Big news here from Queens' land!
We launched our new hemp-based dressing line in Portland in all Market of Choice and New Seasons stores. It’s pretty exciting because we’ve been tweaking and testing these dressings in our local Hood River markets for well over a year. With the help of Oregon State’s Food Innovation Center, we are bringing these nutrient-dense out-of-this-world dressings to a store near you, in shelf-stable form.
I guess it’s kind of a big deal to produce a shelf-stable dressing that is actually good for you. I learned this through not compromising on process and ingredients, which everyone suggested. “If you had more sugar or increase the heat or use canola or soybean oil, this would be easier to produce.”
I said no.
We had to get creative, tweak our process, slow things down, source creatively, and stand firm on our ethos of producing products that are healthy for the environment and for our bodies. That meant....
Keeping bottling at a low temp for a long period -- Heat kills nutrients and that wasn't an option for us. Most dressings are hot-filled at 185 degrees or more which can not only eliminate any healthy omega fats, it can reverse those healthy fats into trans-fats.
No inflammatory oils -- These are oils that have been hydrogenated and refined so much that the healthy fats have been converted to trans-fats, which are very bad, but also very cheap for the salad dressing industry to use. Stay away from them - soy, canola, soybean oil, vegetable oil. Look for cold-pressed or expeller-pressed on labels.
Using high quality acidic ingredients -- Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar help reduce the pH which is a piece of what allows us shelf-stability. By using fresh organic lemon juice and premium raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, we get a robust flavor profile and added anti-oxidant benefits.
Also, this is what we are calling a planet-forward dressing. I liked "planet-forward" because everyone is using this "climate-friendly" term that feels just a little too broad and cushy for me. We want to be more than just friendly with climate (insert image of hugging a tree here), we want to be progressive with it!
Here are just four points of what makes our dressings progressive in terms of their planet-forwardness:
- we source only from Northwest farms to reduce carbon footprint and eliminate reliance on imported ingredients and hydrogenated oils, which make up most of the salad dressings on the market.
- hemp seeds are grown as part of the hemp grain plant, which is a soil phytoremediator and nitrogen fixer that helps aerate and fix our damaged soils that are releasing carbon back into the environment.
- the hemp grain plant is non-GMO / grown without pesticides, and when rotated with other crops, reduces water, fertilizer and pesticide inputs on rotating crops, creating a healthier agricultural system for all crops.
- We use the entire seed - from the milled shell protein to the heart to the oil pressed for healthy fats. After the seeds are harvested, the stalks are further processed into sustainable biofiber and biofuel products. There is no waste.
There is even more to the positive environmental impact of nutritional hemp grown here in the states, but I'll save that for another full post.
Just know that now you can get one of the only truly whole-food / plant-based / nutrient-dense / robust-in-flavor / planet-forward superfood dressings on the market that actually tastes really good. Try them. Don't love it? We would love to hear your feedback! Love it? We would love to hear that too!
If you have any questions about our dressings, please email me Tonia at QueenofHearts.com. I am happy to share our process -- we embrace full transparency in regards to our sourcing, ingredients and process and wouldn't have it any other way. And if you're in Bend or Western Oregon, get your favorite flavor at your local Market of Choice or New Seasons store!:
- Spicy Sesame
- Green Goddess
- Zesty Caesar
- Sassy Italian
If you don't have these stores near you, make sure to ask for Queen of Hearts at your local grocery store! Buyers will reach out to us and fulfill the need for their customers!
Dressings are available as a 3-pack on the site here starting Monday 10/25. Just select the flavors you would like and we will custom pack them for you. Let us know if it's a gift! And thank you as always for your support.