Archive for the 'Local Food' Category

Veganmania Aftermath


September 27th, 2013

packedup
We did it! Last weekend, KATY and I packed up a whole lotta cheese in the back of my car and took off down the road to Chicago for our first expo! It was exciting! It was high drama! It was a whole lotta folks! Good times!

earlybirds
We got there early and were all jacked up on juice. My boyfriend and I made 5 quarts of juice the night before for the trip. Here I am guzzling juice while setting up our booth.

buttonsOur NEW PARTNER, HEIDI, made these awesome buttons for our table. Pretty punk rock, right? I thought so anyway.
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level apparelOur booth was situated right next to LEVEL APPAREL, a Chicago based company that makes vegan apparel. I got a really cute onesie for Sonny. And Katy got a cool shirt. Here’s a pic of her HANGING OUT WITH UPTON IN IT. The crowd got pretty crazy pretty much right away. You could barely walk through the room at times. It was so busy! I kinda looked over at my neighbor from Level Apparel with a look of desperation around noon. He said, ‘Don’t worry. It’ll die down by 2. At least it did last year.’ Well, I’m here to tell you, it didn’t die down ever. It was a total mob scene. The whole time. In a good way. But I was wiped afterwards.

north coast organics
Across the way from us was NORTH COAST ORGANICS. They make the best body care products! I got the most amazing deodorant and chapstick. Just in time for the cold weather. It’s funny. They were right across the aisle from us. But I didn’t really see them until the crowd dispersed at the end.

beanfields
There were so many people, in fact, that we ran out of crackers toward the end. We must have given out around 3000 samples. I’m not even kidding. Lucky for us, the good folks at BEANFIELD’S gave us some chips to sample on when we ran out. You should try these. They are yum, for sure.

samples
We did samples of cheese on crackers. And we also made some fancy caprese salads (which I am hooked on right now). My boyfriend just filmed a video of this recipe yesterday which I hope to have up by next week. It’s a good one!

caprese cup
The mini caprese cups were a huge hit. Guaranteed mob scene while we were sampling those. It was pretty hard to keep up even.

sample table
It was so lovely to meet so many people and hear so much positive feedback. It really was a great day. We even got a shout out on NATIVE FOODS CAFE’S BLOG! How cool is that? They’re pretty big time!

booth
My one fatal error was that we didn’t bring any way to accept credit card payments! Doh! Not sure why I didn’t think of that. But if definitely came up A LOT! I was a little bummed with myself over that at the end. Lesson learned, I suppose. All in all, it was a super fun day. Met lots of people. Learned lots of lessons. Met lots of cool vegan vendors. And I am still in recovery mode. Looking forward to the next one!

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Blue Moon


August 20th, 2013

caprese
Hello again. I am starting to get better at these updates. I just had the most amazing lunch. A little caprese salad I whipped up in about five minutes using some of our PLAIN CASHEW CHEESE. Pretty yum.

Well, I have some big news. I kind of alluded to this in my LAST POST. Things have been growing quickly over at headquarters. But not quickly enough, apparently. We need a little more help. And since tonight is going to be a blue moon, it seems a pro po to announce our new plans today.

heidiIntroducing Punk Rawk Labs newest partner, Heidi Ochsner! If you have been following this blog for a while, you might remember her from some past adventures. Like this recipe video we did on how to make a NETTLE LATTE. Or remember the time we foraged TEN POUNDS OF CHERRIES out of a perfectly ripe Seattle neighborhood tree? We made some good jam out of that bounty. When I got sick, Heidi was the one who HELPED ME FIGURE OUT HOW TO CHANGE MY DIET. She’s a nutritionist/registered dietician in the Seattle area.

It’s interesting.  The two ladies that helped bring me back into the fold after my illnesses are now my partners! Heidi helped me figure out how to change my diet to get functional again after my TOXIC EXPOSURE. And Julie helped me keep up with cheese orders while I was in physical therapy after my CAR CRASH. How cosmic is that? This company is destined for great things. I tell ya!

heidi jeff and me
Heidi also happens to be my former roomate. Here we are with our other former roomate, Jeff. Heidi and I shared a room. And Jeff had the other room. Kind of like THREE’S COMPANY. Except NSFW. :) We were also all part of an elite band of superheroes called Team Millennium Moon. Every blue moon, we would get together and unleash our superpowers on the world. And guess what today is? You guessed it!

wedding
This is a pic from Heid’s wedding (where I was a bridesmaid). Heidi, as I mentioned, is based in Seattle (my former hometown). Our cheese lab is based in Minneapolis, of course. But we have quite a few stores out Heidi’s way. One of them being the amazing CENTRAL COOP in Seattle.

central coop

A few weeks ago, we sent them our first order. And it did quite well (as evidenced by this photo sent  by my friend, Andrea, who is vacationing in Seattle right now). Anyway, we just sent them some more cheese yesterday. They should be getting it shortly. And if you’re in Seattle next Monday (26th August 2013), Heidi will be demoing the cheeses there from 3-6 in the afternoon. You should drop by and say hello. And tell her I sent you!

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On The Menu


August 8th, 2013

palumbo caprese
Things have been evolving rapidly over here in the world of PRL. And in the most beautiful way. I’ve been trying to find time to post more updates. More big changes are happening! I can hardly believe all the goodness that is coming down the pipe. Like Exhibit A. Check out this beautiful raw, vegan caprese salad featuring our cheese!! This is being served at PALUMBO’S PIZZERIA. Right here in St. Paul, MN. A huge thank you to BRINA from San Francisco who posted this pic while visiting. Check her out on INSTAGRAM! And while you’re at it, check us out on INSTAGRAM too!


Palumbo’s is also serving vegan pizza’s featuring our cheese! Isn’t that amazing? They even have gluten free crusts. This beautiful pizza was ordered by KATY (who works here and you should also follow in INSTAGRAM).

cheese plate
If St. Paul isn’t exactly in your neighborhood, they are also featuring our cheese on the vegan cheese plate at PORTOBELLO in Portland. I haven’t made it out that way yet either. But last week, I happened to meet someone from Olympia here in town. And when I mentioned that they had our cheese on the menu, she was like OMG. That place is incredible. There’s a line out the door. You have to make reservations months in advance. I haven’t even gotten in yet! Which sounds pretty promising to me. You should definitely check it out…

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Chicago VeganMania


August 4th, 2013

veganmania
OMG. I have so much to tell you. But I haven’t had any time. This has been the CRAZIEST YEAR EVER! I wouldn’t even know WHERE TO START. Well, I would. But it would take me all day. Though if you happen to be in Chicago on September 21st, I’ll be there all day. It’s VEGANMANIA! It’s all day vegan extravaganza. And it’s Free! We’ll be sampling and selling cheese. But there will be a food court and all kinds of vegan businesses and food demos and speakers. Should be pretty interesting.

katy
I’ll be bringing KATY with me. If you follow us on INSTAGRAM, chances are you’ve run across her before. She’s one of our cheesemakers. But she has a food blog of her own…MN VEG. You should check it out.

Will post more updates soon. Hope to see you around…

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No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn


March 28th, 2013

nooch
Woah nelly! Things have been crazy around here. So crazy that I haven’t had much time for posting lately. I have really been keeping my head down and my nose to the grindstone. In a way, I think being sick is really good preparation for starting a business. Looking forward, it looks kind of hopeless most days. Making the impossible happen. Looking back, it looks like a miracle. The hard part is keeping focused when you’re the only one who can see it. I think that learning to be zen in situations that are well, unpleasant, is what being sick is all about. Same with starting a business. You just have to keep busting through barriers despite how it looks on the outside. Keep pushing. No matter what. Until one day you look up. And you realize that you’re whole environment has changed. So anyway, our environment has sure changed alright. We are really starting to carve some marks out on the map of the US of A. We’ve been consistently selling out at NOOCH (an awesome vegan boutique in Denver).

park and vineI am continually amazed that the cheese has developed a following in places where I didn’t even know there was an audience for vegan products. PARK AND VINE is another new store in Cincinnati that has started carrying us. Who knew that Cincinnati was such a hotspot for vegans! I admit that in the beginning, I thought nut cheeses would be too weird to fly in the midwest. Man, was I ever wrong. (My boyfriend who incidentally is from the Midwest is quick to remind me of this).

brainer
The cheeses are even selling in Brainerd, MN at the CROW WING FOOD CO-OP! Brainerd is a fairly small town in central MN. Not exactly where I’d expect to find a hotspot for vegan fare. But that just goes to show how much I know. Thanks for schooling me, Brainerd!

wheatsville
WHEATSVILLE in Austin, TX is another store that has been selling a ton of cheese. I actually went to college in Austin. So it feels pretty satisfying to reconnect with the city.

vegan haven
I used to live in Seattle too. Home of VEGAN HAVEN. Another hotspot for our cheese.

mckinleyville
We even made it out to Humboldt County, CA! We’re at McKinleyville Central Market there.

malt and mold
And of course, New York City! That’s where it all started for us. And it’s kind of an epicentre for us. We have several new stores there. MALT AND MOLD is an amazing beer and cheese store on the Lower East Side.

high vibe
HIGH VIBE is an amazing raw and vegan boutique in the East Village. I think it’s in the East Village anyway. I’ve been corrected on my NYC geography a few times.

perelandra
Last but not least is our newest store. PERELANDRA in Brooklyn. This is a really new development. Like, today new. We’re really excited about this. In fact, if you go there now, they should have some free samples of the cheese to try. I think they might also have the best deal in town on the cheeses. Definitely check it out.

Needless to say, we have been really really busy. I have pushed my body to it’s limits. And beyond. I’m hoping this new development is a sign. No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn! But now we’ve arrived. Brooklyn! We are in your hood! What happens once you get to Brooklyn? Two days of sleep? That sounds good. Maybe this is the start of a kindler, gentler era of growth. Because I am having a monster flare-up right now. But I digress. There will be a whole other post about this tomorrow. Wanna know how to start a business with no money and chronic health problems? Well, I’m still figuring that one out myself. But I’ll tell you’ve what I’ve learned tomorrow…

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Lemon Thumbprint Cookies


March 17th, 2013

lemon thumbprint cookiesHello out there! Haven’t been posting much lately, but things have been evolving rapidly over here. It’s been quite the spiritual journey. I expect a flurry of posts this week as I sit back and reflect for a minute. It’s been one of those years that moves so fast that everything is a blur. Exciting times. Maybe even too exciting for my delicate constitution. But I suppose sometimes, you have to push it to the edge. Just so you can assess where that is.

Anyway, I just posted a new video. It’s a recipe for the LEMON THUMBPRINT COOKIES you see pictured above. I’ve been pretty addicted to them lately. This is a great recipe for people with autoimmune disease. No wheat. No sugar. No dairy. Check it out and let me know what you think. :)

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Hitting The Ground Running


October 8th, 2012

Julie and Me
Well, things have been evolving pretty quickly around here. Julie and I have been hitting the ground running. That’s for sure. If you’ve missed the last few posts, you might not recognize this blog. A lot has happened! It still hasn’t fully sunk in as a reality. It all feels like a fairy tale to me. But if you missed the memo, Punk Rawk Labs HAS EXPANDED. It’s been a pretty dramatic change for me. My new partner, Julie, is a dream. If you haven’t met her yet, check out the newest video for PUNK RAWK LABS TV. She takes you on a GUIDED TOUR of our new space.

labels
The retail space is kind of functioning as our office/packaging center at the moment.

buildout in prog
We’re not sure at this point when it will be open. Right now, we are so buried in cheese orders, that we need to get caught up before we can open the retail space.

labs
The kitchen, however, is fully licensed and operational! It seemed at times like it was never going to happen. I have to admit, there were some crazy obstacles on the way here. But miraculously enough, the answers all appeared exactly when they were supposed to. It was a nail biter though!

seward
We haven’t officially started taking orders yet. As we are still getting caught up on our backorder. But we are slowly adding new stores. Our cheeses are now available in Minneapolis at the SEWARD COOP. In fact, Julie and I will be doing a sampling demo there next Sunday afternoon.

sidecar shelf
You can also find us at SIDECAR FOR PIGS PEACE in Seattle, WA! Sidecar is a non-profit store that raises money to support a pig sanctuary. Not only does the money go to a great cause. It also happens to be the best deal on our cheese (being a non-profit).

sidecar front
I just happened to be in town the day they went on sale (for a wedding reception). Friday the 28th. And insanely, I got an email the following Monday that they were already sold out! I couldn’t believe it!!

order boardIt’s an exciting time, to be sure! We’ve been hearing from the most unlikely places. This is our order board. Right now, we are working on orders for Denver, Portland, Seattle, Cincinatti, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  We have a lot of stores to get to.  But when it’s all said and done, there will be quite a few flags on the US map (a full listing of stores which carry us is HERE).  Pretty magical.  I have to say.  But I should quit gabbing for now and get back to work!!  More updates soon…

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Punk Rawk Labs, Inc.


July 19th, 2012

new shop
Well, in case you haven’t gotten the memo, Punk Rawk Labs is undergoing some big changes at the moment. Things just kind of BLEW UP RATHER SUDDENLY after our OFFICIAL LAUNCH. I’m in awe of the craziness that can ensue in this beautiful world if you remain open to change. I’m talkin’ straight out of the movies! I mean, a few months ago, I was literally destitute. My health problems had wiped out everything. I literally had no money, and I had lost my job due to my injuries. A lot of people had given up on me. Even members of my own family. But I’m happy to say that times have changed…
My cheeses started selling like crazy. All over the country. There were so many orders that it was way way beyond what my limited capacity body could handle. It was clear that something needed to change and fast. An unsettling moment to be sure. But a few good friends encouraged me to stick it out, hold on tight, and ride the wave. And now, just a few months later, I’m happy to announce that some very exciting developments have taken place!

julie
Punk Rawk Labs has now become Punk Rawk Labs, Inc. In order to meet the demand, it became necessary to expand production of our product line. Enter, my new partner, Julie. Here she is in front of our new shop. Julie is the perfect person to help take PRL to the next level. She’s an entrepreneur. In fact, she’s the former owner of HYMIE’S VINTAGE RECORD STORE on Lake St. here in Minneapolis (which incidentally was dubbed one of the 30 BEST RECORD STORES IN THE US by Rolling Stone magazine). Currently, she works in the food business.

seward
In fact, she just yesterday gave her notice at the SEWARD COOP where you might remember that I taught a CLASS WHEN I FIRST RETURNED FROM CULINARY SCHOOL. Julie actually helped me with that class as it was just a few months after my ACCIDENT, and I was still on crutches. In fact, I was actually on my way to a BBQ at Julie’s house with a bin full of kale chips when I got in the accident. Seems like the universe was trying to tell me something. But the universe didn’t stop there! At the beginning of this process, you could say I was pretty riddled with anxiety. I had to raise a lot of money to make this happen. And at that point, I really didn’t have any idea how I was going to do that. My friend Janice, who incidentally is a very talented healer (and creator of the FOUNDATIONS HEALING SYSTEM), told me to start taking a walk every day. That there was some place nearby where I would find the answers. And I would know it when I found it.

hanjin
Well, before long, I found myself walking every day to the train tracks near my house. There’s a big switchyard nearby. It’s kind of famous among those who like to jump trains. But I kept going to that spot. I think because it felt like I was connecting to something larger than myself. I was fascinated by the idea that there was a time when the trains were bringing all the information from the outside world. One thing I kept noticing there were these ‘Hanjin’ cars. And they really stuck out to me. As when I worked in Seattle, I worked at a seafood restaurant right on the pier of the Puget Sound. And these huge boats with these ‘Hanjin’ cars were always floating by.

penta

Well, interestingly, there was another party that was interested in helping with PRL’s expansion. A tech company from Korea called Penta Systems Technology based in Seoul. I got connected with them through a friend from childhood. We played violin in the orchestra together. Went to junior high, high school, and college together. And in fact, she lived across the street from me in college. And now, she is the Vice President of Penta. Small world, right? It gets smaller. A few weeks ago, I went to ship a package of kale chips to her to try. And she said, why don’t you ship them to me at work? I said, ‘Sounds good. What’s the address?’ It turns out that her office is located in the Hanjin Shipping Building in Seoul. Can you believe that?! The universe had spoken again! From the other side of the globe!

new windows
I am very happy to announce that Punk Rawk Labs has formed what might be described as a multinational corporation. And I am now the CEO of that corporation! Talk about a dramatic turnaround! I have to say, I can hardly believe it myself. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I am so very honored to have joined forces with Julie and Penta Systems Technology to form a new improved Punk Rawk Labs!

wet tile
Our new shop is still under construction. But the buildout is coming along. In fact, it might be done as early as this week.

tile
The tile has been laid. Some beautiful grey quarry tile in accordance with state and local codes for commercial kitchens.

rubic
The walls have been painted. Well, at least some of them anyway. We still have a few to go.

amber
We’ve even had at least one celebrity visit so far! Here I am with AMBER SHEA CRAWLEY (fellow MATTHEW KENNEY ACADEMY alum) and author of best selling vegan uncookbook, PRACTICALLY RAW.

practicallyI am feeling so happy about the next phase of our development. It really feels like the right people in the right place at the right time! There are so many amazing coincidences bringing this thing together at the moment that I am just soaking up every moment. Karma really does happen! And it is so freaking beautiful, that it might just burn my eyes. I am so looking forward to having some free time so I can try out some of Amber’s recipes! Free time!  It seems like such a far away concept.  :)  But it is coming soon to a theatre near me!  I’ll keep you posted on what develops…

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Vote for Punk Rawk Labs!


June 24th, 2012

kickstarter
Hello out there! It’s been a while since I posted. Things are in flux here. Big time! It all started innocently enough with my OFFICIAL LAUNCH CAMPAIGN on kickstarter. I was just trying to raise enough money to buy equipment to make enough cheese to pay my bills. But somehow that’s NOT WHAT HAPPENED. Not exactly anyway. I mean…don’t get me wrong. I did raise the money to buy the equipment to make small batches of cheese. But then, it just kept going…and going…and it’s still going!

I started selling cheeses ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. Not just selling them…

selling out
…selling out of them! And fast. I can’t keep them in stock. I can’t make them fast enough. And the orders just keep coming. And coming. Success is a beautiful thing! It’s hard to believe at times that this is happening. Though it does bring on it’s own unique issues.

kale 2As many of you are aware, this business was born out of a recovery from some serious health issues. And as many with health issues can attest, it’s a very financially draining situation to recover from. Not exactly the ideal situation for starting a business (which generally requires a lot more financial stability than a medical drama is really conducive to). At the same time, there’s never really an ideal time to start a business. And at the end of the day, you just have to decide. Am I going to make this happen? Or aren’t I?

new shop
So I’m going out on a limb. The next step is to get caught up on orders. And in order to do this, I need a space which can facilitate the production. So that’s what we’re working on now. It’s requiring some creative financing. And it’s also requiring me to step way outside of my comfort zone. A personal growth situation, for sure.

stamp

I will keep you posted on my progress. But in the meantime, I’m one of many businesses that have applied for a $250,000 grant to expand. We could definitely use it! If you have a moment, would you mind going to THIS WEBSITE and searching for ‘Punk Rawk Labs’ and voting for us? We need 250 votes in order to be considered for the grant. Right now, we have about 30. So we could use some help! Thanks for your support!

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Akin’s and Chamberlin’s


April 8th, 2012

akin's logo
I am on a roll! It’s so funny. You struggle and struggle for so long. Feeling like nothing is happening. And then one day, there’s a drop that makes the bucket overflow. I don’t feel like things have changed that much. Day to day, it’s the same old slog. But all of a sudden, the impact of everything starts to change. What a beautiful thing!

This week’s new development…I got an email from Akin’s! AKIN’S is a natural food store that I shopped at when I was in Oklahoma. In fact, it’s where I did most of my shopping when I was in CULINARY SCHOOL. I got an email from someone on the new products committee! They want to review my product for consideration!

chamberlin's
This is really exciting! Not only is Akin’s a store that I shop at. It’s a chain of 14 stores. There are 8 stores in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. And they have a sister chain, Chamberlin’s, which is located throughout Florida. How cool is that?

store5
Looks like they’ve been around a while too. So this seems like a pretty promising development.

store 6
So…if you shop at any of these stores and are interested in getting your hands on some NUT MILK CHEESES, make a request!

http://blog.punkrawklabs.net/pics/2012/apr/akins/store10.gif
It very likely will have a big impact right about now!

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