Episode 75. David Cohen | Genesis Kitchen | Artesian Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegars | Whitefish, MT

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Episode 75. David Cohen | Genesis Kitchen | Artesian Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegars | Whitefish, MT

Genesis Kitchen is dedicated to helping people make educated food & lifestyle choices. Their product selection is based on their commitment to extremely high quality food. They have found several small producers and distributors that source fair-trade ingredients from small growers. Their tag line says “This way we know where, when, and how our food was produced – and that is a beautiful thing”

Tell us a little about Genesis Kitchen.

It’s been a culmination of searching for good ingredients. It really started when I was a grocery buyer in New Mexico. I invested in a large, inventory of organic olive oil,  overstock of older supply being unloaded at an irritable price. So I learned that not everything that says is organic is not necessarily good. Not necessarily a guarantee of quality.

Why would you have a store dedicated to such an ingredient.

Why don’t you tell us a little more about your background?

I’m from Long Island, NY.

Me too! Oh, yeah, I remember you telling me that.

I’m from Merrick! About 40 minutes from the city. And honestly I just did not care for it, that place just did not make sense to me.

One of the biggest factors being food. I remember  being brought to a butcher store as a little kid and seeing this meat being wrapped up and being told this comes from this animal and this comes from this animal but I never saw the animals! It’s pretty dense suburbia. There’s a petting farm here and there. This remote concept this is where our food came from, my dad actually had a big garden! But our food just came from far away from unknown areas. So as soon as I was old enough I moved upstate in NY.

Raised chickens

worked in orchards, vineyards

Really in the production phase

Chickens which was  huge endeavor or vegetables which I worked on extensively for many years. Really learning about hands on production techniques

I connected with a lot of like minded people there. And it’s growing! I think the community and growers doubled in size! Exciting to see that kind of enthusiasm!

Part

I actually living in an intentional community with about 35 residents, we were buying small bulk lots of food. There were lots of Mennonite and Amish in the area.

never organic

wasn’t always clean…

fed antibiotics

started a pastured poultry operation to support the residents in the community. And I was able to triple it really quickly. I think about 900 chickens

a lot of lost sleep

always enormous

animals under my care

I moved them each day

meaning they’re on pasture,

basically their own

never sitting on their own filth

lots

I totally fell in love with my chickens this year, they’re so funny tho, but I wonder do they call you a chicken because they’re scared, because I let them out and as soon as I leave they go right back in their pen?

Then you worked on an orchard and a vineyard too? Busy guy!

I just loved it, grew quite a few apples where I lived

no real money where I lived. So as side work I would go pick grapes

There’s a  big viniculture in the finger lakes of NY

working with different migrant farmers, people who came through the area just for harvest and then moved to other areas.

Very interesting

learning about labor itself

for most of the year they could hire, the locals to do most of the work…come harvest time, they would hire out and pay the migrant workers just so much more because  they worked so much faster!

I was looking at the recipes on your website and the thing I liked was they seemed so simplistic…. and I lost the webpage… just go ahead and tell us about Genesis Kitchens.

olive

Well I like what you picked up on the recipes because that really tells something about our core values. Usually when you start with fresh ingreadients  Less is more. You do not need multiple pages o instructions. Typically

like pesto, that’s really all it takes. We work on this with our clients, we emphasize this over and over! Keep it simple!

use this olive oil, some balsamic, maybe some herbs and some salt, and your done! That’s it.

We work with a lot of people who are almost Gourmet phobes… thinking that you need this great fanciness

We can work with gourmets too who treasure our white truffle oil that we have. But mostly peasant fair,

Mediterranean region, eat simple fresh food, they love life, they eat really good!

Keep it fresh! Keep it simple and your gonna be happy and healthy! Keep it simple!

Tell us about your store?! How does someone become a client?

Oh, it’s really easy!!

You can call, you can walk off the street, you can visit the website

It’s the smallest number of products, but it’s the unflavored olive oil.

about 50 oils and vinegars

7-8

single varietals, come from one type of olive.

Most of what we get from the grocery store are blends of unknown numbers of varietals and also come from unknown numbers of country.

During that big inventory mistake I had, it said it came from Tunisia, Russia and Spain.

 

We don’t know what we’re tasting.

What we offer in the store. Really small batch olive oils. Basically a vintage.

One year’s harvest doesn’t resemble the next, even  if they are from the same grove.

Producing olive oil is an incredible art, when, how quickly you harvest them, all these things affect the final product. Really at the core experience at the store, we teach you how to taste!

Unflavored

Basically slurping it…

So many flavors that will just lure you into a wonderful journey of the senses.

but at it’s finest most basic form

Olive oil has lots of flavors represented

some are very mild, and easy to taste

Some will make you  cough and make your eyes water, they’re a little intense. A pickled beet salad with a seranno honey vinegar!

A little technical

 

Polyphenols are compounds grouped together as antioxidants, they are anti-inflammatory. help body reduce inflammation reduce pain, specific ones that help cancer, lots of research that is continually emerging! The problem with polyphenols. Maybe I didn’t word that correctly.

Polyphenols go away with the age of the olive oil.

 

The day it is produced it has the most polyphenols it will ever have! Each day there after your health benefits decrease, marginally but still.  Really want to use it within 14 months from when you harvest

So people in the olive oil producing regions know this very well. So typically they have a harvest and set aside what they can use in a year.

Don’t hoard it.

Balsamic are the opposite. They’re actually about 18 years old, what we have.

A couple from Greece came through a few years ago. They were telling us about a trip they took. Reminiscing on the olive oil pressing they went to. They said “We brought some home and we just hold onto it.” They learned.It’s meant to be used and enjoyed!

When you have fresh olive oil it’s perfect to cook with! Everyone who grows it cooks with olive oil!

Lots of people

don’t cook with olive oil.

I think some of it’s market driven misinformation to drive consumers towards more domestic sources of oil.

working with old adulterated olive oil.

Quick rule of thumb to make this very easy! Don’t smoke your oil. If it’s so hot

Train yourself to cook on a little lower heat which is not that hard to do!

When it’s older, those polyphenols  that protect your body are protecting the olive oil too!

working with a more

It’s like a tasting.

It’s a cheap date, we don’t charge anything.

We’re on a mission. We’re definitely interested in staying in business but.

We tell everyone we can be a little pushy, come on taste this, we don’t gare

It’s more interesting to educate people about what they’re buying.

Sometimes

My favorite times is when people come in with a person, their arms crossed.

It’s usually a surly spouse. and 9 times out of ten they leave and they’re smiling and they’re saying “I can’t believe we drank olive oil.!” yeah you did and Balsamic vinegar too!

On the balsamic, those are easier,

an aged vinegar,

inoculated with a red wine

A bacteria that’s colonized some form of liquid

Actually probiotics. Changes when you cook them.

As a cold use, like just as salad

it’s alive it’s a traditionally made product

Flavored by our importer in Oakland. That’s really to ensure, not just traceability, but Flavor is where a lot of sketchy stuff goes on in the food world.

Listeners have seen natural flavors, that can mean a lot of different things. And the FDA our beloved Food and Drug Admin does’t require,

just a certain percentage.

natural flavors can include MSG, caramel color, most balsamic vinegar has caramel color, which is usually sourced from wheat, corn or soy

They removed it, originally in the Italian formula, called for less then 10%, is here anyway we can do without this?

we really don’t care what the vinegar looks like

This is something the vinegar,

removed it and it’s an allergen people don’t have to have.

This is such a subtle thing,

food science. They’re obsessed with this consistency because we eat first with out eyes. I’ve never seen an inconstancy. Balsamic is dark, I’ve seen one with a reddish tint, and others looked more like charcoal really dark,

One year to the next

I don’t want my food looking the same.

I’ve been talking about the fair lately, I was telling them my husbands won most of his awards for uniformity of size, you know 5 beets that are the same size, etc.  It’s true 

So, we haven’t really talked about where you’re importing your things from? Is it from Italy or did it say Tunisia? 

We work primarily responsible for one importer, their name is Veronica Foods. They primarily import all of our oils.

They’re family is still

the Delitzia company family

About 15 years ago, the global quality of olive oil is going down. There were still good areas you could get good quality. All the

the global supply sold here in America and Canada the quality was dropping year after year, it did because they could, because Americans didn’t know the difference between your large bulk size at the box store and the small fancy bottle in the grocery store.

Ended up buying a tanker of oil

Tested some locally sold that we found that was rancid as well.

no locally produced in Montana

they bought fake oil and said we are done.

Standard model worked with a broker!

A harvest that they pass on to you.

They bought that last load of substandard oil, we’re done with brokers.

We’re either gonna go directly to the groves or grow it ourselves.

Work with smaller growers at harvest. Produce better oil at lower yields.

When quantity goes up, quality goes down. Same with olive oil. Keep in the machine called an malaxer.

Extracts the oil, the longer you keep it in there, the quality goes down

as your crushing the olives more and more you’re breaking down the delicious flavor

polyphenols, and overall character.

Couldn’t get prices for it.

We’re gonna pay you money and your gonna make your money and hopefully more making better oil

That’s actually where tasting rooms came from.

The only way the consumer will pay more is if they could taste the difference!

Excellent! 

That’s what happened about 15 years ago! It’s been like a cascade ever since!

Last week I went and saw Bill Mcdormand in Kalispell and he was saying that most of the food in the US was grown on small farms actually less then 20 acres.

Never heard of them successfully grown here.

Little bit in Arizona, heard NM is working on it. really need more steady months of heat. Never heard of them growing in such a frost area.

What about balsamic vinegar? You can grow grapes right? There are vineyards in Montana.

Here’s the deal with the balsamic

but first I’m going to launch back into the oil

Do you have Italian olive oil?

This might shatter pristine

so much of olive oil, just gets shipped through Italy. The bottles get label “packed in Italy” But the olive oil is not actually Italian, usually from Tunisia, or Morocco. The quality is not necessarily bad, but it’s just not produced there.

Make a lot of money

POD point of origin?

PGI

Basically protected

2 regions that grow almost all the good Italian Balsamic.

Most use only 2 grapes, Trebbiano and Lambrusco for what ever reason they produce a superior product.

Not really versed in the subtleties of balsamic vinegar. A lot of times it’s cut with corn syrup.

People do with

There’s usually a lot of artificial flavors in different balsamic

Protected beautiful Italian commodity.

Labels really are Raspberry or chocolate, expresso. That’s all that’s in it.

Nothing mysterious.

What else?

 

I can hit some other highlights. What else we’ve curated.

Montana better beef,

we have

They can deliver directly.

We don’t carry any fresh produce

You can make a whole meal from the shelves at Genesis Kitchen.

Not all local

Hooking up

Pleasant Valley in Kila

same focus

making smaller batches with smaller quality

only producing 2-3 at a time.

Steaks

Completes the circle

Having them come in and deliver the beef

If there were olives

different California

We have tapenade:

Tapinade

Tapenades  is a condiment made from crushed olives and other ingredients; we have 5 varieties: Fig, Sun Dried Tomato, Kalamata & Caper, Farmhouse (garlic, capers, herbs), and Green Olive. Excellent quality, all from California. So many uses!

There’s Ghee, do you use ghee?

That’s like a clarified butter right? I do not use Ghee, but I’m not the biggest cook in the world.

ancient India

Treats

clean little energy bars, jerky. But in all cases, I’ve either met the producer, or I’ve even met someone in the industry

I find if I don’t find some degree of connectivity with whoever’s selling the product, even if it’s just a rep from the company, I don’t get involved with anyone like that. If that passions lacking. I mean even my employees, I can’t say they love going into work, but for every item on the shelf, there’s someone excited about the product!

They use it, they believe in it.

That’s the connection

There’s someone excited about making that food.

Mustard

MAKE YOUR OWN MUSTARD (its easy) The primary ingredient in mustard is vinegar! And do you know what that means? The vinegar used to make a given mustard is HUGELY important in terms of the overall flavor and quality of the mustard.

What else can I say about cooking? Something just came to mind.

Two that are very

Are you familiar with Chimmy Churi?

Unun.

It sounds like it came

It is Parsley

Typically around the beginning of summer, Looking around the horizon. Usually around July 4th is when it get’s super busy.

almost

What’s everybody’s big thing, motto this summer? Take imperfect action! Get it out there! THere’s this guy Jason Zinziletta who has this podcast called the Victorious Writer Promptcast! He gives you a prompt! Even if it has nothing to do with your story or characters, or your blog! Even if you’re writing about business he gets you in the mood. 

Chimmy Churi and Gremilata is typically parsley, I’ve seen it just cilantro. One recipe calls for half and half about a cup and half both parsley and cilantro, white or red vinegar, I like to use lemon juice. Olive oil is the main liquid. Usually has garlic, cayenne, salt and pepper

combine a lot of herbs

lemon or garlic

can use it as a marinade on chicken or salmon, you can use it on all kinds of recipes.

Gremilata same thing except with

with some lemon zest.

Instead of the lemon zest

just as easy

In a slow cooker, you can use with anything! anything tastes good with those ingredients!

write on a little piece of paper

Sticking with the theme: Less is more.! Just need a few ingredients.

My friend Marisa says that and so does my mom. And it’s true, both of them make it look so easy! And I have to say I’ve been inspired by Marisa. What I do is just sprinkle raw with herbs raw, because my husband’s not the biggest herb eater so he can just have his salt and pepper. And especially if it’s a slow cooker recipe, I like to cook in the winter on the wood stove in the morning and it’s done at dinner time.

Let me throw an easy Balsamic thing to do, which is almost done for this year

hot day refresher, which is called a Shrub

Local bars and mixologists serving these beverages, which is typically

sparkling water, a white balsamic lighter and crisper and alcohol is optional. Can be a virgin shrub without it, but generally it’s got gin or vodka. And you’ve got an incredible beverage!

some folks claiming they worked out this new recipe, but it’s actually from Colonial American times

It’s actually a restorative

apple cider vinegar

unbelievable

use that on a hot day!

No gatorade

I really like it when people give credit to our forefathers for that! Nothing new under the sun.

Few different flavors grapefruit, lemon, cranberry pear. Lots of people that’s their staple now. People who come in and refill their bottle!

10% off for refills! We think there’s enough bottles out there!

Did we tell them were the shop is if they want to come in?

It’s called Lupfer Avenue

Right in downtown whitefish. Just as you’re headed northwest towards Eureka.

Behind the restaurant Lulas, Quickies and Mambos.

Biggest problem is parking.

Can always park a block behind us on O’Brien.

140 Lupfer Ave • Whitefish, MT

The website has a little map on it at Genesis-Kitchen.com

Can always call

We have basically a tech support line for olive oil.

406-730-1449

Mon-Sat 10-6

Last sun 10-3 of the season. Here 6 days a week to help you out until next year. We do have a Facebook page under Genesis Kitchen. I do put some stuff on it.

Can sign up for our newsletter, which is the best thing to do. We give recipes each month with our newsletter. We have lots of participation, people giving us recipes, pictures with their vacation! Little olive oil bottles sitting on a surf board!

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