These days, many people are moving towards buying foods that are local, organic and trustworthy due to the rise of GMOs and processed foods. Many consumers are becoming more conscious of how they consume and want to know where their food is coming from. To adapt to this trend, many restaurants and grocery stores are making it more accessible for people to shop this way.
Here in Denver and many other cities like Boulder and Austin, food start-ups and small businesses are taking over, and several of these local food products you see at farmers’ markets, you can actually find in stores. Many of us don’t have the time or energy to make it to the farmer’s market every weekend, so it’s cool that we can go to a store after work and still be able to easily purchase these delicious, local food products.
From garlic spread to almond butter and ketchup — here are seven Denver area brands you can pick up at a store near you.
Björn’s Colorado Honey
What: Colorado Front Range, small-batch honey
The Lowdown: Based in Boulder, with bee farms in both Boulder and Denver, Björn’s Colorado Honey started five years ago by beekeeper Pontus Jakobsson and his wife Lara. Pontus grew up in Sweden and learned the practice of beekeeping and honey-making from his grandfather Björn, the company’s namesake. Björn’s offers several different varieties of honey: Swedish crystallized which is smooth, spreadable and not too thick, traditional honey, clover blossom, raw whipped and, perhaps the most interesting, the Propolis.
Propolis honey was created by Pontus’ father Torbjörn in Sweden and it became very popular. Pontus brought the recipe with him (along with others) to Colorado — it is a blend of Colorado honey and high-quality Propolis extract. Propolis is an old remedy made by bees using tree and plant resins, known to boost the immune system due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
It’s a 13–beehive yard operation, with 10 in Boulder County, three in Denver (Cherry Hills, Cherry Creek North and Southeast Denver) and over 80 colonies — therefore, it’s easy to see that it’s very local and made in our own backyard. It’s not only good for you, but it also supports the bee population, local farmers and more. Bjorn’s honey varieties can be found in the stores listed below.
Store Locations: Cured 1825 Pearl St. Ste. B, Boulder; Marczyk Fine Foods – Uptown 770 E. 17th Ave, Denver; Marczyk Fine Foods – Colfax 5100 E. Colfax Ave., Denver; Rosenberg’s Bagels – Welton 725 E. 26th Ave., Denver; Rosenberg’s Bagels – Stanley Marketplace 2501 Dallas St., Aurora
The Real Dill
What: Artisan pickles and bloody mary mix
The Lowdown: The Real Dill was founded here in Denver in 2012 by Tyler DuBois of Denver and Justin Park from Maryland. The pair and their small production team make a big variety of pickles and bloody mary mix all made 100 percent from scratch in their Denver facility. Some of their popular year-round products include Caraway Garlic Dills, Habanero Horseradish Dills, Jalapeno Honey Dills, Spicy Carribean Dills and 32-ounce and 64-ounce Bloody Mary Mix. There are also limited/seasonal products like the Green Chile Hot Sauce which will available this fall and winter. Most items are vegan and gluten-free — descriptions and ingredients can be found on the Real Dill’s website.
Instead of focusing on big chain retailers, Real Dill has made small independent businesses their priority — and they can also be praised for their recognizable and fresh ingredients. Real Dill also gives back to the community through their Charitable Partner Program. The program hosts a large fundraiser every year at ‘The Dillery’ known as the Pickle Party in which 100 percent of proceeds go to a non-profit partner which changes every year. Commitment to reducing food waste is important as well, by donating leftovers to Re:Vision a local nonprofit that turns food scraps into compost for its urban farming initiatives. You may have seen them at Denver Flea or Slow Food Nations, but you can also find them in several stores in Denver — see list below.
Store Locations: Argonaut Wine & Liquors 760 E. Colfax Ave., Denver; Baker Wine & Spirits 440 Broadway, Denver; Choice Market 1770 Broadway, Denver; Cured 1825 Pearl St. Ste. B, Boulder; Marczyk Fine Foods 770 E. 17th Ave., Denver; Natural Grocers – Denver Colfax 1433 Washington St., Denver; Uptown Wines, Beer & Spirits 1936 Pennsylvania St., Denver. Go here for all locations.
What: A variety of fine garlic mixes
The Lowdown: Prohibited Provisions launched in Denver early last year and the company has already made a big splash in the local food scene. Its first and current line of products in a variety of fine garlic mixes made with raw garlic, spices and herbs. It is meant for cooking in a variety of ways from sauteing, marinating, mixing, as a dip or on your spoon. On its site, the company list over 35 ways to use the mixes in order to elevate cooking and preparing. The mission is to offer people a convenient way to cook creative ways like tossing in with steamed vegetables, adding to ground meat for hamburgers, mixing with hummus and adding to homemade sushi rolls — the possibilities are endless.
Flavors of garlic mix include Cilantro-Jalapeño, Vindaloo Curry, Italian Herb (Basil & Oregano) and Citrus Herb (Rosemary & Thyme). The ingredients are high quality, sourced from around the world and in the foothills of Denver. Much of its business is through online selling, farmers’ markets and events like Denver Flea. As a relatively new business, Prohibited Provisions is working to get stocked in more retail spaces — for now, you can find them in the stores listed below.
Store Locations: So Damn Gouda: Cheese + Provisions 2432 W. 44th Ave., Denver; Cured 1825 Pearl St. Ste. B, Boulder; Farm Girl Foods The Emporium Building, 200 Perry St., Castle Rock; Silver Spoons Catering 9064 Forsstrom Dr., Lone Tree; Vero Italian Denver Central Market, 2669 Larimer St., Denver; Wish Gifts 750 S. University Blvd., Denver
What: Five ingredient sriracha
The Lowdown: Sriracha is one of the hottest, if not the hottest condiment in the world right now — and we aren’t talking about heat. There’s no denying that it’s delicious and addictive, but did you know it’s full of preservatives and other not so healthy ingredients? Well, Jojo’s Sriracha set out to make sriracha made of all real food ingredients: chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sea salt and palm sugar. No sodium bisulfite or xantham gum.
Founder, Jolene “Jojo” Collins started Love Hard Inc., the company name for Jojo’s Sriracha after an epiphany in 2010 when she started eating healthier, doing yoga making her own skin products and going through an Ayurvedic cleanse. It resulted in making a popular product into something with high-quality ingredients, little sugar and just as delicious. Jojo’s varieties of sriracha include the OG chili sauce, red jalapeno, XXX hot and green chili. You may have seen Jojo’s at events like Denver Flea, but you can also find the sriracha in several stores around Denver and surrounding cities like Boulder and Colorado Springs.
Store Locations: For a full list of stockists, click here. So Damn Gouda: Cheese + Provisions 2432 44th Ave., Denver; Cured 1825 Pearl St., Boulder; Garden of the Gods Cafe & Market 775 W. Bijou St., Colorado Springs; Savory Spice all shops in Denver and its surrounding areas.
PB Love Co.
What: Hand-crafted, artisan peanut butter and almond butter
The Lowdown: PB Love Co. was founded in 2015 by Mario Esparza with the help of Andy Mason who helped with branding and packaging. Esparza has been making nut butter for over 12 years but it was not until a few years ago that he began the business. He had been thinking about starting an E-Commerce business for a while and had a friend taste the homemade peanut butter and they suggested he start selling it because it was so good. Before he started making nut butter, he had a realization that the peanut butter he had been eating, wasn’t real food, which is why he starting making his own. Currently, PB Love Co. has three peanut butter varieties (classic creamy, salty peanut and classic crunchy) and two almond (smooth almond and cinnamon almond). The goal of the company is simple: feed people and make them happy. PB Love makes nut butter that’s made with real, healthy and ethical ingredients.
Future plans for the company include a new production facility that will go up sometime next year which will most likely have a retail/tasting room. Other goals also include expanding the team and possibly adding more food products — one idea being, baby food. The business model is mostly direct sales through E-commerce and selling at farmers’ markets with a little bit of wholesale. Esparza emphasizes that PB Love products are not big grocery items, but boutique grocery items being sold at local boutique markets. You can find PB Love in the stores listed below.
Store Locations: American Cultures 3233 Tejon St., Denver; Cured 1825 Pearl St. Ste. B, Boulder; Mercantile Dining & Provisions Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop St. #155, Denver; Savory Spice Shop – Denver 1537 Platte St., Denver; Savory Spice Shop – Littleton 2650 W. Main St., Littleton
Cultura Craft Chocolate
What: Bean-to-bar, craft chocolate
The Lowdown: Cultura Craft Chocolate was founded in 2016 by Damaris Ronkanen, as a Latin-inspired ‘bean-to-bar’ concept. She started off as a pastry chef and grew an appreciation for chocolate. Childhood trips to her family’s hometown in Mexico were also an inspiration. Her first company was Dead Dog Chocolate in which she focused on making chocolate inspired by ingredients and techniques used in Mexico. Cultura Chocolate’s product line includes large chocolate bars ranging from 70 to 85 percent cacao with different varieties from Haiti, Guatemala and Belize. The very popular mini-bars have creative flavors like Mexican Spice, Espresso + Sea Salt with cacao percentages ranging from 60 to 75. Other items include cacao beverages like Mexican drinking chocolate and whiskey-infused truffles.
The mission of Cultura is to make amazing chocolate that has greater transparency, sustainability and accessibility. Cultura is very accessible selling most of its chocolate in over 75 retail locations and online. See the full list below to find out where you can pick some up.
Store Locations: For the full list of 75+ retail locations, click here. American Cultures 3233 Tejon St., Denver; Apothecary Tinctura 2900 E. Ave., Denver; So Damn Gouda 2432 W. 44th St., Denver; Cured 1825 Pearl St. Ste. B, Boulder; Mercantile Dining & Provisions Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop St. #155, Denver; St. Kilian’s Cheese Shop 3211 Lowell Blvd., Denver; Temper Chocolates Denver Central Market, 2669 Larimer St., Denver
Elevation Organic Ketchup
What: Organic, hand-crafted ketchup
The Lowdown: If you pay any attention to food ingredients, you’ll know that most ketchup brands contain high fructose corn syrup. Most kinds of ketchup are also full of sugar and sodium. Luckily, these days there are independent ketchup brands that are bringing us raw, real ketchup.
Denver’s very own Elevation Organic Ketchup was founded in 2012 by Aaron Wagner, using his great-grandmother’s recipe which dates back to 1893 — a family recipe that has been passed down for generations. Wagner made a batch for friends which they loved and as a result, decided to start selling it. Not long after that, he started running a business out of a commercial kitchen here in Denver.
The ketchup is simple, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, containing no high fructose corn syrup, spices and no junk. The varieties include Original Recipe, Original Recipe – No Added Sugar, Restaurant Style and Vindaloo (an Indian curry spice style). Several restaurants in Denver serve Elevation Ketchup which is awesome to be able to have a healthy ketchup option. In addition to buying online, you can also find a store near you that sells Elevation Organic Ketchup — see the list below.
Store Locations: For a full list of retail locations and restaurants, click here. Cured 1825 Pearl St., Boulder; Alfalfa’s 1651 Broadway, Boulder; Marczyk Fine Foods 770 E. 17th Ave., Denver; Mondo Market The Source Market + Hotel, 3350 Brighton Blvd. #115, Denver + The Stanely Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street, Aurora; Natural Grocers (see locations here); Nellybelle General Store 29017 Hotel Way, Evergreen; NOOCH Vegan Market 10 E. Ellsworth Ave., Denver