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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Welcome to Organicville

Naomi Wise in the San Diego Weekly Reader alerted me to Organicville, makers of products that "are USDA certified organic, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and contain no added sugar."

The person behind them is Rachel Kruse, a third-generation vegetarian from the Midwest. She invented this line of foods because she didn’t like the available organic bottled dressings. (I hear ya, sister!) Her products don’t have that awful “good for you” bad-tasting flavor of virtue.

The ketchup enticed me. ... The other Organicville products I’ve tried have been gentle tasting, a bit flowerchildish. Products include salad dressings, sauces (barbecue, teriyaki), and salsas. The Herbes de Provence Vinaigrette is much closer to a Frenchwoman’s homemade dressing than mainstream brands are — delicate, mild, no childishly sweet undertones. Use on mild lettuces like Bibb, ripe tomatoes, and summertime salade ni├žoise. The Miso Ginger looks like a winner for Asian-style salads — I can already taste it on ready-shredded bagged “cole slaw mix” from the salad case. The Sun Dried Tomato Dressing obviously gravitates toward Italian greens — and green beans. ...

Organicville’s Pineapple Salsa: Instant faux-Hawaii, great on fish or simple grilled pork — it livened up a hopeless hunk of leftover farm-raised supermarket salmon. (Trader Joe’s refrigerated papaya-mango salsa is a good alternative.) The tomato-based Mexican-style salsas are fresh-tasting but not extraordinary.

Tangy BBQ Sauce proves very different from smoky, tomatoe-y Texas-style bottled supermarket brands. It’s light and bright, and to my delight, it’s not all that far from a Memphis-style pulled-pork sauce. It would be fine with chicken or game hens, too. Play with it. Mopped on leftover pork ribs reheated under the broiler, it made a great, crunchy caramelized coating, without any nasty burned flavor. The Original BBQ Sauce, described as “sweet and smoky,” is certainly sweet and molasses-y, but I’d add a few drops of Liquid Smoke and hot sauce. (The inventor’s a midwesterner, remember? And she’s probably barbecuing tofu.) I haven’t tried any of the teriyakis (I don’t really love the saltiness of teri), but apparently they double as Asian stir-fry sauces.

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