Specialty Food Magazine


Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 82 of 139

producer profile Getting the Sourcing and Recipes Right "All of our ingredients are organic," explains Urling, "with the excep- tion of a couple of herbs that are wildcrafted from pristine environ- ments with minimal impact by harvesters we know. We made that choice very specifically because the product is so much better than the organic options available from overseas. We source from farms in California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Vermont as well as Japan, China, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Africa. One thing we are proud of is that we work with a small women's cooperative in Nepal to get some of our teas. Every year what they offer is a little different but we just adapt our formulations to work with their teas. It may have a slightly different f lavor profile than the previous tea we'd made but they are always delicious and amazing and exciting." Sourcing and f lavor combinations are also critical for Flying Bird Botanical's cacao beverages. "We use an heirloom variety of cacao that is single sourced from Ecuador. It's called the Arriba National. It's not roasted so you get a lot of f loral notes and high notes that you lose when you roast chocolate. We find that of all the chocolates out there, this variety pairs best with our botanicals. So, for example, with our vanilla rose chocolate, you get a harmonious fusion of f lavors rather than having these f lavors in your mouth that don't quite blend. We use sundried cane crystals for our sweetener and real vanilla bean. For One of the first recipes Urling created, Dream Catcher is a great example of what the company does with tea. "In the back of my mind when I'm creating recipes I'm always thinking, is it func- tional and does it taste good," says Urling, "because you can't have one without the other. When I started, I knew I wanted to create daily wellness teas that you could incorporate into your life and that would bring you comfort. There are plenty of really hardcore medicinal teas out there and these aren't them. These are just a nice simple way to bring herbs into your life." From Pre-Med to Beverage Making Creating recipes for tea and drinking cacao wasn't how Urling expected to make a living when she moved from Davis, California, to Bellingham, Washington, to attend Western Washington University—but it wasn't far off the radar either. "I was always inter- ested in how herbs work in our bodies and how they keep us well. I did pre-med and my plan was to go to naturopathic school. During college, I worked on organic farms, apprenticed with local herbal- ists, and then enrolled at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine [now called the National University of Natural Medicine] in Portland, Oregon," she says. But eventually, she realized that she could work with herbs and people without going to grad school and without becoming a doctor. "So, I came back to Bellingham, got my massage therapist license, and just started messing around with tea recipes. I always had a good sense of smell, which helps with the process. I worked at a local tea and herb shop, continued to work on organic farms and the business really did just start itself. I was making teas for friends and family, and they suggested that I sell them at the local farmers' market, which I began doing in 2006 along with selling on Etsy." After seeing a poster in a store for a local concert Urling knew that its artist—Carly James—had to be her graphic designer. Urling tracked her down. "We drank tea and created a brand," she says. Urling's first wholesale customer was a local coffee shop and the business snowballed from there. Today she has nine employees in Bellingham, including full- time and seasonal help, and sells a wide range of retail and food- service versions of 30 types of tea products that include herbal, black, green, white, red, and yerba mate varieties, and six types of drinking chocolate including Cacao Lavender Mint, Cacao Vanilla Rose, and others. A line of iced teas with a larger pouch size is also in the works. "I love having employees and knowing I am giving them a safe healthy environment in which to work," says Urling. "I love thinking about how as we grow we are able to support more small farms. I love that our teas reach out across the country and even across the world to people who may not otherwise have access to, or even interest in, quality herbs and teas." — 2006 Flying Bird Botanicals launches, selling at local farmers markets and on Etsy. — 2011 Urling lands first wholesale customer, a local coffee shop. — 2012 Moves the business out of her home into an 800-square-foot cedar shop on her property. — 2013 Begins putting teas into teabags. Attends first wholesale trade show. — 2014 Moves into a bigger 2,000-square-foot space. — 2015 Attends first Winter Fancy Food Show. Moves into a bigger 3,500-square-foot space. — 2017 Prepares to move into a 6,000-square-foot space where she hopes to be for the next 5-10 years. HIGHLIGHTS 80 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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