By Luka Starmer,
Tucked away behind the roadside foliage in Newfield, NY, there is a lot of “good stuff” going on. Good Stuff by Mom & Me, that is.
To be exact, GreenStar’s fast-selling raw foods supplier is actually run by two down-to-earth mothers, Tanya Petrich and Claire Lunny, who have been in business since October of last year. However, when you meet them, you’d think they have been a dynamic duo for years. They joke and giggle and compliment each other as they cut brownies or prep sprouted cashews. Their workspace is as inviting as their personalities — the soft lighting, wood floors and granite countertops make you feel like you’re at home.
This pair has come a long way since they were first introduced through the Ithaca Vegan Parents Group. After their initial meeting, they would occasionally meet in the aisles of GreenStar while shopping for their families. Then, in April of 2009, Claire proposed to purchase the small business from her long-time friend, Becky Bosch, the original owner of Good Stuff by Mom & Me. “When Claire asked me to be a partner, it was just the right thing to fall into my lap,” Tanya said.
Quickly, the two grew to be not only effective partners but also exceptional friends. Along the way, they conquered the nuances and tribulations of learning the business, and picked up a few useful tips about carpentry. They converted Claire’s quaint barn into a gorgeous raw foods kitchen, giving them a professional yet appealing space to prepare their goodies before they are shipped to store shelves throughout the country.
As soon as you taste their scrumptious cookery, you’ll know why the business continues to expand. Their first priority, as they both emphasize, is the quality of their ingredients. There are no short-cuts. They opt to invest in what they like to call “the extra step” to ensure the best quality for nutrition and taste. This means that they spend a little extra capital to get hand-cracked cashews and almonds, whereas other raw food suppliers sometimes heat and steam the shells open, losing some of the nutritional properties valued by raw-foodists. Claire and Tanya insist on making a distinction between the differing standards of what constitutes “raw.” They have perfected their sprouting and dehydrating processes, disregarding the lengthy preparation time. “We are sticklers for quality,” Tanya says, with her kitchen teammate nodding in absolute agreement.
Both Tanya and Claire grew up eating raw and vegan and they have high standards for the foods they eat. The raw diet consists mostly of fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouts and sprouted grains and legumes, nuts, seeds and seaweed. There is absolutely no cooking involved. Any heat above 116 degrees destroys foods’ natural enzymes , which raw foods adherents believe are important to digestion and absorption. In order to make these healthy foods as palatable and digestible as possible, the ingredients are soaked, sprouted and dehydrated before being blended into delicious morsels.
The intense dedication to quality often equates to sixteen-hour days, but both women are able to put their families first. After all, being a mom is the very concept upon which this company was built. Tanya is a mother of three, and Claire has one child. In several instances, each mom has dropped whatever they were working on to tend to their sick child. When this occurs, the other dutifully takes up the slack, knowing that tomorrow could bring the reverse. Claire will comfortably tell you that on occasion, she has been known to prepare products while still wearing pajamas.
Whenever business innovations need discussing, the women don’t head to a boardroom or even a coffee shop for a meeting. Instead, they strap on snowshoes or hiking boots and head out into the woods behind the kitchen, letting fresh air inspire fresh thought.
The Good Stuff products currently available at GreenStar include their raw, sprouted granola, Stir Dry (a raw “stir fry”) and Kale Salad, along with pecan bars and their newest delight — walnut fudge brownies. I was fortunate enough to get a sample of those before they made their GreenStar debut, and I found myself giggling with delight while chewing. They are easily my favorite brownies of all time.
Their shipments show up early in the week, but be warned, they don’t stay long on the shelves due to popular demand. There most certainly is more to come. They have begun selling raw ingredients including seaweed and olives, as well as other bars and breads. In addition to the Co-op, they ship all around the country and have found a specific niche in New York City.
Claire and Tanya have plenty of future plans in the works. Be on the lookout for new and improved packaging with a new Good Stuff logo. Also, check out the updated website, www.gimmegoodstuff.com (it is worth adding to your “favorites” to keep up to date as the company continues to blossom). They are hoping to revamp the rest of their barn-workspace to include a redesigned office and eventually a raw-foods yoga retreat to incorporate their nutritional philosophy into a more holistic concept of health.
You don’t have to exclusively follow a raw diet to appreciate Claire and Tanya’s combined culinary genius. As consumers concerned about where our food comes from, we are lucky to have them just up the road. It’s comforting to open one of their packages and imagine two caring mothers lovingly preparing lush, healthy foods in the warmth and comfort of their own kitchen, sharing the sunrise with good-luck ladybugs resting in the windowpane.
New in the Deli
If you like Field Roast products, you'll be excited about their new vegan cheese, Chao Slices, in three flavors.
We've got a new vegan cheese from the folks who continue to offer so many delicious vegan meat alternatives — Chao Slices, by Field Roast. They can be found on the top shelf of our cheese case, with oodles of other vegan cheese options! Chao Slices are a vegan, coconut-based cheese alternative seasoned with a traditionally fermented soy product called chao by the Vietnamese. Field Roast blends Asian and European traditions by partnering a family in Taiwan, who makes the chao, with a Greek cheesemaker located in Seattle. Instead of relying upon traditional dairy cheese flavors, they've come up with flavors that "celebrate the brilliance of the plant-based kingdom": Coconut Herb with Black Pepper, Creamy Original with Chao Tofu, and Tomato Cayenne with Spicy Peppers. Try pairing them with Field Roast Deli Slices for a terrific sandwich, slap one onto a hand-formed Field Roast Burger for a cheeseburger, slice into salads, or just eat 'em plain! Grilled cheese, anyone?