Join our growing team!

Want to get in early with a growing start up? Interested in clean eating? Enjoy being in front of a crowd?

Taking Stock Foods is hiring for the Summer 2017 farmer’s market season. We will be sampling and selling our drinkable broths at pop up Broth Bars. Our Offsite Events Operators will be launching this concept in May, and here is an exciting opportunity contribute big time to a small company.

  • Part time positions begin May 18th.
  • Entry level, sales experience preferred.
  • $15 an hour
  • Saturday and Sunday morning shifts available.
  • Additional store demo shift opportunities available.

Email info@takingstockfoods.com for a full job description. TS_Logo_Block

IMG_1272

6 clean eating and consciousness raising practices to alleviate pain, anxiety, and stress.

Here’s a brainstorm for enhancing life.

I’ve been experiencing chronic pain for the last three months in addition to stressing out and being more anxious than I normally am. I started physical therapy today, leading me to consider a full lifestyle refresher. I wrote this list to remind myself of some basic truths, developed for a clean living reboot.

6 clean eating and consciousness raising practices to alleviate pain, anxiety, and stress.  

Eat a diet largely comprised of fruits and vegetables. Duh, right? Fresh foods require regular shopping, hands on preparation, and more money than eating processed, ready to go foods. These are the main barriers that stop us from eating this way. A trick that I’ve developed to make clean eating less tedious is to steam and cut vegetables as soon as they’re brought home, which allows me to turn them into a snack or meal in no time. When getting started, it’s important to realistically evaluate how many fruits and veggies my partner and I can go through to eliminate costly waste. Starting with a small shopping list and scaling up as we replace processed foods with fresh produce works for us.

Using UCLA’s body scan guided meditation, evaluate how the body feels once or twice a day. Shifting the focus away from the demanding, achy mental and physical parts of ourselves is helpful. My pain becomes less encompassing when I realize that most of my body doesn’t hurt at all, and actually feels good. This meditation eases you into relaxation, and offers a break from tension and stress. It is a simple free practice for enhancing your life.

Shed some pounds, maybe, but diet because you love yourself- not because you want to change yourself. Healthy eating is often about losing weight. Weight loss can be life changing. It can also take over your life. I have a great body which has always served me well. My weight has gone up, it’s gone down, and naturally ebbs and flows with my valuable, exciting life. Body shaming is a national past time, and at thirty two, I am mature enough to reject it. Breaking this cycle requires me to question my motive for weight loss. Is it to be sexier? Is there a better goal? How about being able to canoe in the Boundary Waters at seventy five? Yes.

Walk out the door and spend some time moving, completely unplugged. I got a fancy smartphone for work in 2015. It’s awesome. With DSC00752it comes an unusual urgency to engage constantly. I have made the conscious decision to spend one hour a day tech free. This gives my mind room to roam free, and allows me to observe and connect with my surroundings. I haven’t discovered a situation that can’t wait for one hour, or that can’t be anticipated by contacting a person ahead of time. I travelled for a month alone in Europe in 2002 at the age of seventeen. No cell phone. No laptop. My reasoning is, if I could do it then in a foreign country where English wasn’t the first language, I can do it now in my hometown for one hour.

The foods/drinks that are most loved are best enjoyed in moderation. I love culinary luxuries. Coffee. Hot spaghetti. Whisky. Cape Cod potato chips with Red Hots in them. I hold the common belief that if one is good, twenty must be better. Not true! When I refused to be parted with my best friend as a child and would hide in her house, my mother sang a song called “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” This can be crooned to a bag of chips or a pot of spaghetti. Consider the reworked wisdom ‘absence makes the heart grow stronger’. It’s fitting, as the toll that a regularly consumed bag of chips has on the heart is significant. Another pearl of wisdom- anticipation is a key component to enjoyment.

When experiencing pain, anxiety, or stress, focus on breathing and being present in the moment. 

The isle of Iona in Scotland... Totally worth the flight.

The isle of Iona in Scotland… Totally worth the flight.

I have struggled with an acute fear of flying for years, an anxiety connected to a lack of control. When I was flying back from Los Angeles last Friday, we had a bumpy ride. My heart started pounding, my palms started sweating. I was unbearably uncomfortable and knew that there were still hours left in the flight. What did I do? I closed my eyes and did my body scan. I slowed my breathing, then my heart rate, while clearing my mind. The turbulence suddenly felt less exaggerated, the plane felt less sinister. I was okay because I was in the moment and, in reality, I was comfortable, safe, and in a situation that was being controlled by  trained pilots and an excellent flight staff. The danger that I had created in my mind seemed real enough, but when I assessed the situation, I found it to be fabricated. Grounding in the present is a vital tool that I use when intense stress and anxiety hit me. Normally, my fear of what could happen and the truth of what is happening are divergent paths that will never to meet.

 

Bone broth shipped for free to the upper Midwest

Everything tastes better with broth... even tacos!

Broth… Every Day!

All of us are looking for ways to improve our well-being. Easy ways, if possible.

Clean eating for health is a time honored tradition, more true now than ever before. Online retailers and brick and mortar purveyors are stocking their shelves with foods that are clean label, organic, and locally sourced.

Taking Stock Foods specializes in frozen broth programs. These programs are easy to purchase, receive, and enjoy. They contain frozen containers of 12-hour cooked bone broth and/or vegan broth made from mushrooms. Our broths are made with as many as 7 and as few as 4 ingredients. They’re simple. They’re tasty. They’re satisfying.

Those who participate in our programs love having this versatile kitchen staple on hand to drink as a nutritious snack, and as a base for cooking. It is perfect for cleansing, but can be enjoyed on any occasion.

Explore our programs to decide which one is right for you. Use the code BROTHINSIDER at checkout to get $8.00 off your online order.

Cheers to your health!

IMG_2333

Supporting Local: One Step Further

Are you as impressed with the local food movement as I am?

Becoming an entrepreneur has offered a different perspective, but since I moved to Minnesota in 2007, here’s what I’ve seen:

  • The cry for local food has moved this specialty category beyond the co-ops into grocers en masse,
  • Farmer’s markets are so plentiful that it’s hard to visit them all in one season. More winter markets pop up every year.
  • Social media and online platforms allow growers, makers, and restaurants to connect with their customers more effectively.

Customers, it seems, have tasted the difference and crave the fruits of our economic labors here in the Upper Midwest.

As it happens, it was a different local phenomena that drew me to Minnesota for the first time in May of 2006. I caught a ride with my aunt, potter Mary Barringer, from Chicago to be her helper at Robert ‘Bob’ Briscoe’s site on the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour. Over the years, I’ve learned loads about vegetarian cooking from working in the kitchen and amassed quite a few beautiful thrown and hand-built pieces.

I am enamored with using mugs, plates, bowls, and platters built by my Pottery Tour friends. Functional art, such as pottery, brings a liveliness to the dining experience. It also completes another part of the circle that a holistic local food movement should encompass.

If you are a business owner who wants to educate your clients about bone broth, contact becki@takingstockfoods.com to book a Taking Stock tasting with the mug collection on loan from Matthew Krousey. This collection includes his work as well as that of other potters featured on the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour.

To visit this unique festival, plan ahead to take time off over Mother’s Day Weekend. The experience will enrich your love of all things Minnesota, and you might even meet some exciting out of towners!

Mushroom Ginger Broth and Ginger Turmeric Broth.

New products, new site, new ways to engage with Taking Stock Foods.

We’re officially pleased to announce our two new products to add to your clean eating grocery list!

Our first new product is a Ginger Turmeric Broth. This broth is aromatic, warmly spiced, and ready to drink! Borrowing from Ayurvedic traditions, we infuse our salted broth with fresh ginger and turmeric roots. This is a great breakfast broth, and as the season gets colder, you will welcome its warming ginger glow.

With that in mind, our second new product is a Vegan Mushroom Ginger Broth. We were inspired by fresh King Oyster mushrooms grown in Minneapolis by Mississippi Mushrooms. To enhance the mushroom’s umami flavor, we add dried oyster mushrooms from Forest Mushrooms. This broth is finished with chopped fresh ginger root and salt. We wanted to offer a fantastic vegetarian broth to Minnesotans.  Our Vegan Mushroom Ginger Broth has become a Taking Stock flavor powerhouse, and early research shows that mushrooms may be great immune boosters too!

Both of these new products are available online.

We are currently working towards relaunching our website. Please be patient as we go through these changes, and do not hesitate to email us info@takingstockfoods.com, write us a note on our Facebook page, or contact us through our contact form.

Maddy's red nose is a good indication that it's cold in there!

Why Our Broth Is Better Than Homemade, Part 1

Although Maddy and I have 25 years of combined professional cooking experience, the heart of what we do at Taking Stock is driven by our passion for cooking at home. Taking Stock began when we observed the lack of slow cooked, made from real ingredients broth and stock options available on the market. We wanted to offer our customers a product that we would be proud to serve to our own families, at our own tables.

Most of our customers either cook broth on a regular basis, or have attempted to do so. We love to hear from home cooks who use their slow cookers or left over rotisserie chicken carcasses to make broth. These techniques are sound and economical.

One advantage that we have at Taking Stock Foods is access to a walk-in refrigerator and freezer. These temperature controlled rooms allow us to safely chill our broth rapidly once it has completed cooking. They also allow us to package our product in cool conditions that ensure that the broth remains below 41 degrees.

We identify our individual cooks by batch number, and have extensive logs detailing their temperatures throughout the cooking day and the packaging day. Over these two days, we temp our product hourly to keep the product safe from bacterial growth.

We are serious about food safety. Our customer’s health is always on our minds.

We hope that this fact is evident to you, our customer. Visit us at our farmer’s markets this week for tips on home kitchen safety and to answer any questions about making broth.

A pork, hominy, and roasted pepper broth bowl.

Broth Bowl Inspiration

This summer, we are finding ourselves with more vegetables than we know what to do with. CSA members , ambitious gardeners, and market shoppers may have similar mid-summer vegetable fatigue. Don’t you just want someone to come up with a recipe that will help you cook smarter next week?

We are here to offer you a solution.

Taking Stock is incubating a meal kit or broth box concept. To stat, we will be curating market ingredients, using them to develop a weekly recipe.

Starting this week, we will be shopping the market, assembling key ingredients to make an awesome broth bowl. The types of ingredients we feature are:

  • Fresh vegetables, chosen from what’s widely available that week.
  • Value added products, such as fermented foods, sauces, and spices.
  • Starches such as noodles or dried beans.
  • Animal proteins, with a vegetarian option featured in the recipe.

We are figuring a way to best display the broth bowl ingredients. We may be grabbing them from various vendors and placing them in a basket, or taking a picture ahead of time to give you an idea of what the final dish will look like.

This is an exciting way for us to encourage broth users to branch out of their comfort zone.

Stop by our booth, where you can talk to us about our recipe plan. Better yet, click here to sign up for the weekly recipe.

Let’s Bowl!

Maddy whispered some chickens at our friend's coop in Grant, MN.

Organic? Local? Small Farms? What’s the best choice?

While refining Taking Stock’s description across our social media platforms, I found myself obsessing over the wording of our local, sustainable, small, and slow food message. It’s hard to reduce such a big thought into a small blurb. I decided to move this topic over to the blogosphere, where it can stretch out a bit.
Taking Stock was built to be a ‘for us, by us’ business. We want our customers to have a sense of ownership in our brand. We encourage ownership by basing our business growth on customer feedback versus simply analyzing market trends. In one instance, we were reminded by vegetarians that we have no broth available to offer them at this time. To amend this, we have been developing a rich and tasty vegan mushroom ginger broth. The development of this broth has been given the same thought and consideration as our classic broth. Dialogue with our customers informs many of our business moves, so please keep the feedback coming. We are listening!
We also listened to customer feedback when we switched from antibiotic, hormone free, air chilled chicken to certified organic, free range chicken. We were prompted by our customers wishes for us to use organic chickens, and for us to continue our investigation into the best product available that will yield the most wholesome broth.
We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to tour the farm that we used to source our chicken from, and were impressed with the family company, the treatment of the chickens, and the transparency – we even toured on slaughter day and saw where the chickens live!
Then our customers came forward and let us know that they want certified organic and free range chickens.
When we were asked what our position was on sourcing organic food, we had to delve into what being a certified organic product means. Certified organic products adhere to sound principles that encourage healthy food systems. There also happens to be a wonderful organic poultry farmer in the region, which has made our transition seamless.
To add yet another layer to this topic, Taking Stock Foods has a long term goal to source chickens from even smaller farmers, with flocks of 2,000 or less. We visited a couple these farms this spring and were rewarded with a new sense of understanding of what small agriculture looks like in Minnesota.
Despite the amazing experience that we have had at these small farms, we know that working with small farms requires more work than working with large farms does. We run the risk of our broth being less consistent in taste and color because of the variety of flocks and environments that small farm sourcing ensures. Small farmers may not have the capitol to fund organic certification, even if the farm uses organic practices. And, the logistics of gathering chickens from small farms all over will need to be handled by someone who does that type of work professionally – It’s a job within itself!
How, then, do we decide what is best for our business? Larger farms have the infrastructure that makes it very easy to consistently get a product from them, especially as our business grows. Smaller farms have the ‘story’ that we like, but may not be able to afford the organic certification that many of our customers want, and can come with other headaches.
As it turns out, this is a rich discussion, rife with preferences. We always want you to know that we do our best to create an atmosphere where our customers’ opinions are heard and matter. We’d love for you to weigh in with your thoughts about organic/conventional/small farm/local food debate. We’d like to know your overall thoughts, as a consumer, on how you weigh a food product based on these different categories.
Thanks! We value your opinions!
Molly

Stand behind this pretty table, and you'll feel like a million bucks!

Brand Ambassador Wanted!

Taking Stock Foods is searching for an individual to bring our company into the next phase of its life.  We need help segueing our broth from a direct to customer product to one that will be widely available, and sold at multiple stores. The position we are making available is for a part time, freelance Brand Ambassador, and we couldn’t be more excited!

We are looking for a person who has a strong sales background, to help us build our wholesale segment. Our Brand Ambassador will set up and conduct in-store demos, and connect with wholesale buyers as we move our broth into stores. The Brand Ambassador will have the opportunity to work with our top notch marketing team, and to build our web presence by maintaining some of our social media accounts (such as Twitter and Pinterest).

Our hope is that our Brand Ambassador will develop an integral part of Taking Stock’s business.


Update 7/28

The Brand Ambassador position has been filled! Please email us info@takingstockfoods.com for inquiries about future positions, and thanks for your interest!

Geeking out at the Linden Hills Farmer's Market.

Paying Dues To A Lovely June

Live in the now with me for a moment, and as the last days of June come and go, reflect on the summer we’ve been having.

By all accounts, it’s been ideal.

It has been warm.

It has been sunny.

It has been raining enough that everything is green and lush.

Plants are coming in stronger and fuller than any summer that I can remember.

People are thriving.

And so is Taking Stock Foods.

Maddy and I evaluate our business’ success by various measures. One is our mission to enjoy what we do, and to find it meaningful and rewarding. The weekly routine of Taking Stock is meaningful and rewarding. This isn’t to say that it’s easy, or to undermine the amount of hard work that goes into an entrepreneurial endeavor. Personally, I just came out of a 6-month funk of feeling overwhelmed. Yet, when the work is hard, it is just as meaningful and rewarding as when we’re walking down easy street, maybe more so because of the challenge.

We draw additional joy from working outside. This is Taking Stock’s first summer farmer’s market season. Twice a week, Maddy and I get to sample our bone broth (love), meet babies (awesome), and admire dogs (fantastic). Every weekend, we get to stand under our beloved tent – which we have nicknamed tentacle – and meet the generous and wonderful people of Minnesota. There is no way to look at it that would make it seem less than spectacular.

Through the markets we have met all sorts of characters and interesting folks. Their stories and energy inform our conviction that we should be living our lives fully, around people we love, doing what we like to do.

Today, I am in doors, cooking broth all day long. We are developing new products, and there is a sense of possibility and excitement in the air. We feel confident about our product. We love what we do.

My hope is that our broth and our business is a reflection of this good feeling and good will. We’d love to chat with you at our next market, maybe meet your kid or your dog, and admire the other goodies you’ve picked up along the way. Let’s share a moment! We can’t wait to see you.