One of the things that our customers love about Whole Foods Market is that they can find products from all over the world. They also love the extensive selection of local products that each of our stores offers. Sometimes that global mindset even finds its way into local products, especially when the producers themselves are originally from other countries.
Here are a few examples of Local Producer Loan recipients
who are bringing unique products from their homelands to our customers in the U.S.
Benoît de Korsak
Saint Benoît Yogurt
Native of: France
Benoît de Korsak founded Saint Benoît Yogurt with his brother David in 2004. They are dedicated to the concept of "terroir," a French word describing food "of a place," which reflects the character of the land from which it came.
Saint Benoît Yogurt is an interesting mixture of the local and the exotic. They use local ingredients, including Jersey milk, fruit, and honey, yet their yogurt is created from a culture that was brought with them from France, where it has been used for decades to produce sweet, mild, and smooth yogurts. The yogurt is packaged in a reusable, returnable ceramic container, something traditional that now seems very exotic to most of us! The product itself is named after Saint Benoît (French for Saint Benedict), a monk who founded several monastic communities across Europe.
Saint Benoît Yogurt used their Local Producer Loan to build a new production room, which allowed them to increase their distribution. They've been selling to Whole Foods Market since 2006, and their yogurt is currently available throughout Northern California.
The Sticky Toffee Pudding Company
Native of: England
Tracy Claros, a native of the Lake District in England, has been in Austin baking English-style puddings since 2003. Her first product - and the namesake for the company - was the traditional sticky toffee pudding. Never had a British hot pudding? It's like cake, but really, really moist! Sticky toffee pudding has a toffee sauce that melts when the product is heated, which makes for a fabulously gooey dessert. Tracy bakes each pudding in mini-tins to give them an authentic English pudding shape.
With the success of the original product, Tracy has since been able to branch out into other artisanal hot puddings: English Lemon, Molten Chocolate (filled with chocolate sauce), and Sticky Ginger. The English Lemon was even the winner of the 2007 Fancy Food Show competition for Outstanding Baked Good!
Tracy planned to use the loan to purchase a tray sealing machine, which will allow her to reduce her labor costs and increase her volume. Her products are currently available in seven regions, so check them out if you have the chance.
Kansas City, Missouri
Native of: Palestinian West Bank
Chef Yahia Kamal grew up in the Palestinian West Bank. He came to the U.S. to study and eventually settled in Kansas City where he ran a Mediterranean café and a market. Demand was so great for his hummus and other prepared food items that he decided to concentrate on selling in other retail outlets. He got his products into our Overland Park, Kansas, store in 2006, and the rest is history.
Yummy's Choice (named after his old market, Yummy's Market) sells a number of Chef Kamal's recipes for Mediterranean foods, such as lebaneh, olive mazza, shatta, and pita chips. In addition to the products' taste and high quality, much of Yummy's Choice's success rests with Chef Kamal's dynamic demonstrations, during which he and his daughter spend three full days at each store introducing their foods to shoppers. Because of the Local Producer Loan, which helped the company significantly increase its production and distribution capacity, Yummy's Choice is now available throughout the entire Rocky Mountain region!