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Cabot Creamery Rewards Volunteers with Cruise

On January 11, 50 volunteers will embark on the trip of a lifetime. They, along with a guest, will board the Celebrity Cruises® SUMMIT for an all-expense-paid, six-day, seven-night Caribbean Cruise organized in their honor, courtesy of the 1,200 farm families who own Cabot Creamery Cooperative. The farmer-owners of Cabot have presented the Cabot Community Celebrity Award program since 2010 to recognize individuals from across the nation who have made a difference in their communities.

“For the past four years, the Cabot Community Celebrity Awards have honored the powerful achievements and contributions of select volunteers,” says Rich Stammer, Cabot President and CEO. “Partnering with major market media and national organizations, we spotlight those who serve others with little thought of personal recognition, and reward them with the trip of a lifetime. Our Community Celebrity Awards seek to redefine what ‘true celebrity’ really means.”

In the eyes of the farm families of Cabot, true celebrities are folks like Sean Evans. Evans, a resident of Moore, Okla., founded Serve Moore after the horrific tornados that devastated the town in May. He developed a website to help coordinate relief efforts, connecting resources and thousands of volunteers to bring aid and comfort to the victims of the storm.

And people like Tawanda and Robert Jones from Camden, N.J., who founded the Sophisticated Sisters Drill Team to serve the children of one of America’s most consistently impoverished and crime-ridden cities. Since founding the group in 1986, the couple provided a constructive outlet that has helped guide the lives of more than 4,000 of the city’s children.

“There are so many stories here of everyday people doing remarkable things in their communities. Stories of people who spend their weekends building dream bedrooms for kids with cancer, who spend their nights collecting food and goods for the hungry and homeless, who spend their days mentoring a child growing up alone in poverty,” says Stammer. “They truly deserve this.”

The Cabot Community Celebrity Award Cruise departs San Juan, Puerto Rico and stops in Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas, before returning to San Juan. Round trip airfare for the Cabot Community Celebrities and their guests is also included.

“We want them to exhale and let their worries and pressures escape, to relax, recharge, and celebrate, so they can go back to their communities refreshed and ready to do more,” Stammer said. “And hopefully, inspire others to do the same.”

Cabot is able to spotlight those who serve their communities with little or no regard for personal recognition by partnering with AARP Create the GoodPoints of Light and working with an ever-growing list of highly conscious non-profit organizations like Habitat For HumanitySt. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and  The DREAM Program. And once again this year, several of Cabot’s Community Celebrity Award recipients were selected from local radio stations that help Cabot spread the word on the valuable work volunteers do each day across the nation. Still others were selected from Cabot community relations programs, like the Reward Volunteers iPhone App, the mobile app a computer widget that enables volunteers to track their time serving non-profits, and to win great prizes and cash for themselves and the organizations they serve.

For more information on the Cabot Community Celebrity Award Cruise, or to learn more about true community celebrities, visit:www.cabotcelebritycruise.com

Landana 1000 DAYS wins Gold at World Cheese Awards

landana 1000 days world cheese awardsLandana, a premium specialty cheese brand of Vandersterre Groep (The Netherlands), has been recognized with a golden award at the World Cheese Awards in Birmingham, England.

2,777 cheeses participated at the world-famous cheese show, which is organized by United Kingdom’s Guild of Fine Food. In the category “Gouda made before 1/12/2012,” Landana 1000 DAYS convinced a jury of 250 cheese experts with a full, intense but very refined taste, which reflects the Dutch time-tested cheese makers’ tradition.

This special cheese naturally ripens for at least 1000 days under perfect ripening conditions, which guarantee the best quality. The fine mineral and protein crystals are visible signs of its masterful maturation.

Landana 1000 DAYS is part of the Landana “Premium Quality Cheese” range. Landana is a delicious Dutch cheese of distinction, loved for its unique, creamy flavor, incredible quality and wide range of flavorful varieties. Landana cheeses are prepared using traditional cheese making techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation; methodology has changed very little over time.

Vandersterre Groep won a bronze award with Landana Goat cheese AGED in the category “Hard goats’ milk”. This goat cheese has a piquant character and pure taste.The extra-long ripened Prima Donna forte also won bronze in the category “Any very hard cheese” with its strong and sweet, nutty taste.

All these award winners are gluten free. Retailers interested in purchasing Landana or Prima Donna cheeses can contact a Vandersterre Groep sales representative by e-mail at international@vandersterregroep.nl or by phone at 1.303.906.4200. 

Consumers Celebrate the Taste and Terroir of Grass-Fed Beef

By Lorrie Baumann

While cable television has been working hard for years to convince consumers that all the really great meals come from culinary school-trained chefs, many purveyors of top-quality meats say that what might help the home cook most is finding a trustworthy market with a meat department manager who knows his or her business and respects the products in the meat case.

“You need to find a brand of beef that you like,” says Bill Reed, the CEO of Estancia Beef, which produces beef in Uruguay and imports it into the U.S. market “Find a butcher who sells you quality beef.”

Clint Smithlin, the Meat Manager/Buyer at the Berkeley Bowl Marketplace in Berkeley, Calif. sells a ton of grass-fed beef, including Estancia Beef, and about 1,800 pounds of grain-fed beef each week at his company’s two stores. He says that the influence of Michael Pollan’s writing about food and the information available to consumers on the Internet in addition to current high prices for meats are collectively fueling consumer interest in grass-fed beef. “There’s a huge amount of information out there—some of it’s right and some of it’s wrong,” he says. “People have a choice, and what they’re looking for is the product that matches their choices. And generally, they’re choosing grass-fed beef because there’s a negative connotation about grain-fed beef. People have seen how the animals are just packed together, and they’re more aware now of where their meat is coming from … They’re looking to do what’s best for them as well as what’s best for the environment.”

Fortunately for consumers who want to make their own decisions about what they are putting into their bodies, there is a wider range of products available to them now than at any other time in recent history. “If you look at every other category in the supermarket—chocolate, cheese, beer—we’ve gone from two or three brands to a plethora of brands that offer different tastes, different experiences. It’s a much more exciting opportunity for the consumer to understand a world of tastes and flavors,” Reed says. “We’ve developed a system that says that more fat is better. That’s not a celebration of culture of flavor. That’s a really boring metric.”

Matching the consumer with a piece of meat that’s going to satisfy all of those goals is where trust has to come into the relationship between market and customer, Smithlin says. “People can read all they want, but there still has to be the element of trust that the beef is what the butcher says it is,” he says. “People are more knowledgeable now than ever because the price is higher than ever before, and there’s so much product on the market. Many of the grass-fed beef products out there look very, very similar. The average person has to rely on trust, on the answer he gets [from the butcher].”

“There are people who just want a good-tasting piece of meat,” Smithlin adds. “There are other people who want to make sure that what they’re eating is best for them and for the animals.”

Grain-fed beef still has its adherents among people who are accustomed to its particular taste, says Andy McIsaac, Vice President of Marketing for Pilot Brands, a major importer and distributor of grass-fed meats from Australia and New Zealand for the American market. “The flavor is definitely different. There’s some debate about it. People who are used only to corn-fed beef sometimes say that grass-fed beef has a strong flavor. My answer to that is that that’s the natural flavor of beef,” he says. “It’s the flavor that your grandfather or great-grandfather would recognize. It’s the flavor of the grass coming through, the terroir. That really does apply to meat. The flavor really does reflect the environment that the animal was raised in.”

Reed agrees that terroir is a concept that applies as much to meat as to wine. “When you think about alcohol and cheeses, you think about celebrating terroir,” he says. “The eating experience with grass-fed beef is different. Estancia beef has a little bit cleaner finish. It has a beefy flavor. It sits light in your stomach. You can eat an eight-ounce steak and feel good about it.”

Through recent American history, beef animals were raised on grass for most of their lives and then transported to feedlots for finishing with corn and grain, which add the fat marbling into the muscle tissue. And since fat carries flavor, the end product tastes more like the grain with which the animal was finished. The typical feedlot animal is finished when it’s 16 to 24 months old, depending on the feeding regime, while a grass-fed animal typically takes a bit longer to grow to slaughter weight, McIsaac says. “Grass, while very nutritious, doesn’t have as high energy content as corn and grain,” he says. “The grass-fed animals take 24 to 30 months, because they’re living a more natural life, walking around in the pasture instead of standing in the feedlot.”

Most grass-fed beef is leaner than corn-fed beef, but that’s not necessarily the case. Pilot Brands imports a wide range of beef products, including grass-fed Kobe-style beef from Wagyu cattle that meets and even exceeds USDA Prime standards. “That’s an animal that’s famous for its marbling, but even with other cattle breeds, we get a lot of beef that has good levels of marbling,” he says.

Even the most marbled grass-fed beef offers consumers a more healthful choice than grain-fed beef with equivalent marbling, because the fat in grass-fed beef has a higher ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids, with grass-fed beef having levels much closer to the levels recommended by nutritionists, McIsaac says. “There are studies coming out now that show that people who eat grass-fed beef also have higher levels of Omega-3s, so it does carry through to the people who are eating it,” he adds. “That’s on top of the fact that grass-fed beef is typically also free of antibiotics and added hormones.”

Grass-fed beefalo is another product coming onto the market that has its appeal for consumers who are concerned about the health implications of eating beef, says Mark Merrill, co-owner with his wife Linda of Ellensburg, Wash.-based Beefalo Meats. Merrill is raising animals that are a cross-breed of beef cattle and bison, producing meat that is four times leaner than regular grain-fed beef, but which has award winning flavor.

Merrill’s beefalo has been lab-tested for cholesterol and saturated fats and has been shown to have cholesterol levels up to seven times lower than regular grain-fed beef and markedly less saturated fat.

Most of Merrill’s meat is being sold in the Seattle and Portland areas and in Alaska. “We’re not in the Krogers and the Albertsons and the Safeways. We’re in the specialty stores, where it does very well,” Merrill says. “All of the stores selling this have reported no decrease in their beef sales. I think it means that people who have cut back on their beef are coming back to beefalo. Maybe it’s the people who have eaten chicken until it’s coming out of their ears, and they’re tired of it. I don’t know.”

Cooking Grass-Fed Beef

All the experts advise that the worst thing a cook can do to grass-fed beef or beefalo is to overcook it. “When people have a bad experience with grass-fed beef, it’s usually because they’ve overcooked it,” Smithlin says. Grass-fed beef cooks about ⅓ more quickly than grain-fed beef, as do beefalo and bison. “Restaurants like it that it cooks faster, but if you’re at home and you’re grilling, you’ll want to keep monitoring it,” Merrill advises. He suggests that beefalo should be cooked hot and fast to 130 degrees. “If you can sear that meat, it’s juicier than beef, even though the fat is way less,” he says.

Foodies Losing Themselves and Loving It at Cincinnati’s Jungle Jim’s International Market

By Lucas Witman

For a newcomer walking into Jungle Jim’s International Market for the first time, one should be prepared for a truly extraordinary experience. To put it mildly—this is not your average grocery store.

Jungle Jim’s began over 35 years ago as a small, roadside produce stand. It was the vision of company founder “Jungle” Jim Bonaminio that propelled the business into the supermarket stratosphere. Bonaminio erected the company’s first permanent building in 1975 in the Cincinnati suburb of Fairfield, Ohio. Eventually the store’s focus expanded from just produce, adding dairy products and then a deli. In fact, Jungle Jim’s has never stopped expanding since its incipience, always growing in both size and product selection.

JungleJims1-RNIt is the sheer enormity of Jungle Jim’s, first and foremost, that makes this retailer truly unique. The store offers over 180,000 different products. Jungle Jim’s produce department alone is over an acre in size, and the company offers 1,500 different varieties of hot sauce and 12,000 distinct wine labels. The store features a giant outdoor pond, populated by life-sized replicas of jungle animals. Outside, there is a monorail, and inside, guests can shop from giant tanks full of live fish. In addition, the store is full of animatronic characters, positioned at every turn, including a giant, swinging can of Campbell’s Soup and a “Hound Dog Elvis Lion” in the candy section.

There are sections at Jungle Jim’s devoted to every genre of cuisine and every type of comestible. One will of course find the essential grocery store sections (albeit in super-sized versions) devoted to things like cheese, baked goods and frozen foods. However, this singular store also contains entire store departments devoted only to Asian, Middle Eastern and African cuisines, as well as dedicated sections for honey, olives, coffee and more. If there is a food product, no matter how obscure, you are almost certain to find it somewhere on the campus of Jungle Jim’s.

JungleJims3-RN“The saying, ‘Variety is the spice of life,’ rings very true in the Jungle,” said Jimmy Bonaminio, Director of Creative Services at Jungle Jim’s. “Every department is a world in and of itself. Each department shines because Jungle gives a lot of freedom to managers and they feel like it’s their own department. That is one of the things that make the shopping experience really unique. You never know what you’ll find.”

Taking advantage of the tremendous amount of space at the store, Jungle Jim’s frequently offers guests cooking demonstrations and product sampling events. On any given day, shoppers may have the opportunity to watch fresh mozzarella being stretched or salsa being assembled. The guests can then buy the finished product to take home and use in their own kitchens.

Jungle Jim’s also boasts its own cooking school. Interested participants can sign up online for classes on everything from wine and food pairings to gluten-free cookery to hands-on sushi preparation. For group events, the cooking school space can be rented for group culinary classes and activities.

Reflecting its founder’s commitment to entrepreneurialism, Jungle Jim’s makes an effort to keep its shelves stocked with unique local products, many of which shoppers are unlikely to find elsewhere. “[The store] offers countless numbers of mom and pop vendors the opportunity to present their ‘kitchen-to-shelf’ products to the store,” said Bonaminio. “Those one-of-a kind items compliment our outstanding selection. There are successful local businesses today who credit Jungle Jim’s for giving them the needed start.”

JungleJims2-RNWith such an extensive product selection, it can be a challenge to make sure each department is keeping up-to-date with the latest trends, but the staff at Jungle Jim’s is committed to doing just that. “With over 180,000 products in each store, demand can change from week to week,” said Bonaminio. “Because we are an independent, we have the flexibility to react to trends very quickly. We try to find a balance between filling customer requests and offering items they’d never thought of requesting.”

At its heart, Jungle Jim’s strives to set itself apart from all other grocery stores, by transforming a simple trip to the market into a family event, delighting every person who enters the store’s doors with something that appeals especially to them. “The goal of Jungle Jim’s is to make grocery shopping a fun experience. This includes providing some of the more unusual items that you wouldn’t normally find in your average grocery store,” said Bonaminio.

This strategy seems to have been a successful one for the company, as Jungle Jim’s has become a destination shopping experience, drawing curious foodies from all over the Midwest and beyond. According to Adams, some of the store’s visitors have actually arranged vacations around their trip to Jungle Jim’s. The store has drawn destination foodies from as far away as New York and Los Angeles and even Australia.

Today, Jungle Jim’s operates both the original 200,000-square-foot Fairfield store, as well as a new, even larger store, opened in 2012 in Cincinnati’s Eastgate neighborhood. For more information on Jungle Jim’s International Market, visit www.junglejims.com.

 

Hot Sauce Nation Aims for World Domination

By Lorrie Baumann

If you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat,” — Ronald Reagan

 

Over the past few years, the news media has been prompting people around the world to think a great deal about heat in its many manifestations. A growing number of us have concluded that one thing we want to do about heat is put it in our mouths. The hot sauce market has gone nuclear.

In 2013, CompaniesandMarkets.com reported that sales of spicy chile pepper sauces grew 9 percent in the previous year, with the industry reaching a current value of $540 million. This upward growth trend is expected to continue. IBIS World, a marketing research company, noted last year that hot sauce production was the eighth fastest growing industry in the United States, with industry revenue projected to grow over the next five years at an average annual rate of 4.1 percent.

The hot sauce industry is extremely strong,” says Dave DeWitt, founder and Co-Producer of the National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show, scheduled to take place Feb. 28-March 2, 2014 in Albuquerque, N.M. Now in its 26th year, the show presents the annual Scovie Awards, a tribute to foods whose spiciness is measured in Scoville Heat Units. The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and Carolina Reaper peppers are currently considered the hottest peppers in the world, with Scoville ratings in the range of about 1.5 to 2 million SHU. The mild Anaheim, Peppadew and Poblano peppers come in around 1,000 to 2,500 SHU, with most of the world’s other peppers measuring somewhere in between these two ranges.

There are more than 800 products entered into the Scovie Awards contest for 2014, with 161 of those hot sauces. “Everybody seems to make them, and they do it very well,” DeWitt says. “The criteria for judging are flavor, appearance, aroma and texture. The heat level just has to be appropriate. If something says it’s a hot sauce, it’s got to have some heat in it.”

Pete Burback of Cooks Corner in Green Bay, Wis. is one of the retailers riding that wave. He says Cooks Corner has always had some hot sauces in his store marketed mainly as impulse items to the tourists who come by busloads to spend the day in the nation’s largest kitchenware store. According to Burback, many decide at the cash register that they should probably take home a little something for the spouse who stayed home to change the oil in the car or watch a football game on television. For many of these shoppers, hot sauce perfectly fits the bill.

About three years ago, Burback called his distributor and asked what he would need to stock if Cooks Corner were to have the largest display of hot sauces in the state. “It was more of a gut feeling than anything else,” he says. In those days, a selection of 250 hot sauces was what Burback had to put on his shelves in order to have more sauces for retail sale than anyone else in Wisconsin. Today, Cooks Corner stocks more than 400 varieties. As a result of Burback’s efforts, hot sauce sales have been growing steadily for the store over the past three years. “We absolutely blow through hot sauce,” he says. “I was surprised at how many people collect them.”

Peppers 6 Pack wood crate NEWAlthough Cooks Corner has the largest hot sauce shop in Wisconsin, its selection is dwarfed by the array offered by Peppers of Key West, located in Key West, Fla. Owner Pete Legrady sells 1,200 SKUs, of which about 900 are hot sauces. The clientele are mostly tourists coming off the cruise ships that call in at the island, as well as day-trippers from Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Legrady also has many customers who visit his online store at www.PeppersofKeyWest.com.

Not everything we have in the store is hot. Just because something says ‘habañero’ on the label doesn’t mean it’s going to be hot,” says Legrady. Legrady bought Peppers of Key West six years ago after he fell in love with Key West and decided to leave the corporate rat race for a business he could be passionate about. About 100,000 people a year come into his store, where every product offered for sale has something to do with chile peppers, whether it is a rub or dry spice mix, a chile-seasoned jerky, a cookbook or a tea towel printed with an image of a chile pepper.

People are getting more adventurous about enjoying spicy foods more. With the Baby Boomers, maybe their taste buds are dying, so they’re using hot sauce to put more flavor into the foods. With the younger generation, it can be an ego thing,” Legrady says. “There really is no specific demographic that hot sauce appeals to. It’s really all over the board.”

Peppers of Key West Asian MarinadeIn addition to selling chile sauces made by others, Legrady also makes his own Peppers of Key West-branded sauces that are winning plaudits from hot sauce aficionados. These plaudits include seven awards for a Peppers of Key West Asian marinade, two for a chicken wing sauce and three for a very mild jerk sauce. Most of the company’s awards have come from both the Fiery Foods Show and Zest Fest.

We have all kinds of variations of hot sauce from super mild to super hot,” Legrady says. “I enjoy it when people come in and say they don’t like hot sauce. We sit them down and get them tasting, and they find something they like. We can always match a flavor profile to a personal preference.”

scorpion pepper hot sacue w peppers (14x9HR)Dave’s Gourmet makes sauces that cater to the hot sauce aficionados who love to feel the fire. “This is extreme heat, and that caught on right away,” says Dave Hirschkop, the “Dave” of Dave’s Gourmet. The very hot end of the chile sauce spectrum is just a small niche of the industry, but he thinks it is the most exciting. He finds that the super-hot sauces appeal to younger men, but there are no geographic boundaries to a taste for the fiery. “Places without a hot sauce tradition were a little slower to jump on, but they’ve caught up,” Hirschkop says. “There are people who can handle the heat and who can taste the flavor and appreciate it.”

Hirschkop, like many other hot sauce makers, is experimenting these days with some of the hottest peppers on the planet. “Super-hot is going to move forward from habañero to ghost pepper to scorpion, with a lot of debate about which is hottest,” he says. “That’s meaningful to people. It’s a point of interest.”

Johnny McLaughlin of Heartbreaking Dawns makes hot sauces for the segment of the market that is more interested in chile peppers for their flavor than their heat. McLaughlin launched Heartbreaking Dawns five years ago with three products after a year of researching and developing a business concept. When he started, he had been making hot sauces from his garden peppers and he knew about flavors and how to layer them. However, he did not have a point of reference for the direction that the hot sauce industry was taking at the time. Right away, he started creating sauces that were different from anything else on the market. His was the first company in the United States to use the Trinidad scorpion pepper in a commercially available sauce. Today, he sells his 1498 Trinidad Scorpion Sauce today for $7.95 a bottle, and he says it is not only a very popular sauce, but it is also his personal favorite.

Scorpion is one of the hottest peppers in the world, but the first time I tasted it, it had such an earthy, floral note, and I wanted to pair that with a sweet note,” McLaughlin says. Today, McLaughlin’s sauces are drawing attention from food critics and have won a number of awards from various hot sauce shows. Cook’s Illustrated recently applauded the Heartbreaking Dawns Trinidad Scorpion Cauterizer Sauce for its exceptional combination of spectacular flavor with very high heat.

Heartbreaking Dawns’ Trinidad Scorpion Sauce incorporates a variety of sweet and spicy flavors for a sauce that illustrates McLaughlin’s aesthetic. The same can be said for another of McLaughlin’s creations, his Ghost Pepper Sauce. “It’s the hottest pepper out there, but there’s so much more to it than that,” he says of the Ghost Pepper Sauce. “Ghost pepper on its own, heat aside, has an exceptionally wonderful citrus burst. I paired it up with a very nice pear and apple with soy sauce and white pepper in the background. It delivers a strong and satisfying heat, but it’s by no means extreme, so it’s a very useable sauce.”

When McLaughlin brings his sauces to the Fancy Food Show next July, he will find Case Fischer of Fischer & Wieser there waiting for him with some new hot sauces that he currently has under development. Fischer & Wieser introduced its first pepper product to the market in 1988 with a jalapeño peach jelly. “I was experimenting with peppers in our jams and jellies,” Fischer recalls. “That was a real big hit because people put it on their pork chops.”

raspberrychipotleFischer followed that product up with the Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce that Fischer & Weiser also brought out in 1988. That sauce is currently the company’s bestseller. “We focus on sauces, so that’s where we focus our pepper experiments, and we have really enjoyed coming out with some new and exciting products,” he says. “The pepper products that we come up with have got to have a lot of flavor with them, and it’s not all about the heat.”

In developing the products that he plans to bring to the 2014 Summer Fancy Food Show, Fischer has been intrigued by the peppers at the hot end of the Scoville scale, including the ghost pepper, the scorpion pepper and the Scotch Bonnet. Still, he continues to focus on flavor as opposed to just heat. “We’re also considering different fruits beyond the mango, the peach and the papaya,” he says. “We are so far beyond red pepper flakes and jalapeños that it’s not even funny. I think that’s exciting.”

Once Fischer & Wieser’s newest hot sauces are ready for the market, you are likely to find all of them and more in Rehoboth Beach, Del., at Chip Hearn’s Peppers.com, a seriously vertically integrated company. With a very large retail store in a resort area and a strong online retail shop, Peppers.com is a wholesaler of 3,000 different zesty items, 200 different peppers, Mama Vincente brand items and a line of private label sauces.

Hearn’s hot sauces range in price from $1.99 to $1,000 a bottle, with the average hot sauce selling for $5.99 to $7.99. Hearn got into the hot sauce business 30 years ago when he was looking to increase the breakfast check average in his family’s restaurants. He did that with the Bloody Mary Smorgasbord, in which he offered customers 200 different hot sauces to doctor their vodka and tomato juice. “Customers started asking for the bottles of the hot sauces, and then it became, ‘I’m going to carry a case of that back with me,’” he recalls. “We started with 200 sauces, and now it’s 3,000.”

One of his current bestsellers is Zing Zang, a Bloody Mary mix made in Chicago, a city where bartenders are known for putting their signatures on their  Bloody Mary recipes. Hearn appreciates Zing Zang because it is a Bloody Mary mix that the average New Englander has not seen before. His customers are eager to buy it just to try it. “Zing Zang does not have to have anything else mixed in it, but you can grate some ginger on it or use some horseradish. When they get hooked on it, they have to come back to you because no one else is carrying it,” he says. “It’s spicy, it’s zesty, and it’s gone pretty fast, so they have to come back to the store.”

Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery Recognized as Environmental Leader

Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery has achieved recognition as a Sonoma County Green Business environmental leader. The Sonoma Green Business Program, part of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, is a partnership of government agencies and utilities that assists, recognizes and promotes local organizations, focusing on small to medium-sized consumer-oriented businesses that voluntarily operate in environmentally responsible ways. Certified participants must be in compliance with all environmental regulations and meet program standards for conserving resources, preventing pollution and minimizing waste while demonstrating goodwill in the community.

It became evident very early on in the certification process that Redwood Hill Farm takes sustainability and the welfare of our environment very seriously,” said Green Business Coordinator Kevin Kumataka. “They are a shining example that green business is smart business here in Sonoma and throughout the state.”

This is not the first time the company has been recognized as a responsible business owner. In 2009, it received a Best Practices Award for its use of environmentally sound business practices from the Business Environmental Alliance of Sonoma County. Redwood Hill Farm also holds the distinction of being the first goat dairy in the United States to be Certified Humane®, which is considered the ‘gold standard’ in third-party certification for humane animal treatment.

We are proud to display our Green Business Sonoma County Certification,” said Owner Jennifer Bice. “Sustainability has been a core part of our family business since my parents first founded Redwood Hill Farm here 45 years ago. We continually look for ways to implement green practices from farm to finished product for the benefit of the animals, the land and people.”

In addition to using solar power to provide energy for both the family farm and creamery where its award-winning products are made, Redwood Hill Farm employs the following green practices:

  • Rewards employees for new re-use and recycle ideas that keep everyone on the alert for new ways to protect our environment, such as changing and reducing the amount of plastic in each yogurt cup and lid by about half, switching to foil lids rather than plastic, and upgrading to more energy efficient, motion sensor lighting at the creamery,
  • Recycles extensively at both the farm and creamery, using only recycled paper and biodegradable serving cups and utensils at sampling events,
  • Reclaims water to clean areas where it is acceptable,
  • Composts manure and straw/hay stems from smaller barns that is used for the farm’s organic vegetable gardens, olive grove and apple orchard; uses manure and straw/hay stems as mulch around fruit trees and in the ground to provide nutrients for the trees,
  • Provides solar-powered electric vehicle recharging stations at the creamery and uses two hybrid company vehicles,
  • Uses only organic fruits in both its Redwood Hill Farm goat milk yogurts as well as in sister brand Green Valley Organics Lactose Free yogurts and kefirs, which the company introduced in 2010.

 

Dietz & Watson Makes Holiday Hosting Easy

DW_SpiralCutHam_final_1rThe folks from Dietz & Watson are out and about during this holiday season to offer tips, recipes and samples of Dietz & Watson meats, cheeses and condiments to shoppers who are making their own lists and checking them twice as they prepare for holiday entertaining. Find them at the Frog Pond at Boston Commons on December 20-23. Visitors can skate and meet with Dietz & Watson from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Courtesy hand warmers will be made available, and free samples of Dietz & Watson spiral cut glazed dinner hams, roast beef crostinis and more will be served. Recipe cards, coupons and free mustards and ham glazes will also be given away.

If you’re in Chicago, look for Dietz and Watson every day through December 24 at Daley Plaza. Dietz & Watson will be there from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday for the Christkindlemarket. On the menu will be Dietz & Watson simple-to-prepare recipes like Crostinis with Beef Tenderloin and Horseradish. Delicious artisan cheeses and other delicacies will be sampled as well.

Take it from us at Gourmet News that if you can make it to one of these events, you do not want to miss stopping by to visit with Dietz & Watson. Whenever we’re at a venue where Dietz & Watson is offering samples, we’re there with our hands out and wistful smiles on our upturned faces as we try our utmost to look like pitiful wretches who deserve an extra-large serving if anybody ever did.

Numi Organic Tea Announces New Indulgent Teas

Numi Indulgent TeaNumi Organic Tea has announced the imminent arrival of a new product line: Indulgent Tea.  A new collection of chocolate teas, Numi’s Indulgent Tea line celebrates the blending of two favorite flavors: tea and cacao.

While food trends come and go, chocolate has been an object of cravings and affection since the first cacao plant originated in the Amazon in 2000 BC.  Today, chocolate is getting its due for being more than delicious, and is heralded for its health benefits and mood-boosting properties.  Numi’s Indulgent Teas provide a guilt-free way for chocolate lovers to satisfy cravings for sweetness and enjoy the good-for-you qualities of cacao.

The Numi Indulgent Teas will retail for $7.99 for a box of 12 tea bags. Each cup of the tea contains only five calories. The tea blends can be enjoyed any time of day with milk or honey or on their own.

“Since we launched our Chocolate Pu-erh Tea in 2008, it has increased in its popularity every year,” says Ahmed Rahim, CEO and Chief Alchemist for Numi Organic Tea.  “Now we are pleased to introduce our Indulgent Teas, combining some of our top-selling tea blends with cacao to offer unique tastes for every palate within the ever-growing chocolate tea category.”

Numi Indulgent Teas are certified organic, verified non-GMO, Fair Trade Certified, and made with 100 percent real ingredients, including real cacao powder.  Consumers can choose from four flavors, each available in boxes containing 12 tea bags each:

Chocolate Rooibos: Smooth South African rooibos is enveloped by creamy real vanilla beans, sweet honeybush and rich cacao. This sensual treat is a delightful, soothing beverage you can melt into. Chocolate Rooibos is blended with 45 percent cacao.

Chocolate Mint: This blend of Numi’s Moroccan Mint, cacao and orange peel has a sweet balance. The spearmint flavor adds a bit of spice while orange peel adds a hint of citrus. Chocolate Mint is blended with 55 percent cacao.

Chocolate Earl Grey: Numi’s delicious Aged Earl Grey™ tea blends perfectly with cacao and real vanilla beans. Sweet bergamot orange notes harmonize with creamy vanilla and chocolate for a captivating treat. Chocolate Earl Grey is blended with 50 percent cacao.

Chocolate Spice: This melt-in-your-mouth chocolate spice tea blends rich cacao with a host of colorful chai spices. Ginger and allspice are warming, while cardamom adds kick and cinnamon rounds off this exotic treat. Chocolate Spice is blended with 45 percent cacao.

Numi Organic Tea

Indulgent Teas

Suggested Retail Price:  $7.99

Available to ship beginning April 2014

Nocciolata From Rigoni di Asiago Is A Must-Have

Rigoni Di Asiago USANocciolata organic chocolate hazelnut spread with cocoa and milk by Rigoni di Asiago is a must-have. Creamy and natural, with carefully selected organic ingredients, Nocciolata is produced by combining all natural ingredients with care and an artisan’s devotion of time.

It is not processed with chemical ingredients and does not contain additives or colorings. There are no artificial flavorings either. West Indian cocoa, Italian hazelnuts and Madagascar vanilla are the three main ingredients, and they’re made even creamier with the addition of cocoa butter. All fats are completely natural and no palm oil or hydrogenated oils are used. And of course Nicciolata is gluten-free!

Founded in 1923, Rigoni di Asiago is located on the Asiago plateau, 90 miles north of Venice, where the Rigoni family has always lived and worked surrounded only by nature. Rigoni di Asiago is the producer of Nocciolata, Fiordifrutta organic fruit spread and Mielbio organic honey.

For more information, visit www.nocciolatausa.com or www.rigonidiasiago-usa.com.

Rubschlager’s Rye-Ola Breads Put New Spin on Pumpernickel

Rubschlager BakingRubschlager BakingRubschlager Baking Corporation’s Rye-Ola® Breads, made with 100 percent whole rye, provide a flavorful source of whole grains. Rye-Ola breads contain no added wheat, fat, or sweetening, and have the true taste of Northern European breads, but are baked in Chicago by the company best-known for its cocktail breads.

All varieties are based on the Pumpernickel formula. A generous amount of sunflower kernels are added for Rye-Ola Sunflower; brown flax seeds to make Rye-Ola Flax, and black-strap molasses adds color and tang to the Rye-Ola Black Rye. Each 1-pound package contains 11 thin but hearty slices. Use them for small hors d’oeuvres by cutting first in half, then each half into three or four wedges. Rye-Olas lend themselves to both open-face and closed sandwiches, which can be served hot or cold.

For more information on Rubschlager Baking Corporation, located at 3220 West Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60651, head to www.rubschlagerbaking.com, call 773-826-1245 or email sales@rubschlagerbaking.com.