Awesome Rawsome Newsletter Archive
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It's August and my happy garden is producing like wild. Homegrown zucchinis, cucumbers, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, and raspberries join with the veggies from our weekly CSA box and treasures from the farmers market are turning our table into a bounteous celebration. Leo, our Golden Retriever, has begun his own yearly harvesting. He loves tomatoes, peaches and nectarines right off the branches. Mike and I couldn't be happier.
It's been almost 8 years since my More Than a Nut Milk Bags adventure began. My amazing Bali team -- agent and friend Iluh (who just had her first baby, Putu), bag-makers Pak Wayan and Ketut, courier Iluh and her husband Nyoman, who started it all by bringing me together with my wonderful family. Considering all the confounds and complexities of international manufacturing, shipping, customs brokering and importation, we have had an amazingly problem-free run.
Working with my Balinese sewing team
(see album on facebook)
There's a first time for everything. Early this year I received an SOS from a valued customer (You're all valued customers! And if there's ever a problem, I want to hear from you immediately!) "I just bought a new set of bags, and one of them is so coarse, I can't make nut milk with it." I checked my stock, and sure enough, scattered throughout the standard bags were a bunch of bags made with coarser netting.
Our California Team
Ooops! Of course one of the biggest challenges of producing a product in Indonesia will be quality control. My sweet Balinese team simply had not noticed the subtle change in netting. After re-evaluating the economics as well as the ethics of off-shore production -- we choose to sew our bags outside the US for a very unusual reason: to give dignified work at a competitive wage to a group of people who really need and appreciate it -- and then working with my Napa Valley team to sort out the coarse-weave bags from the normal ones, Rawsome Creations finds itself with a substantial stock of new product! Given a shipment of lemons, we like making lemonade.
So here's our special offer to you, our loyal readers and customers. We have some bags with a weave that's 15% coarser than our standard bags and we want you to have them at a special price. With your track record of finding unexpected and innovative uses for the More Than a Nut Milk Bag, who better to figure out what these Multi-Purpose Bags can be useful for? We find them to be perfect as produce bags when shopping; excellent storage bags in our cupboards for garlic, beans, and grains; and useful for just about any kitchen straining project where our standard bags are a little too good at keeping desirable solids out of the mix. I find the coarser weave perfect for infusions of fresh herbs and soothing soaks, and my husband Mike fills them with hops when he makes beer. One of my Napa Valley team reports they're brilliant for making sprouts from larger grains like lentils and soy beans. And, speaking of making lemonade, I have rediscovered the good old way to make it: zest and then peel the lemons, discard the bitter pith, coarse chop, put all the good stuff in a Multi-Purpose Bag, squeeze, then steep in the right amount of water (about a pint per lemon) for a few hours, sweeten to taste ... and Oh, my golly, what a better refresher than lemon juice and sugar!
We think we caught most of the coarser bags before they got out into the wild, but we know that some did escape. Please, if you feel you received one 'not so perfect' More Than a Nut Milk Bag please let me know and I'll be happy to send you a new one right away.
An interesting by-product of this experience: based on our unexpected discovery that the netting we use can be found in different weaves, we asked our Bali team to try to source finer-weave netting. While they searched, we, too, researched the variables and the original source of the world's nylon netting, China. (Our appreciation for companies that successfully produce off-shore sky-rocketed, as did our gratitude for our Balinese friends.) The upshot: we expect to introduce our super-fine weave bags in the next couple of months ...and you, readers, will be the first to know!
[ note from the future! May 2019: this product is SOLD OUT. ]
We've joined the social media party and added Instagram and Pinterest to our online presence. You'll see links on the Rawsome Creations website, and I invite you to connect with us and share your kitchen adventures.
Get pinning with the Rawsome Creations boards on Pinterest.
I always appreciate you loyal customers and readers with your eyes and ears out there combing the natural food store, co-ops and marketplaces. You've come up with some great new food items to recommend to us and sent me pictures of the More Than a Nut Milk Bag when you spot them. Remember when you see the More Than a Nut Milk Bag in your journeys please share the store name and location along with a picture and post it on our Rawsome Creations on Facebook and @Rawsome_Creations on Instagram pages. If it's a new location we've not spied we'll send you a free bag as our thank you for playing.
Natural Pantry in Anchorage, Alaska
-- thank you Mary Margaret!
Also remember our online contest for new uses for the More Than a Nut Milk Bag. Over the years we have had some great suggestions, and always welcome your ideas and thoughts. Please continue to let us know when you spot the More Than a Nut Milk Bag "out in the wild" and what you do with yours.
I've had some wonderful cheery comments from readers, customers, friends and just about anyone who sees those cute little fruits and veggies appearing in the Rawsome Creations logo and business cards, along the side of our web pages and newsletters and throughout the pages of my recipe collection. Ellie DeSilva, an imaginative artist, created these light-hearted images when we first began, and Michael, my favorite collaborator, has woven them into our story through the years. "Why don't we make some fun fabric?" he asked a couple of years ago, and we did, and used it to test several new products last year -- hats, knife case, bags. Now I get compliments about my colorfully fruit-and-veggie adorned shopping bags!
We decided that the products were wonderful but couldn't be manufactured and sold competitively -- another one of life's little lessons. But this leaves us with a pleasing fabric design that would make wonderful curtains, aprons, carry-bags, shirts... We didn't want to be the only foodie folks to have this delightful fruit and veggie pattern to play with so, we've arranged with Spoonflower.com, an awesome printer of custom fabrics to make it available for you to play with. We'd love it if you'd let us know what you're making with it. You never know, we might become one of your customers!
Rawsome Creations Fabric available through Spoonflower.com
I'm gearing up for the Fall travel season. My year would not be complete without a visit to Bumi Sehat and Yayasan Widya Guna Orphanage, our Balinese charities, and my Balinese "family", the Rawsome Creations production team. This year, I'm taking my sister along. Following this year's experience with quality control, I'm glad that I'll be on hand for the final inspection of the shipment before it begins its expensive, prolonged flight to California with some new products. A few weeks later, Christmas will come early to Rawsome's Napa valley headquarters ...and you can expect another newsletter with product introductions and introductory pricing.
Barely back from Bali, I'm off to the Baltimore edition of the Natural Products Expo. This will be my first trip to the Baltimore show (Baltimore, MD Sept 16-19) and they say it's bigger than Expo West in Anaheim. I have enjoyed attending Expo West for the last few years, and it's SO BIG, I can't imagine an even bigger show.
Remember the bitchin' music, lifestyle and colloquialisms of the 80's? Personally, I haven't heard that term in conversation, polite or otherwise, for at least a decade ... until I stumbled upon a young man doing taste tests at a local natural food store, and fell in love with his products. Vegan and gluten free, based on almonds, grapeseed oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, and spices -- not much for a hyper-critical foodie to grumble about. The three most popular flavors; original, cilantro-chile, and our favorite, chipotle, have quickly become staples in our refrigerator. (The company also offers pesto, Bombay, and "heat" flavors.) Mike loves our weekly GBG (Greens, Beans, and Grains) bowls, and this versatile sauce gives each one a new exciting flavor. When I've not had time to make a sauce of my own or I'm traveling, these are a quick go-to sauce to jazz up the bowls and they freeze well too. A family operation from Carlsbad (San Diego) California, I'm their biggest fan up north and a devoted member of the Bitchin' tribe.
Recently I came across a kitchen tip that sounded too good to be true. It worked so well, I have to pass it along. Here's the tip: If you have leftover avocado half, slices or guacamole, put them in an airtight container with some red onion slices, and seal the container for later. Voila, very little browning!
I'm afraid not. Now they've managed to ram through the H.R.1599, a poison pill measure to kill GMO labeling. Our friends at Food Democracy Now! are outraged that 275 "Honorable Representatives" voted against states' rights and the consumer's basic right to be well informed. Monsanto and their cronies will be spending like drunken sailors to get this measure through the Senate. The upshot is likely to be all about money, and FDN! has a Triple Your Donation deal going with some populist-minded backers. Join the fray here.
It's been hot, really hot, at our house this summer, so I've been re-visiting some of the cool summer time drink recipes. Watermelon Juice is an all time favorite. Green Tea Lemonade works as an afternoon pick-me-up, and Electro-Lemon-Aide is great for post work-out re-hydration or as a beverage for hot afternoon visits with friends.
As always, I enjoy putting together the news, and always hope you find something helpful, intriguing, or thought-provoking here. Thank you for reading and sharing with your friends.