By now you’ve heard me moan about how hot it is in Florida right now, right?! (I’m probably moaning more than usual because pregnant with twins in July in Florida is a lot hotter than I thought it would be, HA!) However, no matter the temperature, when we’re out grabbing a bite to eat and the server asks my hubby if he wants soup or salad, he ALWAYS goes for the soup. And I just don’t get it. It’s far too hot for SOUPING!
Or so I thought until I took the time to chat with Boulder Organic Foods founder Kate Brown, who shared about the company’s Summertime Souping! Though many (like me) don’t consider soup a summer-time staple, the Boulder-based brand is committed to offering consumers robust flavor profiles that taste great without overindulging in sugar or calories even during the warm summer months.
Kate founded Boulder Organic Foods in 2006, with a vision to craft “oh my gosh!” good food using garden-fresh ingredients. All of the soups are made in small batches and are certified organic, certified gluten-free and non-GMO verified. They are sold in the deli refrigerated section at grocers nationwide. I caught up with her to ask her some questions about organic foods, how the company “makes soup better”, and life in general!
- Tell me a little bit about yourself, your family and your life!
I am a Colorado native and grew up in a wonderful family business environment. My parents were tremendous mentors, modeling hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit. I was very lucky to be exposed to the startup and growth stages of their business. My home truly is the mountains of Colorado. I love to travel but I belong, heart and soul, in the Rocky Mountains. Boulder has been an especially kind place to raise my family and start an organic food business. There aren’t enough hours in the day to grow Boulder Organic and squeeze in golfing, hiking, fishing, family, gardening…the list is endless!
- When did you first become interested in creating organic foods?
It was a very unexpected time in my life – I was busy raising my daughter and the lack of “unadulterated” fresh soup caught my attention. The more I mentioned it to my family and friends, the more I saw a huge discrepancy between how we think about the foods we love and what is actually offered in the marketplace. Although I am appreciative of the food technologies that help bring safe food to more people, I think that much of our food system turns out over-processed foods that contain too many additives, stabilizers, preservatives and flavor enhancers. Turning that trend around, one bowl of soup at a time, seemed like the right thing to do!
- What made you want to share your creations with others?
I believe I am not alone in the quest for better foods. There are fantastic new trends in the food industry, from school lunch programs to national chain restaurants to big food manufacturers that talk about reducing junk ingredients and cleaning up labels. We are in the very early stages of this and I hope that the consumer will eagerly participate in the movement. It is not just up to food companies to dish up better quality choices – hopefully we consumers are willing to re-calibrate our palates away from processed foods and reacquaint ourselves with the simple, gorgeous, amazing flavors of whole ingredients.
- What was the inspiration for the name Boulder Organic?
We wanted to put a stake in the ground for the city that supported us so well during our early days. Boulder has an amazingly collaborative, helpful environment for the natural products movement. Resources abound! You can’t throw a rock without hitting someone that is taking part in a new business with an exciting product or idea. Fortunately, no one throws rocks. It’s a very friendly town. The word “organic” is an important part of our name that helps customers feel comfortable that we are walking our talk. When the company first started, fresh soup was so new to the marketplace that we spent a lot of time educating people and demystifying fresh soup. Yes! It really is organic and fresh and gluten-free and delicious! No gimmicks or slick tricks, it’s just homemade soup.
- What makes your soups different from any other?
There are a lot challenges in starting from scratch, but the benefits outweigh those challenges by a long shot. We started our team in 2008 and have many of the same key employees. We make our soup in our own production facility and peel every onion by hand. “We Make Soup Better” isn’t just a tagline, as I see each team member take great care and pride in what they do to make the soup the best that it can be. I am a world-renown sap, and I still get choked up when I see our team busting their butts to make an outstanding product. We also care deeply about each other. I can proudly say that our team feels like part of a family and enjoys coming to work…most days! Good people make good soup, simple as that.
- What’s next?
Ha! I seem to have misplaced my crystal ball. (Darn it.) I am passionate about education and helping people discover how they want to grow. I am also inspired by the fact that we are getting big enough to make a substantial impact on how we treat the environment as we manufacture our product. I was knocked right on my behind to find out that we kept 207,754 lbs of materials diverted from the waste stream in compost and recycling, 86% of our solid waste. pounds of material out of landfills last year by composting or recycling. We have growth challenges to tackle and I will focus my energies on those. My main goal is to see our company grow while keeping the integrity of our product intact.
- What would you say to someone who has an idea for a “venture” of their own, but maybe they’re too scared or they don’t know where to begin?
Life is too short to wonder what you could have done, so go for it! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as they will provide the richest learning experiences. Ask for help. Get good mentor(s). Avoid crabby pessimists. Make sure that you are truly enjoying every day. Take care of yourself. Hire people that are smarter than you and stay out of their way. Don’t be afraid to fail! Keep breathing.
It’s easy to see why Boulder Organic has had so much success – I can’t wait to see what the company does next! But, while we’re waiting, here’s a novel idea: CHILLED soups. Yes, CHILLED! Have you ever tried a chilled soup before?
Here are three summer-friendly soups that are delicious enjoyed chilled:
- Potato Leek is a flavorful combinations of hearty golden potatoes, fresh leeks, and chopped chives. Each serving has over 3 full servings of vegetables.
- Summer Gazpacho is a light blend of sweet tomatoes and pureed veggies, plus a jalapeño kick and a tangy squeeze of lime. Each serving of the Summer Gazpacho offers approximately 1.5 servings of vegetables.
- Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut is a refreshing, creamy blend of carrots, zesty ginger and velvety coconut milk. Each serving of the Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut offers 3 full servings of vegetables.
I’ve never tried a chilled soup before, but I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of souping I can get behind, especially over the next month or so!
Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!