Rishi Tea was founded in 1997 by Joshua Kaiser, who grew up in Milwaukee with a deep interest in international culture, food and botanicals. After college Joshua embarked on a global adventure, spending extensive time in Asia, where he developed a passion for the continent and its ancient art of tea-making. Returning to the US, he came to the conclusion that there was a shortage of good tea imported from Asia and decided to set up Rishi Tea to rectify this. Choosing to bypass importers and source fresh, quality produce direct from organic tea gardens across the continent, from Japan, China, India and Thailand, Rishi Tea has since grown to become America’s leading organic loose leaf tea brand.
Metropolis Coffee Company, run by Tony and his father Jeff Dreyfuss, is rooted in the belief that great coffee comes from a line of respect beginning with the farmers and their respect for their land. Tony Dreyfuss completed a Philosophy degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1998. After trying many things that you are supposed to do with a Philosophy degree (cab driver, ice cream truck driver, pizza delivery driver, subway sandwich delivery driver) he landed on a job at Peet’s Coffee in Portland, Oregon as the lowest level floor sweeper and bean counter. Tony was in heaven learning about coffee, and soon worked his way up to trainer, shift-leader, before eventually joining the management team. Tony had been bitten by the coffee bug, and the bite bred the obsession for the brew.. And the rest, as they say, is history. On December 21st, 2003, Metropolis Coffee Company opened her doors to the public.
Taza Chocolate Factory in Somerville, Massachusetts craftsstone ground chocolate from bean to bar. Their story began when Taza founder, Alex Whitmore, took his first bite of stone ground chocolate while traveling in Oaxaca, Mexico, and came home so inspired that he decided to create a chocolate factory. Fueled by a passion for Mexican chocolate traditions, he learned to hand-carve the granite millstones that Taza uses today to grind cacao into rustic, organic dark chocolate that bursts with bright, bold flavor and texture. Through their Direct Trade Certified Cacao program, Taza cultivates face-to-face relationships with farmers. By working together directly, they source the highest quality cacao possible, while paying farmers a premium above the Fair Trade cacao price.
The story of Sucker Punch began with the pickle. Dave van Alphen got sick and tired of all those pansy pickles out there so he decided to start experimenting and come up with a pickle worthy of his superior palette. After months of trial and error, Dave has finally come up with that exceptional pickle. When you take that first bite, you taste a touch of dill and sweetness then POW! You get Sucker Punched with the spice and garlic. Being from a Dutch family, Dave likes adding pickle juice to our Bloody Marys and figured he would take it a step further and puree the pickles right into the mix to give it a thick consistency. As you can see by the chart below, that’s all he needed for a great tasting Bloody Mary Mix without all the garbage.
Justin’s was founded by Justin Gold in Boulder, Colorado in 2004. Starting with a good idea, great ambition, a simple food processor and the highest quality ingredients available, Justin made his very first batches of his now-famous gourmet nut butters in his home kitchen. He packed them in 16-ounce jars, gave them to friends and family, and sold them to local natural food stores. The response was extraordinary, the company grew quickly, and in four short years Justin’s grew from its literal cottage industry beginnings to a successful national brand with a loyal following of passionate customers.
LocalFolks Foods started as an outgrowth of Steve and Anita Spencer’s innovative, natural farming venture, Homestead Growers, using excess harvest from their mushroom and produce operation. In just a few years, Steve and Anita, along with Paul Skirvin, have created a diverse line of natural and wholesome foods, emphasizing a simple ingredient list, and an identity rooted in the soils and flavors of the Midwest. Steve and Anita continue to lead the growth of the LocalFolks Foods line.
Phoenix Bean has been a premier supplier of tofu to the Chicagoland area for more than 30 years. Our factory in the Edgewater neighborhood was one of the first local sources of fresh tofu, and began supplying local Chinese restaurants and Asian grocers. Each batch of tofu was handcrafted daily to ensure the freshness and authenticity demanded by an immigrant community longing for tastes of their homelands. In 2006, Phoenix Bean was purchased by Jenny Yang when the previous owners were considering retirement. An ardent fan and consumer of Phoenix Bean products, Jenny saw opportunities to apply her business expertise to a local operation close to home, and her heritage to a tofu-making tradition that has been part of Chinese culture for hundreds of years.