5 Purveyors Of Spices And Herbs To Expand Your Palate

A pinch or two of the right mix of flavors can be the difference between an uninspired meal and a culinary delight. Whether preparing traditional cuisine or engaging in creative kitchen experiments, a chef is always better off with a well-stocked spice rack. Listed here, in no particular order, are several companies supplying delicious herbs, condiments, and seasonings.

At #1 is Atina Foods, adapting traditional Ayurvedic recipes to create fermented and preserved condiments that incorporate global and locally available produce. Founded in Catskill, New York by married co-owners Carrie Dashow and Suresh Pillai, the company grows many of its ingredients on-site. The recipes are inspired by Suresh's traditional upbringing in South India, where food is viewed as medicine as well as nutrition.

Atina Foods condiments are made by hand in small batches from all-natural ingredients, locally sourced when possible. The company's herbal jams are made in the Leyham style, preserved in unrefined cane sugar from India, and its salt ferments are crafted traditionally, without vinegar or water. The Atina Emporium hosts workshops on South Indian cooking, and the company's blog offers information on the Ayurvedic philosophy of food and health.

For #2 we have Con' Olio Oils and Vinegars, a premium olive oil tasting bar in Austin where guests can sample the wares of producers from around the world. Knowledgeable staff members offer insight on how to distinguish the flavors and aromas of different varieties, helping customers understand the markers of quality before purchasing.

Along with traditional extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, Con' Olio provides specialty varieties infused with ingredients like rosemary, black pepper, and lemon. The company sells a curated selection of seasonings such as herbal salts and spice blends, as well as wines, desserts, and kitchen goods. Con' Olio also teaches classes in oil and vinegar tasting, and offers instruction in preparing regional dishes incorporating its signature flavors.

#3 in our overview is Windrose Farm, a small family operation located in California's San Luis Obispo County. Windrose focuses on organic and biodynamic growing methods, such as composting and companion planting. Owners Bill and Barbara Spencer cultivate a wide variety of herbs, greens, and other produce, as well as raising sheep and tending fruit orchards.

Windrose produces numerous herbs and seasonings, including basil, tropea onions, and over a dozen different varieties of garlic. The farm hosts classes on growing and utilizing herbs, for applications like creating a home spa experience; other educational events offer instruction in homesteading techniques such as seed saving. Windrose also serves as a venue for communal gatherings like the Heirloom Tomato Festival, or celebrations of the annual harvest.

Coming in at #4 is FARMbloomington, an Indiana eatery serving seasonally inspired meals and cocktails that incorporate locally-sourced ingredients. Its menus feature dishes from across the globe, as well as classic Southern cooking, with many of its flavors coming straight from the garden of owner and chef Daniel Orr. The FARM Gourmet Club provides a monthly small plate dining experience that blends exotic and local styles.

FARMbloomington's online store purveys a range of specialty kitchen supplies, including seasonings like the herb-rich Mediterranean Spice Blend, and condiments like the sweet and spicy Wet Your Apricot barbecue sauce. Spice rubs such as Chef D's Meat Massage provide additional savor for grilling, and various regionally inspired concoctions enhance home cooking with tastes from around the world.

Finally, our #5 entry is Grow and Make. This company provides resources to help people get started on do-it-yourself projects, with kits for crafting goods ranging from bath bombs to artisan mustard. Its many food and beverage packages contain the spices, tools, and recipes for appetizing homemade treats like goat cheese or barbecue sauce.

Grow and Make has several options for those interested in cultivating plants, including a Tea Herb Garden Kit and a collection of seeds for edible flowers. The company also shares guides for projects such as preparing herbal remedies, fermenting vegetables, and brewing spice-infused cocktail bitters. Its kits are assembled by hand in Portland, Oregon, and its blog offers tips on sustainability hacks like home clothing repair.