Monthly Archives: July 2013

Strawberry & Basil Infused Lemonade

Combine the 2 cups of water and ice in a pitcher. Add 2 cups of basil infused simple syrup, 1 cup fresh lemon juice and 1 cup strawberry puree. Stir and enjoy!  (You can add some cut basil if you want a stronger basil flavor.

Back-to-school items may be hitting store shelves in full force but we’re still basking in joy of summer. And nothing says summer like strawberries and basil, right!?!?  If you’re a lover of either of these two ingredients you’ll want to be sure to try this lemonade infused recipe. (And if you don’t like lemonade, we highly recommend you give the infusions a try with sparkling water. YUM x 10!)

Now, you can rock your inner Martha Stewart and make homemade lemonade (recipe below) but we all know sometimes life gives you lemons and you simply don’t have the energy to make lemonade! In which case I highly encourage you to dash to your local grocery store and pick up the ready made stuff and follow these steps with precision:

1. Poor lemonade into a pitcher and hide the container.

2. Puree the strawberries that are about to go bad in  your fridge to make about 1 cup. (Frozen works just as well. Just remember to grab them before you leave the store with your lemonade.) Add the strawberry puree to your lemonade.

3. Go out to your herb garden (or your neighbor’s – with permission, of course! …or the store…) and snip 15-25 basil leaves. Chiffonade the basil leaves. (I know, another fancy schmancy term that Chef Dawn taught me. It’s really easy, see how it’s done here:  How to chiffonade.) Add the basil to the pitcher and let steep overnight.

4. BAM! You’r done! Now wipe the sweat off your brow, put your feet up and, if needed, add a touch of vodka to that lemonade and enjoy!

A note from Chef Dawn about pruning your basil plant: be sure to take some old leaves as well as new because the new leaves have the most flavor.  She also had some handy dandy tips for me on how to prune my plant so it doesn’t get to0 “stalky.” Here’s a great video to show you what she showed me: How to prune basil. 

Ingredients: Water, Ice, 8-12 lemons, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup sugar, 15-25 basil leaves.

Ingredients: Water, Ice, 8-12 lemons, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup sugar, 15-25 basil leaves.

Homemade Lemonade

1 cup lemon juice (about 8-12 lemons)
2 cups basil infused simple syrup (recipe below)
3 cups water
2-4 cups ice
1 cup strawberry puree (about 1/2 pint)
 
Simple syrup is made by dissolving 1 cup of sugar with 2 cups of water and then infusing several (15-25) cut basil leaves for 1 hour.

Simple syrup is made by dissolving 1 cup of sugar with 2 cups of water and then infusing several (15-25) cut basil leaves for 1 hour.

Combine lemon juice, basil infused simple syrup, water, ice and strawberry puree. Stir and serve.

 
Basil Infused Simple Syrup
1 cup of sugar
2 cups water
15-25 basil leaves chiffonade
 
Combine sugar and water in saucepan and heat over medium-high until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and add basil. Steep for 1 hour or more, depending on flavor desired. Strain basil before adding simple syrup to lemonade.
 
 

Top Trends from the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show

Specialty Food Assn LogoThe Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC is the largest specialty food show in North America.  With over 180,000 products and nearly 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries, New York’s Fancy is the place to spot emerging food trends.

William Madden, Vice President of New Business Development, and East Coast Sales Manager Michael Klass were on hand to roam the isles, meet with customers and spot the top trends.  Below is their top ten list from the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show.

1. Quinoa and Ancient Grains – Ancient grains, especially quinoa, have seen a huge surge in demand in a very short period of time.  We see this trend continuing as more people look for gluten-free options and pure, natural ingredients.
 
2. Salsa – This one doesn’t surprise us. The fastest growing demographic in the U.S. is Hispanics (click here to read our white paper on Hispanics) and salsa sales far outpace ketchup. It makes perfect sense that this beloved condiment is booming in popularity.
 
3. Brines – This speaks to the trend we’re seeing in fermenting and the resurgence of homemakers growing their own food and preserving it via canning. What once was a tradition we only vaguely recall our grandmothers doing is now all the rage with the hippest foodies. Modernizing the preserving process with ready-made brines in a wide variety of flavors makes perfect sense.
 
4. Sauces –  As consumers look to cook with more fresh and healthful ingredients, they’re still demanding big flavor in a variety of ways. Baby boomers want more flavor in healthful ways and millennials want convenient ethnic flavors. Sauces bring these solutions and more to the convenience-driven consumer.
 
Whole Grain Council_SproutedGrain5. Sprouted – Health and wellness are driving a lot of food trends these days and sprouted seeds and grains is a great example of a food trend becoming popular based on its health benefits.  Sprouted grains and seeds claim to be easier for the body to digest and the nutrients (especially B vitamins and vitamin C) more bioavailable. Several research projects are underway to quantify sprouted grains health benefits. (Click on the image at the right to read more about sprouted grains.)
 
6. Superfoods – These have been a trend for sometime and we continue to see new products emerging claiming a superfood ingredient. Maca, baobab and chia are just of the few latest and greatest superfoods gaining popularity.
 
7. Fair Trade – More and more consumers demand transparency from the products they consume. Not only do they want a pure, safe and natural product but they want to make sure the people growing that product were paid fairly. Fair Trade speaks to the growing trend on corporate social responsibility and transparency. While the certification has been around for some time, we are seeing a growing use and demand for the seal.
 
8. Gluten-Free – This trend is most-likely what sparked the ancient grains trend. Gluten-free is another trend that’s been around for awhile and appears to continue to grow. Allergen-free is definitely the way of the future for many product lines.
 

Read more about the trends spotted at the 2013 Fancy Food Show in these great articles:

5 trends spotted at the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show by Kelsey Blackwall of NewHope360.com

5 top trends we saw at the Summer Fancy Food Show 2013 by Hannah Crowley of America’s Test Kitchen

Specialty Foods Association reveals top 5 trends from the Fancy Food Show

Chickpeas and kale and goat, oh my! Trends from the Fancy Food Show by Beth Snyder Bulik of AdvertisingAge.com

Lucuma: The Superfruit of the Incas

Click on the image below to learn about lucuma, a superfruit native to Peru. It’s full of nutrition and provides a sweet taste, perfect for milk-based products like ice cream, smoothies, puddings and yogurt.

High Quality Organics provides certified organic lucuma, direct from family farmers in Peru.  Contact us today to learn about wholesale availability (50-pound orders or more).

2012_10_4_HQO Lucuma_FINAL copy

 

 

Rosemary Peach Infused Lemonade

2013-07-05 18.43.09Summertime is full of fun, seasonal cuisine. Watermelon, strawberries and, of course, fresh herbs! This delicious rosemary and peach infused lemonade is a favorite among our staff and sure to quench your thirst on a hot summer afternoon.

There are two ways to make this delicious beverage: 1) homemade lemonade or, 2) store-bought lemonade.

Option 1: Homemade Lemonade
1 cup lemon juice (about 8-12 lemons)
2 cups rosemary infused simple syrup (recipe below)
3 cups water
2-4 cups ice
1 cup peach puree (about 2-3 peaches)
 
Combine lemon juice, rosemary infused simple syrup, water, ice and peach puree. Stir and serve.
 
Rosemary Infused Simple Syrup
1 cup of sugar
2 cups water
3-4 tablespoons dried lavender OR about 5-8 sprigs of freshly chopped rosemary
 

2013-07-05 20.01.46

Combine sugar and water in saucepan and heat over medium-high until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and add rosemary. Steep for 10 minutes to an hour, depending on flavor desired. Strain rosemary before adding simple syrup to lemonade.
 
Option 2: Store-Bought Lemonade
1 quart of organic lemonade 
1 cup peach puree (about 2-3 peaches)
5-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary chopped
 
Combine ingredients and let steep overnight. Strain and enjoy!

Lemon & Mint Infused Water

2013_7_3_LemonMintWater_1Many of us are experiencing record-breaking heat around the country. Stay cool and comfortable with this super simple infused water recipe.  It’ll not only quench your thirst but it will give you a great jump-start to your morning or a welcome pick-me-up to your afternoon.

Lemon and mint have numorous medicinal benefits which we encourage you to research. (For legal reasons, we can’t tout them here but you can easily find out through a quick web search.)

If you don’t have lemons on hand, oranges are a great match to mint.  If you’re not a lover of mint, peppermint is a perfect substitute. Don’t be bashful, explore various combinations of herbs and fruit as there are many, many options!

 

Infused lemon mint water in six easy steps.

Infused lemon mint water in six easy steps.

Step 1: Gather your ingredients: water, 1-2 sprigs of mint and the juice of 1-2 lemons (@1/4-1/2 cup).

Step 1: Gather your ingredients: water, 1-2 sprigs of mint and the juice of 1-2 lemons (@1/4-1/2 cup).

Step 2: Add your strained lemon juice to the water.

Step 2: Add your strained lemon juice to the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3: Remove the mint leaves from the stem.

Step 3: Remove the mint leaves from the stem.

Step 4: Tear the mint leaves over the water and add them to the water. (You want to tear them over the water so all the essential oil from the mint goes into your water, not onto your cutting board.)

Step 4: Tear the mint leaves over the water and add them to the water. (You want to tear them over the water so all the essential oil from the mint goes into your water, not onto your cutting board.)

 

 

Step 5: Give the water a quick stir.

Step 5: Give the water a quick stir.

Step 6: if you want to be super spiffy - totally optional - add some lemon slices.

Step 6: if you want to be super spiffy – totally optional – add some lemon slices.

Ta-da! We're pretty sure you'll drink more water with this delightful infusion of lemon and mint. Enjoy!

Ta-da! We’re pretty sure you’ll drink more water with this delightful infusion of lemon and mint. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Meet the HQO Team: A Special Salute to Sara Davidson, Susan Knight and Fred Alejo

In honor of Independence Day, we wanted to take a moment and publicly acknowledge some of America’s finest on the High Quality Organics team.  Sara Davidson, Susan Knight and Fred Alejo, we salute you and sincerely thank you for your service to our country and fellow man.

Sara Davidson, National Guard

Sara Davidson this spring at HQO after earning Employee of the Month. She just began serving in the National Guard.

Sara Davidson this spring at HQO after earning Employee of the Month. She just began serving in the National Guard.

Sara is a more recent member to the HQO team as a Quality Control Technician. She works alongside our Manager of Quality Control and Product Development, Chef Dawn Wykoff, ensuring that we always uphold our reputation as the leading provider of the highest quality organic ingredients.  Sara just began serving as a member of the National Guard, a part-time commitment that allows her to continue to work at HQO. We couldn’t be more proud of her willingness to contribute to the safety of our country in this unique way.

Susan Knight enjoying a quick break on the hiking trails of Reno/Tahoe. She served in the U.S. Army after graduating from high school.

Susan Knight enjoying a quick break on the hiking trails of Reno/Tahoe. She served in the United States Army after graduating from high school.

Susan Knight, Army

Susan has been with HQO since its beginning. As a Sales Executive, she is an integral part of the HQO sales team and helps mentor new sales managers by sharing her vast knowledge and passion for organic ingredients. While Susan may not talk a lot about her military experience at work, she certainly exhibits the classic traits of a great soldier: discipline, determination and hard work. It’s no wonder she’s a top performer at HQO.

What made you join the military?
I was attracted to the military because of the GI Education Bill.
 
What was your branch/rank/job?
Helicopter Mechanic
 
What was your most memorable experience from serving in the military?
I was stationed in Germany and was able to travel around Europe. Looking back I should have done more but when you are only 18 you think you have all the time in the world.
 
What lesson(s) did the military teach you that you use to this day?
I think the military is a very good “in between” step after graduating
from high school to being on your own.  You are on your own but it is
structured.
 
Is there anything else you’d like to share from your military
experience? (Funny story, special encounter, etc.)
I think if I had to do it all over again I would make the same choices. It was a wonderful experience. I met many people from all over the world and saw a lot of
places.  The U.S. is a great place to live.
 
 
Fred and his father at his promotion from Staff Sargent to Second Lieutenant.

Fred and his father at his promotion from Staff Sargent to Second Lieutenant.

Fred Alejo, Army

Fred served in the United States Army prior to starting his professional career in the food industry. As the Vice President of Sales and Sustainability at HQO, he often refers to his military experience in team building exercises and when brainstorming customer solutions.

What made you join the military?
A sense of patriotism and adventure.
 
What was your branch/rank/job?
Army, 1st Lieutenant when I left, Infantry
 
What was your most memorable experience from serving in the military?
Getting into a massive brawl at a night club in Atlanta. [You’ll have to ask him about the details in person!]
 
What lesson(s) did the military teach you that you use to this day?
Failing a mission is not an option.
 
Is there anything else you’d like to share from your military
experience? (Funny story, special encounter, etc.)
There is no problem or obstacle that cannot be overcome
 
Photo credit: Swampland.time.com

Photo credit: Swampland.time.com

To all of the members of our armed forces, High Quality Organics thanks you and salutes you for your great contribution to the, “Land of the free, Home of the brave.”

Happy Fourth of July!

Lavender Infused Lemonade

Pour over ice and enjoy!

Put your herb garden to great use this summer by adding some of your favorite herbs to lemonade or water.  Below is our super simple recipe for lavender infused lemonade. Enjoy!

There are two ways to make this recipe: 1) use store-bought lemonade or, 2) make your own homemade lemonade (water, sugar, lemons).

Option 1: Store-Bought Lemonade Infused with Lavender

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Option 2: Homemade Lemonade
1 cup lemon juice
2 cups lavender infused simple syrup (recipe below)
3 cups water
 
Lavender Infused Simple Syrup
1 cup of sugar
2 cups water
3-4 tablespoons dried lavender OR about 4-5 sprigs of fresh (torn)
 
Combine sugar and water in saucepan and heat over medium-high until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and add culinary lavender. Steep for 10 minutes to an hour, depending on flavor desired.

For more great ways to use herbs with lemonade, visit this great blog post by Design Mom.