Posted: April 16, 2013
Made in Colorado 2013: Food & drinkEric Peterson
When it comes to Colorado-based brands, Celestial Seasonings is likely one of the most recognizable. Established in 1969, the tea kingpin serves more than 1.6 billion cups annually with more than 100 different products.
The Centennial State has proven to be a prime site for the company to grow and flourish. “The natural food movement here has steadily grown over the last 40 years to become one of the driving forces in our state’s economy,” says Jennifer Stolte, senior director of marketing.
New to the tea titan is the Natural Shots line, including varieties to boost energy and aid sleep. The latter, dubbed Sleepytime Snooz, is a natural fit for the company, says Stolte.
Danny Cash Hot Sauce
When Danny Cash started making hot sauce in his church’s kitchen in 2003, he’d get his empty bottles from Davie’s Chuck Wagon Diner. “I’d wash them out and fill them up with my own sauce,” says Cash. “I gave them a few bottles as a thank you and they loved it.”
Cash moved into his own commercial facility in 2005, shortly thereafter becoming Colorado’s largest hot sauce manufacturer. Today Cash makes 28 sauces and has accounts with 300 restaurants nationwide, including Wynkoop Brewing Co. and Red Rocks Grill.
New this year: ChiDawgo. “It’s everything that’s on a Chicago hot dog in one bottle,” says Cash. (That’s mustard, peppers, tomatoes, “neon green relish,” celery salt and poppy seeds for the uninitiated.) “You can put it on a piece of bologna on white bread and it will taste just like a Chicago hot dog.”
Mady Smith has been in the mustard business since 1982, the year after her husband passed away. “I knew I needed to do something to make a living,” says Smith. “‘People have to eat,’ I thought. So if you have a good food product and get it on the market, that would be a good way to make a living.”
Smith did just that by sharing her grandmother’s delectable beer mustard recipe. She recently moved production to Colorado Springs after 30 years at Rice’s Honey facility in Greeley. She also started making her only non-Mady’s-brand product in Railyard Ale Beer Mustard for the Wynkoop Brewing Co. because Gov. John Hickenlooper “is a fine young man,” and she still uses the same custom-built “mustard machine” she did in the early days.
Preserved fruits and vegetables
Jim Mills and Ben Mustin founded MM Local in Boulder in 2009, but they’ve had facilities in Arvada and Denver as well. “We’ve been somewhat nomadic,” says Mills. In fall 2012, the company put down stakes at a warehouse connected to a production facility in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood.
Helping local producers monetize their surpluses, Mills and Mustin continue to ramp up the business, which has grown in volume from 10,000 pounds in 2009 to 140,000 pounds in 2012. The most popular products are Western Slope peaches, Front Range tomatoes and pickled Boulder beets.
MM Local also offers Harvest Share, “essentially a canned CSA (community supported agriculture),” says Vanessa Rathbone, the company’s community relations manager. “The benefit is they get it all in one pickup at the end of the season.” 2013 shares are now available for about $120 for 18 jars to about $550 for 120 jars.
34 Degrees Crisps
Lighter, crisper and healthier crackers in five varieties.
Amanda’s Damn Good Company
Salsas, jellies and jams
Amanda’s inventive salsas have artichoke hearts, cherries, figs, cheese and more – and they’re damn good.
Avalanche Cheese Co.
The goats are in Paonia; the cheese is made
Big B’s Fabulous Juices
Juices, ciders, and teas
Organic ciders, teas, lemonade and more from the North Fork Valley.
Boulder Sausage Co.
Great sausage and no MSG, nitrates, corn syrup or other fillers.
Blosm’s flavors include cinnamon praline
and blackberry almond.
Chocolove takes candy bars to the next level with ingredients like sea salt, ginger
and orange peel.
Burritos and other foods
Burritos and more made with love.
Honey and other foods
Honey, jams, jellies and syrups from “the land of elk and honey.”
Horsetooth Hot Sauce
The offerings include killer sauces like Rubin’s Red as well as small batches with bacon and other intriguing ingredients.
Healthy snack bars with unsweetened nuts, fruit and spices.
Leprino Foods Co.
Headquartered today on the same corner where Mike Leprino Sr.’s grocery store stood in 1950, Leprino continues to produce high-quality dairy products.
Novo roasts small batches of beans in vintage 1960s roasters.
Rocky Mountain Natural Meats
The home of Great Range Brand Bison.
Rocky Mountain Soda Co.
Using local beet sugar and water, sodas like Colorado Cola and Grand Mesa Grape are naturally tasty.
Sauces and seasonings
Sedulous makes the addictive Schultz’s Gourmet line of hot sauces for wings and
All-natural, designed to optimize performance and they taste good, too.
Solar Roast Coffee
Using the power of the sun to roast coffee.
Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com