea tree is forbidden due to its economic and health benefits.
Step-by-step Harvesting Process
The harvest season for the Karite tree fruits is from June to August. Then, millions of fruits are collected and processed by the Women of Africa. These women work long hours to produce the great Shea Butter we offer. The steps involved in Shea Butter production are:
- Fruit harvesting
- Extracting nuts from each fruit
- Boiling the nuts
- Drying the nuts in the sun
- Crushing, then roasting the nuts
- Milling and kneeling – this is very demanding and hard work
- Boiling and filtering the shea butter from impurities
- Cooling off and solidification
- And finally, packaging!
Fresh Raw Ivory and Yellow Shea Butter
Once we receive our Shea Butter we inspect it for purity (our butter is Grade A, of course). Then, we melt it and mold it in 1LB blocks. We then double seal each block – first in a light plastic bag, then in a resealable heat-sealed kraft bag. And it looks like this: