Submitted by Seleyn DeYarus on Thu, 02/13/2014 - 13:14
By Nikki McCord
You express your love in many ways. You whisper sweet nothings, you rub achy feet. This year, show your love you care about happiness and health. By indulging your Valentine in rich and decadent dark chocolate, you’re not only satisfying their sweet tooth, but you’re showing you care about their health as well!
According to Women’s Health Magazine, cacao, the source of dark chocolate’s distinct taste, is packed with healthy compounds like flavonoids that have antioxidant properties which are “believed to help the body's cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes, such as breathing, and from environmental contaminants, like cigarette smoke.” Additionally, flavonoids can help lower blood pressure as well as improve blood flow to the brain and heart, which makes blood platelets less sticky and able to clot. Flavonoids are also found in products like tea and apples.
Submitted by Seleyn DeYarus on Mon, 02/10/2014 - 15:35
By Shoshana Romer
Twice a year, hundreds of the world’s finest food companies gather to showcase their products to eager buyers such as ourselves, at the Fancy Food Show. Held in San Francisco and New York City, arguably the culinary capitals of the United States, the three-day show is a delicious frenzy of tastings, nibbles, sips, and mouth-watering flavor combinations.
America’s Best Organics attends the Fancy Food Shows in search of products that hit our sweet spot: where gourmet and artisanal meet US-made and organic. This year our goal was to discover sweet spot products in the savory category: olive oils, vinegars, crackers, spreads, sauces, chips and other innovative snacks. Here is a sampling of what we discovered, plus a few surprises.
Popcorn Explosion The crunchy stuff is trending big time in the snack world this year. Popcorn is gluten free which makes it a perfect stand-in snack for eaters with sensitivities to gluten. Thanks to some honorable farmers and eager consumers, non-GMO corn is readily available in the marketplace. And, it can easily swing sweet or savory.
Pop Art brings flavors many of us are familiar with to popcorn: Rosemary Truffle, Thai Coconut Curry, White Cheddar Jalapeno, White Pepper Parmesan and more. Pop Art is organic and they went the extra step to become Non GMO Project Verified that is very important when dealing with corn.
What inspired you to start your business? Using my mother’s recipe from the 60’s, my family has baked this granola for family and friends for over 50 years. I started the company at the end of 2010 when I realized that I would soon be an empty nester. I had completed a detox diet where I was gluten-free for 2 months and found very little yummy foods to really sink my teeth into. I decided to make a gluten-free granola that was as delicious or better than our original recipe.
I also made it 100% organic and cut down on the maple syrup so that it has low sugar content. Over 20 years ago I moved to Boulder because I resonated with Boulder values and I wanted to create a Boulder brand that represents what is important to me, all the unique qualities of leading a healthy, active lifestyle, taking your time to enjoy life; family, nature, work, fun and living up to your fullest potential.
What inspired you to start your business? I was challenged with a health issue and as a result placed on an elimination diet. These are diets that temporarily eliminate foods that cause inflammation in the body, in order to identify any triggers. For 60 days, I was unable to eat wheat, gluten, dairy, soy or refined sugars. Quite a feat for a lover of snacks! As a result, I began experimenting in the kitchen with whole foods that would give me a delicious, yet healthy, on-the-go treat. Thus became the Simple Square.
What is your proudest accomplishment? With the business, I would have to say it is in securing a fantastic team who is incredibly intelligent, loyal and determined.
How does your business serve your local community? We donate product to the food banks where we craft SIMPLE. In addition, we just began working with the Whole Kids Foundation and hope to be able to spread the word about how SIMPLE foods can be healthy and delicious.
What inspired you to start your business? The lack of awareness for great tasting and nutritious vegan Indian food in America and also the fact that organic Indian grocery products didn’t even exist. So, I had a mission: launch the first ever organic Indian grocery product for the vegan audience in America. I pulled it off after about 9 years with the 2005 launch of my Organic Indian Spice Blend Line.
What is your proudest accomplishment? No question, NYC Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007. A bit impressive for a city of 8 million, no?
How does your business serve your local community? I make sure my beloved borough of Brooklyn is always loaded with my goods at the best prices possible. I work the markets myself so I can say hi to the families who got me off the ground 12 plus years ago. We spread love; it’s the Brooklyn way.
How do you want to make a difference? By doing what I have and continue to do: going the extra miles and taking the risk to bring the most superior products to consumers worldwide.
What tech gadget can you not live without and how does it make a difference in your life? Blackberry. Allows me to run my inbox. I don’t do social media or use a laptop.
Fairness is encompassed in the Golden Rule. Treat others how you’d like to be treated. But what does that mean for the food you consume and the gifts you give? Products certified as fair trade ensure equitable trade practices at every level of the supply chain. Communities that receive funds from Fair Trade determine how to best spend those monies for social, economic and environmental development projects. Fair Trade purchases help families earn fair wages, work in safe conditions, and protect the environment. When consumers buy Fair Trade, they support the hard-working people who grow and sew the products we use on a daily basis.
October is Fair Trade Month and there are a variety offerings from America’s Best Organics that are Fair Trade. Numi Organic Tea is Fair Trade certified, with more than half of their blends (and 80% of the raw ingredients purchased) bearing the Fair Trade Certified label. Proceeds from the sale of Fair Trade Numi Organic Tea have helped build new roads and increase access to medical care in Enshi, China.
What inspired you to start your business? Ahmed: Before starting Numi, I started many other smaller businesses including tea houses in Prague, Czech Republic, where I learned all about tea, tea ceremonies, tea culture, and the trends and health benefits in teas and herbs. Combined with all the love and knowledge I gained of tea in the Prague tea houses, Numi was founded on the inspiration to introduce our home country Iraq’s drink of hospitality, Dry Desert Lime to the U.S. This fruit beverage is drunk across all of Iraq, both hot and cold, to welcome people into your home, business or simply to be in camaraderie with someone you want to share time with. This dried lime is called Numi (which means citrus).
Reem: At the time we started our business in 1998, I was getting my Master’s degree in Fine Arts and working odd part-time jobs. I was looking for more fulfillment in my life and somewhere I could apply more of myself and my ideas. One day, driving home from a very frustrating day substitute teaching, I thought about how many ideas I have and how little I follow through on them. Two people’s advice came to mind – 1) my father, who always told me: “Choose one idea. And just follow on that one.” And 2) an ex-boyfriend who used to tell me to “just grind my teeth and do it.” In other words, to face all my fears and persevere. I had always thought about importing a dried lime tea we had drunk as children in Iraq (that didn’t exist in the US). So I chose Numi. Simple as that!
Our mission at America's Best Organics is "to promote the growth of organic food, agriculture and local economies by serving as the nation’s leading provider of all organic and eco-friendly gift basket collections." Subsequently, this means that the products we feature in our gift baskets do not contain GMO ingredients. The reason being, USDA Certified Organic products by definition cannot contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). By ensuring that all of the products we carry are organic, our customers can feel confident that they are buying the cleanest, non-GMO products on the market.
We celebrate Non-GMO Month here by taking the opportunity to continue to educate ourselves and our customers about the benefits of choosing non-GMO products.
NON-GMO MONTH CELEBRATION SALE! We also celebrate your commitment to non-GMO and organic products by offering you a 15% discount during the month of October! Use code NONGMO13 at checkout to receive a discount on your whole order.
Let's dive into the specifics of GMOs for a moment.
I purchased the original business in 1980. But I guess the question relates more to when I started the Organic business. We were predominately a sugar free candy company. We support the candy industry but in the little niche of healthier sweets. Our approach is creating products that many can enjoy without any negative connotations. Hence I wanted to create a brand of candy that was not sugar free, as our company had been known for. Organic Food at the time was emerging, therefore it seemed like a perfect fit for diversification and translate this into what we do best, candy. As a result GoNaturally was born. The name of the company then changed from GoLightly to Hillside Candy. GoNaturally is our USDA Certified Organic, Non-GMO certified candy line. Hillside Candy, LLC has been manufacturing its organic candies under two brands, GoNaturally in the United States and GoOrganic overseas. With the growing awareness in the marketplace over the difference between natural and organic we felt it is now time to start re-branding and go forward with the brand that best fits our product line. GoOrganic has the same shape leaf although all new packages will have a green leaf and the Non-GMO certified logo. Our GoOrganic logo clarifies and cements the company’s direction with this product line.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Continuing to be able to share the rewards of the business with the employees, team members of Hillside Candy.
How does your business serve your local community?
Besides employing many from the local area, we do an annual Community service day. Each year we close the plant and office and dedicate our services to the community followed by a company picnic to celebrate. In years past we have cleaned up local parks and served the Food Bank. This year we also partnered with Whole Foods during their Customer Appreciation day, handed out samples and made tons of new friends.
Our tasting team recently took a break from the office and gathered in the kitchen for what can only be described as a deliciously fulfilling breakfast of pancakes and tea. We are always on the lookout for new organic products to expand our healthy, nutritious and compelling gift offerings. We love innovative healthy and eco-friendly products that are any combination of gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher and chemical free (in the case of body care). When our CEO, Seleyn DeYarus, met Erica Barrett, founder of Southern Culture Artisan Foods and Kate and Sara Holby, sisters and co-founders of Ajiri Tea, at the Fancy Food Show in NYC in June, she knew we had to incorporate their products into our gift collections. The samples arrived and we bee-lined it to the kitchen to try them out.
We managed to capture a few pictures in between mixing batter, munching on hot cakes and sipping tea. The pancakes were perfectly crisp on the outside, moist on the inside and the tea was heart-warming and earthy.