Looking back, it is hard to imagine that we have been in business for 15 years as of this month, September 2013. So many images come to mind of marathon farm visits, hectic trade shows, bad Spanish translations (mine), and an abundance of good ole’ fashioned real food with people – vendors and customers alike – who are passionate about the food that sustains us, body and soul.
In September of 1998, Culinary Collective, the parent company of Zócalo Gourmet, was born. My partner Pere Selles and I embarked on a journey we couldn’t have even imagined. What started out as a hobby (really just a quest to get some good Spanish olive oil onto our Seattle table), became a way of life, with annual trips to Spain and Peru in search of traditional foods and a steep learning curve on all things import. Fortunately we found kindred spirits along the way, and none as important as Marion who brought years of sales experience and wisdom to our haphazard ways.
Along the way we have been fortunate to work with people, in all aspects of this business, who share our values, which are based in the belief that food is at the core of health – for our bodies, our environment and our communities. The success of small-scale producers and the continued production of traditional or heritage products is a key ingredient of a resilient community.
In pursuing our mission, we have obtained a non-stop education of priceless value. And it is time to take a moment (or a year) to reflect on where we have been and where we are headed. I invite you to join us during this yearlong journey and beyond. Each month we will be doing in-depth features on the products that we have grown to love, from Blanxart chocolate and Corazón del Sol quince (which have been with us all 15 years) to the newest arrival, LA Organic olive oil. Come along on our journey this year to learn more about our mission and lend a hand in supporting gourmet cultural foods and their small-scale producers!