Blue Sky Family Farms, presented by Egg Innovations, the nation’s largest producer of 100 percent free range and pasture raised eggs, announced the arrival of Blue Sky Family Farms eggs to the Whole Foods Market Mid-Atlantic Division. The three new offerings of Blue Sky Family Farms’ Free Range Non-GMO Brown, Organic and Pasture Raised Organic eggs are available in Whole Foods Market stores in Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey (Marlton, Princeton and Cherry Hill),Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington D.C.
Blue Sky Family Farms’ eggs are currently available at more than 550 finer grocery and natural stores throughout the Midwest. The expansion into Whole Foods Market Mid-Atlantic Division represents the more than 100 years of success of the family-owned operation. Egg Innovations’ 2015 growth includes completing 33 new barns, a new $5 million organic, non-GMO feed mill, and construction on a new processing plant that allows for future expansions in 2016 and beyond.
“We’re excited to have Blue Sky Family Farms in Whole Foods Market in the Mid-Atlantic area to meet the demand for better eggs and more ethical treatment of chickens,” said John Brunnquell, Founder and President of Egg Innovations and Blue Sky Family Farms. “For more than 25 years, Egg Innovations has provided enhanced value specialty eggs, and we are eager to expand to this new area with a great partner in Whole Foods Market.”
With its tag line, “Ethical Eggs for the Humane Race,” Blue Sky Family Farms holds to the highest Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) “Certified Humane” standards for free range and pasture raised eggs.
Back to Nature Foods Company has appointed Daniel Anglemyer as Chief Marketing Officer, effective November 2015. In this role, Anglemyer will be responsible for the strategic development, planning and execution of Back to Nature and SnackWell’s marketing initiatives. Under his leadership, Back to Nature Foods Company’s marketing, research and development, and quality assurance departments will work collaboratively to strengthen both the Back to Nature and SnackWell’s brands and ensure they are well-positioned to experience continued growth as the company expands product offerings and product categories.
Anglemyer brings nearly 20 years of brand and marketing experience to his new role at Back to Nature Foods Company. Prior to joining the company, Anglemyer was Director of Sales Planning and Strategy at Mondelez International’s Nabisco Snacks Division. In this role he institutionalized commercial communication processes throughout North America benefiting Nabisco’s new product launches. He also directed all facets of Mondelez’s portfolio of biscuit brands in channels and multipacks.
“Dan is a seasoned marketing executive whose leadership skills, expertise and proven track record will play a key role in accelerating our marketing efforts and helping us continue to grow the Back to Nature brand,” said Vincent Fantegrossi, President and Chief Executive Officer, Back to Nature Foods Company.
Anglemyer has been brand manager and brand director for numerous cookie and cracker brands, including Back to Nature from 2008 through 2010. During this time, he engineered a strategic, non-traditional revitalization of the Back to Nature brand.
“I am super excited to join Back to Nature and look forward to creating a world-class brand which disrupts conventional food companies by meeting evolving consumer needs better, faster, and more completely than anyone in the marketplace,” Anglemyer said. “A small group that’s committed can do amazing things, and that can be seen from the work the present team has done.”
Meijer is once again announcing aggressive pricing on turkeys that are expected to lead the Midwest in low-price Thanksgiving turkeys.
“A Thanksgiving meal isn’t complete without the turkey, and with these great prices, Meijer wants to ensure that our customers can provide their families with the best holiday experience,” said Jerry Suter, Vice President of Meat and Seafood. “Not only is Meijer able to deliver a delicious meal to our customers, but we’re able to do so at a tremendous value.”
For the second consecutive year, when a Meijer customer spends $20, their purchase of any fresh or frozen turkey – regardless of brand or size – will be 50 percent off. The discount on frozen turkeys is going on now through Thanksgiving Day, while the discount on fresh turkeys will begin Nov. 15 and run through Thanksgiving Day.
Since 1992, Partners, A Tasteful Choice Company, has been making wholesome and delicious crackers made exclusively with high quality ingredients. One of the company’s top selling lines is Partners Artisan Hors D’Oeuvre Crackers. Approximately 2 inches by 3 inches in size, these hearty crisp crackers are excellent for pairing with toppings and spreads and are often used when creating elegant party platters.
Partners Artisan Hors D’Oeuvre Crackers are available in a variety of flavors, including customer favorites Roasted Garlic & Rosemary and Olive Oil & Sea Salt and the most recent addition to the line, Everything & More.
The Roasted Garlic & Rosemary crackers combine freshly roasted garlic, made by hand at Partners, with a sprinkle of rosemary to create the mild garlic taste that customers crave. Try pairing these crackers with goat cheese and fig jam for a delectable flavor combination.
The Olive Oil & Sea Salt crackers are seasoned with the perfect amount of sea salt, making them an excellent platform for every topping, from hummus to the most extravagant cheeses.
The Everything & More crackers consist of a touch of olive oil, a blend of organic whole grains: stone ground wheat, dark rye, sprouted wheat, amaranth, and quinoa; six different types of seeds: chia, poppy, white sesame, black sesame, flax, and caraway; along with freshly roasted garlic and onion. These crackers truly are Everything & More!
Partners Artisan Hors D’Oeuvre Crackers are packaged in cellophane trays in approximately five ounce cartons, six cartons per case. The cartons feature two front facing sides, allowing for both vertical or horizontal display. As with all Partners products, these hearty crackers are non-GMO, certified kosher, and do not contain any artificial flavorings or preservatives.
By Carlos Velasquez
The judges at this year’s sofi Awards were apparently very impressed by the beef products offered for judging by Lone Mountain Wagyu LLC, awarding the company a sofi and two Finalist statues at the 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show. Lone Mountain Wagyu beef products are made from 100 percent fullblood wagyu beef. Wagyu refers the breed of Japanese cattle that are genetically predisposed to intense marbling and to a high percentage of unsaturated fat.
The cattle that produce the beef in the Lone Mountain Wagyu products are raised on a New Mexico ranch owned by Robert Estrin and his wife Mary Lloyd Estrin. The ranch has been in Mary’s family since her parents bought it in 1965. After they passed away, Robert and Mary took over the ranch, which was running a conventional Angus herd. But after Robert tasted some Wagyu beef at a restaurant, he decided to convert the herd to wagyu operation. “He just fell in love and decided that was the direction to take the ranch,” said Nellie Stadtherr, Marketing Specialist for Lone Mountain Wagyu.
He traveled to Japan to learn more about wagyu cattle and how they are bred and managed in Japan. By 2008, Estrin had converted the ranch into a 100 percent wagyu operation. “His passion for authentic wagyu beef has supported the value of the brand, which is around raising the cattle in the most humane and traditional methods to produce the best quality beef possible,” Stadtherr said.
The cattle are fed a mixture of grasses supplemented with grain feed, which is critical to develop the marbling that wagyu is so famous for. At about 1 year of age, they’re transferred to a Certified Humane feedlot where they’re fed a blend of grains specifically developed for wagyu beef until they’re harvested at 28 to 32 months. The long stay at the feedlot allows the cattle to gain weight in a natural, slow process, according to Stadtherr. “They’re not rushed to gain weight to slaughter, so they develop a more delicate marbling.”
In 2010 the ranch began offering its products direct to consumers on its website and started a restaurant program as well. A product line sold through specialty meat shops and gourmet retailers was launched in January 2015 at the Winter Fancy Food Show with the Lone Mountain Wagyu 100% Fullblood Wagyu Beef Summer Sausage that won a sofi Award at this summer’s Fancy Food Show along with the 100% Fullblood Wagyu Beef Sausage Links and 100% Fullblood Wagyu Beef Jerky that were named sofi Finalists this year. Both sausages are the first and only 100 percent fullblood wagyu sausages on the market, Stadtherr said. The products appeal not just to the very affluent but also to other consumers who appreciate the gourmet quality of the product or who prefer to eat all-natural humanely raised beef that they can be sure contains no antibiotics and no hormones, she added.
There’s a reason your customers keep Wind & Willow in the pantry at all times and tend to buy multiples when purchasing. They know they’ll be getting a consistent quality product, great shelf-life and a multitude of recipes for every mix. Since 1991, customers have been using Wind & Willow savory mixes for more than cheeseballs or spreads. They are the base for many favorite appetizers, side dishes, and even entrees. The latest recipe from the kitchens of Wind & Willow adds a new twist to a traditional favorite.
Turn your traditional mac ‘n cheese into an upscale, super side dish with an unexpected Wind & Willow favorite. This time, a sweet dessert mix is used in a savory recipe by combining the Pumpkin Pie Mix with cheeses and cream over pasta. Savory Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese is a pleasant surprise that will once again have your customers stocking up.
Follow Wind & Willow on Facebook to see new recipes each week: facebook.com/windandwillowfoods. You can also find recipes on the company website at www.windandwillow.com. Find great recipes and tips for every occasion on Pinterest: pinterest.com/cheeseballmix.
By Richard Thompson
Historically maligned as a novelty in the cheese segment, American consumers are embracing flavored cheeses that are being offered by specialty cheese companies. More dairy farms and cheese companies are offering products with additional flavorings, like Sriracha and dill, that cater to both sophisticated and adventurous tastes through a growing variety of award-winning flavored cheeses. Companies like Country Connection Cheese Company, Nicasio Valley Cheese Company and Cypress Grove Chevre are receiving influential awards in the dairy industry for their flavored cheeses: Country Connection’s Sriracha Cheddar, Nicasio Valley’s Foggy Morning with Basil and Garlic and Cypress Grove’s Truffle Tremor. “I think flavored cheeses, when done well, are popular because they expand the specialty cheese category with interesting options for the consumer,” says Ellen Valter, Brand Manager of Country Connection.
Interest in flavored cheese has intensified in the last few years with flavored cheeses now making up seven percent of the total cheese category, according to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB). Heather Porter Engwall, Director of National Product Communications at WMMB, says that for the last five years flavored cheeses have outperformed unflavored cheeses in both volume and dollar sales with year-to-date dollar sales of flavored cheeses up more than 8 percent. “Trends we see within the specialty cheese category are, of course, flavor,” says Porter Engwall, “Be it hot and spicy, sweet and savory, fruity or nutty, Americans continue to enjoy a heightened taste experience.”
Country Connection started creating new taste sensations by adding ingredients to high-quality cheese and was recently awarded the gold medal at the Los Angeles International Dairy Competition for its peppery Sriracha Cheddar cheese. According to Valter, the Sriracha Cheddar is a top-seller in the 17-cheese line the company offers and is made with all natural Sriracha for a spicy cheddar blend that goes excellently with beer.
The company also offers Chipotle Cheddar, Basil Garlic Jack Cheese, and Applewood Smoked Gouda – one of the three smoked cheeses in their line. The Chipotle Cheddar is made with cumin, garlic, red chile peppers and chipotle. “Chipotle Cheddar is my personal favorite because its smoky and complex flavor profile makes it one of the few cheddars that pairs well with a full-bodied red wine,” says Valter.
Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, a farmstead cheese company that is part of the Lafranchi Dairy, has won numerous awards – including second place in the Fromage Blanc category in 2011, 2012 and 2014 at the American Cheese Society (ACS) – for its Foggy Morning cheese. Foggy Morning with Basil and Garlic is a flavorful extension of that flagship product. “Our Foggy Morning with Basil and Garlic is just like our original, but we add basil and fresh garlic to it,” says Scott Lafranchi, Partner at Nicasio Valley Cheese Company.
This cheese is a very soft, very creamy cheese that carries a tang with it where you can still taste the milk in the cheese, says Lafranchi. “It’s such a versatile cheese; I think it’s great on a bagel. On salads, it’s really good.”
2015 has been a good year for Cypress Grove Chevre and its flavored cheeses, according to Bob McCall, Sales Director for Cypress Grove Chevre. The company’s PsycheDillic goat cheese placed first at this year’s ACS awards in the Fresh Goat With Flavor Added category, while the company’s Truffle Tremor Mini and Truffle Tremor Original placed second and third respectively in the Soft-Ripened with Flavor Added category.
PsycheDillic is infused with dill weed and dill pollen, making it the top bagel-topping choice that will persuade consumers that they don’t want to go back to plain cream cheese, according to McCall. “People who buy this cheese already like dill, but end up trying something brand new from the dill pollen and fresh goat cheese,” says McCall.
The company’s Truffle Tremor Mini and Truffle Tremor Original – northern Italian truffle-infused goat cheeses – were born like most great innovations; by accident. After Mary Keehn, the Founder of Cypress Grove Chevre, tried creating a new fresh chevre flavor that underwhelmed during an initial taste test, the wheels were left in the aging cooler for three weeks before anyone remembered they were there. But when they did remember their existence, the Cypress Grove folks fell in love with the taste. “I kid you not, 60 seconds went by before anyone spoke,” recalls McCall, “We were stunned by how good it was.”
Cypress Grove Chevre is a cheese company that prides itself on the uniqueness of its names and their allusions to their northern California zeitgeist. Herbs de Humboldt, for instance, which sports locally harvested herbes de Provence, is monickered with a tongue-in-cheek allusion to one of the region’s better-known cash crops. “Its wonderful on pasta or as a substitute for cream and pairs well with almost any beer, red ale and Sauvignon blanc,” says McCall.
Follow Your Heart, makers of egg-free foods since the 70s, and the producers of the leading vegetarian mayonnaise alternative, Vegenaise®, will launch a 100 percent plant-based whole egg replacer called VeganEgg™ to the public in early November. With egg prices at an all-time high and an increased need for a more sustainable egg alternative, Follow Your Heart is pleased to announce that VeganEgg has finally hatched. VeganEgg is an entirely egg-free, cholesterol-free egg replacer that emulates the flavor, texture and functional properties of eggs, and even makes scrambles, quiches, frittatas, as well as replaces eggs in baked goods.
The team at Follow Your Heart has always kept sustainability top-of-mind. From their own solar-powered production facility, to their entirely plant-based lineup of retail products, founders Bob Goldberg and Paul Lewin have long sought to provide their customers with better food options for both health and the environment. “Enormous amounts of water, resources and fossil fuels go into chicken and egg production, not to mention the inhumane conditions that many of these animals are subjected to,” said Goldberg, President and CEO of Follow Your Heart. “We have been working toward VeganEgg for over a decade now, and there were many challenges that we overcame before developing a product that could truly replace eggs.”
As long-standing innovators in the natural foods marketplace, Follow Your Heart is introducing two new ingredients in VeganEgg: “algal flour” and “algal protein,” both derived from a natural microalgae. “When we discovered that microalgae are a highly-sustainable source of nutritionally rich ingredients, we immediately knew they could help us make better plant-based foods,” said Goldberg. Whole algal flour and protein naturally contain high levels of healthy lipids, carbohydrates and micronutrients. These nutrient-dense microalgae also contain all essential amino acids and are a great source of dietary fiber. While not all of VeganEgg’s ingredients can be found in the traditional kitchen pantry, together they create an egg alternative well suited for use in cookies, muffins, cakes and fluffy scrambles and omelets.
All of the ingredients in VeganEgg are plant-based, allergen-free and non-GMO. In addition to functioning like eggs, VeganEgg is a good source of dietary fiber (4g per serving) and calcium (10 percent DV per serving), contains fewer calories and has less than half the fat of eggs.
VeganEgg will initially be available online through Amazon.com for $6.99 – $7.99. Each 4-ounce package of VeganEgg will produce the equivalent of a dozen eggs. The shelf life of VeganEgg is six months from date of manufacture.
On Saturday, January 16, the 30,000 square foot Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason Center will transform into the Good Food Mercantile, one-of-a-kind, intimate ‘un-trade show’ where both winners and members of the Good Food Merchants Guild – exemplary food crafters meeting the same sustainability criteria – exhibit their full line of wares to 400 industry buyers and media. The Good Food Awards Marketplace rounds out the weekend on Sunday, January 17. The general public is invited to come meet the winners, taste and buy their winning food and drink (including bottles of beer, cider and spirits not licensed for sale in California, but permitted this year within the federally-owned historic landmark of Fort Mason Center). Proudly welcoming the winners, and also selling to the public, will be the local farmers and food trucks of the Fort Mason Center Farmers Market. Tickets to the Good Food Awards Marketplace are $5, with a $20 Early Access pass (with welcome gift).
The Good Food Awards are supported by the Good Food Retailers Collaborative, the presenting sponsor for two years running. Composed of 13 of the country’s top independently owned retailers from Chicago to Oakland to Ann Arbor, they are committed to supporting America’s great food producers in their own communities and across the country. Joining them is a vibrant group of key supporters, including six-time premier sponsors Williams-Sonoma and Bi-Rite Market; and lead sponsors Dominic Phillips Event Marketing, Impact HUB Bay Area, Veritable Vegetable, BCV Architects and Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture.
By Lorrie Baumann
Urban Radish is a little like Cheers, the bar in the television show that ran in its original release from 1982 to 1983 – it’s that place “where everybody knows your name,” says General Manager and Head Buyer MacKenzie Aivazis, who is also the daughter of Owners Michael Aivazis and Keri Johnson. The store in Los Angeles’ Downtown Arts District was designed around the idea that shoppers would be visiting daily rather than weekly. “We designed the store for urbanites,” Aivazis said. “That means that the focus is on the freshness of the ingredients. Our customers are aware that we’re meeting with local farmers several times a week to buy the freshest produce. Customers are aware that when they see produce in our store, they know it was on the farm a day or two ago.”
“Sausages from the meat department have been made that week if not that day,” she continued. “There is a sense of community. I know my customers. I have the same customers who come in every day. I know what’s going on in their lives…. We strive for that. It really is what makes the store special, in my opinion.”
Urban Radish’s neighborhood is in the process of redeveloping from an urban-blighted industrial area into a mixed-use neighborhood with manufacturing, high-occupancy residential and retail uses. Over the next two years, the neighborhood’s population is expected to triple. “Just two blocks after Skid Row ends, you have this really high-end community that’s developing here,” Aivazis said. As a result, the people who’ve moved into the new residential developments tend to be affluent Gen Xers who value transparency about their food sources and prefer fresh locally-sourced food when it’s available. “During lunch, there’s a lot of manufacturing surrounding the store, so we get a very, very hip crew that comes through, all in their 20s and 30s who are very avant-garde, what most people would identify as a hipster. It depends on whether they’re working in the area or actually live here,” Aivazis said. “They’re urban couples and singletons. When they have babies here, they tend to move away, which makes sense because there are not a lot of amenities for children here.”
The redeveloping nature of the neighborhood means that the store is unable to offer its customers free WiFi, since the infrastructure in the area doesn’t allow enough bandwidth for that yet. Despite that, Urban Radish has a customer following who are engaged with each other and with the store, and they’ve made Urban Radish into a local hang-out spot. The store encourages that with a range of high-quality prepared foods as well as weekly live music sessions. It’s a great event, a great time. All the regulars come and we turn on the grill for a full dinner, and we usually have someone come in and sample wine,” Aivazis said. “That speaks to the community that we try to create for people who are our customers and people who are not our customers…. There are peple who are interested in this area and who come down here just to see what’s going on down here. I believe that this area will draw people who are interested in food. Our mission is to inspire that foodie in everybody. Sometimes you just have to put it in front of them.”