One of the best parts of being a Chef is supporting the local food companies that make Colorado so unique. I recently attended the LoCo Foods Tradeshow, and had the chance to speak with the makers of many products I stock in my own pantry. Locally sourcing your groceries is easy with the huge variety of Colorado products available today!
In my opinion, the best part about the show was the vast range of cultures represented. In Colorado, we are a giant mixing pot of culture, and our local food companies are proud to bring their heritage to life.
These are just some of the highlights.
The best papusa you can buy, and I’m sticking to it! Monse lives in Colorado Springs, but was born in El Salvador. The papusas are handmade, locally sourced, and prepared with organic ingredients. They are best served with chili or eggs, or topped with pickled cabbage. Monse says, “Sourcing locally is important to me both to help the local economy, and also to help the farmers in the area.”
The best Green Chili of the day (and not just because it was vegan!). The spice was just right; often chili is too hot, and it covers up the other flavors. This one was a blend of spicy, sweet, and salty flavors which rounded out to a simple, enjoyable profile. Casa Alvarez prides itself on using ABF Pork & Humanly Raised Meats.
Nitrogen-style coffee infused with healthy oils and compounds. Collagen, Hemp Seed Oil, MCT Oil, and more give a fun and healthy touch to your caffeine fix.
A Colorado Proud company for 57 years, Grandma’s Egg Noodles are 100% homemade with unbleached flour. Many food service and retail operations use this staple for a classic homemade taste. This company is also very active with the Arvada community and local food banks.
Mame’s Burritos add a healthy quick option for the breakfast-on-the-go. Simple ingredients and bold flavors make this an instant breakfast staple!
Cezary is a great character, bringing the flavors of Poland right here to Denver. His pierogis are made in small batches. Find them frozen to cook at home, or at his restaurant, food truck, or in food service packs.
Their mission is to support and grow local organic family farms. They work with farmers to advance order large quantities of fresh produce, and then preserve that produce for the consumer market. This process allows them to get fruits and vegetables at the peak of freshness for an optimal end product. The jars are labeled with the name of the farm, so you know exactly where your food came from! Carolyn says, “If a farm can purchase an extra 100 acres because of our partnership, that makes it all worthwhile.”
Almonds have never been so tasty! The Boulder Cookie has grown into Boulder Bake, expanding their product line to include more cookie flavors and even mixes. Made without rice starches and syrups, their Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo Friendly, and Vegan options allow almonds to be the focus for both nutrition and on the palate.
Cleaner, sustainable food choices is the name of the game, and none better than ketchup made without high fructose corn syrup. My kids love it, I love it, and the hand-crafted recipe from Aaron’s grandpa lives on today. He takes pride in knowing where his ingredients are sourced and harvested, and how they are grown. Plus, who doesn’t love ketchup?
If I drink this potion, do I turn into a frog? Apparently not so much, but the elixirs and tonics were fun and delicious. Herbal beverages are brewed like a tea with potent herbs, and energetically enhanced with flowers and soundwaves like baby’s laughter and monk’s chants. This uplifting potion brought a smile to my face. Colorado honey and Colorado juice make this the new mixer for happy hour.
Vegan Umami Sauce, Thai Green Sauce…and yes, the flavors are very balanced. These are some of the most interesting flavor enhancers on the market today. The fun blend of nontraditional hot sauce items really gives these sauces the punch needed while adding worldly flavors.
Clay has mixed spices with fruits and veggies to give his Yampa sauces great color, texture and flavor. Blueberries, strawberries, and carrots are just some of the produce he uses. Sweetness brings out the heat, while adding a richness to each sauce that gives a unique aspect to each one. These are locally sourced and bring bold flavor to your table!
Food as medicine has been around since man started eating, but mix that concept with the benefits of hemp and you know why it is very on-trend. We discussed farming practices, and hemp is very sustainable; hemp honey makes especially good use of the plant. The fibers go for livestock feed or back into the ground, while the alcohol used for extraction is re-distilled and then used again. This care for Colorado and sustainability make Colorado Hemp Honey a company to watch.
The finest organic Guatemalan sauce you can get, these flavors finished off my day in the right way. The green punch of cilantro and distinct use of garlic reminded me of a classic chimichurri – but better. The Red Belly made with Cobanero peppers and cider vinegar gave the perfect hint of spice to offset the fire roasted sauce. This cult classic of local farmer’s markets now has a home in my pantry!