On the Shelf – Health Food Edition

We spent last Sunday at one of our favourite events – the Canadian Health Food Association trade show. Open to trade and media only, it’s where producers and retailers have the chance to meet, and more importantly, where new products get pitched. As some of these products are new to the Canadian and Ontario markets, I can’t tell you exactly where to find them just yet, although if readers see something here that interests them, we encourage you to check with your local health food store and ask them to bring in these products if they don’t. Most of these items are made by independent producers and artisans.

They’re yummy and they’re peas, they’re yumpeez. Yes, they’re roasted peas – a healthy snack for anyone but especially geared towards kids. Allergen-free, high-protein, GMO-free, trans fat free, vegan and organic. Currently available in barbecue and dill pickle flavours (with more to come – go to the website and vote on what the next flavour should be!). These come in a 30gr bag and have a suggested retail price of $1.99. We liked these a lot, and they’re a healthy, easy to carry snack. A bit fussy to eat (they’re essentially roasted split peas after all), but kids will love ‘em. I’ve been tossing some on top of salads.

Rene Rey Chocolates
The first Canadian manufacturer to create a chocolate maple leaf, Rene Rey has been in business since the 1970s creating premium, award-winning chocolate products. The trademark sun, moon and star brand can now be found on a variety of organic chocolate products and there’s is even a line of vegan goodies made with soy milk. Rene Rey’s real trademark is the smoothness of their product which is conched for 40 hours, significantly longer than most mainstream brands.

Cuisine Camino Baking Line
From the folks at Cocoa Camino – cane sugar, whole brown sugar, baking chocolate, chocolate chips, cocoa powder – all organic and fair trade. It’s about time, and these products should be on store shelves by January. Hardcore chocolate fans will be psyched for the 100% cacao bar (ingredients: cacao mass, cacao powder, cacao butter) that is as smooth and mellow as an eating bar.

Cookin’ Greens
Sure, it’s easy enough to find frozen spinach in the supermarket, but what about rapini? Or kale? Collards? Mustard greens? You can’t even find many of those fresh! These greens are picked, double washed, double-blanched and flash frozen to keep all the nutrients intact. And because they’re not frozen in a block, it’s easier to use as much as you need. These products are already available at many health food stores across Ontario – check the website for availability.

PatsyPie Lemon Shortbread Cookies
PatsyPie made their debut at last year’s show with a line of gluten free cookies. Owner Pat Leibling and two of her kids were diagnosed with celiac disease so she came up with her own line of treats after trying many disappointing products that didn’t live up to her expectations. Offering a variety of biscotti, cookies, brownies and muffins, the lemon shortbread are the newest addition to the PatsyPie range and they’re pretty awesome.

Natural Harvest Rice Bran Oil
Rice bran oil has the highest smoke point of any conventional vegetable oil, and has a slightly nutty flavour that works well with salads. It’s also high in oryzanol (a natural anti-oxidant), Vitamin E, and phytosterols that reduce bad cholesterol. Made in Thailand from organic rice, the product is GMO free. We’ve been using a sample of this oil all week and have had great results both with frying and using it plain as a finishing oil.

Surf Sweets Jelly Beans
I am so incredibly addicted to these jelly beans. Made with organic fruit juice and sweeteners (cane sugar only, no corn syrup), one serving contains 100% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. They’re also vegan, although some other products in the line (specifically the gummy candies) do contain gelatin.

One Natural Experience
The hipsters are all wandering the streets with fresh coconuts, but an easier way to enjoy coconut water (in a container you can set down) is with a packaged version. O.N.E. also offers coconut water with acai, cashew fruit (the fruit part, not the nut) and coffee fruit – essentially the ripe, unroasted cherries of the coffee tree. These are being touted as rich in vitamins, polyphenols, etc, but we liked them because they were really refreshing with truly interesting and unique flavours.

Bumble Bars
We totally dig these sesame-based bars. Organic, vegan and gluten free, they’re a hit with kids and adults alike, and come in a variety of flavours including chai, lemon, almond, cherry chocolate and apricot, to name but a few. Sourcing ingredients wholly from family farmers, employee owned, and locally owned companies, Bumble Bars is also dedicated to sustainable and green business practices. Owner Glenn Ward is charming, funny and truly believes in the product his family business creates. And did we mention his bars are fabulous?

Audrena’s Mm… Delicious Foods Organic Garlic Butter
These folks don’t have an active website just yet but they do have a Facebook page. They make certified organic garlic butter and certified organic cinnamon butter – the only ones on the market. We also love the packaging, which is a cartoon version of Chef Audrena herself.