CELEBRATING OUR SUPPLIERS
These beautifully vibrant strawberries were picked by yours truly throughout the summer of 2019. I found this hidden gem of a small, organic farm near where I grew up in South Jersey called Cecil Creek Farm. Their weekly CSA's were a fantastic value. The best part: an all-you-can-pick bounty of fresh organic tomatoes, strawberries, and flowers that changed with the warm summer weeks. Celebrating the unsung heroes of our industry, we would like to share the ever-evolving suppliers who provide us with the finest organic, plant-based, gluten-free ingredients.
LOVE OF EATING
I love to eat. My adventures into healthful cooking and baking came as a necessity to feed me, my boyfriend (of almost 20 years!) and our beloved Amstaff mix, Tuffy.
May I start by mentioning that natural ingredients does not mean organic? Did you also know, there are ingredients in packaged food that are not even listed? If the ingredient is below a certain % of total ingredients, it is considered insignificant, and therefore not included. Wouldn't you like to know if you were consuming formaldehyde, and what do "natural flavors" consist of anyway? I only learned this when I tried to secure a co-packer to mass produce our best-selling chocolate/crisp bars many years ago. There were so many headaches in finding a clean co-packer. One more reminder of how clever the food industry is, fresh packaged foods are also flushed with nitrogen to reduce the oxygen content, therefore extending shelf life. Maybe these details do not bother you, but they bother me - tremendously. Enough to start a restaurant with zero experience.
Guests may be surprised to learn that we have extremely slim margins on our products. It's why more restaurants are NOT going 100% organic, plant-based, and gluten-free. Our ingredients are expensive 3 ways. As you know, I do not come from a restaurant background or business background. I do this and our team does this for our love of clean, transparent food that also tastes and makes you feel incredible. We do it for the hope to help others see the possibilities of enjoying clean, organic, plant-based, gluten-free eating. And, to see our planet and fellow animals thrive.
We are starting our search of co-packers again, to help us scale, but hoping to find one who will honor our list of fine vendors and ingredients. Many of our ingredients are priced the same as retail. It's one of those stubborn details business-wise I shouldn't do, but I also can't walk away from a better ingredient if possible to source.
If you are curious to know what makes our savory, sweet and beverages special, please read below.
ABC's of OUR VALUED SUPPLIERS
A is for Agar
Our favorite agar is made by a family in the snowy highlands of central Japan who puts the agar through a snow-drying process. We source through this gem of a company, Natural Import
B is for Butter
Miyoko's Butter - hands down the best tasting, best performing, and best in cleanest ingredients. All Hail, Miyoko!
C is for Chocolate & Coffee
Santa Barbara Chocolate - we finally found an organic, vegan, gluten-free, emulsifier-free chocolate supplier that uses organic coconut sugar in 2019! Finally, a chocolate without cane sugar.
Equal Exchange - organic cocoa powder sourced by CONACADO co-operative in the Dominican Republic.
Vibrant Coffee Roasters - we no longer receive complaints about our coffee once we started sourcing from Ross NIckerson at the suggestion of a long-time guest. Thank you, Ross for elevating our coffee offerings!
D is for Desiccated Coconut
Let's Do Organic unsweetened shredded coconut from Edward & Sons is our go-to shredded coconut supplier. Always organic, gluten-free, vegan and unsweetened. They make shredded coconut in different sizes, so if you like those large flakes often enjoyed on acai bowls, this is where we source ours. We can also purchase organic coconut milks and creams without any gums from this great company.
E is for Edamame
We only use organic tofu in its whole form. One of those forms is edamame! The brand we order is by Cascadian Farm. A great low carb, high protein option that goes in our Garden Pad Thai and Forbidden Burritos and Bowls.
F is for Flours
Almond, brown rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum to name a few. We do not know the individual suppliers of our flours that are supplied by Nuts.com or Ace Natural Foods. We've tried to find out so we could source directly, but it's top secret! Both of these customers provide very efficient and timely deliveries.
G is for Green Vegetables
Baldor Specialty Foods is our go-to vendor for non-local produce. They are on-time, reliable and great to work with - delivering 7 days a week.
H is for Hazelnuts
Tierra Farm is our place for all things whole nuts and nut butters! Organic pine nuts, roasted almond butter, brazil nuts, cashews. This peanut-free facility procures the best organic nuts.
I is for Ice Creams
Ice cream could be my favorite food group. We like to keep an inventory of Coconut Bliss flavors. Not only are these delicious pints 100% organic, vegan and gluten-free, but also contain minimal gums and less sugar than other ice cream brands.
J is for Jams
Our talented pastry chef, Katie Dyer, makes fresh jams with an ever-changing list of fresh fruit rotating through our menu. Slow cooked over an induction burner with cold-pressed organic lemon juice and organic maple sugar, we're spoiled forever.
K is for Kosher
Rabbi Zev Schwarcz of International Kosher Council, Center City, Philadelphia, generously offers to inspect our kitchen at no cost- and with the intention to provide more options for kosher guests. Click on the link to view our kosher certificate.
L is for Lemon Juice
Wherever you see lemon juice listed as an ingredient, we cold-pressed that with our Norwalk Juicer. Doesn't get any better!
M is for Maple Syrup
We go through gallons of organic maple syrup and pounds of organic maple sugar weekly. Wouldn't be possible without the great folks and farmers at Lancaster Farm Fresh!
N is for Noodles
From forbidden ramen, bamboo ramen, miso ramen to pad thai noodles, we love using Lotus Foods for our noodle bowls.
Even my Sicilian-American boyfriend is a convert with the pasta by Jovial Foods. From pastas, lasagna sheets, to manicotti, these brown rice pasta versions are simply the best.
O is for Oat
Thanks to Ace Natural Foods, we can source organic and gluten-free oats - not an easy feat! These whole oats are freshly ground into oat flour, a primary flour in our cakes and baked goods.
P is for Peanut Butter
The creamiest, smoothest peanut butter we love is by Once Again. They make a variety of nut butters. Since Tierra Farm is a nut-free operation, we order our peanut butter through Once Again.
Q is for Quinoa
The secret to our popular waffles? It's the organic quinoa flour! This ingredient has been more difficult to source, but we stock up when possible from Ace Natural Foods.
R is for Rishi Tea
Our extensive selection of beautiful teas are sourced from Rishi Tea: “Independently owned, direct trade importer of organic teas and botanicals. We are selectors, importers and makers.”
S is for Sesame
Our famous Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies use Soom Tahini. Soom is a revered tahini company in our region, but I don't know anyone else who uses their organic tahini like we do. Pleading with other restauranteurs to also invest in their organic products, so they can make these available in larger barrels (so we don't need to keep buying retail packaging with all that extra waste)!
T is for Tofu
The best tofu I've ever had in this country is made in Allentown, PA. Thank you, Fresh Tofu, Inc.! We are loyal to using this amazing tasting tofu from day one. (No chalky or strong aftertaste.)
U is for Umeboshi
Our go-to for Japanese products is Mitoku. They make the most wonderful, handcrafted, traditional organic products. We love using this plum vinegar to elevate sauces and soups.
V is for Vanilla
I remember learning how vanilla prices were driven up to $300/gallon a few years back. The price of vanilla is still around $200-250 per gallon, due to supply and demand. As the demand grows, the price will come down as more farmers will invest in growing vanilla. We source from Singing Dog Vanilla who are paying farmers beyond-fair-trade standards to keep the vanilla industry alive for years to come.
W is for Wind Power
We invest in wind power through American Power & Gas to supply our electricity at 1706 Locust!
X is for Xanthan Gum
I am not a fan of any gums, particularly xanthan gum, but understand its necessity for baking gluten-free bread-like products. We use in the most minimal forms and only in our breads, bagels, donuts, or cinnamon rolls where yeast is required. We source ours from Ace Natural Foods.
Y is for Yogurt
Our house-made coconut yogurt is very special to us. Made from hand-scooped organic Thai young coconut meat, this yogurt is thick and loosened with organic coconut milk, organic cold-pressed lemon juice and a hint of organic maple syrup. Unlike other yogurts which are made with a milk base and thickened with additives and starches, our yogurt is rich, filling and full of nutrients without any cheap fillers. We order our fresh coconuts from Baldor Specialty Foods or Copra Coconuts who offer frozen organic coconut meat - to save you the hassle!
Z is for Zucchini