Austin-based company is selling Instagram-friendly cookware for a new generation of cooks

Not every cook loves to spend hours in Bed Bath and Beyond picking out pots and pans.

An Austin-based company is taking a millennial-minded, direct-to-consumer approach to selling the tools you need to make dinner.

Made In selling pots and pans that are shipped to your house. Many shoppers buy them in bundles that include several different types of cookware. Contributed by Made In.

By selling online only, Made In founders Jake Kalick and Chip Malt knew that they could appeal to customers who were already buying eyeglasses, razors and underwear through the internet.

But why pots and pans?

The easy answer is that Kalick grew up in the cookware industry. His grandparents started Harbour, a Boston-based commercial foodservice company, in the 1920s. He and Malt have known each other since they were 5 years old and growing up in Boston, but they stayed in touch as they started their careers.

Kalick worked in food, first in restaurants and then for his family’s business. Malt was working for a direct-to-consumer apparel company and had millennials’ buying habits on his mind.

“Have you ever thought about kitchen tools?” he asked Kalick one day a few years ago.

That was the start of what became Made In. Over two years, the friends-turned-business-partners dug into the supply chain to find U.S. manufacturers to produce the sauce and saute pans they wanted to sell. Kalick knew the markups that were built into the price of familiar brands, such as All-Clad, so he knew they could increase the quality — and keep manufacturing in the U.S. — by selling to customers directly. Pots and pans might be heavy, but they are relatively easy to ship.

But before they started designing the product line, the company surveyed 100 cooks about what they knew and didn’t know about pots and pans. “Nobody had brand affinity and everyone was waiting until they were married” to buy them, Kalick says. Customers didn’t want the handles to get hot and they didn’t like the current handles on the market, so they engineered slightly slimmer handles that don’t get so hot.

With bright colors and thoughtful design, Made In is trying to capture the millennial market of cooks who need kitchen gear. Contributed by Made In.

The founders say it was an easy decision to base their company in Austin. They looked at Los Angeles and Miami, but Kalick says the thriving start-up and food communities in Austin — “the Brooklyn of America,” he says — was just the right fit. They moved here in early 2017 and, by September, they were shipping pots and pans across the country.

Having spent so much time in the cookware industry, Kalick puts an emphasis on transparency around what the pans are made of and where the materials come from. “Transparency is a big thing for direct to consumer in general, which is why we explain why we source 430 stainless steel from Kentucky or 304 (stainless steel) from Pennsylvania that has nickel that helps resist corrosion.”

Kalick might have the background in cookware, but Malt says he considers himself the target demographic: He cooks three times a week and doesn’t shy away from calling himself a “foodie.” He still eats at restaurants but also entertains at home.

But selling cookware to millennials is quite different than selling clothing. “In the apparel world, our primary problem was to have people trade away from brands they already love. In this space, it’s a completely different challenge. You go to a 23-year-old and say ‘All-Clad,’ they give you a blank stare.”

Some of the pots and pans from Made In have a traditional look, but they are designed to compete with the high-end brands on the market. Contributed by Made In.

Millennials might not be buying homes as fast as generations before them, but they are investing in the stuff in their homes, Malt says, and they are always looking for an excuse to get together. When the founders both lived in New York City after college, they hosted monthly dinner parties for their friends. Food was how they kept their friendship going as they both worked for other companies.

“One of our big missions is bringing back the dinner party,” says Kalick. “We want to encourage people to host get-togethers. Some of the most fun nights are going to a dinner party to eat and drink with someone who does it right.”

That’s when the pots and pans come in. Although experienced cooks like Malt and Kalick can differentiate between high-end and low-end cookware, many beginning cooks can’t. But having good gear “helps you look like you know what you’re doing,” Kalick says.

Twenty- and thirty-something cooks aren’t the only shoppers who need new pots and pans, of course. Even if the prices might seem high to first-time buyers ($79 for a 10-inch non-stick frying pan, $155 for an 8-quart stock pot), Baby Boomers who already have some high-end gear in their kitchen see value in Made In’s induction-capable product line, Malt says.

A nice set of pots and pans is something that many people used to wait until they got married to buy, but millennials are changing American buying habits, including cookware. Contributed by Made In.

Within the general categories of stock pot, saute pans, saucier, sauce pan and frying pan, the company sells about 30 different products in various colors, sizes and finishes, and the majority of sales come from the kits that bundle several pans together.

One question they often get is about the safety of non-stick pans. Malt says the fear of nonstick coating is outdated. Decades ago, American consumers heard a lot about a Teflon as a possible carcinogen, but the specific chemical that was of concern — PFOA — is no longer used in Teflon, he says.

However, the concern over Teflon helped the industry find better ways to create a nonstick surface that doesn’t chip or scratch as easily. Made In works with a company in Pennsylvania, which applies three coats of an FDA-approved PTFE, which creates a durable nonstick surface that won’t easily scratch or chip.

Because Malt and Kalick are making Instagram-worthy cooking gear for an Instagram-loving generation, the pans come in several colors on the outside, and on the nonstick pans, you can choose between blue and graphite. They’ll eventually sell chef’s knives and other kitchen gear, but for now, look out for a specialty cookware line this fall featuring designs from Austin-based illustrator Will Bryant.

Each Made In pan comes with a recipe etched onto the bottom. Contributed by Made In.

All Made In pots and pans come with a recipe on the bottom. It might seem like an odd place to put a recipe that you would need to reference while you’re cooking, but Malt says it becomes a talking point for cooks.

“I can’t remember when I looked at the bottom of the pan and had any feeling at all,” Malt says. “It sparks conversation. We just wanted to do something different. We didn’t start this business to do things the way people have always done it.”

Headed to a farmers market this weekend? Here’s what you might find

Even in the Texas heat, the Texas Farmers’ Market at Mueller is jamming.

Last weekend, we were among the customers who tried to get there early enough to beat the heat to buy some groceries for the week. Like all the area farmers’ markets, this one has vendors selling everything from meat and seafood to knife sharpening.

Many of the prepared foods vendors offer samples, which is a big appeal for my young shoppers. Just like when we go grocery shopping at the regular store, the kids were with me to help decide what foods to get for the week, and this trip was no different.

Located next to the lake in Mueller Lake Park, the Texas Farmers’ Market at Mueller is doing pretty well this time of year, even in the heat. Dozens of vendors sell everything from kombucha and ginger beer to fresh produce, meat and seafood. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

RELATED: Looking for a market near you? Here’s a list of Austin-area farmers markets

Shade is a hot commodity at any farmers market in late July. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

We sampled and browsed the dozens of booths for about 45 minutes before it was time to seek cooler temperatures, but we had quite a haul. Here’s a look at the cool stuff we ended up taking home.

The San Antonio-based Mother Culture sells cultured yogurt. We got the maple pecan drinking yogurt. It cost $12, but the product was rich and almost dessert-like. We each got to pick out a treat, and this was mine. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
These Pao de Quejo (cheese bread) from Lua Brazil were a kid-favorite on our recent farmers market shopping trip. I bought a bag of the frozen pizza ones for $10. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
Buddha’s Brew sits on many grocery store shelves across Austin, but it’s fun to drink a freshly poured one in flavors you sometimes can’t find in the store. We had the watermelon and strawberry lemonade ‘buchas. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
Key lime pie is Murphy’s Mellows‘ bestselling marshmallow flavor, but the kids picked out one of the chocolate packages for $5. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
In both local grocery stores and farmers markets, Afia Foods sells these packages of Mediterranean foods, including kibbeh and falafel. Both boys like the kibbeh, so I bought a bag of 14 for $10. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

It’s safe to say we went on a sampling frenzy. I spent $50 on products I hadn’t tried before, as well as a couple of produce items and kombucha. It was a fun way to spend the morning with my kids and pick up some culinary treats at the same time. We didn’t have to buy so much stuff, but those vendors are working hard out there in the heat.

Plus they are making some really delicious stuff. I could have spent another $50 just on the way back to the car.

Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

 

 

H-E-B’s Quest for Texas Best competition returns to Austin with 9 local finalists

Austin’s consumer packaged goods industry is thriving, perhaps at an all-time high.

With businesses such as Lantana and Skinny Pop relocating their already established businesses here and small start-ups going huge — see Epic Provisions, High Brew Coffee — the Texas capital is a good place to run a food business. (Don’t forget Stubb’s BBQ Sauce and Sweet Leaf Tea, two of the biggest food brands to have started in Austin and then sold.)

The owners of Skull & Cakebones celebrate their Quest for Texas Best win in 2017. Contributed by Ben Porter

There’s still plenty of room for growth, which is one of the reasons H-E-B continues to host it Quest for Texas Best competition to find the best food products in the state.

For the fifth year in a row, the San Antonio-based grocer has put out the call for entrepreneurs to submit their products to this contest. They’ve even made Super Bowl ads about it. Each year, they give away tens of thousands of dollars to the winning companies. Last year, the Dripping Springs-based Skull and Cakebones won the top prize of $25,000, and the Manor-based Tamale Addiction won second place and $15,000. (Teo Gelato won the grand prize in 2015, and in 2016, Texas Pie Company and Kitchun won grand prize and first place, respectively.)

RELATED: How Central Texas became a hotbed for packaged food businesses

Mmmpanadas are one of the local food companies competing in H-E-B’s Quest for Texas Best competition taking place at the Central Texas Food Bank August 9 and 10. Contributed by Mmmpanadas.

Of more than 700 applicants this year, nine finalists in this year’s contest are from the Austin area. They’ll compete August 9 and 10 at the Central Texas Food Bank against 16 other food companies from around Texas for $70,000 in prize money and a spot on H-E-B shelves. The Central Texas businesses are Barbecue Wife, Pennymade, Afia Foods, Loving Libbie Memorial Foundation, Mmmpanadas, Pretty Thai, 38 Pecans, Tiny House Coffee in Buda and Sing and Shout Foods in Cedar Park.

“Over the past five years of this competition, we have tasted more than 2,700 of the most creative Texas-based food and beverages in pursuit of Texas’ very best, selecting 125 finalists since 2014,” James Harris, director of diversity and inclusion and supplier diversity at H-E-B, said in a release. “Each year keeps us on our toes with innovative products, and this year is no exception.  We are proud to continue a program that gives small business owners the opportunity to share their pride and joy with H-E-B shoppers across the state.”

According to the release, the Quest for Texas Best is a signature program for H-E-B’s Primo Picks brand, and since its inception in 2014, the competition has yielded more than 432 new products on H-E-B’s grocery, bakery, deli and market shelves across the state.

Other finalists for this year include: 1885 Coffee Co., Bellefontaine, Bellville Meat Market, Bernard’s Game Day Foods, BIG Little Fudge, Cappadona Ranch, Chef Rey Inc., Collin Street Bakery, Deanan Gourmet Popcorn, Deep River Specialty Foods, Mad Hectic Foods, Mirth Soup, Nuts and Cows, Story of My Tea, Texas Black Gold Garlic, Tio Pelon’s Salsita.

Local chef to take over East Austin’s Springdale Farm as it awaits redevelopment

When Springdale Farm owners Glenn and Paula Foore announced earlier this year that they’d sold their East Austin farm for development, longtime shoppers, including chefs, lamented the loss of its twice-a-week farmstand. Chef Sonya Cote was facing the loss of her restaurant, too.

“It s great, absolutely,” Austin chef Sonya Cote said about the large number of female chefs at this year’s Austin Food and Wine Festival. (Contributed by Travis Hoggard)

Cote, who has worked with local farmers her entire food career, has for the past five years operated her Eden East eatery on the grounds of Springdale Farm, a 5-acre property that started as a landscaping company more than two decades ago and became an urban farm in 2009.

Cote, who also operates Hillside Farmacy, had grown close with the Foores over those years, and when they decided to retire , Cote and her partner, David Barrow, started talking with them about taking over day-to-day operations. PSW, the developers that bought the land, won’t start to build on the property for at least a few years, so Cote has signed a two-year commercial lease to continue operating Eden East and keep the farm and farmstand running.

RELATED: Larry Butler, co-founder of Boggy Creek Farm and local food champion, dies at 70

Wednesday night farmers market returns, but this time at Mueller

“I’ve always been close to the farmers, and I feel very inspired by growing things,” Cote says. “It makes sense to close the loop. To take on the farm seemed like the next evolution.”

Eden East is a restaurant located on Springdale Farm, and the chef behind it and her partner are now taking over the farm and farmstand operations. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Barrow has been working with the Foores and their longtime staff to learn the ins and outs of keeping the current crops going and planting again for the fall and spring, but Cote says he doesn’t call himself a farmer just yet. She says they are inspired by other chefs who farm, such as Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, who integrate agriculture and education into the dining experience.

“This place is a community gem,” she says. “We want to bring out as many people as we can to see the space while it’s still here.”

Springdale’s last day under the Foores’ ownership was June 30, which Cote noted was just a few days after Boggy Creek’s Larry Butler died. The East Austin farmer community, which also includes the nearby Rain Lily and Hausbar farms, has always been close-knit, she says: “We lost our patriarch.”

She knows she’s now the newbie in the group. “I feel blessed to have the opportunity. I’m still processing it,” she says. “I want to grow into this as a community and carry on Glenn and Paula’s legacy.”

The farmstand will be closed July 4, but it will reopen from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 7 with all of the same products and produce customers would have found the week before, Cote says. In preparation for this transition, she says the restaurant has a reworked menu to add more a la carte options and will offer breakfast Wednesdays and Saturdays to serve customers who visit the farmstand.

Along with chef Kaycee Braden, who is now a business partner at Eden East, Cote says she plans to make some products, maybe herb blends or another culinary product, to sell at the farmstand.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel,” she says. “We want to maintain what they started.”

Larry Butler, co-founder of Boggy Creek Farm and local food champion, dies at 70

Larry Butler, one of the pioneering farmers behind Boggy Creek Farm and a well-known figure in the local food community, died Thursday of liver cancer. He was 70.

Larry Butler loved working with Carol Ann to preserve the history of the property, collecting every scrap of evidence they could about East Austin historical farms, including Boggy Creek. American-Statesman 2016

In the early 1990s, the former TV repairman and his wife, Carol Ann Sayle, started one of the country’s first urban farms, located on a historic East Austin property along Boggy Creek, and for more than two decades, they ran a farmstand that continues to have a dedicated customer base of families, neighborhood residents and the city’s top chefs.

Sayle and Butler met on a sidewalk in Oak Hill in 1973. She was moving her art studio into a row of businesses where he had a TV repair shop. With three children from previous marriages, they married in 1976 and blended their families easily with the former spouses, Sayle says. “Larry would go hunting with Wayne,” her ex-husband, who died last year, she says. “They coached Little League together.”

In 1999, Larry Butler and Carol Ann Sayle were already established in their second careers as farmers, operating Boggy Creek Farm in East Austin. American-Statesman 1999

In the 1980s, they wanted to embark on a new career of growing food. Butler had grown up in Gause, where Sayle says he rode a horse named Palm to and from elementary school, so that’s where they looked for land to get started. They found 45 acres to start an organic farm, and a few years later, the couple bought the East Austin property and continued to farm at both locations.

They first started selling their produce in 1991, from a card table set up in front of Wiggy’s on West Sixth Street. Later that year, they had a bumper crop of tomatoes, which they sold to Whole Foods, a relationship that lasted until the drought of 2011. After two years of selling produce in front of the liquor store, the Boggy Creek farmers started selling at the Sustainable Food Center’s first farmers market at the corner of East Seventh and Robert Martinez Jr. streets. By the late 1990s, Butler was a fixture at the Westlake Farmers Market on Westbank Drive across from the high school, Sayle says. He moved with the market when it went to Sunset Valley, but then they decided to focus all their sales efforts on the East Austin farmstand.

Larry Butler became an advocate for organic farming, speaking out often about his opinions on USDA regulations and standards. American-Statesman 1998

More time at the farm meant that Butler could pursue another passion: food preservation. Butler loved to can, smoke, jar and otherwise preserve the food they grew, and he was known in particular for his smoke-dried tomatoes. He sometimes taught classes in the farmhouse kitchen, and in 2002, he appeared on a Food Network show that featured his jams and sauces.

Larry Butler appeared on a Food Network show in 2002 that featured their home-grown products. He made many kinds of jams, preserves, sauces, pickles and his famed smoke-dried tomatoes to sell at the farmstand and in local stores. Also on the show was Marta Guzman, owner of Marta’s Desserts, and Jonathan Pace of Smokey Denmark. American-Statesman 2002

Butler’s aging father lived on the property for a number of years, and to make him more comfortable before he died, Butler built a dogtrot-style house behind the farmhouse. A tireless extrovert, Butler loved to give tours, explaining the historical architecture of both the new and old homes, why the soil needed the kind of compost they used and what the government should or shouldn’t be doing about subsidies.

The couple meticulously researched the history of the farmhouse, which was built in 1841 and is as old as the French Legation. Butler loved to tell customers about the letter from Sam Houston that indicates he ate dinner in the house they lived in, located right next to the farmstand.

RELATED: 175 years of Boggy Creek Farm, French Legation

After the drought in 2011, customers’ habits started to change, Sayle says, especially as food delivery options increased. “He was worried about the future of the farm,” Sayle says. “We spent our last week reassuring him that everything was under control and that we loved him and that everybody’s OK.”

Butler’s son, Tom Butler, is now overseeing the Gause farm, and Sayle’s daughter, Tracy Geyer, is helping with operations at the urban farm.

Butler died Thursday at home. Sayle says they are planning a wake from 4 to 7 p.m. on July 15 at the farm, but until then, the farmstand will have regular hours, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. “The farm is a beast of its own and has to be fed. The farm goes on,” Sayle says. “It’s open right now.”

Paula Foore, co-owner of the nearby Springdale Farm, called Larry a “wonderful mentor.” “He was always so generous with his farming information and tips. A true legend. He will be sorely missed by our entire community.”

Eden East chef Sonya Cote, who has cooked frequently at Boggy Creek, said that the week before he died, Butler was giving tours at a fundraiser to replace the farmhouse’s windows. “We lost our patriarch,” she said. “Just last weekend, he got to tell us about everything he built. I was humbled by the experience.”

“(Carol Ann and Larry) have been the center of the plate, the heartbeat of the local food scene,” former Statesman food writer Kitty Crider said on Friday, just a few days after stopping by the farmstand to buy tomatoes. “Quiet celebrities, they opened their farm to tours, to fundraisers, to national chefs. On my kitchen counter sit four varieties of their tomatoes. I think I will go eat one — standing over the sink — in memory of Larry.”

Larry Butler, left, and wife Carol Ann Sayle hosted many community events at their Boggy Creek Farm in East Austin. This 2014 event was a fundraiser for Hugh Fitzsimons, second from left, who was running in the Democratic primary for agricultural commissioner. Also in this image are Jim Hightower, second from right, and Texas state Rep. Elliott Naishtat, right. AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2014
Larry Butler of Boggy Creek Farm sells produce in 1993 at one of Austin’s farmers markets.  American-Statesman 1993

Aguas frescas, creamy salsa, cecina-style jerky: Keep your eyes peeled for these products this summer

At the Taste of Mexico event earlier this month, I tried a handful of new local food products that you’ll hopefully be seeing on store shelves soon.

Aguas frescas are a popular, refreshing summer drink, and there’s a new local company called Alegria that is selling bottled versions at some neighborhood markets. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Serving a delicious trio of aguas frescas was Alegria, which makes the refreshing drink in hibiscus, cucumber-mint and melon. The drink is currently sold at some neighborhood corner markets, like the Rosedale Market, but with less sugar and more flavor than other aguas frescas on the market right now, you’ll see this product more widely available this summer.

I could eat this Pancho Bigotes salsa on everything, including saltine crackers. It’s made in San Antonio and you can buy it online, for now. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

The same is true of Pancho Bigotes Salsas, a creamy salsa company out of San Antonio, with makes a spicy, rich salsa verde with serrano, garlic and cilantro. The company also makes a “chimi hot” version with fresh chiles de arbol and no cilantro, but they are both welcome additions to chips, tacos, scrambled eggs and sandwiches. (I bought a jar at the event it was so good.) Most creamy salsas you can buy in grocery stores now are on the sweet side, but this one isn’t, thanks to the vinegar, spices and egg. With any luck you’ll find this good-on-everything sauce in supermarkets soon, but for now, you’ll have to buy them online.

Amaranth is the key ingredient to alegrias, a Mexican candy that Sweet Tsopelik sells at the HOPE Farmers Market on Sundays. Contributed by Sweet Tsopelik.

I discovered Sweet Tsopelik on the rooftop of Mexi-Arte’s popular annual party. This local Mexican candy company uses traditional ingredients, such as peanuts, coconut and amaranth, to makes treats like alegrias, a crispy snack made with amaranth, agave nectar, pecans, pumpkin seeds, raisins and lime juice. The company, which sells at the HOPE Farmers market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays, also produces tamarindos, palanquetas and mazapanes.

El Norteno makes cecina-style jerky that includes a small bag of hot sauce. You can find them in some convenience stores and H-E-Bs in Central Texas. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

El Norteño Foods makes a line of beef jerky that’s worth checking out, especially if you like the popular Mexican-style jerky called cecina or are looking for a spicy jerky that’s low in sugar. The jerky comes in several flavors, including mango habanero, and they all include a little packet of hot sauce. The meat sticks, which come in lime and habanero flavors, don’t have the hot sauce, but they well-spiced on their own. Find these at convenience stores throughout Central Texas and some H-E-Bs.

Good news from the Hill Country: Fredericksburg peaches are ready and plentiful

The peach season can be feast or famine for the farmers in Gillespie County near Fredericksburg and Stonewall, but when it’s a good year, it’s a good year, and this year is looking like a good one.

The 2018 Hill Country peach season is looking great, according to the Hill Country Fruit Council. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

According to the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau, the region’s peach crop has produced “a bumper early yield and is primed for a strong summer showing.”

There are more than 700 acres of peaches growing in Gillespie County, and for decades, peaches were the primary tourism draw. But in the past 15 years, U.S. 290 has become known for its wineries and vineyards, which bring year-round tourism. The peaches, however, remain a beloved Central Texas treat from mid- to late-May through July.

In recent years, the crop has been smaller, earlier or shorter than farmers would prefer, but this year, “the crop looks great,” according to the Hill Country Fruit Council.

Peach season typical runs from mid-May through the first week of August, but the season is often shorter due to varying conditions. This year’s crop, however, has arrived on time and in good numbers. Photo by Mauri Elbel.

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Cling peaches, the peaches whose flesh sticks to the pit, ripen first, followed by the freestones, which ripe in June and July. There are several pick-your-own options, but many of the peach stands carry blackberries and a variety of fresh produce for sale.

You can find a listening of Texas peach stands and growers, including hours of operation at TexasPeaches.com.

 

 

 

Treasures you’ll find at new SoCo Select Market: CBD-infused honey, homemade slime

Strolling through a farmers market on a Saturday morning is a beloved weekend activity for many Austinites, and now we have another market to check out.

Since December, dozens of local artists and makers have been gathering from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays at 1511 S. Congress Ave. for the SoCo Select Farmers & Makers Market. They don’t have many farmers and food vendors yet, but Johnson’s Backyard Garden sells some produce there and Austin Orchards is scheduled to start coming on April 21 with their locally grown fruit.

In the meantime, you’ll find Fronks and OMG Squee, two local companies I’ve written about recently, as well as lots of creative jewelers, ceramists, paper craft, leather makers and even a couple of young entrepreneurs selling their homemade slime, which, as you know, is all the rage these days.

Several vendors also sell vintage clothing, but the most interesting product I found on a recent visit was Canna Bees Rescue Blend, a CBD-infused honey.  

The parent company that makes Canna Bees, Bee Delightful, is a Central Texas bee rescue organization that will soon collect its millionth bee. There are several similar organizations in the area, but what makes Bee Delightful stand out is that it’s the first CBD-infused honey from Texas on the market.

Here’s how it works: Bee Delightful removes unwanted bees for free from homes and businesses around Central Texas and then relocates them to hives where they can continue to produce honey. That’s when the cannabidiol, or CBD, comes in.

CBD is one of many cannabinoid molecules produced by cannabis, but unlike THC, it doesn’t result in feeling “high.” According to Canna Bees: “These naturally occurring cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids, are characterized by their ability to act on the cannabinoid receptors that are part of our endocannabinoid system. While THC is the principal psychoactive component of cannabis, CBD is naturally occurring in industrial hemp and another familiar plant product, flax seed.”

From talking to several CBD vendors at the Wellness Expo at this year’s SXSW, I learned that CBD has always been legal, but only in the past few years have we seen consumer products and supplements more widely available. Millions of Americans now take CBD, sometimes by pill and other times through CBD tinctures, gummies or CBD-added products, like this honey. The CBD extracts used in Canna Bees come from domestic hemp farms, and the honey is unpasteurized.

Although there are few government-approved claims you can make about CBD, many people who take it claim that it helps with their arthritis and other forms of chronic pain, and researchers are studying its effects on people who have diseases, including Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and cancer.

Bee Delightful sells two kinds of Canna Bees honey: one with 250 milligrams of CBD and another with 500 milligrams ($50 and $80, respectively). In addition to buying the honey at the market, you can also find it at several local retail outlets, including Peoples Rx, Thom’s Market and Sunrise Mini Mart, and online at beedelightful.com.

 

Austin-based Packit Gourmet releases new packaging to make backpack ‘cooking’ easier than ever

If you’re a backpacker, you know you can’t live on peanut butter crackers alone.

The Austin-based company Packit Gourmet is launching a new set of packaging for its popular backpacking meals. The new bags allow you to pour hot water directly into the bag to “cook” even without a stove. Contributed by Packit Gourmet.

Pam LeBlanc is the resident backpacking camper in the features department. I’m an avid car camper, which means I usually have a food box *and* a cooler to cook from while I’m outdoors.

But if you are eating breakfast, lunch and dinner on a trail or anywhere you have limited access to cooking tools and supplies, which is what Pam did during her 15-day hike on the John Muir Trail, you will likely pack trail meals. These are usually dehydrated meals that only need hot water to “cook.” One of the leading companies in this space is Austin’s Packit Gourmet.

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This month, the company, which started in 2008 and is still based off Fitzhugh Road, released a new type of packaging that allows you to pour the hot water directly into the bag, which makes it more functional when you’re on a trail. Another benefit of the new packaging is that they retain heat better than a bowl, so your food will stay hot. The square-shaped bags are color-coded by type of meal with easy to read instructions.

Austin’s Packit Gourmet sells a number of other brands on its website, including instant mixes for tea and coffee from Cusa and Alpine Start. Contributed by Packit Gourmet.

In addition to these new packaged meals, Packit Gourmet is also selling individually packaged dried drink mixes for iced coffee and tea from Alpine Start and Cusa Tea. You can find more than 100 backpacking-friendly grocery items on their site, packitgourmet.com.

 

Can’t drink dairy? Check out Fronks, an Austin-based nut milk delivery service

Nut milks — or nut mylks, if you prefer — can often taste too watery or too sweet. The commercial brands, usually sold in boxes in the grocery store, are now made with every combination of nut (or oat or soybean or grain) you can imagine. Some have more protein than others, but none of them taste so good that I want to drink them by the glass.

Austinite Jordan Fronk started a nut milk company called Fronks after perfecting the process at home. The beverages are made with almonds and cashews, and the cocoa flavor has hazelnuts. All are lightly sweetened with dates. Contributed by Fronks.

That changed when I tried Jordan Fronk’s nut milks. She’s an Austinite who accidentally started a business when she started taking orders from friends for her homemade nut milks. The company is now called Fronks and, although it specializes in nut milk delivery, you can also find it in some local stores and coffee shops.

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Fronks bottled beverages are unpasteurized, so they have a somewhat short shelf life, but they are creamy with a concentrated almond, cashews or hazelnut flavor. The three varieties — simple, an unsweetened almond and cashew milk; the original, which is lightly spiced with cinnamon and sea salt; and cocoa, which includes hazelnuts and cocoa powder — are very lightly sweetened with dates instead of honey or sugar.

The cocoa is the sweetest, but both the original and the simple milks are creamy enough to satisfy a craving for dairy without being too sweet or cloying.

Golden milk is a popular drink made with turmeric paste. A local food truck called Curcuma makes this paste that is sold on the Fronks website. Contributed by Fronks.

Fronk recently started selling a golden paste ($10 for a 4-ounce jar), made with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, Himalayan salt and coconut oil, from the local food truck Curcuma, which you can use to make a Fronks golden milk.

RECIPE: Turmeric, ginger infuse this golden milk latte with color, good-for-you flavor

You can also find Fronks (and sometimes Fronks lattes) at Skull and Cakebones in Dripping Springs, June’s All Day, Mañana and the somewhat new Greater Goods Coffee Roasters, 2501 E. Fifth St., and you can also buy it through farmhousedelivery.com.

The original and simple flavors cost $10 for 16 ounces, while the cocoa price is set at $12 when you order online at freshfronks.com. Deliveries occur from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday or Friday, depending on your ZIP code.