It's great to see our culture developing an interest in their food's origin. Everywhere I turn there is an explanation of ingredients, or a picture of a farmer, or an advertisement for "gluten free." It has created an entire new genre of food that carries with it a certain intimate guarantee of quality. Unfortunately, this has already gotten abused by corporations who are willing to compromise and cut corners for a profit. I get frustrated when I see an advertisement for "gluten free" hummus. Hummus shouldn't have gluten in it to begin with! It's not attempting to let you in on a special opportunity or unique understanding of nutrition; it's playing on your emotional response to food, to make you believe it's a better alternative.
At N7, we define ourselves with many buzzwords you hear everywhere in the food industry. The more we plan for the future and attempt to communicate our mission to our customers, the more we run into the corruption of these phrases! It's incredibly difficult to run a profitable organic farm, but it is made even more difficult by the commercialization of the certification process. Many farms can't afford the certification, and big companies can get away with unhealthy pactices, like keeping "certified organic" chickens in a cage too small for the chicken to turn around in. Farm-to-table used to mean you could count on it being recently from a farm in your community and that it contained only fresh ingredients, now it means that at one point it grew and now is on your table. Companies need to start being more genuinely transparent about their business practices, otherwise these impostors will continue to ruin the words socially conscious organizations use to define their philosophies and practices.
We have a couple of phrases that we feel define the N7 philosophy: all natural, locally sourced, and made in-house. Each one of these phrases stems directly from our core belief that REAL food made by REAL people is superior in every way. We don't want to just tell you what it is we're about and hope you trust us long enough to make a purchase, we want to show you what we're actually doing so you can experience it for yourself. Today, I'll just focus on the tag: made-in-house.
This is Trevor Cannavo. He is one of our bakers, and he is one of the most passionately driven young men we've ever encountered. In this photo, Trevor is working what we call "the split shift," a shift between the odd hours of 6pm and 2am. He works during this time because he is serious about maintaining the quality of our products so that everything in our case was made within 24 hrs. This is what 'baked fresh' should mean. If you find something tastier than a cookie fresh from the oven, you let me know.
Being made in-house is more than just an element of freshness, it also means we're personally connected to everyone involved. From our account handler, Gus Garcia, to the Nitrogen Deliveryman, Ernie "Bear-Wrestler-Extraordinaire," every person knows who we are and what we're trying to accomplish. Take the Winter Pumpkin Series. Pumpkin Bread loaves, Spiced Winter Pumpkin Ice Cream, and Pumpkin Hand Pies; all made possible by Trevor's brother over at Cj's Ranch, in Corona. That's what being a part of a socially conscious organization does; it allows for pieces of personal expression to come out in everything!
Every day the chefs get together and brainstorm ideas for unique flavor combinations. They pour over recipes and seek out ways to twist or improve on much loved classics. Again, that's only really possible when the same people who make your food are the ones who source it, create it, test it, taste it, and serve it. And that's only possible if it's made in-house.