Forbes.com has done a wonderful piece on the company The Fare Trade, which offers a different, monthly basket full of hand-picked goodies from selected chefs, food experts and ingredient specialists. June featured Chef Kalman’s artisan selections and his basket was the focus of Forbes recent article. Please enjoy their full article at this link or read the entire feature below.
You can order your Fare Trade basket at this link.
Around 3 a.m. one Los Angeles summer morning in 2012, savoring sips of scotch and exchanges of badinage–as food-driven sensualists are prone to do–friends Max Block and Jake Ahles were brainstorming. Although already working in the food industry–Block, a publicist, and Ahles, a line-cook under Kris Morningstar MORN -1.34% at District–they wanted to share with people their fanboy passions for emerging chefs and small-batch ingredients.
Thus began their membership service The Fare Trade. For $65 per month, members receive a basket of handcrafted ingredients selected by an up-and-coming chef, along with recipes and access to online video tutorials on how to use them.
In addition to delivering high-quality products, Fare Trade, which currently serves 2,000 members, promotes a symbiotic relationship between everyone involved.
“What better way to promote these small-batch ingredients than by an amazing chef who can take that product and then apply it to their own kitchen skills and create a recipe around it,” Block says.
“You can read a cookbook and learn how to cook, but there wasn’t a platform for people to see these chefs and watch them create these recipes from scratch,” Ahles says of integrating the basket with the Fare Trade website, which cultivates a foodie community. The site offers extensive information about each chef and basket ingredient.
Block and Ahles avoid food celebrities (“We would obviously never turn down someone down like a Bobby Flay,” Block says, “but Bobby Flay has made it”) but do rely on chefs who have been spotlighted by food magazines and awarded by The James Beard Foundation.
Dakota’s Pop Parlor Curried Pig Popcorn featured in Fare Trade’s June 2015 basket from Chef Bruce Kalman
Baskets often feature expectedly “chef-y” ingredients like coarse-ground grits and fruity vinegars, as well as more unusual ones, like Dakota’s Pop Parlor Curried Pig Popcorn, which came with last month’s package. Block says his favorite ingredient since Fare Trade began in March 2014 was the Cuttlefish Spaccatelli from Sfoglini. Ahles liked the Gracious Gourmet Smoked Cherry Onion Spread.
“When you have Domino’s Pizza saying ‘artisan’ it detracts from the authenticity from what something artisan can actually be,” Block says of Fare Trade’s dedication to locally-produced or small-batch ingredients.
SQIRL Seascape Strawberry & Rose Geranium Jam featured in Fare Trade’s June 2015 basket from Chef Bruce Kalman
June highlighted Los Angeles Chef Bruce Kalman of Union in Pasadena, Calif. For his basket, he selected Grist & Toll Heirloom Polenta, Bianco DiNapoli San Marzano Tomatoes, SQIRL Seascape Strawberry & Rose Geranium Jam, BK Spice Rubs Porchetta Spice (made by Bruce himself), that Dakota’s Popcorn and Dewar’s Peppermint & Pistachio Taffies. He utilizes the Porchetta Spice as a rub in a video tutorial for cooking a pork loin with fingerling potatoes and meyer lemon.
July shows off Chef Greg Daniels of Haven Gastropub in Orange, Calif. and features McClure’s Spicy Pickles, Sparrow Lane California Peach Vinegar, Adobe Milling Co. Anasazi Beans, LA Farm Girl Vanilla Bourbon Berry Compote, Hatchup Katchup and Little Flower Candy Co. Cinnamon Sugar Marshmallows. His recipes include Salmon Tartare with Pickled Stone Fruit; Chorizo and Anasazi Bean Dip with Pepper Relish; and Whipped Riccotta and Berry Toast.
Block and Ahles hope to expand Fare Trade by partnering with hotels and lodging companies to stock fridges and snack bars with tasteful, regional products. “You’re going upstairs and every room is Pop Chips and Haribo Gummy Bears,” Block says. “What is it that speaks naturally to Brooklyn or Los Angeles or Miami?”
“The basket itself is amazing,” Ahles says, “but we want to take what the basket is and apply that to being much more of a lifestyle brand. Today, more so than at any other time, food has transcended and gone into every sphere of daily life. Now it’s part of fashion. It’s part of music. Food really is in itself an experience.”