The addition of herbs and spices to oils for dipping and adding to recipes is an idea that has been around for a while. There was a period when everyone had a decorative bottle of oil jam-packed with various herbs and spices in their kitchen window. These were more often for decoration, as the flavors were hit and miss at best.
“Today’s quality infused oils bring a whole new dimension to the taste. Of course they are attractive; we even add some extra herbs just for the look, but the big news is the incredible pure taste.” says Mike Tott, President of Gourmet du Village.
Perfect served for dipping with some crusty artisan bread, perfect to use as a flavor to add to your home cooking, these infused oils from Gourmet du Village are available in 280-ml bottles in three distinct flavor profiles: Spiced Chili Pepper, Parmesan Pesto and Rosemary Garlic.
This new product along with the entire new collection of gourmet gifts from Gourmet du Village can be seen at the company’s showrooms in Dallas, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.
For more information, visit www.gourmetduvillage.com.
Two entrepreneurs, Richard Ballard and Steven Dring, have teamed up with Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux, Jr to create a working farm in an extensive tunnel network beneath London’s Northern Line.
The subterranean farm, which will start trading later this year, will produce a range of micro-herbs, shoots, miniature vegetables and other delicacies that will be sold to restaurants, supermarkets and wholesalers. The tunnels will provide 2.5 acres of growing space.
The tunnels sit beneath the Northern Line near Clapham North tube station in London.
A crowdfunding campaign starts today, giving investors of all sizes the chance to buy a stake in the project from as little as £10. First deliveries of produce to customers are expected to begin in the late summer.
Specially- designed structures to house the three-layer growing platforms are currently being constructed in Yorkshire. Growing trials have been conducted over the last 18 months in the tunnels and are still underway.
The farm will be carbon neutral. Special low energy LED bulbs and an integrated hydroponics system are used. One hundred feet of earth above the tunnels keep temperatures steady at around 16 degrees centigrade all year round and energy consumption at a minimum. Any energy needs will be fulfilled from green suppliers, and the proximity of the tunnels to New Covent Garden market and London’s many restaurants will keep food miles to a minimum.
“When I first met these guys I thought they were absolutely crazy,” said Michel Roux Jr, “but when I visited the tunnels and sampled the delicious produce they are already growing down there I was blown away. The market for this produce is huge.”
Richard Ballard and Steven Dring hatched the idea two years ago after lengthy debates about how to achieve a carbon-free economy and how to deal with the pressures of urban population growth. Since then they have been working out how to bring their vision to reality. Chris Nelson, an expert horticulturalist used to growing crops in some of the harshest conditions on the planet, is a core member of the team.
Richard Ballard said: “Steve and I are thrilled to be close to getting Growing Underground underway. We’ve been experimenting for months. Now that we’ve secured the site we’re kicking off a crowd-funding campaign today. We have a detailed business plan, and we’ve already had lots of interest from private investors. We’re confident that investors of all sizes will see a significant return on their investment. Integrating farming into the urban environment makes a huge amount of sense and we’re delighted that we’re going to make it a reality.”
He added: “There is no ‘could,’‘might’ or ‘maybe’ about our underground farm. We will be up and running and will be supplying produce later this year.”
Steven Dring said: “When we showed Michel our farm for the first time, he thought the rumble he could hear was my stomach. It was actually a Northern Line train about to go overhead.”
The tunnels were originally used to house people sheltering from air raids in World War II. All fittings and reminders of its past were removed decades ago, although a nearby tunnel network, which retains bunk beds, has been listed by English Heritage.
Full scale work on the farm will commence in March and the first ‘Growing Underground’ produce will hit restaurants and shops by late summer this year. Initial crops will include a range of exotic herbs and shoots, including Pea Shoots, Rocket, Red Amaranth, Mizuna, Broccoli, Garlic Chives, Red Vein Sorrel, Mustard Leaf, Radish, Coriander and Thai Basil. Edible flowers and miniature vegetables will also be grown. Stage two crops will include heritage tomato varieties, and mushrooms.
Special filters keep the air in the tunnels free of pests, eliminating the need for pesticides.
The crowdfunding campaign, complete with a video that shows the tunnels, is at http://www.crowdcube.com/investment/zero-carbon-food-13724. Investors can get a stake in Growing Underground today for as little as £10. For £25,000, investors will get voting rights. A full business plan with projections can be found on the site.
Michel Roux Jr has joined the company as a director and will be advising on crop selection, product design and partnerships.
The “Perfect Bite” at the first West Coast Cheesemonger Invitational (CMI) at Public Works in San Francisco on January 19 was an unlikely, but delicious combination of flavors and texture that just worked.
“The Perpetual Goatstopper” was the creation of Cheesemonger Perry Soulos of Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Va., who paired award-winning chèvre from Redwood Hill Farm with grapes, candied ginger and Burstin’ Berry Poppin’ Pebbles™ breakfast cereal to create his unique, eye-catchingly delicious perfect bite. Soulos was awarded $1,000, immeasurable glory and an all expenses paid trip to the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival this summer along with top two finalists Zach Berg of Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco and Nate McElroy of Bedford Cheese Shop in New York.
“I really wanted to do something different and fun with my perfect bite,” said Soulos. “When we first received the list of cheeses to choose from, I went right for Redwood Hill Farms’ Traditional Plain Chèvre. I knew the product very well from my years behind the cheese counter and thought it would be the perfect choice for a California-inspired cheese bite. Its decadent and rich flavor and clean lemony tang make it very versatile in the kitchen.”
Redwood Hill Farm Owner Jennifer Bice, said: “We were thrilled to be one of the hometown hosts of the first West Coast Cheesemonger Invitational. It was wonderful to see how Perry used our fresh chèvre in such a surprisingly delicious way.”
Redwood Hill Farm’s cheeses were featured throughout the competition. Competing mongers enjoyed a vertical tasting of Camellia, Redwood Hill Farm’s Camembert–style cheese at various ages, from three days to eight weeks. It was also served as a delicious dessert course sandwich topped with berry preserves created by Michael Davidson, aka The Grilled Cheez Guy of Oakland, Calif. Cheesemonger Max Frederick from The Cellar Cheese Shop in Costa Mesa, featured Redwood Hill’s Raw Milk Feta in his Greek-inspired spoon sweet.
More than 30 of the best cheesemongers – the folks who sling cheese for a living – competed in an intense day-long series of cheese challenges. Participants from San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boulder, San Diego, Florida and even Toronto, Canada were put through a series of tests. From blind cheese tastings and a grueling written exam to sales-under-pressure and the perfect cheese cutting, the day-long event challenged the mongers’ skills, knowledge and creativity, as evidenced in their Perfect Bite. Following the private daytime competition was an evening party attended by 800 members of the cheese-loving public.
Attendees were treated to “perfect bite” pairings created by each competing cheesemonger along with award-winning cheeses from CMI hosts: Bay Area cheese pioneers Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery and Cowgirl Creamery, international importer Columbia Cheese and East Coast luminary Vermont Creamery; four custom grilled cheese sandwiches created just for CMI by The Grilled Cheez Guy; plus fondue, raclette and thousands of pounds of cheese. As esteemed panel of judges, including San Francisco Chronicle Cheese Columnist Janet Fletcher, Cheese Connoisseur Magazine Publisher/Editorial Director Lee Smith and American Cheese Society Board Member and DiBruno Bros. Owner Emilio Mignucci, rated competing mongers based on portioning, presentation, taste, aesthetics, creativity and whether or not the pairing created the elusive third flavor of the blended components.
According to Liz Thorpe, CMI Event Producer and Author of The Cheese Chronicles: A Journey Through the Making and Selling of Cheese in America, From Field to Farm to Table, “San Francisco really caught the ‘cheese for life’ spirit of what the Cheesemonger Invitational is all about: celebrating the passion and challenging the skills of this dedicated tribe of cheese lovers. We’re excited to bring CMI back to the city next year for more mongering competitions, world-class cheese tastings, late night dancing and more.”
Adds Soulos: “It’s thrilling to be named the CMI 2014 champion of cheese after competing in the 2012 and 2011 events in New York City and feeling both times that I could have done better. This time I brought my A-game, spending countless nights reading and studying the craft as mental preparation, and several days designing my perfect bite. The hard work paid off.”
With the ever-growing demand from consumers for delicious, gluten-free, snack and convenience foods, retailers are continually looking for new options. Bobo’s Oat Bars has become a favorite go-to because of its great taste, variety, portability and “home-made” quality. The company is expanding its line of gluten-free bars to include Peanut Butter and Jelly and Apple Pie, bringing the number of gluten-free flavors to six, and total number of flavors to 16.
“Moms and kids are a big target market for us, so adding PB&J was a natural line extension to meet that growing demand,” says Beryl Stafford, Founder and President of Boulder, Colorado-based Bobo’s Oat Bars. “The Apple Pie also seemed like a good addition, since it’s one of the most popular flavor profiles for baked goods in the U.S. Bobo’s are perfect because they taste like the ‘real thing’ but are less sweet, plus high fiber and nutrient dense.”
Bobo’s features a line of snack bars in 14 delicious flavors, including six gluten-free with the two new additions, all made with organic and natural Non-GMO ingredients. The bars are ideal for a light breakfast, ie “a bowl of oatmeal to go,” a pre-workout snack, in a lunch box or yoga bag, or a mid afternoon treat. Bobo’s has enjoyed an impressive annual growth rate of over 50 percent over the past three years, evolving from a home-based operation to national natural foods and specialty store distribution in ten years. Its sights are set on making a big push in 2014 to expand distribution to mainstream grocery stores, outdoor retailer, and more specialty and coffee shops, as well as foodservice outlets. Bobo’s moves to a new 12,000 square foot facility in 2014, more than tripling the existing space. With the new manufacturing space, the company can enhance automation, production capabilities, and add new staff, further increasing potential for growth.
Bobo’s Oat Bars are available at select natural foods and specialty stores nationwide. The company just became Non-GMO Certified as well as Kosher Certified. Bars retail for approximately $2.69 per 3-ounce package.
The California Table Grape Commission has awarded 37 teaching grants worth up to $750 each to schools in the table grape growing regions of California’s San Joaquin and Coachella valleys.
The funded projects will be implemented in classrooms during the current school year.
More than 2,500 students, grades K-12, will benefit from the classroom projects made possible through funding by California’s table grape growers. Examples include conducting science experiments in an after-school program, starting a school garden, purchasing and using music equipment, going on a museum field trip, and producing and performing a theatre production.
“There are a lot of creative classroom ideas funded through this program,” said Kathleen Nave, President of the commission. “The projects combined will benefit thousands of participating students in California’s table grape growing regions.”
The Innovation in Teaching education grant program was created in 1993 to support innovative classroom projects in the table grape growing regions of California’s San Joaquin and Coachella valleys. For more information about the program, go to www.grapesfromcalifornia.com/EducationGrants.
EVOL® Foods, Boulder-based maker of new age frozen meals, burritos and snacks, is introducing two new innovative product lines: MultiServe Skillet Meals and Lean & Fit single serve meals. These new products further round out EVOL’s growing product portfolio while still remaining committed to providing, convenient, clean food made with real ingredients that taste great. The MultiServe Skillet Meals also marks the first time EVOL has moved beyond the singe serve market, with meals meant to be cooked on the stovetop and served for two.
“Our food philosophy is simple: love what you eat. At EVOL, we are a on a continued quest to find innovative ways to provide delicious food without sacrificing nutrition, flavor or convenience,” said founder Phil Anson. “Our new MultiServe Skillet Meals and Lean & Fit Meals mark our continued evolution as a company and I think people are going to be truly excited when they taste these new products and realize they are a standout in the frozen food category, showing that just because something is convenient doesn’t mean you have to give up on unique flavors and taste.”
EVOL has expanded its reach and flavor profile, as well as moves beyond the single serve market for the first time, with the introduction of the new MultiServe line of frozen entrees. Available in six flavors that are sure to appeal to everyone’s palate, the new MultiServe Skillet entree options take you on an exploration of flavor, creating new dishes that are meant for two. The entrees are ready in just 10 minutes, combining the convenience of frozen food, with simple clean ingredients. Share the food love and EVOL goodness and take your dinner to the next level with one of the new MultiServe Skillet meals, including:
Stay true to your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier with EVOL’s all-natural Lean & Fit meals. This new line takes EVOL’s mission to love what you eat to a new level, further showing that you do not have to compromise on flavor or convenience when you choose to eat healthy. As with all of EVOL Foods’ entrees and classic dishes, these frozen entrees are made with simple, clean ingredients and no preservatives or artificial ingredients. The single-serve Lean & Fit meals are all 300 calories and Low in Fat. The exciting flavors include:
The MultiServe Skillet Meals and Lean & Fit Meals will be available nationwide at Target, Harris Teter as well as in select grocery stores. The Multiserve Meals will retail for $6.99 to $8.49 and the Lean & Fit Meals will retail for $3.99-$4.99.
Herman G. Rowland Sr., Chairman of the Board for Jelly Belly Candy Company, received the first ISM Lifetime Achievement Award on January 26 at a formal gala dinner in Cologne, Germany. ISM, the world’s largest trade show of confectionery and snack products, honored Rowland with the show’s first award to kick off this year’s trade show.
Selected by an international jury of industry members, trade and science sectors, Rowland was delighted to accept the award from Bastian Fassin, Chairman of the International Confectionery Fair Taskforce (ASIM) and Gerald Böse, CEO Koelnmesse GmbH with an introduction from Salvatore Ferrara, President of the ICA, International Confectionery Association, and CEO of the Ferrara Pan Company in Chicago. The presenters praised Rowland for his creativity, initiative and good humor that distinguished him as a leader in the confectionery industry.
Jelly Belly Candy Company makes more than 100 flavors of Jelly Belly beans and more than 70 other confections, including gummies, seasonal lines, chocolate-covered treats, jells and mellocremes. Founded in 1898, Jelly Belly Candy Company is family owned and operated with the fourth, fifth and sixth generations of its founding family. Public tours are offered of the Fairfield, Calif. factory and Pleasant Prairie, Wisc. warehouse. For information about Jelly Belly jelly beans and Confections by Jelly Belly, visit http://www.jellybelly.com/. Connect with us on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Google+.
Chefs Diet Holding Co., LLC., the parent company of Chefs Diet National Co., LLC., has completed its acquisition of selected assets of eDiets.com’s home meal delivery business from the site’s parent As Seen On TV, Inc. As a company, eDiet.com had over 950k customer leads in its database, which generated approximately $17mm in revenues for 2012.
Chefs Diet intends to increase its footprint nationally by leveraging its strategic relationships in connection with an exclusive arrangement in connection with cutting-edge vacuum packaging technology, which provides a competitive advantage to deliver to the market nationally the freshest tasting products.
“This market is crying out for a gourmet provider of fresh, wholesome and varied food products that promote lasting weight loss and wellness on a national level,” states Kevin Glodek, founder and President of Chefs Diet National.
Glodek adds, “Providing consistent quality and customer service concurrently is key to our continued and future success. We feel our cutting-edge technologies in preparation and packaging coupled with our aggressive use of the Internet and social media will help us pave the way to a nationally recognized presence.”
Chefs Diet plans to maintain and supersede customer conversion and satisfaction seamlessly from eDiets.com. Chefs Diet is uniquely positioned to leverage eDiet’s national brand and great market exposure, including its high profile sponsorships such as “The Biggest Loser,” according to the company. Last January alone, eDiets.com had 1,450,623 page views and 468,965 target customers enter its website, which now redirects to Chefs Diet as a part of the acquisition.
The current olive shortage caused by poor climatic conditions in Spain,Greece, and Southern Europe means an uptick in business for at least one Northern California olive grower and processor. West Coast Products produces natural brine-cured jumbo olives, which compete with chemically cured, lye treated olives from the Mediterranean region. The ongoing international olive shortage sheds new light on this niche market.
More and more buyers, reacting to the international crop shortage, are awakening to the differences between naturally curedCalifornia olives and the imports. “Buyers are calling and telling us they never knew imported green olives were cured with lye,” said Dan Vecere, General Manager, West Coast Products – Olinda Brand.
European farmers state that their 2013 olive crop yields fell more than 70 percent, especially for the queen size olives with market condition reports projecting 2014 prices will increase more than 50 percent. The Olinda Brand olives are Sevillano, one of the largest green specialty varieties sometimes called the “Spanish Queen,” and they are abundant in California this season and available to both domestic and foreign markets.
Until the international shortage occurred, according to Vecere and Olinda Brand Sales Manager Mark DeCamilla, the importers had been setting both product price and grade. “That’s changing,” said DeCamilla. “End users, such as chefs and bartenders, are taking notice that our California olives have a firmer texture and a fresher taste than the industrially cured imported olives.”
The Olinda Brand tradition of olive growing and production in California spans more than 75 years.
About West Coast Products and the Olinda Brand
Since 1937, West Coast Products of Northern California has provided professional and home kitchens with specialty olives and olive oils under the Olinda Brand. The company’s commitment to natural, fresh, and in-season premium private-label table olives and private-label olive oils meets the highest standards of California state certification, which ensures top quality olive products.
Suja Juice Co. was named third among Forbes Magazine’s 2014 list of America’s Top 100 Most Promising Companies. Suja was also the only consumer packaged goods company within the top 25. The privately held and less than two-year-old certified organic and non-GMO verified cold-pressured juice brand was recognized by Forbes for its substantial growth and success. Forbes announced the top 25 ranked America’s Most Promising Companies list, which includes high-growth, privately held companies with under $250 million in annual revenue. The complete list of 100 companies will be released in the February 10, 2014 issue of the magazine.
Leading the announcement of the Top 25 ranked America’s Most Promising Companies of 2014 on Forbes.com, reporter J.J. Colao explains the reasoning for Suja Juice Co.’s high ranking, “Today Suja, No. 3 on our Most Promising list, is one of the fastest growing consumer product companies in the country, poised to do $50 million in sales in just its second full year of business.”
The secret to Suja’s skyrocketing success in such a short time can be accredited to a diverse team of co-founders who each brought something special to the business when they created the company in May 2012, in addition to the exceptional quality of the juices and smoothies that deliver conscious nutrition and amazing flavor in each sip. What started as a small home-delivery juice service based out of co-founder Eric Ethan and Annie Lawless’s home kitchens, has now grown into a multimillion-dollar national company with the help of co-founders Jeff Church and James Brennan.
Suja Juice Co. now offers three unique lines, including Suja Classic, which is sold at Whole Foods Markets and select natural food stores nationwide, Suja Elements, a smoothie-based line exclusive to Whole Foods Market, and Suja Essentials, which will soon be available in larger grocery store chains such as Safeway and Kroger.
“It is a great honor to be included on the Forbes list of America’s Most Promising Companies of 2014, let alone among the top three companies in the nation,” says Suja co-founder and CEO Jeff Church. “I speak for all of the founders when I say we are humbled by this recognition, and it motivates us to continue our commitment to changing the way America juices.”