Two best friends and Brilliance: Shenandoah Spice Co.

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Shenandoah Spice Company caught my attention while doing the beloved Whole Foods sample rounds. I’m not a huge meat lover, nor will I ramble down the road of over-priced Whole Foods items—but they got me.

It was the bread dip first: everyone’s favorite Italian restaurant starter, with herbs a little sea salt and olive oil, just to dip your bread in. Next, a refreshing dill yogurt dip: one bite and all I wanted was red pepper, cucumber, and a bottle of wine. So the dips stop you at the table long enough just to see their spice collection.

They got my sale, but thanks to a wonderful Whole Foods employee, Chad, they got my help. Well really I got a cabinet filled with tasty spices and another awesome company with which to work.

So here’s the story:

Shenandoah Spice Company is owned and operated by two best friends, a butcher (Nick) and a chef (Josh).  About 8 years back they did what any good DelMarVa cat does and took a trip down their local river, the Shenandoah of course, with a cooler of beers and a couple of inner tubes.

While floating, they came to the brilliant realization: we have all of the knowledge and passion to make our own spice line…so why haven’t we?

They started with the butcher shop, Crabhill Butchers in Toms Brook, Virginia—then the farmers markets—now: Whole Foods and beyond!

I have the privilege of helping them expand through the Maryland, DC area.  Slow, but steady, we win the race to enter the kitchens of the masses.  After just one demo I am almost obsolete—it flies from the shelves.  Why? Because it’s just that dern good.

 

What I love and why?

  • Espresso BBQ rub
  • Island Jerk
  • Blackened Bayou
  • Cul-Pepper Rub
  • Sweet Heat
  • Spicy Adobo
  • Okay so basically all of them but those are the top favorites

Why? You become the laziest chef and get that restaurant quality of flavor, without the take-out cost.  When trying to start a small business, that really makes a difference.

Go team.

 

So what can YOU do to help and get Shenandoah Spice to your neighborhoods??  How can you help a small business survive??

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Go to your local Whole Foods, Wegmans, corner markets and ask them if/where their Shenandoah Spices are! A few requests, only 5 minutes of your day, and you can truly bring momentum to their success.  Plus, nobody likes a squeaky wheel—being an annoying customer actually rocks in this situation.

 

Where to find it as of now?

Whole Foods Annapolis

Whole Foods Charlottesville

Whole Foods Tenleytown

Whole Foods Oldtown

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 p.s.- nicest guys to work with..maybe ever.

Work a thon at the 49 West

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What a pleasure to see familiar faces!

After a few long days of working alone, I got to spend some time alone with The Trusted Table’s Sarah Knebel.  Over our favorite tasty hummus platter we began to trade secrets and girl chats…within minutes the boys were calling.  Bored without Sarah, we’d like to think.  But we were blessed to be joined by them.

It’s amazing what things can be done when you put the group mind into power!  Reality checks from Sarah, web help from John, development advice from Todd, and a little cooking and wording advice from lil ol’ me.

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This is just a Thank You to 49 West for providing us such a great place to brainstorm, to keep caffeinated, and to provide us with our tasty favorite, healthy snacks!  You can always find at least one of us there, and all the other entrepreneurs roaming the streets of Annapolis.

Gator Ron’s Sauces and Mixes

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From: Bethesda, MD

Special Facts: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, No GMO’s, low sodium, low sugar, supports ALS research

Why else I love em: Because their story is unbelievable, their BBQ sauce doesn’t give me a sugar rush, and I finally like Bloody Mary’s.

And their story, in brief….

 

          When I first began searching for my ideal clients, I’d spend my breaks (at the grocery store) getting to know the vendors while they demoed.  It only took 5 minutes to know that I would be pursuing them as one of my first clients:

          Ron the pharmaceutical rep.  Constance the administrator for medical professionals.  He tried forever to get her number, tried to get her on a date–she was quite the lovely lady.  Finally, one day, she buckled, “Just come accross the street, one drink”, he said, after reaching for advice from a doctor in her office.  That one drink and the rest became their history, their legacy.  They moved into a home together in their small community in Bethesda and began their neighborly ways.

          Ron became known as the sauce man; holiday boat parties, community events, or special delivery random batches to neighbors.  He would make extras just so they could take some home at the end of the night.  Ron would even make a very special gluten-free batch for his neighbor, Debbie, just so she could keep having her favorite wings.  This man loved nothing more than to share his creations with his community, even if it did mean buying the expensive gluten-free soy sauce just for that one neighbor.

Although it had always been his dream to start his own sauce company, the dream was set aside after being diagnosed with ALS, the degenerative nerve disease also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.  After two years fighting the illness Ron passed away and his wife, Connie, made a decision: I hate my job, I love my husband…I will build his legacy.

So here she is today, with that gluten-free neighbor Debbie, working on building Ron’s legacy.  They have taken his recipes and learned to make them in large batches.  To make them all natural they’ve switched to fresh horseradish, making the tastes even stronger than before, yet staying true to Ron’s vision (and of course, taste preferences).

          Gator Ron’s core staff consists these two women and Debbie’s husband, Ron’s best friend and grill partner Steve.  They carry his story and continue to shed light on the impact of ALS.  Their sauces are not only a delicious, they’re inspiring.

Gluten-free–Dairy free–GMO free–low sodium–low sugar–LOCAL–aaaand…

A portion of the proceeds go to ALS research at the John Hopkins Robert Packard Center.

And yes, it is a majority of their profits.

 

Where can you Can Find this Product?

Annapolis:  Annebeth’s of Maryland Avenue, Whole Foods Annapolis

Baltimore:  Eddies Market, Eddies Liquors, Whole Foods Harbor East, Whole Foods Mt. Washington

The Trusted Table: online grocery goodness

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Ever just really not feel like getting up and going to le grocery store?

How about feeling pretty over trying to find actual local produce?

 

While you try and wiggle through the sea of oblivious shoppers, some who might see you there, others who have just run over your heels with a cart, you search for things labeled organic. That shopping list you’ve prepped, so familiar with your weekly regular meals, becomes overwhelmed with rando add ons and slow, yet steady, the weekly planned meals fall through the crack and you end up with a basket of less than sustainable mix and match meals.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some impulse buying. I love throwing in new ingredients, trying new things….but I do not like having my heels run over. I really don’t. More importantly, I do not like having to question where my food comes from. Quite frankly, I’d love if someone would just do that for me, make sure the farms are local, find me good, organic, produce, and bring the foods right to my door. I’d still get to innovate my meals, but me and my heals would be safe. Why doesn’t that magical grocery store exist??

 

Oh wait…..it does.

 

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They were the very first company in Annapolis to really wake me up to our growing organic farm community. Originally stationed in the Market House, they have changed their face a bit, cleaned up their requirements (if that was even possible), and reopened as The Trusted Table! Their product lines go beyond just CSA boxes and include anything from meats and seafood to dairy and dry pasta. Each week, they find the products that our local, organic, farmers have to offer and post them up, starting Sunday, for you to order. What am I ordering this week from the Trusted Table?

 

  • A POUND of habaneros to make some homemade hot sauce!
  • A lb of zucchini for my summer favorite: zucchini linguini
  • A lb of full chicken wings to use with my favorite Gator Ron’s Angel wing sauce
  • Salmon to make some delish fish tacos
  • One head of garlic
  • and a small produce box!

 

Every thursday, I look forward to the delivery! Stress free, guilt free groceries appear on my door and I thank the magic foodie gods for all of their good graces in my tasty meals!

Eat well. Eat happy.