LOCAL FLAVOR: Chaga Island Tea

LOCAL FLAVOR: Chaga Island Tea

Chaga mushrooms are a fungus that grows on hardwood trees in cold, northern forests, used by Russians and Scandinavians for centuries to treat everything from digestive issues to cancer. We had the opportunity to speak with Plainview-based Chaga Island Tea, to learn more about the health benefits of this magical mushroom elixir and why we should add it to our wellness routine.

RT: What is Chaga Island’s origin story?
CIT: Chaga Island was conceived from a 30-year friendship between Debbie Falborn, R.N. and Bridget Leroy, both native Long Islanders. Many years later when Bridget’s third child was diagnosed with mononucleosis, she discovered her friend Debbie was living in the same town and reached out to her for her advice as a former pediatric nurse. By Bridget’s account, she was shocked to be handed three wood-like pieces of chaga mushroom and told to go home, brew it, and have her son drink the tea. In five days, the illness that was supposed to keep him in bed for 4-6 weeks was gone. His bloodwork was negative for mono.

Soon after that making chaga tea became their mission. Together Debbie and Bridget spent over two years learning and developing the magnificent Chaga Tea we have the good fortune to have available to us. Initially sold at Farmer’s Markets, it went to retail stores around Long Island in 2018. The feedback from consumers was amazing for this great-tasting, organic brewed medicinal tea.

RT: What sets Chaga apart from other healing teas?
CIT: What sets us apart from other chaga products is the process. There are only two ways of receiving the healthy benefits of chug mushrooms, both of which requires breaking down the chitin (the hard, shell-like component of fungi cell walls). Only alcohol extraction or long, slow brewing using water can extract the medicinal properties. Using the water method, the body can better assimilate the mushroom’s benefits.

RT: What role do chaga mushrooms play for those adhering to a holistic lifestyle? 
CIT: Chaga mushrooms are considered to be The King of Medicinal Mushrooms. They are antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant . In fact, they have the highest antioxidant value of any other natural substance aside from raw cacao. Chaga tea is one of the highest immunomodulators on the planet. Some of its many nutrients include Vitamin A, Vitamin B-complex, Vitamins C, E and K, iron, calcium, zinc, and fiber.

RT: When/how often should we drink Chaga tea? What do you recommend? 
CIT: We suggest to others to do as as we do and enjoy our teas every day for health maintenance. Our teas an be enjoyed both cold and hot.

RT: Anything new at Chaga Tea?
CIT: At Chaga Island Tea, we’re always looking to provide our clients with new combinations of organic flowers and herbs that contribute to well-being. Look for new flavors in the coming year!

RT: For those of us who dream of starting their own local biz, what has it been like to launch/run a successful local business?
CIT: Starting a local successful business can be daunting but a dream that can be realized. There are so many talented passionate creators of food here on Long Island. We at Health By Design, it’s our mission to join with the imaginative creators of food and drink to bring their products to market. As a team of people who care about the integrity of food, snacks, and beverages, we are excited to continue to bring forth delicious healthy gluten free, keto, organic, and kosher foods to Long Island.

Try Chaga Island Teas in Cinnamon  and Hibiscus flavors. Other products in the Health By Design collection include Chocorite Keto Blast (a keto meal replacement bar), Splitz (a split pea snack), CloudWater (a CBD sparkling water) & Blossom Water, a flower and fruit beverage.

LOCAL FLAVOR: Maxim Hygiene Products

LOCAL FLAVOR: Maxim Hygiene Products

Kenneth Alvandi spent a quarter century building up a small distribution company into a factory that manufactured some of the feminine products in its distribution portfolio. In 2006, five years into Alvandi’s manufacturing venture, making conventional products for mass market retailers like Walmart, he realized he could be doing something that was more in line with his personal values for healthy and earth-friendly living. He sold his shares in his company and began to develop the Maxim brand: the first pure 100% organic and natural cotton-based feminine hygiene products. His daughter, Rebecca Alvandi Yadegar (Maxim’s Vice President and Chief Flow Rider), joined him in the journey, excited to be part of a change-making movement inspired by menstruation.

RT: How do you describe the Fierce Woman Philosophy the company was founded on?
MHP:The Fierce Woman philosophy was written by my sister who interned for us at the early stages of the brand. This philosophy truly captures the spirit in which my Dad raised his girls and part of the reason he created Maxim to begin with – to empower women to make better and healthier choices.

RT: Why is it important for girls and women to use natural feminine products?
MHP: Our bodies and vaginas in particular have been endowed with the greatest life force in the world – giving birth and providing the space for each human being’s first home. Vaginal tissues are some of the most absorbent tissues found in the body. For this reason, girls and women in particular need to use the cleanest and healthiest products, especially when exposing our powerful baby-making body parts to them.

RT: It seems there are more and more opportunities to purchase natural, bleach-free feminine products. What sets Maxim’s products apart from other products on the market? 
MHP: Maxim products have been servicing health-conscious audiences for over 11 years—before it was a trend. Our products are backed by over 35 years of expertise in the category and a father and daughter duo that care about more than just the bottom line. As product pioneers, we’ve grown our business sustainably and privately, as if it was a part of our own family. We try to treat everyone who comes in contact with Maxim like family, as well.

RT: What’s the latest from Maxim? Anything new in the pipeline? 
MHP: Yes!!!!!!!! I hope the exclamation points help illustrate how excited I am about the Organic Cotton Baby, Facial and Intimate Wipes we recently launched. I can’t even begin to tell you how long and hard my Dad worked to find and formulate a pure organic cotton towelette-based product that works! Cotton is the most basic standard ingredient we require for all our product lines. Being the first to offer a pure cotton line of Cotton Menstrual Pads, we are proud to have found a way to carry that standard over to the wipes products, too. Most other wipes, even if they contain organic extracts, are made with a synthetic or wood pulp based towelette, which isn’t as gentle on the body or safe for the environment as organic cotton.

RT: As the owner of a company that makes natural personal care products, we’re thinking you must live a healthy lifestyle. So…what are you loving to eat right now? What are your current go-to’s?
MHP: Great question! I’ve been on a really big tarragon, dill, and parsley kick. It’s my new favorite green alternative to the craze over kale. These herbs are a very big part of the Iranian culture (my father’s ethnicity) and are super healthy and tasty. I throw them in and on everything from salads, to fish, to smoothies. I’ve also really gotten in to acupuncture lately, but I think I was late on that trend!

RT: What’s one fun thing most people don’t know about Maxim?
MHP: My Dad and I constantly argue about how to pronounce the brand’s name. I say “Maxum,” he says “Maxeeem”….it definitely confuses people, but at the end of the day he named the baby so he wins.

RT: Maxim is involved in social action projects around menstruation and feminine hygiene. What are the core issues you’re fighting for? 
MHP:The social action piece of what we do has been the driving force for me. Whereas my dad is driven and passionate about product development, I was inspired by what this category can and does stand for.

The core issues that drive me are focused around women’s health and empowerment, particularly in making sure women and girls have access not just to menstrual care products, but to healthier ones. A few years ago, I stood at the footsteps of NYC’s city hall, alongside Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and other fierce woman leaders, to rally around the passing of a bill that was the first of its kind in the nation – providing free period products in city homeless shelters, prisons and schools. Not only did this bill pass in 2016 as mandatory for city schools, but two years later Assemblymember Rosenthal was behind another bill that made New York the first state in the country to provide free period products in public school restrooms. Maxim not only supported the passing of these bills; we also made a monumental donation of over 250,000 tampons to reinforce our values with action. The donation helped service over 33,000 women and girls in need via a nonprofit organization that helps distribute menstrual care kits to those who do not have access or can’t afford them.

RT: Can you suggest ways that we can get involved in the menstruation movement?
MHP: This year’s hottest menstrual health related topic is ingredients disclosure. Bill A.164/S.2387, the Period Disclosure Bill, will most likely once again make our home state of New York the first to pass a bill of this kind, which would mandate full ingredient disclosure on the labels of period products sold in New York. At Maxim, we’ve always been transparent about our products’ ingredients because we’ve got nothing to hide. We believe consumers have a right to know what their products are made of so they can be empowered enough to make their own choice. To help get this bill passed, we encourage New Yorker’s reach out to their local representatives with a call or email to express how important the bill is to them. If you don’t know who your representative is, here’s a link to help you find out: https://nyassembly.gov/mem/search/

RT: Rising Tide loves local! What has it been like to start and run a company in Long Island/New York State? 
MHP: I’ve traveled a lot in my lifetime and I can say hands down, without any bias, that New York is the best state in the world, mostly because of NYC’s rich cultural diversity and the stunning beaches on Long Island (ok, maybe there’s a little bias in that last part ). Seriously, New York State has an edge and spirit I’ve experienced nowhere else. The history-making wins of the menstrual movement described above are just one small example of that!

RT: So many in this community dream of starting their own business. What’s your best piece of advice for launching a successful local biz?
MHP: Love what you’re dreaming of starting as much as you love yourself and hire people who are smarter than you.

INDEPENDENCE FOR INDEPENDENTS

INDEPENDENCE FOR INDEPENDENTS

It’s July, and Rising Tide is Celebrating Shopping Local!

It’s Independent Retailer Month, the perfect time for us to say what it means to us to be an independent business, planting roots in this community for 43 years. We love being your independent health food store!  When Jerry first opened our current location, it was only made possible by small but vital investments from some of his then customers (many of whom are still customers today!). Now, more than four decades later, Rising Tide is still guided by the evolving needs of the health conscious in this community in an invaluable give-and-take of wellness and product knowledge. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

One of the best parts of being an independent retailer like Rising Tide is our ability to feature and promote other local businesses that share our values. We’ve been doing this for years in our monthly newsletters under the heading “Local Flavor”. Sometimes we shine a spotlight on a hyper-local business, like Moxie Cream or Steiner’s Coffee Cake, both out of Sea Cliff. Sometimes we cast the net a bit wider to feature truly special businesses elsewhere on Long island (this month’s feature on the triple fermented sourdough bread from Montauk’s Night Owl Baker is one such biz), or further afield in the Tri-state area or Upstate New York (Gilbertie’s Herbs out of Westport, Connecticut comes to mind, as does the Piggery Farm & Butcher in Ithaca, New York). It gives us great pleasure to introduce our customers to the local companies we love the most, with the hopes of helping those businesses to thrive in a world of Big Food and big box stores. As a small business ourselves, this is a role we are more than happy to play.

Our Co-Op Helps Us Help You

Being small doesn’t mean being alone…in 2009 we joined the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association (INFRA), a cooperative comprised of 240 likeminded members in 380 locations around the country. This relationship has literally transformed our business, allowing us to provide independent service and values with big store pricing.  We are thrilled to be able to pass on all the benefits of being an INFRA member to our customers, who make everything possible.

Lastly, being a local business in this community allows us to be part of a growing number of small businesses like us, servicing the one-of-a-kind residents of Long Island’s North Shore. We are beyond happy to support (and be supported by) wonderful small businesses like Heritage Bakers, ClayNationGritty Buddha, Royal Native, and Strong Island Styles Barber Shop (to name just a few!), all located within minutes of Rising Tide.

Our communities—and our lives—are made richer by value-driven small businesses. Support them by thinking, acting, and shopping locally this July!

LOCAL FLAVOR: Night Owl Baker

LOCAL FLAVOR: Night Owl Baker

At the farmers markets in Santa Monica, CA and Union Square, NY, SoCal native Tracy Stoloff discovered a healthier,  more nutritious  and creative  approach to nourishing  and feeding her family. It was here that she discovered naturally fermented, wild yeasted bread.  Not only did she love the flavor and texture, this fermented sourdough became the vehicle for improving her gut health.

After re-locating to Montauk, she began her journey as a baker, committed to making bread the way it was made centuries ago, with three pure ingredients and lots of time and love.  With plenty of trial and error, she created a bread that met her standards for taste and optimum health. Her bread had become a staple of her family’s diet, and she wanted  to share it. Today she offers Night Owl True Sourdough throughout the Hamptons and Long Island, in Manhattan, and available to ship nationwide.

RT: What’s the origin of your name?
NOB: The process of feeding my leavens and fermenting the dough takes days, literally, so I decided to call it Night Owl and see how it would do at the local farmer’s markets. The response has been amazing, especially among professionals in the wellness community who appreciate the health benefits, and of course the wildly delicious taste.

RT: What is Night Owl’s mission/philosophy?
NOB: I am dedicated to offering a truly triple fermented true sourdough product. I am committed to the 86-hr fermentation in an effort to obtain a natural wheat bread with the most degraded, hydrolyzed gluten content. This means that the human gut can easily digest the trace gluten that remains. I am committed to this slow ferment, slow-rise bake that never relies on instant baker’s yeast.

RT: Who are the people behind Night Owl?
NOB: It’s a family affair. Mainly me , support from my partner in Night Owl and life, commercial Fisherman Chris Winkler, and my daughter Ella Stoloff. I am at the point where I need a full-time employee.

RT: What sets Night Owl products apart from other breads on the market?
NOB: All the flours used are triple fermented. We never use raw flour for anti-stick, kneading etc. There are no traces of “green”, “fresh” flour, ever.

RT: What’s the latest from Night Owl Baker? Anything new and exciting in the pipeline?
NOB: We are currently test-baking a line of fermented sourdough super thin crackers, and charcoal crackers made from the same dough—triple fermented, no raw flour.

RT: How would you describe the role sourdough plays for those pursuing a clean, healthy lifestyle?
NOB: True sourdough bread provides optimum, natural gut health via the naturally produced lactobacillus.

RT: When you’re not noshing on delicious sourdough bread… what are you loving to eat right now? What are your go-to’s?
NOB: We live off fresh bread, fresh fish, good cheese, whatever is in season at the East End farms. We’re eating radishes with everything right now. Fresh pesto is the highlight of summer treats.

RT: What’s your favorite recipe to make using your bread?
NOB: I really enjoy some Night Owl toasted thin, a little olive oil, hummus, thin slice of tomato. Avocado toast happens at least once a day. I love the bread with meat and cheese. Many of my customers enjoy sharing with me how they like the bread and I get a lot of great ideas from them.

RT: Rising Tide loves local! What has it been like to start and run a company in Long Island?
NOB: Pretty challenging. Space is at an absolute premium in the Hamptons. I  was lucky enough to team up with Holly Gosman of Gosman’s Retail Gourmet market a few years ago. We cooked and prepared the foods for the market together and she has allowed me to use her ovens year around.

RT: What is something FUN most people don’t know about Night Owl Baker?
NOB: Prior to my bread obsession, I worked as an interior decorator. I had a vintage, homewares boutique back home in Topanga, CA.

RT: So many in this community dream of starting their own business. What’s your best piece of advice for launching a successful local biz?
NOB: Slow and steady, and have a back-up plan and a deep affection and belief in your product. Passion is a requisite.

Find Night Owl True Sourdough bread in the freezer section at Rising Tide. 

LOCAL FLAVOR: Superseed Snacks

LOCAL FLAVOR: Superseed Snacks

Mateen Pouyafar and his mother, Bita, launched Superseed Snacks to offer a healthy alternative to existing snacks and bring attention back to seeds, the root of all food. By focusing on seeds, they want us to remember where our food comes from, and that so much of it starts with the humble seed! We are so happy to have these uber-healthy snack bars at Rising Tide, and to learn from Mateen how they came to be.

RT: What is the Superseed Snacks mission?
SS: We make seed-based foods with raw ingredients. We believe the less processed our food is, the healthier it is for us. We also believe in transparency. What you see written on the front wrapper is backed up by basic ingredients and nothing more. In addition to providing health-conscious consumers with a nutritious, delicious snack bar, we want to bring back the tradition of seed saving and encourage people to grow anything!

RT: What sets Superseed Snacks products apart from other bars on the market?
SS: Oh, so much! We insist on a process that only includes raw and organic ingredients. Also, I’m really proud of the fact that we mostly use hemp seeds in our products and are allergen friendly. Our maple syrup comes from a family farm in Upstate NY. And most importantly, Superseed Snacks taste really good!

RT: What’s the latest from Superseed Snacks? Anything new and exciting in the pipeline? 
SS: Yes, so much. We are in the process of rebranding and changing our name to ‘Seedly’. Also, look out for seed butter, seed yogurt, and seed milk coming soon.

RT: How would you describe the role hemp plays for those pursuing a clean, healthy lifestyle? 
SS: I think hemp embodies clean and healthy in every way. Hemp seeds are a nutritional powerhouse. It’s the most complete source of plant protein available and is filled with essential amino acids like omega 3 and 6. It’s also important to understand where our food comes from when we talk about clean and healthy. Hemp is a plant that can be grown and harvested locally almost anywhere in the world and helps regenerate the soil. Hemp as a whole plant has many other uses, too, including textiles, building materials, and medicine.

RT: How has the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill affected your ability to do business?
SS: It’s definitely opened up many opportunities which most businesses take for granted…things like opening bank accounts and contracting local farmers. It’s also helping change the stigma around hemp.

RT: When you’re not noshing on organic hemp seed bars… what are you loving to eat right now?
SS: 
This might sound basic, but fruits and vegetables are my go-to. I love waking up in the morning and having fruit for breakfast. Rice bowls are fun, too. You can use any grains and top with cooked or raw veggies and seeds with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon. I love making homemade bread/pizza too. Back to the basics!

RT: What’s your favorite recipe using the Superseed Crumble?
SS: Classic go-to would be on top of yogurt or ice cream. It’s like having dessert as a meal and not feeling guilty about it! One morning recently I was making oatmeal and thought I’d see what would happen if I added some [Superseed] crumble. I threw in like half a bag of ginger chai and it was so amazing. I was very happy.

RT: What is one FUN thing most people don’t know about  Superseed Snacks?
SS:
All our products are made by hand with love in our dedicated seed kitchen. And we’re always blasting music while we work.  Everyone touching our bars is basking in high vibrations of Love & Joy.  It’s our company policy.

RT: Rising Tide loves local. What has it been like to start and run a company in New York State?
SS: 
It’s a great place to start a business because the community is so large. There are so many food startups right now and everyone has been friendly. Also, having Manhattan in your backyard is great. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

 RT: So many in this community dream of starting their own business. What’s your best piece of advice for launching a successful local biz?
SS: I’ll refer back to what my grandfather told me. Start slow and steady. Invest as little money as possible and as much time as possible. Let the people you serve dictate your growth.

LOCAL FLAVOR: Moxie Cream Natural Deodorant

LOCAL FLAVOR: Moxie Cream Natural Deodorant

If you’re into natural deodorant (no aluminum, please!), you need to check out Moxie Cream. Started right in Sea Cliff, Francesca and Ned work hard to make sure you have a pure, clean deodorant cream that keeps you smelling fresh throughout your busy day.

RT: What was the impetus for creating Moxie Cream?
MC: I’m a professional dancer and live a very active lifestyle. For years I couldn’t find a natural deodorant that worked for me. I was concerned about the consequences of chemicals on breast and overall health and was frustrated that I was resorting to using a traditional men’s deodorant to accomplish what I needed. After a long and unsuccessful search for something clean but strong, I decided to make my own.

RT: What is the company’s philosophy?
MC: We believe that people shouldn’t be afraid to sweat and that sweaty doesn’t mean smelly. We believe in being active and trying to use the most natural options with the fewest ingredients whenever possible. But most of all, we believe that choosing a natural option shouldn’t mean settling for a less effective product.

RT: Who are the people behind Moxie Cream?
MC: The original formula for Moxie Cream was created by me, Francesca Carillo-Vaccino, a professional dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist. After a couple of years of giving it to family and friends and selling it to other dancers, my now fiancé Ned Brennan encouraged me to form my own company. Together in 2016 we started Moxie Cream.

RT: Why should we be using a natural deodorant?
MC: Traditional deodorants and antiperspirants are loaded with potentially harmful chemicals, one of the most concerning being aluminum. This area of our body is particularly sensitive and is close to many of our lymph nodes. If there is a way to reduce the amount of chemicals that we expose ourselves to and not have to sacrifice effectiveness, it seems like an easy product to switch when trying to live a cleaner lifestyle.

RT: What sets your products apart from other natural deodorants on the market?
MC: Moxie was created with people who move for a living in mind, which means it’s strong enough to last when really put to the test. We’ve worked hard to make a cream that feels good on the skin, not rough to the touch. We want to make sure every aspect of the experience around Moxie is a good one. Again, no sacrifices for natural products!

RT: What’s the latest from Moxie Cream? Anything new in the pipeline?
MC: We’re currently working on two new formulas, a baking soda-free version and an unscented version. There has been a ton of demand centered around these two options and we’re getting close to being able to offer them. We’re also working on a body cream and a dry shampoo, both of which will hopefully be launched by this fall.

RT: As the owner of a company that makes natural personal care products, we assume you practice a healthy lifestyle. Along those lines…What are you loving to eat right now? What are your go-to’s?
MC: Right now I’ve been really into amping up my smoothies, which I make every morning, by  incorporating a Ph green powder mix and chaga mushrooms. I’m also loving the infrared sauna which I try to do 2-3 times per week. And for something sweet, I’m into oat milk cappuccinos and the little treats made by Pleasant Petites.

RT: What’s one fun thing most people don’t know about Moxie Cream?
MC: Early on when we were first trying to build up some momentum around the business, we came out with a special scent for the holiday season. It was called Mint Everest; the label had a candy cane swirl and it smelled like a peppermint patty. The only problem was that the peppermint oil was so strong that it tingled when you put it on your pits. Some people loved it and others…not so much. We decided to discontinue it after the first season. But we might bring it back, because we both love it and we still get requests from customers who used it.

Also, if your shoes ever get too smelly you can use Moxie to defunkify them.

RT: Rising Tide loves local! What has it been like to start and run a company in Long Island/New York State?
MC: It has been really great. We are so fortunate to have such a large community of health- focused people who live in the area. Not to mention the support of businesses like Rising Tide that help us reach all those people. I should also mention that Rising Tide was the first market to buy from us, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity and trust!

RT: So many in this community dream of starting their own business. What’s your best piece of advice for launching a successful local biz?
MC: Do it. You can always come up with excuses not to try something, especially something as hard as starting a small business. But once you take that first step, everything becomes more clear. There will be problems that pop up that you don’t now how to fix, but you’ll figure them out and come out the other side proud of yourself and happy that you chose to make the leap!

LOCAL FLAVOR: Ally’s Oats

LOCAL FLAVOR: Ally’s Oats

To know steel cut oats is to love them. Such is the philosophy behind Cold Spring Harbor-based Ally’s Oats, the company offering the newest, healthiest, grab-and-go snack at Rising Tide. Available in five yummy flavors (the most popular? Peanut Butter Honey, of course!), Ally’s Oats are perfect for pre- or post-workout, school snack or lunch, a quick on-the-go meal—virtually any time you need a convenient, wholesome  bite with zero guilt attached. We spoke with Alison McShea, Ally’s founder, about her family legacy of steel cut oats, and why she’s so excited to share them with everyone at Rising Tide.

RT: What is the origin of Ally’s Oats?
AO: I grew up in Rockville Center in a family of 9. Back then, steel cut oats was a way for my mother to make sure we all had a hearty,  healthy meal to sustain us throughout our school day. My grandmother was from Galway, Ireland and fed her family the same oats.

Now I am a single mom raising four children of my own. When I went back to work full-time, my daughter disliked the school lunch choices, so I put a pot of steel cut oats in the fridge and told her they would make a great, healthy lunch.  Fast forward…she loved the oats and shared them with friends and staff. Pretty soon I was selling steel cut oats in the high school to all the students and teachers!  As our followers grew, I began to research the many health benefits of Ally’s Oats. I had inherited my mother’s love of steel cut oats.

RT: What is the company’s mission?
AO: To share our love of organic steel cut oats and offer a healthy, ready-to-eat snack or meal.  Ally’s Oats are full of vitamins and beta glucan, and are a source of iron, protein, and many other healthy ingredients.

RT: Who are the people behind Ally’s Oats?
AO: I am Alison McShea, the founder, and my partner is Bruce Pomper.  Ally’s Organic Oats has also put together a family of enthusiastic Oat helpers. Patricia, my identical twin sister, is a great help with graphic design and business planning. Gabby is our main kitchen staff member and helps manage the kitchen.

RT: What sets Ally’s Oats products apart from other ready-to-eat products on the market?
AO: Ally’s Oats is the only organic steel cut oats, cooked and ready to eat as a meal or snack or dessert throughout the day. Most oats on the market are rolled or steamed, thus have been through a “process”. Ally’s steel cut oats have the husk still on them…this is the gold standard of oats.

RT: Who is your ideal customer?
AO: Anyone looking to eat healthy and feel good! Our steel cut oats are particularly good for anyone who is pre-diabetic or diabetic, due to its low glycemic level.

RT: What’s the latest from Ally’s Oats? Anything new and exciting in the pipeline?
AO: Ally’s Oats has just pushed into Manhattan and has signed on with several new corporations’ Health and Wellness Programs.  Ally’s Oats provides employees with a healthy, balanced meal or snack that can help workers be more productive. Our company is expanding and we are looking for larger kitchen space to keep up with growing demand.

RT: How would you describe the role steel cut oats can play for those pursuing a clean, healthy lifestyle?
AO: First, steel cut oats are very low on the glycemic index, which keeps your sugar levels from spiking. Secondly, oats are a complex carb full of vitamins and protein, making them a great snack or meal before or after the gym.  Steel cut oats are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber which promotes good colon health and helps you feel fuller, longer. Oats have also been reported to lower bad cholesterol.

RT: At Rising Tide, we love local! What has it meant for you to be a local, Long Island company? How do you focus on local in your business?
AO: Ally’s Oats loves being a Long Island company. We celebrate our North Shore roots by hiring local workers and working in our neighborhood church kitchen. Through our kitchen—based in Huntington N.Y.—Ally’s Oats provides a healthy snack to the homeless men who are given a warm bed, a meal and a packed lunch the next day. We are constantly exploring sourcing local vendors for honey and other ingredients.

RT: What are your healthy, go-to-snacks when not munching on Ally’s Oats?
AO: I make a large pot of chicken chili and veggies every Sunday. It’s full of fresh organic veggies, chicken, and beans.  I start my day with an egg over avocado on flax bread. My treat is a piece of Hu Kitchen Dark Chocolate…yummy!

RT: What’s your favorite recipe to make using Ally’s Oats products?
AO: I love my oats on plain greek yogurt with ¼ cup of hot blueberries poured over it and walnuts to top it off.  I also love my oats in a morning protein shake. It makes the shake thick and keeps me satiated.

RT: What is one fun thing about Ally’s Oats that no one would know?
AO: I cook the oats in a kitchen that is connected to an “open” room, and there’s a senior yoga class going on as I cook in the early mornings. They are all huge supporters of Ally’s Oats and are cheering us on!  Ally’s Oats are cooked in an “ohm” environment. Namaste.

LOCAL FLAVOR: ClayNation Art Studio

LOCAL FLAVOR: ClayNation Art Studio

When Julie Papas opened the ClayNation studio in 2004, she was out of college for less than a year. With schools cutting back on art and music programs and adult stress levels at an all-time high, Julie was excited to offer an outlet for creative arts on the North Shore.  A Locust Valley native and Glen Cove transplant, she is thrilled to offer this community a space where people of all ages and creative talents can walk in any time and make art in a fresh, fun, energetic space. As our adjacent neighbor and host of many a Rising Tide Staff Night Out, we love ClayNation, and were excited to chat with Julie about this neighborhood gem.

RT: First…what is it about creating art that makes people feel so darn good?
CN: Aside from the myriad of studies that show creating art releases endorphins, reduces cortisol (the stress hormone), and awakens the senses, making art in this current time of stress, screens, and hyper-busy schedules in some way forces the maker to relax and connect. When I look around the studio, no one is looking at their phone, typing on computers, youtubing, blogging, or staring like a zombie at a TV screen. People are interacting—they’re talking, listening to music, engaging in their project, and relaxing. Creating something from start to finish and then admiring the project at its completion…that feeling of pride is amazing.

RT: What sets ClayNation apart from its competitors?
CN: We have the BEST staff. Our employees love the studio and treat everyone who comes here like family. I have employees that have stayed with me for 5, 7, even 10-plus years. The customers have personal relationships with the staff and it’s an amazing community feeling in the shop.

RT: What’s it like running a small business in Glen Cove? Do you find the community to be supportive?
CN: I am so happy I made the decision to open ClayNation in Glen Cove 15 years ago. The community has been everything. People were very supportive of this concept right from the beginning and have continued to support us to this day. Kids that we had as campers return as young adults to work in the studio and inspire the next generation of artists. We have a group of women that have attended our Tuesday night adult night for all the years we have been open. We are so happy to be here.

RT: What are your most popular programs for children? Adults?
CN: The bulk of our success is in the walk-in studio, open and available for people to come create 7 days a week. Kids (and their parents) love our drop-off programming during school breaks and in the summertime. We run a “Second Saturday Workshop” for adults where we teach different new techniques. Our Tuesday night “Paint & Sip” adult night is always a good time.

RT: What’s new at ClayNation?
CN: We always have the wheels turning! New this month is a retail section where we plan to sell a wide range of art supplies (paint, colored pencils, markers, paper, and more). We will be building this up for the next few weeks and looking for feedback from the community about what types of supplies they may want to be able to purchase locally. Also, coming this Summer we will have walk-in wood sign painting (staining, stenciling, and distressing wooden board art).

RT: What’s something fun that most people don’t know about ClayNation?
CN: We LOVE dogs. Next time you come to pick up your artwork, bring your pup to visit us!

RT: As one of our closest neighbors, I have to ask: What’s your favorite thing to eat from Rising Tide? What are your go-to’s (lunch, snacks, drinks, wellness products, or other)?
CN: Here’s the list of my go-to Ri-Ti foods: Vegan Spring Rolls, Rising Tide’s Kung Pao Bowls, Unreal Crispy Peanut Butter Cups, Late July Nacho Chipotle Chips, and pretty much ANY Soup of the Day! I ate the Rising Tide Soup of the Day for lunch every day for about 8 months straight. I’ve pretty much tried them all and they are ALL AMAZING, but my fave is Tuscan Bean.

Visit ClayNation at 38 Forest Avenue (rear building). Studio hours are Monday-Friday from 1-8; Tuesday from 1-10 (adults only 6-10); Saturday 12-8; and Sunday 12-5.

LOCAL FLAVOR: Gilbertie’s Herbs and Microgreens

LOCAL FLAVOR: Gilbertie’s Herbs and Microgreens

Young plants harvested just weeks after germination, microgreens hold anywhere from 4-50 times the nutritive value as the same plants in mature form. Plus they come in truly stupendous colors and boast intense flavors that can really elevate a dish.

Our love for exceptional local produce led us to Sal Gilbertie of Gilbertie’s Organic Herb and Microgreen farm in Easton, CT. From modest beginnings in 1922 as a cut-flower business in Westport, Connecticut, Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens—still a family-owned business—is known around the country for providing fine, organic herb plants, all of which are grown at the farm and greenhouses in Easton.

Fresh, beautiful greens—all Certified Organic—make everything taste better. Read on for more about Gilbertie’s (including what microgreens can mean for your Valentine’s Day!).

RT: What sets Gilbertie’s apart from its competition?
GH: Our microgreens are soil grown, which gives them true and unique flavors.  Our attention to detail in choosing the ingredients that make up our 16 flavor blends is our top priority.

RT: What’s the latest from Gilbertie’s?
GH: We’re excited to introduce our newest blend, Power Up. a power-packed blend of Micro Spinach, Broccoli, Celery and Parsley. Before or after your workouts, it’s the perfect addition to your protein shake, green drink, omelet, or protein bowl. Check out our new Instagram page for more information on new products launching this spring and summer.

RT: How would you describe the role of fresh herbs and micorgreens for those striving for a healthy lifestyle?
GH: Microgreens are an essential part of everyone’s healthy lifestyle.  End of story…what else can we say?!

RT: What do you want our readers to know about edible flowers?
GH: Edible flowers not only add beauty to your dishes as a garnish, but also have different and distinct flavors.

RT: What is your favorite recipe to use Gilbertie’s products?
GH: There are so many…how could we choose?  Microgreens take whatever recipe you love to a whole new level.

RT: What’s one fun thing most people don’t know about Gilbertie’s?
GH:
Did you know that Sal Gilbertie’s dream was to be a fireman?

RT: How can we incorporate microgreens into our Valentine’s Day plans?
GH: What says love and romance more than our French blend? Imagine strawberry cream cheese on pumpernickel hearts and topped with French blend and voilà! Just add champagne and ooh la la.

Check out Gilbertie’s products in our 100% organic Produce Department!

LOCAL FLAVOR: Coast to Coast Trail Mix

LOCAL FLAVOR: Coast to Coast Trail Mix

Two entrepreneurial brothers (both originally from Long Island) with a passion for trail mix are the driving force behind Coast to Coast organic trail mix. First there’s Drew, a vegan athlete and health and nutrition expert who in 2017 rode his bicycle coast to coast from New York to Washington. While out on the road, he brought along and mailed himself huge bags of trail mix to ensure he would have something substantial to eat on his journey.  Biking a hundred miles a day and sometimes living off of only these mixes, Drew realized this was something he should share with the world.

Back in New York City, his brother Liam—a fine artist and creative director— was creating cool art projects, but not spending enough time with the people he loves.  He called Drew and asked him what they could work on together. Considering that Liam’s diet is almost entirely made up of Halal street chicken and trail mix, it seemed the perfect venture for the two brothers. Coast to Coast Trail Mix was born, driven by a desire to produce the cleanest, healthiest product possible, and, ultimately, bring it to the masses at a price everyone can afford.

RT: What sets Coast to Coast products apart from other trail mix on the market?
CTC: We sprout and dehydrate all our nuts and seeds to make them easier to digest and absorb the nutrients.  This also gives them a delicious clean taste and a crunchy texture unlike other mixes on the market.  The selection of ingredients for each mix creates a balanced nutritional profile and provides a wide array of vital nutrients. These are everyday foods; not just snacks to indulge on every once and a while.

Our packaging is also 100% compostable in personal homes.  We’ve left bags in my backyard and found them decomposing after only a day or two.  They can be burned in a campfire and if you accidentally drop them on the trail, Mother Nature will forgive you!  The material is also derived from 100% non-GMO crops grown and processed in the USA.  This kind of clean is unheard of in this market.  Most importantly, they are delicious!

RT: What’s the latest from Coast to Coast? Anything new and exciting in the pipeline?
CTC: We’ve got some top-secret stuff in the works for 2019—new mixes based on feedback we’ve received from customers and some really cool innovations. We’ve been a business for just four months, but things are moving in a very positive direction. We believe that starting with an uncompromising dedication to our guiding principles will allow us to grow authentically into a powerful force.

RT: How would you describe the role nuts, dried fruits, etc. can play for those pursuing a clean, healthy lifestyle?
CTC: Nuts and seeds are fantastic sources of essential fatty acids (omega 3/6/9) and high-quality proteins.  Walnuts are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and pumpkin seeds provide one of the best sources of plant-based protein in the world.  Choosing these as a source of nutrition not only nurtures our bodies, but benefits the environment by reducing our dependency on animal sources. Dried fruits are a great source of simple carbs for fueling everyday activities or intense athletics, and we also make sure to include superfoods that are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and even some complete proteins, in every mix.

RT: Why is 2019 the year of trail mix?
CTC: Man, if everything we’ve said so far isn’t getting people excited about trail mix… I don’t know what will!  I hear they are eating it in Avengers: Endgame, so we fully expect to be a meme by this summer. But on a serious note— I think that our culture is definitely moving more towards plant-based nutrition, especially with the recent dire warnings regarding climate change, and trail mix is an ideal way for people to fit tons of important nutrients into one easy-to-manage, on-the-go meal.  We hope to lead the industry in the right direction and avoid the trappings of the bland mixes lacking any real superfoods that we see on the market.

RT: When you’re not noshing on organic trail mix… what are you loving to eat right now? What are your go-to’s?
CTC: Liam loves Halal street chicken.  Halal food is generally cleaner and the animals are treated better so he thinks that counts! Drew has been really into parsnips and broccoli rabe lately.  Making fries out of parsnips in an air fryer is the way to go.  Throw some chili powder on those and you’re set!  Aged black garlic and broccoli rabe is another winner.  As far as go-to’s are concerned… we should definitely give a shout out to Tierra Farms for all their great work in the bulk nuts, seeds, and dried fruit world.  That is a company that does everything right.  I’m also a big fan of Hu Chocolate, based out of NYC and producing clean chocolate bars sweetened with coconut sugar.  Their almond butter & quinoa crisp flavor is my number one indulgence.  Also, hemp seeds!  Drew eats them every day and they are the perfect secret ingredient for a vegan athlete.

RT: What’s your favorite recipe using a Coast to Coast product?
CTC: It’s definitely a tie between mixing Andy’s Blend into my morning oatmeal (sometimes quinoa and/or amaranth) and topping off some MUD brand Paleo ice cream with High Plains Mixer for dessert.  Someone told me they baked cookies with Black Hills mixed in and that sounded awesome!

RT: What are a few FUN things most people don’t know about  Coast to Coast?
CTC:
* Liam and Drew are almost never in the same room together.  Outside of Christmas, the two haven’t seen each other since the company launched on September 1st!
* Every bag of trail mix is hand mixed and packed by Drew
* Liam just had an art showing at Art Basel in Miami
* Drew has toured the country and released multiple albums with various punk bands, but they all had dumb names that he’s too embarrassed to mention here
* Liam was once on GQ’s most eligible bachelors in New York list
* Drew mailed five pound bags of Andy’s Blend to his friends in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Minneapolis, Jackson (Wyoming), and Philipsburg (Montana), thinking that would be enough for his journey (in addition to whatever fresh food he could find), but wound up eating so much more food than he anticipated. To fill the gap, he made huge bags of trail mix out of whatever he could find en route.  High Plains Mixer was created in the Badlands of South Dakota when dates and pine nuts were all the store sold.  Black Hills came about because he was craving chocolate and the only thing that didn’t contain milk and sugar was the same kind of unsweetened chocolate Coast to Coast uses today!

FEATURED PRODUCT: Tasty New Items from The Piggery

FEATURED PRODUCT: Tasty New Items from The Piggery

Early last month, we had the great pleasure of paying a visit to The Piggery butcher shop in Ithaca, NY. What we saw there was incredibly inspiring: Piggery owners and staff doing what they love and doing it with ingenuity and passion, raising some of the happiest animals anywhere—grazing in pristine, nutrient-rich pastures as nature intended. We love The Piggery!

That’s why we’re so thrilled to introduce you to our latest Piggery products. Figure them into your holiday festivities; we know you’ll love them as much as we do.

* Uncured Pepperoni and Genoa Salami: Hello, festive charcuterie plate! These savory artisanal meats are made without any added nitrates or nitrites, except for the ones naturally occurring in cultured celery powder and sea salt.

* Pastured Turkey and Pork Bone Broths: Made in the Piggery shop by slow simmering turkey or pork bones for more than 16 hours. Make it into your favorite soup or sip as a warm drink. Great for the gut and super nourishing.

Check out The Piggery products (and all our other meticulously curated meats) in the refrigerated case across from the Deli.

LOCAL FLAVOR: Coastal Craft Kombucha

LOCAL FLAVOR: Coastal Craft Kombucha

Like all good things, Coastal Craft Kombucha’s humble beginnings were driven by a passion for creativity and a love for food and health. Rachel Rappa (along with co-owner Daryn Stoger) founded Coastal Craft after falling in love with the health benefits of kombucha and deciding it was something that could fuel her entrepreneurial dreams. After an hour-long “DIY Kombucha” class, Rachel went home to brew up her first batches in her parents’ home kitchen.

Co-owner Daryn Stoger parlayed a background in cocktail bartending and an I-can-fix-it mentality into his current career as Coastal Craft Kombucha’s Head Brewer; if you’re already enjoying Coastal Craft, it’s him you can thank for your healthy gut and happy taste buds.

Rachel and Daryn share the belief that health and enjoyment can—and more importantly, should—go hand in hand.  Using only the highest quality and freshest ingredients and honoring authentic brewing methods, they set out to produce a handcrafted kombucha that’s good for you and incredibly delicious. We were lucky enough to chat with these local booch makers to find out what inspires them and why kombucha makes a great holiday gift.

RT: What sets Coastal Craft Kombucha  products apart from other kombucha on the market?
CCK: At Coastal Craft we focus on quality and flavor from start to finish.  Instead of using a standard base of teas and just adding juices for flavor, we utilize multiple different teas, herbs, flowers, spices, whole fruits and fresh-pressed juices throughout different stages of the process in order to craft flavors that are distinctly different from one another.  As a result, our line of Kombucha offers a unique and highly enjoyable set of flavors.

RT: How would you describe the role kombucha can play for those pursuing a clean, healthy lifestyle?
CCK: Kombucha is first and foremost a real food that contains naturally occurring probiotics, B and C vitamins, organic acids and antioxidants. Some of the reasons to drink Coastal Craft Kombucha include its ability to aid digestion, boost immunity and metabolism, naturally energize, detoxify the body, and fight off free radicals.

RT: When you’re not sipping on booch… what are you loving to eat/drink right now? What are your go-to’s?
CCK: We’re both food and beverage enthusiasts and health nuts. These days, we’re loving Bulletproof Coffee roasted, brewed and served by our neighbors at ByGood Coffee in Oceanside; TONIC Bare CBD (we’ve experienced and fallen in love with the benefits of CBD!);  hydrating with Harmless Harvest Coconut Water; and, for a sweet treat, Unreal Almond Butter Cups.

RT: What’s one FUN thing most people don’t know about Coastal Craft Kombucha? 
CCK: Our first batch was brewed in a one-gallon jar in Rachel’s bedroom.  Rachel named it “Behind the Bed Booch”.

RT: What’s the latest from Coastal Craft? Anything new and exciting in the pipeline? 
CCK: Our Winter Seasonal Flavor is in the works and it’s unlike any other flavor we have done before…stay tuned!

RT: What’s your favorite way to use Coastal Craft Kombucha during the holidays? And does it make a good gift? 
CCK: We love to bring Coastal Craft Kombucha into the holiday season because of how it helps us stay naturally energized, ward off seasonal colds, and detoxify our bodies after some unavoidable and well-deserved indulgence!  Whether you drink it on its own or use it as a cocktail mixer, you can’t go wrong.  Coastal Craft Kombucha makes a great gift because it’s brewed with the intention for everyone to enjoy it. What better gift than one that offers health and enjoyment?

LOCAL FLAVOR: Tierra Farm

LOCAL FLAVOR: Tierra Farm

Tierra Farm is a certified-organic manufacturer and distributor of nuts and dried fruits, located right here in New York State, 20 miles south of Albany. If you’ve enjoyed many of the nuts and dried fruits in our Bulk department then you already know…their products are GREAT—healthy and delicious. We love Tierra Farm because they are an organic, employee-owned, environmentally conscious company that manufactures its own products. Rising Tide had a chance to chat with our favorite nut folks to find out what makes them tick and what’s new in their world.

1. What is the origin of Tierra Farm?
Tierra Farm started as a diversified organic vegetable farm in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The organic nuts and dried fruit portion of the business started in 1999 as a way to generate income in the slower winter months. That portion of the business continued to thrive into what it has become today, and we still maintain our original farm.

2. What sets Tierra Farm products apart from other nut purveyors on the market?
We offer our customers exceptional value through unbeatable quality at prices that are fair both to the consumer and to the farmer. Our products are made without added oils or refined sugars in our peanut-free facility. We manufacture the products we sell. We dry roast and flavor nuts and seeds, blend trail mixes, grind butter, cover nuts and fruits in chocolate, and roast fair-trade coffee. Everything is made in small, hand-crafted batches for freshness. All products are gluten-free, peanut-free, and kosher. Our chocolate and coffee are certified fair trade.

3. In what ways does Tierra Farm show concern for the environment and the future of our planet? 
Tierra Farm handles only certified-organic products which are grown without synthetic pesticides, genetically modified organisms, or chemical fertilizers. This sustains biodiversity, conserves fresh water, and enhances the soil. We generate over 70% of our electricity from solar panels and recycle over 60% of our waste. Our boxes are made from recycled cardboard and our deli cup containers are made from over 50% recycled material—both are recyclable after use. We’re continuously looking for better ways to protect the planet.

4. What’s the latest from Tierra Farm? Anything new and exciting in the pipeline?
We recently launched nine new products that buyers and consumers can buy in our retail store, cooperatives, independent grocery stores and online. These organic, gluten-free products include raw blanched almonds, unsalted blanched almonds, salted blanched almonds, honey cinnamon blanched almonds, mango strips, diced mango, pineapple chunks, pineapple rings and lime infused banana.

We also have an exciting new 1.6 oz Organic Grab and Go product in production that we plan to launch soon, so stay tuned!

5. How would you describe the role nuts can play for those pursuing a clean, healthy lifestyle?
Despite the fact that nuts are high in fat, they have health numerous benefits, including being a great source of nutrients. They are also loaded with antioxidants, high in fiber and are good for your heart. Tierra Farm nuts are all organic, gluten-free and kosher, which means that they are made with no added oils or refined sugars.

6. When you’re not noshing on nuts, what are you loving to eat right now? What are your go-to’s?
When we’re not snacking on our variety of nuts we are definitely noshing on some of our delicious dried fruits and chocolates. The organic banana chips are a popular and delicious snack around the office that’s rich in potassium and magnesium. For something sweeter (besides the chocolate covered cashews!) the dark chocolate covered coconut is an office favorite that most employees will tell you tastes like a Mounds chocolate bar.

7. What is your favorite way to use Tierra Farm during Thanksgiving/Christmas? Our products make great snacks to put out on the table when you are hosting a holiday party or event. Our chocolate dollops and chips are also great to bake with when making a delicious dessert to bring or have around the holidays! Also, our 20 oz. upscale cloth bag of Organic Salted Pistachios in shell is one of our most heart-healthy nuts and makes an awesome gift during the holidays.

8. What about a favorite holiday recipe? 
Old-Fashioned Organic Pecan Pie 
1 9-inch organic unbaked pie crust
1 cup organic cane sugar syrup
1 cup organic granulated sugar
3 large organic eggs, lightly whisked
1/4 teaspoon organic salt
2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
2 cups Tierra Farm organic Raw Pecans
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F with an oven rack placed in the middle of the oven.

Roll out the pie crust and transfer it to a 9-inch pie pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and freeze for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Microwave the organic cane sugar syrup in 30 second bursts on HIGH (about 1 – 1.5 minutes total), or set in a saucepan of simmering water, until the syrup is pourable.

Combine the syrup, sugar, eggs, salt, melted butter, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Stir gently until the mixture is smooth and all the ingredients are evenly combined. Stir in the pecans.

Remove the pie crust from the freezer and pour the filling into the shell. Use a spoon to make sure the pecans are distributed evenly. Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 50-55 minutes. The pie is done when it reaches an internal temperature of about 200°F, and when the top crust turns deep golden-brown and feels firm when gently tapped.

Allow to cool completely and keep loosely covered with plastic in the refrigerator. Keeps one week.

9. What’s one FUN thing most people don’t know about Tierra Farm? 
One fun thing most people don’t know about Tierra Farm is that our employee offices are at the same location as our fully functioning farm! While Tierra Farm has expanded and some corporate offices are off-site, the majority of the offices are in the same building as where we roast, pack, and ship our product. Our farm also grows onsite fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs that are used for our employee lunch program. This program provides employees with a free organic lunch that is cooked on-site by our company Chef.

**Our Tierra Farm Organic Cajun Cashews and Organic Salted Mixed Nuts are both ON SALE for the month of November. Check out our Bulk section for these and other holiday (and game day!) snacks…**

LOCAL FLAVOR: Bread Alone

LOCAL FLAVOR: Bread Alone

If you’ve tried Bread Alone’s whole wheat sourdough bread (or any of their other breads we carry, for that matter!), you know they’re doing something exceptional at this Upstate NY bread company. Made using old-fashioned methods, their breads contain little more than organic stone ground flours, water, organic grains and sea salt. The result is simple, wholesome, local, organic bread that makes you rethink every other bread you’ve ever had.

RT: Who are the people behind Bread Alone?
BA: Bread Alone was founded in 1983 by Dan Leader and remains a family business to this day. Dan’s partner Sharon came on board in the early years and his son Nels joined in 2012. Together they comprise the heart of the company, however there over 200 people that help get this ship to sail every day. From production to distribution to customer service, every employee is considered a member of this extended family.

RT: What was the impetus behind the creation of the company? In other words…why bread?
BA: Dan was deeply entrenched in NYC’s bustling culinary world, and at the time (think early 80s) French cuisine was the standard for fine dining. This took him to Europe where he fell in love with the craft of artisan bread-making. After too many hours spent in crowded city kitchens, he packed up his family and moved them to the Catskills for a better quality of life, and to bake bread where no one had baked bread before: sleepy Boiceville, NY.

RT: What makes Bread Alone different from other artisan breads?
BA: Most of our breads are certified organic, and those that aren’t are made using certified organic grains. We feel strongly that organic grains are the best choice for our planet, farmworkers, gut, and taste buds. We also offer a robust selection of sourdough breads, all made my hand.

RT: How important is it for you to source ingredients locally? Why/why not?
BA: Supporting our community is imperative. This was built into our mission from the very beginning with the choice to source organic. Today we maintain deep commitments to our local mills both within NY state and beyond our borders. We source our fresh seasonal fruit and produce and milk from local farms. This ethos also extends to our cafes where we have relationships with local vendors across the menu, from our tea and coffee to our bacon.

RT: What’s one fun thing most people don’t know about Bread Alone?  
BA: We have 664 solr panels on the roof of our main bakery in Lake Katrine! The 194kw solar array went live on Earth Day 2018 and provides around 25% of our energy needs. We consider this just the beginning; we plan to source our energy from 100% renewable sources by 2030.

RT: What’s the latest from Bread Alone? Anything new in the pipeline?
BA: We have a new line of Nordic-inspired sourdough breads, baked out of our original bakery in Boiceville. Thes nutritionally dense breads are packed with flavor and are offered in three varieties: 100% Rye, Einkorn, and Fruit & Seed.

RT: When you’re not noshing on delicious homemade bread… What are you loving to eat right now? What are your go-tos (snacks, drinks, wellness products, or other)? 
BA: We’re thankful that the temperature has finally caught up with the season – we’re loving fresh fall apples. A sweet honeycrisp gets us through that afternoon slump!

RT: What’s your favorite recipe to make using Bread Alone bread?
BA: We’re purists – nothing beats a slice of our Einkorn Nordic bread toasted and slathered with a healthy dose of cultured butter.

RT: What is your favorite bread(s) for the holidays?
BA: Our sourdough panettone – moist, slightly citrus, and with just enough chocolate chips.

RT: What has it been like to be a “local” food business in New York State? 
BA: It’s been an honor! We’re surrounded by an incredible community, and we couldn’t imagine baking our bread and living our lives anywhere else.

LOCAL FLAVOR: Nikki’s Naturals

LOCAL FLAVOR: Nikki’s Naturals

Dry skin sufferers, allow us to introduce you to Nikki’s Naturals. Jayson and Nicola (Nikki) McLeod have created a line of 100% natural hair and skin products—made right here on Long Island—using only the finest organic, unrefined Ghanaian Shea Butter. If clean and gentle is your thing, get to know this local biz.

RT: What was the impetus for creating Nikki’s Naturals?
NN: The need to provide our children with 100% chemical-free soap and moisturizer to help heal their eczema gently.

RT: What sets your health and beauty products apart from other personal care products on the market?
NN: Our products are 100% plant-based, no chemicals, no colors, no parabens, no artificial ingredients.

RT: What’s the latest from Nikki’s Naturals?
NN: We just came out with our vegan/plant-based hair line, perfect for all hair types.

RT: Now our favorite question: What are you loving to eat right now? What are your top go-to’s (snacks, drinks, wellness products or other)?
NN: We are a vegan/dairy-free vegetarian family that believes health is wealth. We love to eat vegan mac and cheese combined with roasted cauliflower, and our go-to snacks are the cheddar cauliflower crackers by The Ground Up. We juice lots of raw fruits and veggies, but one of our favorite drinks is plain old seltzer water—we don’t drink soda or commercial juices. We also take Moringa Oleifera powder daily. This ensures we’re getting all of the necessary minerals and nutrients.

RT: What’s your favorite Nikki’s Naturals product to give as a gift?
NN: Our favorite Nikki’s Naturals LLC products to give as a gift is our Black Soap Face/Body Wash and our Whipped Shea Butter Face/Body Mousse. These two products used together help heal and moisturize the skin on a cellular level. Because they are non-comedogenic, they also help rid the skin of acne.

RT: What’s one FUN thing most people don’t know about Nikki’s Naturals?
NN: We love to dance! We’re always dancing.

RT: What’s it been like to start and run a company in Long Island/New York State?
NN: Starting and running Nikki’s Naturals LLC in Long Island has been and still is a fabulous experience. Although tough at times, it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done. There’s a true and deep need for our products because they’re genuine and they work.

RT: So many in this community dream of starting their own business. What’s your best piece of advice for launching a successful local business?
NN: Master your product, find where the demand for it is, and never give up!

LOCAL FLAVOR: Down to Earth Teas

LOCAL FLAVOR: Down to Earth Teas

Down To Earth herbal teas went to market just three months ago, but the seeds of the business were planted lifetimes ago. Growing up, Irina Patarkatsi—mother of Jonathan and Laurena Patarkatsi—refused to buy the sugar- and preservative-laden bottled beverages sold in mainstream markets. Instead, she taught her kids how to create their own herbal concoctions. Together they would craft potent and delicious elixirs to fuel their active lifestyles—a habit that Jonathan took with him as an undergrad at NewYork University (where he hooked his classmates, as well). Educating others on the power of healthy living became a hobby for Jonathan, and then a passion, and ultimately a business that allowed siblings and mom to work together to change the world—one recyclable bottle at a time. We were excited to chat with Jonathan about the mission of Down to Earth, and to hear what’s next for the NYC-based tea company.

RT: Who are the people behind Down to Earth? 
DTE: The Down To Earth team consists of myself (Founder and CEO), my mom Irina (Chief Marketing Officer), and my sister Laurena, who has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics and is currently studying to become a Naturopathic Doctor (Chief Operating Officer and Nutrition Specialist). My father, Merabi, has also been a huge help, especially in the accounting and distribution aspect of the brand. The brand was also inspired by my great grandmother, Mera, and the prior generations that passed down their healing secrets.

RT: What sets Down to Earth products apart from other herbal teas on the market? 
DTE: Down To Earth beverages are incredibly unique. We are on a mission to celebrate Earth’s healing ability in its most natural state. We are the only brand making iced tea from unique super herbs and adaptogens such as chaga and ashwagandha. Our products have no added sugar, and are naturally sweetened with a superfruit called monk fruit. Our products have no additives and no preservatives, and nothing artificial or synthetic in them. While most teas are extremely diluted and contain very few herbs, our beverages have an unparalleled concentration of herbs in each bottle, which is evident by the color, taste, and aroma of our products. Also, all our products are bottled in recyclable glass containers, ensuring that we are doing our part to preserve our environment.

RT: What’s your process for concocting new flavors? 
DTE: Creating new flavors is an extremely exciting process for the Down To Earth team. All our beverages are based on and inspired by those we’ve been consuming on our own for many years—we’re always looking to creations we’ve already personally benefitted from. We also do tons of research on new herbs, researching which ingredients pair well together, and creating several versions of each flavor so that as many people as possible can sample and give us feedback. Our goal is to have a product range that includes something for every flavor profile.

RT: What’s the latest from Down to Earth? Anything new in the pipeline? 
DTE: There is a lot of new development at Down To Earth. We’re expanding into more stores and cities every week, and are strategizing our launch into several new states within the next few months. We’re currently in the development stage of our new turmeric flavor which is scheduled for launch in September, along with several new flavors that we plan to launch throughout the year. We’re working hard to make our products as accessible as possible nationwide.

RT: How would you describe the role herbal teas can play for those pursuing a clean, healthy lifestyle? 
DTE: Herbal teas can play a life-changing role. For starters, staying hydrated is very important. While plain water is great, it isn’t enough. Our herbal teas are functional, and can do more for the body than simply quench thirst. Some of our ingredients, such as chaga and ashwagandha (both classified as adaptogens), have been shown to potentially change the way that one’s body reacts to stressors if consumed consistently. Chaga is one of the strongest antioxidants in the world, and has been shown to boost energy without any caffeine. Lavender, chamomile, and ashwagandha, all included in our Tranquility beverage, have been shown to aid in anxiety relief, and promote rest and relaxation. Personally, herbal teas have allowed me to remain energetic throughout the day without any caffeine, and to unwind in the evening without any synthetic sleep inducers.

RT: When you’re not sipping on your healthy teas… what are you loving to eat right now? What are your go to’s? 
DTE: Tons of greens. I start my mornings with a green juice and a green smoothie. I also enjoy snacking on chlorella throughout the day. Growing up an athlete, I’ve always been a huge fan of pasta, and am loving all the healthy new pasta alternatives out there, especially those made from brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat.

RT: What’s your favorite occasion to enjoy Down to Earth tea? 
DTE: I have a favorite tea for every part of my day. I start my mornings with a bottle of our Longevity DTE, which gives me a nice natural energy boost without any caffeine. I’ve never liked the way that I felt from coffee, so having an antioxidant-rich alternative is great. I work out in the mornings, and always have a bottle of our Energy DTE during my workout to stay hydrated. The zesty mint flavor keeps me energized and focused as I prepare to push my body to new limits. I drink our Revival DTE all day long, which is extremely hydrating and has anti-inflammatory ginger which keeps me fueled throughout the day. After a long day of work, there’s nothing I look forward to more than unwinding and drinking our Tranquility DTE. I’ve been following this routine since long before our beverages were bottled and offered to the public. I remember carrying around four reusable canisters to class and work every day filled with my homemade beverages. It’s been awesome seeing our customers incorporate our beverages into their own routines—seeing them achieve optimal levels of wellness and happiness has been very exciting!

RT: What’s one fun thing most people don’t know about Down to Earth? 
DTE: Without intending to, we launched in the marketplace on my sister Laurena’s birthday, April 11, 2018.

RT: What are the pros and cons of running a family business? 
DTE: Trust is an integral part of any successful relationship and business, and there is no one that I trust more than my family. Being able to work with people that have such clean and pure intentions for one another is a dream come true. I’m very blessed to have the support of my family, and to have parents who have always encouraged my sister and I to pursue our dreams.

One main con of running a family business is that business tends to become the core discussion of family outings and dinners, even when you’re trying to relax! In our case, however, we’re all so passionate about our mission and enjoy our business discussions tremendously. Building Down To Earth has brought us even closer together as a family, and we’re excited to experience the journey ahead as a team.

RT: So many in this community dream of starting their own business. What’s your best piece of advice for launching a successful local biz? 
DTE: Starting a business is an extremely exciting and empowering experience. I always say that if there is something that you want to see in the world that isn’t out there CREATE IT. My biggest piece of advice for launching a successful business is to simply get started. Many people have such great business ideas but convince themselves that they aren’t practical, and that they will pursue them one day when they are fully “ready.” I’ve learned that no one is ever fully ready, and that the most successful businesses and brands were started by individuals who simply decided to go for it. Don’t underestimate yourself, we are incredibly adaptable creatures and learn a lot along the way.

It’s also important to remember to listen to your own intuition over outside opinions. There are plenty of naysayers that will convince you that your idea is not feasible and that the space you are trying to enter is “over-saturated,” but you can’t allow outside influences to sway you from your dreams. Plenty of people warned me that the beverage industry is challenging and competitive. However, I chose to listen to my intuition and to pursue what I hoped to see in the marketplace. A year later, we have already impacted many lives in a positive way. Anything is possible if you’re willing to work hard and to believe.

Down to Earth teas are sold at Rising Tide Market in the following flavors: Energy, Longevity, Revival and Tranquility.

LOCAL FLAVOR: Maple Hill

LOCAL FLAVOR: Maple Hill

We’ve been loving on this line of 100% grass-fed, organic dairy products for a few years now. It’s not just the taste of their milks and yogurts (which is exceptional) that drew us in, but also the philosophy (use the best possible farming practices and you’ll benefit both children and the planet) that backs everything they do. We were tickled to be able to chat with Maple Hill about where they’ve been, what new products they’re excited about, and what is the best use of their new blended yogurts (Hint: it’s incredibly delicious and fun to make with your kids!).

RT: Who is behind the creation of Maple Hill?
MH: Today, Maple Hill has over 150 small family farms from which we source our milk. But back at the very beginning, there was only one family and one farm—Stone Creek Farm—a 250-acre dairy farm that Tim and Laura Joseph purchased in 2003. Tim and Laura had no farming experience — they had never milked a cow — but received a fast education when sixty-four cows stepped off the trailers in 2004. The Josephs began as conventional dairy farmers, but quickly became enamored with organic practices.

RT: What sets Maple Hill apart from other organic dairy products on the market? 
MH: Maple Hill is rooted in our desire to provide the best nutrition for our own kids and that idea is still the “heartbeat” of our company—we believe that 100% grass-fed organic dairy farming done right is the pinnacle of organic, creates the best nutrition for all kids, and leaves the soil better than we found it. It doesn’t get any better than that! Our products are made from our own strictly managed 100% grass-fed organic farms – the milk they produce makes all the difference.

RT: How important is it for you to source local, NY State ingredients?
MH: Our milkshed is the heart of our business. We have over 150 small family farms, all of which are in NY and run by NY families.

RT: What’s the latest from Maple Hill? 
MH: We just released our new Blended Yogurt – we think it’s the highest quality blended yogurt on the market, and the only 100% grass-fed organic one!

RT: How would you describe the role dairy plays for those pursuing a clean, healthy lifestyle?
MH: Dairy is a wonderful health food when it’s from 100% grass-fed organic sources – it is better for the land, the farmers, the cows and in the end, better for you. It has a higher nutritional profile than conventional milk and we use very little sugar, and no additives.

RT: When you’re not noshing on wholesome, grass-fed dairy products… What are you loving to eat right now? What are your go-to’s?
MH: We love Perky Jerky and Teton Waters Ranch sausages – both grass-fed products themselves! We’re also huge fans of Vital Farms eggs and butter.

RT: What’s your favorite recipe to make using a Maple Hill product? 
MH: Definitely our Frozen Yogurt Bark.

RT: What’s one FUN thing most people don’t know about Maple Hill? 
MH: None of the founders had a background in farming when they started this journey.

RT: So many in this community dream of starting their own business. What’s your best piece of advice for launching a successful local biz?
MH: Surround yourself with people that have passion and are great at what they do.

LOCAL FLAVOR: The Hamptons Honey Company

LOCAL FLAVOR: The Hamptons Honey Company

Honey in its raw, unadulterated state is a healthy sweetener revered for centuries for its amazing antibacterial properties, abundance of trace minerals (iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and more), immune-boosting and digestive properties and other health benefits. Truth is, we can’t get enough of the stuff, and love it the most when it’s local. We sat down with the president of Southampton-based  Hamptons Honey Company, Gabriel Alfaya, to learn the inspiration for this sweet Long Island biz, and what makes it stand out from the many other (lesser) honeys on the average grocery store shelf.

RT: Who are the people behind The Hamptons Honey Company?
GA: The Hamptons Honey Company was conceived almost 17 years ago when my partners, Frederic Rambaud and Alan Ceppos, purchased their home in Water Mill and were looking for a pursuit that would allow them to “give back” with all the land they had acquired.  After reviewing several other options, including starting a small farm or vineyard, Frederic’s background in beekeeping lit a spark.  I came aboard in 2008 and Hamptons Honey grew to the next level.

RT: How would you describe the role honey plays for those pursuing a clean, healthy lifestyle?
GA: Honey is considered a superfood, and is integral to a healthy lifestyle…especially local honey, which has many health properties and never spoils.  It’s good for fighting allergies, soothing burns (honey is a natural antibiotic), and is a healthier alternative to sugar for cooking and baking.

RT: What makes The Hamptons Honey Company different from other honey?  
GA: At Hamptons Honey we strive to ensure that all of our honey is local and never overly heated or treated.  Honey should always be warmed gradually and never made too hot (overheating it can rob it of many of its healthy qualities). Our emphasis on quality is second to none.  We know our customers love our products and we try never to forget that.

RT: How important is it for you to source honey locally, from local beekeepers?
GA: We believe that honey is always best when local.  For example, if you suffer from allergies here in the Northeast, using an Orange Blossom honey—though delicious—will not help your body combat those allergies.  Local beekeepers are a vital component of our food system and we try to make sure to keep the cycle going.

RT: What’s one fun thing most people don’t know about Hamptons Honey?  
GA: EVERYTHING is fun – If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, what’s the point in doing it?  I enjoy meeting with our stores, setting up our displays, thinking up new products and labels.  It’s all a lot of fun.

RT: What’s the latest from Hamptons Honey? Anything new in the pipeline? 
GA: We’re always trying to think outside the box.  Right now, we’re toying with the idea of two new creamed honeys:  a blueberry and an apricot.  We’re also considering a hot chili-infused honey…or even a honey-infused BBQ sauce or salad dressing…stay tuned.

RT: When you’re not noshing on honey… what are you loving to eat right now? What are your top go-to’s (snacks, drinks, wellness products or other)?
GA: Too many times I’m guilty of not eating as well as I should (just ask my wife!). But anything caught in the ocean is good for me… and a nice bottle of wine!

RT: What are the best ways to use Hamptons Honey?
GA: Honey is so versatile and can be used so many different ways. You can bake with it, put it on your fruit or oatmeal, enjoy it right out of the jar on a spoon, mix it with other spices and develop your own BBQ rub, etc. And, of course, use it in your tea!

RT: What’s your favorite recipe to make using Hamptons Honey?
GA: My buddy Sam has come up with the best BBQ rub using our honey…amazing!

RT: What’s the strangest way you’ve heard someone use your honey?
GA: A woman once called to tell me that her dog was suffering from a persistent cough and her vet wanted to operate on the dog.  She started feeding the dog a little honey and the cough eventually went away. Yes, apparently dogs can get allergies, too!

RT: So many in this community dream of starting their own business. What’s your best piece of advice for launching a successful local biz?
GA: Great question. First, never lose sight of the fact that you and your customers are basically a partnership.  They want to provide the best products for THEIR customers so you in turn need to make sure you’re giving the best products that you can to your stores.  Also, never grow faster than you’re prepared for.  That growth will be short lived.  If you can’t continue providing the service that people have come to expect, you’ll eventually lose those customers.  That means you must be willing to invest in personnel and infrastructure to ensure that your customer service is always on point.  And lastly, your employees are ambassadors of your brand…treat them like family!

LOCAL FLAVOR: Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York

LOCAL FLAVOR: Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York

We’re so excited to bring you this fun profile of one of our favorite local vendors: Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York. Since 2016, Steiner’s has been delighting Long Islanders and others with its homegrown recipe for sensational gluten-free coffee cake and delectable brownies. Whether you need to avoid gluten or not, you do NOT want to miss Steiner’s desserts. True to their mission, they sacrifice nothing in the way of taste, mouthfeel, etc. Look for them in the Rising Tide freezer section. Jennifer Pool (AKA the Granddaughter) fills us in on the history and goings-on at Steiner’s in the interview below. Say hi to her the next time she’s here demo-ing Steiner’s amazing treats.

RT: Who are the people behind Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York? 

SCCONY: In 1963, Malcolm Steiner (A.K.A Grandpa) set out to conquer another hobby: cooking & baking. At that time, he was already a painter, an Orchidist (a person who raises orchids), a volunteer at Long Island Jewish Hospital (delivering said orchids to patients’ rooms), and in his spare time, he ran Steiner Plastics which became Universal Sign Company. The company was situated in the stables of Pratt Oval Estates in Glen Cove founded by his mother, Cyrille Steiner. Grandpa Malcolm quickly became a commander of the kitchen. If he wasn’t in his greenhouse, he was walking around the kitchen in his apron with a dish towel hanging out of his back pocket. He was tall, bald, skinny and loved butter. If it didn’t taste right he was famous for saying, “Just add butter.” He worked at Universal Sign Corporation alongside his son until his passing at 90. He was a man of very few words, however we have a treasure trove of memories filled with his very best recipes. Fortunately, he took his daughter in-law Nanci (A.K.A mom) under his wing and taught her everything he knew.

Nanci Steiner (born in NYC, raised in Port Washington) was diagnosed a Celiac over 30 years ago. Over the past three decades she worked tirelessly to develop a gluten-free all-purpose flour that baked for the masses. Many a cake met their demise in her kitchen. She has tested every product on the market. Her one goal was to bake something so good, so delicious, so perfectly moist that the unsuspecting consumer would never know it was gluten free. In 2010 Jeffrey (A.K.A my brother) and I realized she was very close. We went ahead and developed the brand: Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York. In May of 2016, Nanci nailed it. On the precipice of her 70th year, she was ready to launch her company.

RT: What was the inspiration for the creation of the company? In other words…why coffee cake

SCCONY: Well everyone LOVES coffee. And everyone LOVES cake. Grandpa made a fabulous coffee cake. Naturally we picked one of the most labor-intensive recipes possible. Each cake is made with lots of love. Four layers in all.

RT: What makes Steiner’s different from other local bakers?  

SCCONY: All of our baked goods are gluten and nut free WITHOUT sacrificing taste, texture or moisture. @nycoffeecake always #easytoeat and #funtoshare.

RT: How important is it for you to source ingredients locally? Why/why not? 

SCCONY: We love local. If we can integrate ingredients, marketing materials, packaging or other items from local providers we absolutely do so. We owe our success to this community; all of our firsts happened right here.

Our first criteria in our business decision tree is avoiding a negative impact on the environment. Our belief that less is more has resulted in small serving sizes, using the places people already shop  (i.e. Rising Tide Market) to deliver our products, and streamlined packaging solutions. In addition, we ALWAYS look back at what we’re leaving behind, a philosophy that has led to the use of plant-based and biodegradable packaging solutions; one-box to ship, and zero-waste manufacturing.

RT: What’s one fun thing most people don’t know about Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York?  

SCCONY: I’ll give you two. The first is that we actually have all of Grandpa Malcolm’s recipe cards. Some are illegible and others were typed up by his secretary. The second is that Nanci NEVER writes down any of her baking notes. NEVER. It drives us crazy.

RT: What’s the latest from Steiner’s? Anything new in the pipeline? 

SCCONY: It’s a long pipeline. Here’s a small taste: Our ginger snaps and banana bread are not to be missed. Our goal is to have them retail ready by Summer 2018. Currently in R&D: pumpkin spice cake and chocolate chip biscotti.

RT: When you’re not noshing on coffee cake and brownies… What are you loving to eat right now? What are your top go-to’s (snacks, drinks, wellness products or other)?

SCCONY: I am currently LOVING celery with Justin’s Peanut Butter. My two favorites that really haven’t changed in years are Siggi’s 0% plain yogurt now topped with Purely Elizabeth Granola, and Garden of Eatin’ Red Hot Blues.

RT: What’s the right occasion to serve Steiner’s coffee cake? What do you serve it with?

SCCONY: Easy. Any time is the right time. Clearly if a cup of coffee is in hand then so to should be a coffee cake. Our coffee cake is a fabulous addition to any brunch. It also tops off a dessert menu with or without some fabulous vanilla ice cream. Our preference is Talenti.

RT: What’s your favorite recipe to make using Steiner’s Coffee Cake?

SCCONY: The secret ingredient in all of our baked goods is Steiner’s Coffee Cake of New York All-Purpose Flour. Our favorite thing to bake is Grandpa Malcolm’s signature dessert: Betty’s Birthday Cake. Everyone in our family  has this cake on their birthday. It’s a six-layer cake with mocha filling between each layer of delicious chocolate cake topped off with homemade vanilla whipped icing.

RT: What’s the strangest way you’ve heard someone use a Steiner’s coffee cake (or brownie, etc.)?

SCCONY: Another easy one. I have a friend who eats our coffee cake with bacon. He loves it.

RT: So many in this community dream of starting their own business. What’s your best piece of advice for launching a successful local biz?

SCCONY: It’s never the right time, it won’t be easy, you’ll be exhausted, it’s not a sure thing, someone down the street is doing the same thing…GO FOR IT! In all seriousness…be prepared to listen, filter, listen some more, and make decisions. You won’t always make the right decision— that’s ok. The only mistake is not moving forward.

LOCAL FLAVOR: Marion Gardens

LOCAL FLAVOR: Marion Gardens

With gardening season fast approaching, we’re excited to bring in our amazing selection of organic plants from Marion Gardens, located right here on Long Island’s North Fork. We spoke to Chris Gaipa, who, along with his father Walter, is responsible for the day-to-day operations at Marion Gardens. This is a family business through and through, based wholly on a love of organic gardening and a desire to provide the best possible organic product for their customers on Long Island and beyond.

RT: Who are the people behind the Marion Gardens?
MG: The core people behind Marion Gardens today are myself and my father Walter. Beyond that we wouldn’t be where we are today without my mother, Linell, and Betty and Gabriel, our two mainstay employees.

RT:  What is the story behind the creation of the company? How did Marion Gardens get where it is today?
MG: Marion Gardens was started by my parents, Walter and Linell, with a 6′ x 8′ hobby greenhouse growing bonsai trees. That morphed into field grown cut herbs that were sold at NYC farmer’s markets. Eventually we settled on growing wholesale finished plants. Today we have two acres of covered greenhouse space that we use to sell over 300 varieties of Certified Organic herb and vegetable plants to garden centers and natural markets all over Long Island. We have experienced steady growth while making sure to maintain our roots as a small, accessible family business.

RT: How does Marion Gardens stand out among other Long Island plant and herb growers?
MG: Other growers may have a portion of their business dedicated to herb and vegetable plants or a portion of their business dedicated to growing organically, but we are completely committed and our sole focus is on growing 100% Certified Organic herb and vegetable plants. Non-organic herb and vegetable plants are often advertised as “all natural” or “GMO free.” However they can still be grown with chemical fertilizers, pest controls, growth regulators and treated seed. Certified Organic plants MUST be GMO free and ONLY use USDA Certified Organic compost, fertilizer and pest controls, which includes the use of beneficial insects. Only plants grown under the strict USDA Certified Organic standards can make this claim. We are inspected every year and have to pay a sizeable fee to be Certified Organic. Yet, we wouldn’t grow any other way.

RT: Have you always been 100% organic? If not, what was the process that led you here?
MG: We have been growing on Long Island since 1987 and we began the transition into organic back in the early 2000’s. We have been full Certified Organic since 2007.

RT: What’s one fun thing most people don’t know about Marion Gardens?
MG: We have spinoff businesses from Marion Gardens wholesale. My wife Angela and I have a small retail outlet in the front of our wholesale greenhouse that we open for a few months every spring. We also began Organic Harvest which ships Marion Gardens plants nationwide, and is one of the few growers of Certified Organic plug trays. We even got an order from Alaska this year! If you know anyone that’s not local that’s looking for a quality organic plant, send them to theorganicharvest.com.

RT: What’s the latest from Marion Gardens? Anything new in the pipeline we should know about?
MG: We are always trying to grow new and interesting varieties. That’s one of the most exciting parts of what we do.

RT: As a company devoted to organic plants…what are you loving to eat right now? What are your go-to (snacks, drinks, wellness products, etc.)?
MG: What aren’t we loving to eat! This time of year we are focused mainly on the cold hardy greens, in particular kale and arugula. But we are looking forward to getting our garden planted and experiencing the new varieties of tomatoes and peppers first hand.

RT: We always celebrate local businesses, and are especially fond of those right here on Long Island.  What are the benefits of running your business on the Island?
MG: Long Islanders stay true to their roots. And in our case, the garden center industry on Long Island hasn’t been nearly as affected by the big box stores as some other places. This has allowed us to continue to have so many outlets to sell our plants. And Long Islanders love to garden! We know what we want and we really seem to appreciate and seek out quality, local products. So many people nowadays will only grow organic plants and gardens and we are thrilled to be able to provide them with the opportunity to do so. And we appreciate that Rising Tide Market feels the same way.

RT: As an extension of the last question…many of our customers dream of ditching our everyday life to work on a farm or run a local business. What’s your one piece of advice for those considering this kind of lifestyle change?
MG: This is one we get a lot. This industry is a lot of fun, and it is a beautiful thing to enhance and encourage what Mother Nature has set the stage for. With that being said, it certainly isn’t for everyone. I’m not sure most people realize the amount of energy (and with that, stress!) that goes into working year-round but making a majority of your income in a few short months. We work long hours and it’s a physical and mental grind to raise so many different kinds of plants all at once. However, we are very proud of the work that we do and we thrive off of all of the positive feedback we get. I know I speak for all of us when I say we wouldn’t have it any other way.

RT: Dream big. What is your wildest dream for the future of Marion Gardens?
MG: Just to continue to provide a service that we’d be grateful to have for ourselves, and to continue to touch people’s lives in a positive way. That’s what gets us out of bed in the morning. Early!

LOCAL FLAVOR: MUD Coconut Mousse

LOCAL FLAVOR: MUD Coconut Mousse

In 2013, Miriam Wietniewska and Sam Friedman fell in love. But they were often at odds over dessert. Sam loved sugary desserts like cookies, cakes and ice cream. Miriam would look at the ingredients and cringe – sugar, high fructose corn syrup, polysorbate 80, carrageenan? Ahhh! One night, Miriam whipped up a four-ingredient “ice cream” made of coconuts, cashews, dates and cacao. For the first time, Sam was hooked on a healthy dessert. Soon enough, friends, family, and even perfect strangers wanted MUD in their home. Today, MUD’s Coconut Mousse product line is available in more than 60 health food and grocery stores in NYC, Long Island, Upstate NY, Connecticut and growing. Its purpose is clear: to nourish people and their higher purpose—and give them sweet nourishment along the way.

Since 2015, over 20,000 people have tried MUD. They often ask: ‘Are you sure there’s no dairy or refined sugar in here?’ Yes, they are 100% sure.

Note to customers: Make sure to let MUD soften! Since they use no preservatives or gums, it gets hard in the freezer. MUD is best enjoyed thawed for 20 minutes at room temp, or even from the fridge!

RT: Who are the people behind the MUD?
M
: Sam Friedman, the sweet tooth, and Miriam Kwietniewska, the health nut.

Sam is a social entrepreneur from Rockaway Beach, NY with a passion for creativity, collaboration, and commerce. Before MUD, he founded an IT platform that today is helping fund global agricultural projects. Sam has always had a big sweet tooth. Before the age of 12 he ran a chocolate-covered pretzel stand, and sold ice cream in his home town. Sam serves as MUD’s CEO and Chief Taste Tester, helping keep MUD sweet.

Miriam Kwietniewska is a soulpreneur with a passion for health and wellness. At age 9, Miriam emigrated from Poland to Long Beach, NY. Her interest in healing started thanks to her mom’s Multiple Sclerosis (MS). At the age of 23, Miriam experienced divine intervention after seeing someone heal themselves from progressive MS. She applied holistic healing principles to herself, which changed her life and led to the co-founding of MUD. Today, Miriam is coaching her mom to heal herself naturally, continuing to develop natural products, and collaborating with change-makers to awaken the collective consciousness of the planet. Miriam serves as MUD’s Chief Product Officer, helping keep MUD healthy.

RT: What makes MUD different from other dairy-free frozen desserts out there?
M: First, MUD uses whole foods, not processed derivatives. We use whole cashews and dates to preserve precious vitamins, minerals, and fiber for you! Each serving of MUD has 12 vitamins and minerals, and 4-5 grams of plant-based protein.  Other dairy-free frozen desserts use liquid milks, syrups, natural flavorings and powdered gums and fibers, which have little to no nutrient density.

Secondly, MUD’s Coconut Mousse is real food that tastes like dessert. It’s organic nuts and fruits ground and whipped together for your pleasure and convenience. And we sweeten exclusively with dates, not with refined sugar or high glycemic syrup. Dates grow on palm trees in arid climates, and in Ayurveda are considered a ‘sattvic’ food (light, pure energy). Dates are low to medium glycemic and contain a lot of fiber, which helps to offset the glycemic response in the blood. In other words, although MUD’s Coconut Mousse tastes like a dessert, it doesn’t carry the negative side effect of a sugar crash. Satisfy your sweet tooth while nourishing your body.

RT: How important is it for you to source ingredients locally?
M:
All of our ingredients grow in countries with a tropical climate like Madagascar, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Dominican Republic. The only ingredient we can currently source from the USA is our organic dates from California. When we source ingredients it’s very important for us to know where they’re coming from and how the people, crops and local environments are treated. As we grow, we learn how to ask better questions and how to source closer to the source. For instance, we source our Madagascar vanilla from a company that partners directly with small farmers via their cooperatives, and we source our organic coffee and cacao from certified fair-trade partnerships.

RT: What’s one fun thing most people don’t know about MUD?
M:
Each serving of MUD’s Coconut Mousse is infused with Ocean energy. MUD is made in Rockaway Beach, a true New York City gem. Rockaway is a peninsula nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Manhattan skyline, making it a perfect place for nature lovers who love the creative energy of the city!

RT: What’s the latest from MUD? Anything new in the pipeline?
M:
Yes! We are expanding our distribution reach, and are expected to be sold in over 500 stores in the Northeastern U.S. before the summer of 2018. Yay! On the research & development side, we are developing a new flavor line of Mousses made with unique nut and seed varieties.

RT: When you’re not noshing on MUD… What are you loving to eat right now? What are your go-to (snacks, drinks, wellness products, etc.)?
M:
We love to cook at home, especially Ayurvedic-inspired meals.
For snacks we love Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips, Lara Bars, Eating Evolved chocolates, REBBL Drinks, Harmless Harvest coco water. Our favorite Wellness products are Essential Rose Life Roll-On (smells divine!) and Bach Flower Essences.

RT: How has it been to open a business in NY State? What’s it like to be a “local” food business?
M:
It’s been challenging yet rewarding. New York is such a busy place that you can find inspiration all around you, and you have millions of entrepreneurial minds at your disposal. Being local has meant a lot for us. We derive a lot of support from our Rockaway Beach community who have given us the opportunity to sell MUD at the local farm, food co-op, markets, etc. We also love meeting the local store owners that share bits of advice, wisdom, and laughter. It makes the hard days manageable, and we feel like we’re building a strong network of friends and allies. We are also part of the Long Island Food Council (LIFC) which has been invaluable in helping us scale our business. Through LIFC, we meet industry professionals who guide us, and we’re given the space to pitch and refine our ideas and strategies.

RT: So many in our community dream of starting their own local business. What’s your one piece of advice for launching a successful local biz?
M:
Do it from a heart-centered place. Allow the business to choose you, not the other way around. In other words, don’t sit there and try to conjure up the best new business idea. Instead, practice self-awareness and live your life in heart-centered presence. The perfect business idea will hit you over the head!!  Hopefully it won’t hurt too much.

RT: What is your wildest dream about the future of MUD?
M:
One million clean, nourishing, accessible and affordable MUD products sold worldwide. All packaging is 100% biodegradable. MUD grows organizational arms to fuel positive change in food, health & wellness, agriculture, mass media, and water industries.

(Photography courtesy of Rising Tide shopper and photographer Ashley Cuoco.)

LOCAL FLAVOR: Kalypso Yogurt

LOCAL FLAVOR: Kalypso Yogurt

If the cute terracotta pots in the Rising Tide dairy section have caught your eye, you are not alone! These little pots belong to local yogurt manufacturer Kalypso Yogurt. Armed with a Mediterranean heritage, a desire to spread a planet-friendly consciousness and a love of great, wholesome dairy, Kalypso founder Nick Trastelis has distinguished his company in a sea of Greek yogurts. Made from all grass-fed cow’s milk, nonfat Kalypso Yogurt brings a fresh, clean, impossibly delicious product to the dairy scene.

RT: Who are the people behind Kalypso Yogurt?
KY: We are a likeminded team focused on mindfulness and living life with intention. We’re trying to redefine our food system by providing the highest-quality ingredients in a sustainable packaging with the goal of moving to a circular economy.  In other words, we give you some of the best Greek yogurt in a healthier and recyclable little pot.

RT: What was the impetus behind the creation of the company? In other words…why yogurt?
KY: Nic, our founder, is a fourth-generation dairy artisan. For him, yogurt and cheese runs deep…and it’s personal. While living in Greece he came across an article in Fortune magazine about another yogurt company that was beginning to lay a foundation for Greek yogurt here in the U.S. It was an instant challenge. He defined what Kalypso was going to stand for, its core values, and the importance of consistently communicating these values, and set out to deliver an unequaled quality of yogurt steeped in tradition. The unknown was how best to share this gift of nature.

RT: What makes Kalypso different from other Greek yogurt out there? 
KY: All of Kalypso’s products are crafted from pasture-fed Jersey milk, no artificial growth hormones, non-GMO’s, and packaged in a healthier terracotta pot.  The benefit here is that milk of Jerseys is naturally higher in essential nutrients, containing more vitamins and an array of antioxidants. Our packaging is an inert material and is healthier than plastic or glass containers that leech harmful chemicals and allow UV lighting to breakdown all of the above into a non-nutritious snack.

RT: How important is it for you to source ingredients locally? Why/why not?
KY: Keeping our money where our heart is, is very important to us. Sourcing locally grown ingredients is an investment in the future. By supporting our local farms we are helping to ensure that there will be farms in our community tomorrow. This is hugely important for our food security.

RT: What’s one fun thing most people don’t know about Kalypso Yogurt?  
KY: The name Kalypso is derived from Greek mythology. Kalypso was a sea nymph in Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey”. She used her powers to enchant Odysseus (the hero) and kept him under her spell for most of his stay on the island. Our tag line is “seductively delicious.” A clever little spin, we thought!

RT: What’s the latest from Kalpyso? Anything new in the pipeline we should know about?
KY: We have recently undergone our organic certification and will slowly begin to offer that certification on all  our products. We also recently launched our line of premium finishing butters in a few amazing flavors, and these have been well received by our fans. One day very soon our dessert pods will be ready to roll out, too!

RT: When you’re not noshing on yogurt… what are you loving to eat right now? What is your top go-to (snack, drink, wellness product or other)? 
KY: Balancing a busy work schedule and maintaining a wholesome diet can be a challenge. Keeping indulgent and nutritious snacks on hand is essential. Our go-to’s right now are Baresnacks banana and coconut chips, and our own homemade watermelon and key lime kombucha. Fermentation is in our DNA!

RT: What’s your favorite recipe to make using Kalypso as an ingredient?
KY: We can’t get enough of Spanakopita, or spinach pie. It’s simply fresh spinach, leeks, house-made feta and whole milk Greek yogurt. Even with all the chopping needed for the prep, it’s well worth the effort.

 RT: So many in our community dream of starting their own local business. What’s your one piece of advice for launching a successful local biz?
KY: Our time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life… get out there and do it. Don’t ask for too many folks’ opinions, you’ll hear many reasons why not to launch. Define your passion and run with it!

Try Kalypso Yogurt in Natural Plain, Madagacar Vanilla, Carolina Peach, Mission Fig, Mixed Berries and Toasted Coconut.

LOCAL FLAVOR: Strong Island Styles  

LOCAL FLAVOR: Strong Island Styles  

In the past, we have devoted this space to a local food vendor, but this month we decided to broaden our definition of Local Flavor to include successful local businesses that help make our ‘hood such a great place to run ours. First on our list was our neighbor across the street, Strong Island Styles. Since Brian Basile opened his barbershop in 2006, he has had a few very notable experiences; among them, he entered a reality show hosted by Cedric the Entertainer in 2015 (and won 1st place!), and last summer was given the honor of cutting MMA fighter Conor McGregor’s hair prior to his press conference with Floyd Mayweather. Brian is a self-taught barber, and uses a combo of old-fashioned straight razors and “new school” techniques to create the kind of shave designs and patterns he is known for. (He also created his own hair product, which is said to ward off evil spirits.) His shop, now home to 10 barbers, is always buzzing, and while it can’t be judged on flavor, it’ s a great example of local color.

RT: Why did you open Strong Island Styles?
BB: As a young man I was into fashion, which led me to cutting hair for fun. Once I started getting very good, my customers were lining up around the block. I absolutely love giving people makeovers. It’s something that makes me happy to go to work every day. Getting a haircut is one of the cheapest ways to change your mood and feel good.

RT: Who is your ideal customer? 
BB: Contrary to all these very expensive salons and corporate-style men’s grooming parlors, I wanted to take the most talented barbers and cater to the customer that cares solely about quality.

RT: What should people know before they come to your shop?
A few of our barbers cut women’s hair.  Being that we are a barbershop and we cut hair kind of fast, we give haircuts to women who don’t want to go to the salon and spend $100 when they can spend $20 on a haircut from us.

RT: What is one thing about Strong Island that most people don’t know?
One thing people don’t know about me is that I enjoy speaking to very old customers and hearing about when they were young and how different our generations are.

RT: In what ways does Strong Island give back to the Glen Cove community? 
Once a year during the St. Patty’s Day Parade in Glen Cove, we do a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s. We shave heads to raise money for childhood cancer. This will be our ninth year doing this.

RT: Of course we’re always interested in what people like to eat. What’s your favorite product from Rising Tide Market? 
My favorite food is the salmon burger.  I also love the coconuts that the friendly staff cuts a hole in so I can drink right out of it with a straw.

LOCAL FLAVOR: RT Speaks with The Piggery

LOCAL FLAVOR: RT Speaks with The Piggery

With such a carefully curated meat department, we need to be super selective about which vendors we bring in to the store, and which products we feel will best serve our customers. The Piggery, based just a few hours north in Ithaca, NY, meets every single one of our requirements for a local, artisanal vendor—and then some! And while you’re falling in love with their Nitrate Free, Pasture Raised Uncured Pig Dogs  or like us, their Rosemary Thyme Rubbed Pastured Pork Chops (see recipe below!), you should know that people behind the pigs are as lovely as their meat is delicious. We were lucky enough to chat with Brad Marshall and Heather Sandford—husband-and-wife owners of The Piggery—to get their take on how their business became what it is today, and to learn the mission behind the meat.

RT: Who IS The Piggery?
TP: The Piggery is a regionally recognized whole animal butchery located in Ithaca, NY that has been featured in Edible Brooklyn, Time Out NY, The New York Daily News, Bon Apettit and more.  We’re also farmers!  The Piggery Farm in Trumansburg, NY and JD Farms in Eaton, NY graze heritage pigs and turkeys on certified organic pastures and woodlots and finished on non-GMO feeds. We operate one of the smallest USDA butcher shops in the country where we handcraft meats for awesome customers like Rising Tide.

RT: What is The Piggery’s Origin Story?  
TP: It’s been a long and winding journey!  We’re not exactly sure how it happened either!  We (Brad and Heather) moved back to Upstate NY (outside of Ithaca) in 2004 to homestead and develop our 70-acre farm.  We were very interested in local/small scale farming and noticed that there was very little meat at the farmers’ market.  Only frozen, poorly processed/unfamiliar cuts (like rump roasts) seemed to be available from local farms.  We were already raising pigs for ourselves and thought it’d be an interesting idea to slaughter weekly, process the meat on farm under a NYS Ag & Markets license, and bring fresh meat and cured items to market.  Within 6 weeks, we had a line 40 people deep at the opening bell and it hasn’t slowed since.  We’ve always felt that The Piggery is a community driven project that has grown and evolved to meet the needs of our community, even though that community has grown a little geographically.

 RT: What makes The Piggery stand out from other local farms/butchers/artisanal meat purveyors?  
TP: We’re unique in that we’re truly a farmer-owned and operated pasture-raised/non-GMO fed farm and whole animal butchery.  Not many farms have a model of following their herd from birth through final processing for the customer.  We’re very focused on raising well cared for animals for over a year and producing meat that’s clean—just meat and spices—for our customer.

RT: What’s something about The Piggery that most people don’t know?
TP: Hmmmmm… I would say they probably don’t know how many hours we spend doodling on notepads trying to figure out how to use the whole animal every single week…. It’s a tricky, yet stimulating puzzle. It’s very important to us to use as much of every animal harvested from our farms as possible.

RT: What’s the latest news from The Piggery? Anything new in the pipeline we should know about?  
TP: All sorts of things are happening in The Piggery-verse these days!  Although we’ve always raised our animals on Certified Organic pastures with non-GMO feeds, we’re in the home stretch of being Project Non-GMO Verified which is soooooo exciting!  It’s been a mountain of paperwork, but we’re so proud to support this project.  We’re also updating our package with more details like Nutritional Info, Gluten Free. Antibiotic Free, Non-GMO Project Verified.  We really are just a group of small farmers and didn’t realize how much customers depend on those labels.  It’s taken us a little while to save up the funds for a redesign:) We’re also improving our on-farm feed mill operation which feels pretty great!

RT: When you’re not noshing on your delicious meats, what are you loving to eat right now? What are your go-to snacks on the farm?
TP: Heather’s pretty paleo these days and loves sipping on bone broth and hacking recipes with almond flour.  The Thai restaurant down the street gets an awful lot of her business on cheat days:) Brad is the biggest carnivore you’ll ever meet.  You’ll regularly find him wandering around the butcher shop break room gnawing on a smoked hock.

RT: Like you, so many people dream of leaving behind their urban/suburban lives for life on the farm. What advice do you have for those interested in pursuing this kind of dream? 
TP: It’s as equally painful, hard, expensive, joyful, fulfilling and magical as it looks. 🙂

 RT: Okay last question…at Rising Tide, our customers love your Rosemary Thyme Rubbed Pork Chops, made from The Piggery’s pasture raised heritage hogs. Any tips on preparing them to bring out their innate deliciousness?

TP: I LOVE the Rosemary Thyme chops. If the weather gods are kind to us, they’re great on a grill.  But around the holidays, when most people are cooking inside, here’s my cooking recommendation:

Put a bit of lard, grassfed butter or olive oil in your favorite cast iron skillet and warm over medium low/medium heat.  Place chops in skillet for 5-10 minutes.  Flip and cook other side for about 5 minutes.  Use a digital meat thermometer to check temperature near the bone.  When the temp is 147 degrees F, remove from heat and rest chops for 5-10 minutes.
If you have a little extra time…. sautee some onions in lard, butter or olive oil until translucent. Add some fresh or re-hydrated mushroom slices, a bit of heavy cream, and fresh or dried rosemary to make a luscious sauce to top your chops. Enjoy!
CLEAN SLATE: Start the Year Off with Rising Tide at Our Annual Jan. 1st Bash

CLEAN SLATE: Start the Year Off with Rising Tide at Our Annual Jan. 1st Bash

With New Year’s Eve parties (and all of 2017!) behind you, it’s time to take your first healthy steps into 2018.

Spend the first day of the new year with your friends at your favorite natural food grocer. The Rising Tide New Year’s Day bash is the place to spend Jan. 1, 2018:

  • SHOP for healthy, organic, GMO-free groceries, supplements and produce…20% off the entire store!*
  • Enter to WIN dozens of awesome raffles from many of our best-selling vendors…a raffle is awarded every hour!
  • SAMPLE our health-boosting RT Bone Broth, along with loads of other tasty items.
  • CHILL to the laid-back musical stylings of our very own Josh and Steve.
  • TOAST your friends and neighbors—with FREE Rising Tide greens drinks!—for a beautiful, healthy, prosperous, and peaceful year to come.
  • GRAND PRIZE...everyone who shops on Jan. 1 is entered to win a brand new Apple Watch! We look forward to seeing you there!

* Customers will receive 20% off everything in the store EXCEPT Every Day Low Prices.

LOCAL FLAVOR: RT Chats with Ithaca Hummus

LOCAL FLAVOR: RT Chats with Ithaca Hummus

Our new hummus obsession is the freshest, most homemade-tasting we’ve found. Ithaca Hummus will stand up to all your chips, crackers, and veggies, and makes an AMAZING sandwich spread or salad topper. We sat down with Ithaca Cold-Crafted founder and president Chris Kirby to see what makes their hummus so tasty and their mission, so admirable.

RT: What’s the origin story of Ithaca Hummus?
CK: We started out at a stand in the Ithaca Farmers’ Market; selling one flavor of hummus (Lemon Garlic) which we made fresh for our customers every day. We made deliveries to local Co-ops ourselves, packing the hummus in coolers on ice and into our cars for delivery all over upstate NY. It wasn’t the easiest or most efficient system, but it was what we needed to do to keep the hummus fresh. Our food ethos is to keep the flavors of our raw ingredients alive, and this idea is really what unites us as an organization. It’s the common goal that we all work for, it’s what we’re passionate about, and it’s what makes our hummus taste so fresh.

RT: What was the impetus behind the creation of Ithaca Hummus? In other words…why hummus?
CK: Hummus is becoming a staple item in the U.S. and we felt like there was a huge difference in flavor between what we could make ourselves at home and the premade stuff in the grocery store. We thought there needed to be a better option for people like us who were unimpressed with bland tasting store-bought hummus, but didn’t want to go through the annoyance of making it themselves at home.

RT: What makes Ithaca Hummus different from other hummus out there?
CK: ‘This hummus tastes so much fresher than any other brand.’ That’s what we hear from almost every person who tries it. Customers want to know why, and honestly, the answer isn’t a simple one. Unfortunately, food manufacturing has become a very industrialized practice in our country. Artificial ingredients, heat pasteurization, and preservatives all have a very negative impact on the nutrients in our food and the way it tastes. We’re using cold-pressed, raw ingredients that are never heated or compromised with preservatives. So, it’s really a combination of selecting super fresh ingredients and being very intentional about the way that we process them that makes our hummus taste so fresh and unique.

RT: What’s an interesting thing about Ithaca Hummus that most people don’t know? 
CK: We have an entire section of our facility that is dedicated to handling raw produce and cold pressing the fresh juices we use in our hummus. I think we are the only hummus company that is part cold-pressed juicery.

RT: What’s the latest news from Ithaca Hummus? Anything new in the pipeline we should know about?
CK: We are a passionate team and we love food so of course we’re always thinking up new product ideas, but we think it’s important to incorporate customer feedback into the ideation stage of new product development. What we’re hearing most frequently from customers today is that they just want more of what we’re already doing. Right now, we are focused on making our products more accessible and increasing our distribution. In the next month, we’ll be launching a direct to consumer online store and we are working on developing larger sizes of our current flavors.

RT: When you’re not noshing on fresh hummus… What are you loving to eat right now? What is your top go-to (snack, drink, wellness product or other)?
CK: Emmy’s Organics Coconut Cookies. If you haven’t tried these they are indulgent little superfood bites that are perfect for a quick snack. Our favorite is the Dark Cacao flavor.

RT: How has it been to open a business in NY State? What’s it like to be a “local” food business?
CK: New York State (specifically Tompkins County) was an awesome place to launch our business. We have had the full support of local organizations like the farmer’s market and cooperative extension from the beginning. When we opened our first plant in 2015, Tompkins County Area Development helped us with the loans we needed to buy equipment and get started. Small “local” businesses are usually too risky for traditional bank financing, so without local organizations like TCAD we wouldn’t have been able to grow as fast as we have.

 RT: As an extension of the last question…so many in our community dream of starting their own local business. What’s your one piece of advice for launching a successful local biz? 
CK: The difference between an idea and a business is customers. To thrive, a business needs to solve a real problem that its customers are facing. Ask yourself: what is the value proposition of my business? Ours is: hummus at the grocery store that tastes like it just came out of the blender. Multiply the impact of the problem your business solves times the number of customers that face the problem. That’s the value your business creates in the world. Starting a business is hard work. Make sure you’re not putting all that hard work towards an idea that there aren’t any customers for.

**ON SALE ALL MONTH: Rising Tide has all three flavors of Ithaca Hummus (Lemon Dill, Beet, Garlic) on sale for the month of November. Regularly $5.79, now $4.99. Pick some up for Thanksgiving!**

LOCAL FLAVOR: Rising Tide Talks with Pleasant Petites

LOCAL FLAVOR: Rising Tide Talks with Pleasant Petites

Amityville-based Pleasant Petites is one of Rising Tide’s all-time favorite local vendors. If you haven’t tried them yet, be sure to pick up a Peanut Butter Goji-Berry Brownie, Ultimate Cocoa Krunch, Lovely Lemon Bar or Nicest Nola Bar in the grab-and-go case by the Deli.

For customers who don’t yet know Pleasant Petites, how would you describe your company and your creations? What sets you apart?
Our handmade creations are 100% organic, vegan and gluten-free. We never use refined sugars or preservatives. Our products are nutritious twists on traditional sweets.

Do you source ingredients locally? How important is that to you?
Yes, whenever possible. Most of our ingredients are purchased from a New York supplier, and we try to work with local vendors when possible. Since starting, we have spent time at events and farmer’s markets sharing advice, ideas and personal experiences with other local vendors. There is a communal effort in everything we do.

What is coming around the bend from Pleasant Petites? 
We would love to offer Pleasant Petites outside the local area. Shipments will be available directly from our website in the near future.

What is one thing about Pleasant Petites that most people don’t know?
Every one of our creations is carefully crafted by hand. Preparing ingredients, packaging and labeling them is very time consuming. Our company has three partners: Bobby Nagelberg, Jamie Effman and Jesse Effman. Our families have played a large role in our growth. They have contributed emotional support as well as hands-on help. You might meet Bobby’s mom Teresa, brother Matty or Jamie and Jesse’s 8-year-old daughter Olive in the kitchen, a local event, or at a farmer’s market. We are very proud to consider Pleasant Petites a family-based operation.

When you’re not making and eating sweets, what are your latest food addictions? What do you love that we should all know about?
We are participating in our local Organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Project and it has been an incredible experience. Each week, we are able to pick up an amazing variety of fruits and vegetables. We are constantly surprised to discover different types of produce that could be missed when shopping in a store. Our culinary horizons are expanded and we are also helping local communities and the environment.

So many in our community dream of starting their own food business. What is your one piece of advice for launching a successful local biz? 
It is important to get to know and listen to your customers. We have had many informative conversations since we began and their input has been valuable and instrumental to our growth. We have learned more about our products and our mission while developing some very strong friendships.

For more on Pleasant Petites, check out this article in Edible Long Island. Next time you’re at Rising Tide, pick up one of their amazing creations!