It's beginning to turn cold here in Walla Walla, and I'm sitting with a hot cup of Ginger Tea while I compose my latest letter to you, my rAwesome friends. Thanksgiving and the nearing year-end always bring me to thoughts of gratitude for the abundance in my life, and especially for each of you who continue to bless our little company with purchases.
Everything changes. For all things there is a season, and Rawsome Creations, and my family, are heading in new directions. The end of the year always finds us reflecting on the year behind us and reminiscing on what has been accomplished.
For me, this has been a year of big changes: we moved our family and home and the Rawsome Creations World Headquarters from the upper Napa Valley in California to Eastern Washington state.
After the 2017 fires in Northern California, we found ourselves wondering what our future held and where we might best thrive as my husband Mike and I approach semi-retirement. We found our new community in Walla Walla, Washington and moved ourselves and both our businesses to our new home earlier this year. Walla Walla is a place rich in long-time farming, small town values, and a welcoming sense of community that feels like home.
One of the questionable joys of being in the forefront of any development is that if your idea is a good one, in time it will move into the mainstream. In my working life, I have seen this work out with compact fluorescent bulbs, and now the marketplace for the nut milk bags is evolving. It has been wonderful watching our little bags mature from an innovative tool for foodies to a mainstream convenience in many kitchens. So many more folks are using them — not only for making milks and sprouting, as we originally intended, but also for a long list of general kitchen and household projects, from produce storage for those of us working to reduce our reliance on plastic bags, to sachets for herbs and spices in stews and soups, and even for pleasant spicy smells in closets.
And, of course, our products have been copied — the sincerest form of flattery! Growth and competition are a good thing and we are proud to continue to hold market share with a product we love. We are committed to continued growth and to share the marketplace with others who saw our success and copied it.
We are grateful for each and every one of you who purchases our bags, because those purchases enable us to support our charitable projects. In addition to our individual customers, we greatly appreciate our wholesale distributors who have been stocking natural food stores across the US and Canada for all these years. Our More than a Nut Milk Bag family has grown tremendously through the years and each and every one of you makes a difference in the lives that share in our charitable work in Indonesia and California. (Now we're looking for a charity that shares our food-orientation and is based in Eastern Washington. Any ideas?)
Not too much"
~ Michael Pollan
Like the transition of a good product idea from innovation to mainstream, in my career I have watched the marketplace take over many niche movements: computers, cellphones, "green" products (remember "Greenwashing"?), organic produce. And I always wonder: is mainstreaming a good thing, or a curse? I recently watched a horrifying story about the way our increasing appetite for avocados (Netflix: Rotten episode 1) ruined the lives of small farmers living in a town in Mexico.
You can't help but notice the growth of vegan products in the marketplace and fast food chains. Everyone seemingly has a 'meat alternative' version of their best sellers. Every week we see stories about the vegan introductions by fast food outlets like Burger King, McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Kentucky Fried Chicken to name a few, and vegan ice creams from Ben & Jerry's and Baskin-Robbins. The Beyond and Impossible brands have burst into your local megamart and on to menus in some of the unlikeliest places.
I'm often asked what I think of these new product innovations and I must say, I'm not a fan. I'm all about 'whole food plant based' so, for example, a product like a meat substitute made in the lab (science meat) isn't appealing to me. Looking back at past newsletters, I give myself credit for consistency: I have been trumpeting the benefits of Whole Food Plant Based nutrition for going on a decade. There's nothing about these new "convenience" products that convinces me that "vegan" forms of convenience foods are good for the body or the spirit. What do you all think?
I'm all about fresh local veggies, and that's the evolution that excites me most: year-round farmers markets producing fresh, local, seasonally appropriate foods. It healed me, and I know it's healed you . . . So I'm going to avoid packaged foods whenever I can.
Life evolves — thank you for joining me for the ride and . . .
Spring into Summer is my favorite time of year....
A strange year indeed...