Meet Our Vendor: SeaSmoked Foods

I sadly had to give up dairy a few years ago but the universe was kind enough to allow my body to still eat cheese and thank goodness because it’s delicious!  I can’t wait to try SeaSmoked Foods Nov. 25th!

Where does your passion for food come from?

From my toes all the way to my mouth!

Tell us about your culinary journey.

Started cooking at home with my mom. Took her recipes to college to make my own meals to save money & impress the girls. Graduated from Culinary (Management) School Purdue University. Worked mostly at 13 Coins & Daniel’s Broiler Leschi. Started my own Food Company 32 years ago producing Freezer Jam from NW berries (brand name Freezerves) and is currently a semi-national brand sold in many grocers frozen foods and served in 1000’s of restaurants. Had a partnership meltdown and took a buy out. 2 years ago developed methods of cold smoking several varieties of cheese and smoking & roasting nuts (Pecans & Macadamia Nuts). Most who try them are truly amazed at the quality & flavors and comment “I’ve never had ANYTHING like that before!”

Where is your favorite place to eat?

Angelo’s Italian (in down home town Burien – Friday date might with my wife Michele). Also a few spots near Pacific City, Oregon coast where we vacation several times a year.

Where do you source your ingredients?

Tillamook Cheese and other varieties from Wisconsin and Germany. Macadamia Nuts direct from organic farm on the Big island Hawaii. Pecans direct from Costco.

Tell us about a new product you are working on.

Current products are awesome. Just waiting for the next culinary epiphany.

What will our fans find at your booth this fall?

All products Hickory Smoked for over 3 hours….. Aged Extra Sharp White Cheddar – Sharp Cheddar – Pepper Jack – Havarti – Gouda or Edam – Mozzarella – Hawaiian Macadamia Nuts & Pecans. All in convenient packages with resealable zip locks. Great for gifts and personal enjoyment.

What are your goals for your business in the next year?

So far I’m a one man show and working as much as I want for my youthful age of 66. In a couple Farmers Markets 6 months a year in Downtown Burien on Thursdays & Des Moines Marina on Saturdays. In the next year will look for more similar opportunities in the off season such as “Gobble Up”.

What was your biggest challenge when starting out?

For any food product there are two big challenges for me: #1. It should be something that no one else is doing. #2. The vast majority of those who taste it have to really love it.

What’s your favorite part of this food movement?

Meeting and helping passionate entrepreneurs and finding new food goodies to cook with and eat.

What’s the best part of your job?

Watching the faces and hearing the compliments when customers see – smell – and taste my yummy smokey stuff.

Meet Our Vendor: Mesa de Vida

We really really love the stories behind these amazing small businesses and this one really grabs at the heart strings.  I love hearing how someone realizes their passions and goes for it!  Mesa de Vida has done a great job realizing her potential and we can’t wait to try her goodies!

Where does your passion for food come from?

I grew up with a family that had a love of cooking, and lot’s and lot’s of food. I was obese by high school. As a young mother at 23 I began cooking regularly, realizing I had a passion for it. At 25, when my daughter was 2 and I was over 100 pounds overweight, with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and pre-diabetic, I realized I had to be a better role model for self love and self care. I set out to learn what “healthy” truly meant, and committed to a 100% real food lifestyle. I lost over 100 pounds “accidentally” and created a heart healthy new family legacy. Now I want to help others do the same.

Tell us about your culinary journey.

I grew up with my dad catering and making amazing smoked/cured meats. I developed my passion for cooking at 23, but with no money or time culinary school, I began to self-study. I would go to the library and check out books from the Culinary Institute of America, Le Cordon Bleu, and more. I would assign myself 3 month “tracks” and dive in to “courses”. I would spend 3 months on skills, 3 months on Italian food, 3 months on bread baking, etc. I also began developing my own style of cooking, as well as took online business courses for starting your own business. I started my personal chef business in 2006, focusing on cooking for busy people, as well as private party catering. I moved to the Seattle/Eastside area in 2011 and relaunched my business up here, this time focusing on health and wellness cooking, using my healthy and nutrition certifications in alignment with cooking. I got a phone call one day from The Food Network asking if I’d like to be a contestant on Guys Grocery Games. I was flown out the next month and competed in California – and won! I have been on the cover of Womans Day and Womans World magazines, been a chef spokesperson for nutritious food brands as well. I also began getting referred out to professional athletes through doctors and trainers. I have worked for several of the Seattle Seahawks, and just wrapped up my second summer of private cheffing for Isaiah Thomas (Cleveland Cavaliers). For years I dreamed of starting my own brand of the healthy cooking sauces I relied on for my players (for health, flavor – and to sneak veggies into some of my picky players) and being able to help people everywhere! I LOVE to feed people. I launched Mesa de Vida in December of 2016 and am excited to continue to grow this brand, helping people enjoy healthier, more exciting, more delicious meals at home more often – simply!

Where is your favorite place to eat?

It used to be Spicy Talk Szechuan food in Redmond, but they closed. 🙁 I love local mom and pop restaurants, and unpretentious, simple food. The taco truck at the AMPM on the corner of 148th in Bellevue is pretty awesome. 😉

Where do you source your ingredients?

Most of my vegetables and fruit (no sugar – I sweeten my sauces with plums!) are “ugly veggies”, perfectly nutritious, delicious veggies not pretty enough to head to the store. They get chopped up and sent to my copacker in Renton, WA that takes my recipe and makes batches a bit bigger than I can do on my own at this point. The spices and herbs are whole spices, sourced from the best places around the world. I ensure every ingredient provider gives me a non-gmo statement. My ingredients are the same as you would have in your kitchen if you made these sauces yourself! No funky stuff.

Tell us about a new product you are working on.

I am going to expand with 2 more healthy cooking sauces. All of my sauces are inspired by vibrant cultures from around the world. Currently I have Smoky Latin, North African, Caribbean and Creole. I wonder if anyone can guess where the next to will be inspired by. 😉

What will our fans find at your booth this fall?

We will have our 4 heart-healthy cooking sauces available individually, and in a really cute gourmet gift pack carrier, perfect for gift giving!

What are your goals for your business in the next year?

Continue to develop the business in the Northwest, demo, demo, demo. I recently broke into our first retail location in Idaho, and I hope to continue to strategically expand across the US.

What was your biggest challenge when starting out?

Not knowing this business – at all! I put a year of research and development, as well as consulted with a group at the UW Fosters School of Business for 2 months. There was still so much to learn – and that happens every single day. There are so many known-unknowns when launching something like this, so many struggles and hurdles, sleepless nights and long days. But now I’m also doing this to help other woman/minority owned brands some day, I want to share what I’ve learned – and continue to learn – to help them have a path to creating a brand and company that can give them a business that supports their family and creates beautiful, delicious things for this world!

What’s your favorite part of this food movement?

The grit and drive of all of these people! It is scary to put something out there that you’ve created, having a small business isn’t for everyone. I am inspired by every single story of every single maker I have ever come across!

What’s the best part of your job?

Feeding people. When I get an email from someone sharing with me a photo or a story about how my sauces, in their kitchen, made a difference for them and impacted their life in some way…that is priceless.

Meet Our Vendors: Improper Goods

Love a good cocktail?  Improper Goods will make any alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage extra delicious.  Their products make great gifts for anyone who takes a lot of pride in their home bar.

Where does your passion for food come from?

I grew up in a house that cooked. Making things from scratch was the norm and generally much better than what I would find elsewhere. This continued in my own adult life, cooking with my friends in college and it was one the things my husband and I bonded over.
Tell us about your culinary journey.
My mother who was cook, helped get me my first job working the counter at a gourmet deli in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood where she worked. From there I continued in the food service industry doing almost every job from prep cook to dining room manager. As my knowledge of food and drink expanded I pushed the boundaries more of what I made at home. Making my own bitters started as an experiment that turned into the spark for a business.
Where is your favorite place to eat?
Honestly, most of the time my own kitchen table. I do have a soft spot for Italian and love Ava Genes in Portland as well as Assagio’s in Seattle.
Where do you source your ingredients?
Since bitters contain so many different herbs and botanicals sourcing is huge for us. We take great pains to find vendors we can trust who are also a consistent source for us. That said we source from all over, but do work farm direct whenever possible. Our pomegranate comes from Homegrown Cellars, a family farm in Northern California, our vanilla comes from La Faza who work directly with small farms in Madagascar to offer fair trade, sustainably sourced vanilla. We get Rosemary from Vibrant Valley Farms right here in Portland on Sauvie Island.
Tell us about a new product you are working on.
There are a lot actually, I’ve got four different bitters in the testing phase right now. However, this fall we’ll be launching our first seasonal botanical syrup that is a collaboration with Starvation Alley cranberry farms – Cranberry Five Spice. It’s so tasty!
What will our fans find at your booth this fall?
We’ll bring a selection of our best selling bitters and syrups as well as our brand new mini cocktail kits, perfect for about 4-5 drinks.
 
What are your goals for your business in the next year?
We are looking to take on investment and launch a canned cocktail.
What was your biggest challenge when starting out?
Scaling up production. Every time we made a significant increase in production we ran into totally unforeseen issues, like the chip board for our case boxes having a season and being out of stock. We never thought case boxes would be the issue.
 
What’s the best part of your job?
Seeing people’s faces light up when they taste something they truly enjoy.

Meet Our Vendors: Ballard Extracts

Got a baker you love?  Then get them some Ballard Extracts!  Seriously, you can smell the high quality ingredients when you pop that jar.  We love this mother/daughter business and think you will too!

Where does your passion for food come from?

I have always enjoyed baking and learned from my mom to bake from scratch and using the basics.

Tell us about your culinary journey.
My mom and I own Ballard Extracts – a local company in Seattle, WA that makes small batches of baking extracts since 2014. Since we bake from scratch, we figured we’d make our extract available to the public.
Where is your favorite place to eat?
I am a big fan of local restaurants such as Phinney Market.
Where do you source your ingredients?
We use all organic ingredients and source as close to home as possible. We use Theo Chocolate from Seattle, WA and also use cranberries from the PNW.
Tell us about a new product you are working on.
We are working on a grapefruit syrup, ginger syrup and vanilla syrup.
What will our fans find at your booth this fall?
We will have all seven flavors of our extracts to sample as well as our syrups that are ready to go to bottle!
What are your goals for your business in the next year?
We hope to continue to listen to our fans and customers to make our product the best that it can be.
What was your biggest challenge when starting out?
We knew little about packaging, so making our vision come to reality was an expensive challenge – but we did it!
What’s your favorite part of this food movement?
We love to see all of the creativity and rich flavor!
What’s the best part of your job?
Working with my mom is the best part of my job.

Meet Our Vendors: B. Fuller’s Mortar & Pestle

B. Fuller’s Mortar & Pestle has got it going on!  Not only do they make delicious teas but they have great packaging, a super fun booth and they even dress up for the shows.  Come check out this super fun booth at Gobble Up!

Where does your passion for food come from?

Food is life, and you have to have a passion for life!

 Where is your favorite place to eat?
I prefer a good meal made at home with friends. Of a lovely seafood restaurant overlooking the water.
Where do you source your ingredients?
We use only organic herbal ingredients sourced from industry leaders, and for our whole leaf teas we work with a variety of trusted suppliers to offer the highest quality teas.
Tell us about a new product you are working on.
We are currently developing a Turmeric base Herbal Tisane for addressing inflammation and joint pain.
What will our fans find at your booth this fall?
Only the best, most delicious, and creative Herbal and Tea blends.
What are your goals for your business in the next year?
We are looking to expand, and open a second retail and cafe location.
What was your biggest challenge when starting out?
Organization!
What’s your favorite part of this food movement?
It is wonderful that people are concious of the source, quality, and healthfulness of the foods they are consuming. I am so happy that we are becoming more connected to source.
What’s the best part of your job?
Our Customers.

Meet Our Vendor: One Fork Farm Caramels

We are excited to have One Fork Farm Caramels join us this year!   Gotta love farm owners that turn into caramel makers right?

Where does your passion for food come from?

Years ago, I worked at a small Oregon winery that had an amazing chef and who sourced everything locally, long before “local” was a buzzword. The quality of her ingredients and dishes left such a lasting impression on me, it launched me onto a path of growing food and cooking with a true appreciation of sourcing locally.

Where do you source your ingredients?

Since I live in Oregon’s Willamette Valley…that’s where most of my ingredients come from. All of the honey, cream and butter in my caramels come from surrounding farms. My sea salt is harvested off the Oregon Coast, and my other flavorings, including chocolate, chai, and spirits, all come from Portland.

Tell us about a new product you are working on

We’ll be concocting a dairy-free caramel after the new year. It’s something we’ve wanted to offer for a long time, but only providing that it would be a stand-alone good caramel…not just something thrown together for the sake of having that option. We’re on it!

What will our fans find at your booth this fall?

This is our first year at an Urban Craft Uprising event and we couldn’t be more excited! We’ll be bringing along all of our caramel flavors, all of which are made with honey and never corn syrup…our current flavors include Wildflower Honey, Vanilla Bean, Coffee Rum Horchata, Velvet Chocolate, and Spiced Chai.
 
What’s the best part of your job?
The best thing about what I do is that I get to meet and talk to so many different people, from all walks of life. A big part of my job is simply interacting with new people at markets and events and in my shop. It’s so great to get to know people beyond simply being a customer.

Meet Our Vendor: CHELO Cultured Cashew Crème

Say hello to CHELO Cultured Cashew Crème.  We can’t wait to try this product!  For those of you with allergies, this product is right up your alley and sounds absolutely delicious!

What will our fans find at your booth this fall?
My hope is to Wow them with a food that is so deliciously creamy and full of bright, bold flavors that they will be shocked to learn that it contains only simple, wholesome ingredients – and no dairy or soy!
 

What are your goals for your business in the next year?

My goal is to expand to a few more farmers markets as well as several Seattle and Bellevue stores.

 

What was your biggest challenge when starting out?

Learning everything from scratch – from renting a kitchen to determining packaging and labeling.

 

What’s your favorite part of this food movement?

People are becoming educated about the importance of what they put into their bodies. They are demanding healthy food!

 

What’s the best part of your job?
Hearing that my product fills a need and brings pleasure. When customers tell me that they can’t eat cheese but that my product totally fills the void, or when a parent comes to my booth at a farmers market with their little dairy intolerant child and are SO pleased when the child says, “Yum!” after tasting one of my flavors. Those are the moments when my heart bursts with happiness.

Meet Our Vendor: San Juan Island Sea Salt

We are super excited to welcome San Juan Island Sea Salt to Gobble Up this fall!  What a great gift for all your culinary lovers out there.

San Juan Island Sea Salt

Tell us about your culinary journey.

My name is Brady and I am the younger son of the Ryan Farm clan. I enjoyed a wonderful upbringing on San Juan Island, where I spent countless hours swimming in the cold, clean ocean. After high school, I moved on to the University of Washington in Seattle, where I obtained a degree in Mathematics and discovered a passion for plants and agriculture. After graduating in 2010 I began working for Local Roots Farm, a vegetable farm in the Snoqualmie Valley outside Seattle. After that adventure, I was lucky enough to intern with the Ballard Bee Company in Seattle, which led me to start San Juan Island Honey (now Upper Left Honey). I’m always learning more about sea salt and love the challenge of making the best sea salt in the PNW.

 

Where do you source your ingredients?

 To make our sea salt we require only two ingredients: filtered seawater and sunshine. We collect our saltwater at a private beach here on San Juan Island.

 

Tell us about a new product you are working on.
 We have several new products in the works and we’re very excited about all of them! Get ready for sweet salt, umami salt, gomasio salt, and chocolate salted honey caramels.

What will our fans find at your booth this fall?

The best sea salt you’ve ever tasted! Our natural salt is different than other sea salts because it is fully evaporated, instead of boiled. We also have a variety of amazing blends and seasonings. Make sure to check out my favorite,
our popcorn blend.

 

What was your biggest challenge when starting out?

Refining our process! Our company started out in my parent’s kitchen, as an idea for a unique Christmas gift for friends and family. Now, we have a fully operational farm with greenhouses and a production facility. It’s been an amazing journey.

Meet Our Vendor: Jonboy Caramels

If you follow us, you know we LOVE jonboy caramels!  They have the most interesting flavors, great consistency and now they have caramel sauce!  These make for some wonderful gifts for coworkers, friends, family and strangers.

Where does your passion for food come from?

I am passionate about anything that is made well, especially from someone I can meet face to face. Appreciation for quality food is something that came to me somewhat later on and has only evolved since I have been able to meet so many other local, quality artisans at events and farmers markets. I believe that the more small local companies a community has, the closer knit it becomes.

Tell us about your culinary journey.

In 2009, we came together with the idea of creating the finest caramels with the very best ingredients we could find. I had tried wonderfully rich caramels in Europe, but could find nothing like that in the Seattle area. We started out producing in our own kitchens, but quickly found that we were outgrowing the cramped spaces and rented space in a commissary kitchen and eventually our own commercial kitchen. With the exposure of our products at local farmers markets, we quickly grew and were able to get our caramels in more and more stores throughout the Northwest. It’s hard to believe it has been 9 years now but we still love what we do!

 

Where is your favorite place to eat?

In Seattle, I would have to say Walrus and Carpenter for Oysters or Carta de Oaxaca for fantastic Mexican food
Where do you source your ingredients?
 Many of our ingredients come from local vendors such as Hayton and Sidhu Farms for organic berries and Pacific Distillery for Absinthe in our Absinthe with Black Salt Caramels
Tell us about a new product you are working on.

 We just finished our new Fleur de Sel caramel sauce that we are very proud of! Wonderful on Ice cream, apples and even in coffee!

 

What will our fans find at your booth this fall?
Fleur de Sel, Absinthe, and Molasses Ginger (fall seasonal) caramels as well as Fleur de Sel caramel sauce
What are your goals for your business in the next year?
We hope to expand our offerings to a larger market outside the northwest and come out with some new and exiting flavors for our customers to try.
What was your biggest challenge when starting out?
Each stage of our growth has had it’s new set of challenges. Starting out, I would have to say our biggest challenge was figuring out how to drastically increase the size of our caramel batches while not compromising quality and time.
 

What’s your favorite part of this food movement?

 I love that there are so many smaller, quality producers in the Northwest that are on similar journeys as us. We have been able to collaborate and give and receive valuable information that has been crucial to our continued success.

What’s the best part of your job?

I love that we have created a product from scratch that customers crave and being a part of the wonderful Seattle specialty foods community.

Meet Our Vendor: Conundrum Trail Mix

Say hello to Conundrum Trail Mix!  My 72 year old mom has a weekly hiking group ranging from their 60’s to 90’s.  They hike in the summer as well as the winter.  I think they should all have this on hand to keep them going during their long hikes!

Where does your passion for food come from?

Utilizing fresh and local ingredients to create something new and exciting has been a passion from an early age.

Tell us about your culinary journey.

The majority of the jobs I have worked have been in the food service industry. Conundrum started out of a desire to actually enjoy the trail mix I was eating on the go or out on a hike.

Where is your favorite place to eat?

I am originally from Georgia, so I would say some place that does southern food well. It doesn’t even to be fancy. Sometimes less is more.

Where do you source your ingredients?

All of the nuts are direct from the farm. Freddy Guy Hazelnuts in Oregon, Diamond Grove Pecans in Georgia, & Briden Wilson almonds from California. Bob’s Red Mill in Oregon is another source. Their quality is outstanding and they are employee owned.

Tell us about a new product you are working on.

Currently, I am toying around with a trail mix that will utilize ingredients exclusively from the West Coast.

What will our fans find at your booth this fall?

We will be showcasing a 4oz stand up pouch of the trail mix. Samples as well of course.

What are your goals for your business in the next year?

Each year, Conundrum has almost doubled. I would very much like it to be my only job at some point next year.

What was your biggest challenge when starting out?

Financials. I did not take out loans when I started. And while it was difficult at first, I am so glad I did not.

What’s your favorite part of this food movement?

Creativity. I might not always enjoy something put in front of me, but I will always appreciate it.

What’s the best part of your job?

Connecting with people over something as simple as trail mix.