Archive / Taro Root

Asulia at Le Cordon Bleu

Asulia blog Asulia at Le Cordon Bleu
 
On 2/12/14, Asulia will be at Le Cordon Bleu for Mass Innovation Night’s MINfoodie 6 event.  The four food startups with the most votes will also have a chance to present at the event. I’d appreciate your vote to be among the four to be able to share more with the attendees. Please cast your vote for Asulia Foods here from all your devices. Thank you!

Back in 2012, after I was laid off from my job, I seriously considered going to culinary school, since I love food and cooking. I couldn’t have imagined that I’d be going to Le Cordon Bleu in such a different way!

The Asulia team will be giving out free samples of our vegan chickpea, kale, and taro root dumplings. The MINfoodie 6 event is free and open to the public. Support local innovation! Please RSVP to the event so we can better prepare. The culinary school is graciously hosting the event along with Mass Innovation Nights and the Canadian Consulate is kindly sponsoring the evening.

Hope to see you at Le Cordon Bleu! You can find more events here. Join us on our food startup journey by subscribing to our e-news, like us on Facebook, follow along on Instagram,  Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Demoing as a Whole Foods Vendor: From dream to reality

Asulia blog-demoing as a vendor at whole foods from dream to realtity WF dedham

Asulia blog - demoing as a whole foods vendor from dream to reality snack aisleasulia blog-demoing as a whole foods vendor from dream to reality asulia boxes in freezerasulia blog-demoing as a whole foods vendor from dream to reality sue and mom

I packed up Asulia dumplings last Saturday (1/11/14) for our very first demo at Whole Foods (WF) with my mom. Every team needs a uniform, we wore wheat-colored sweaters, kale green aprons, and special name tags.

When you’re a vendor at WF, you need to bring everything with yourself and take everything with you when you leave, so it requires a lot of preparation.

The night before, I made a last minute run to find a skillet. After trying a few options, I recently got an induction cooktop for tasting events like these. They heat up in seconds, so they work really well for heating up our frozen dumplings. However, you need induction-friendly pots and pans. I thought my stainless steel skillet would work, but when I tried it out the night before, I realized it was a no go. So off I went in search of induction-friendly cookware. While other people were heading out for Friday night fun, I was heading to Marshalls! I had just an hour before they closed and found a great cast iron skillet, which is great at conducting heat.

On Saturday, we were up early. I saw that it was rainy and cloudy and wondered if that would keep people at home, but fortunately WF shoppers are not afraid of the rain and the Dedham store was packed.

First things first. Before setting up, we had to make sure that enough boxes of dumplings were on the shelf in the freezer case. Check.

Next, we got our table and display all set up, but our electricity kept cutting in and out. So, we loaded everything into a shopping cart and setup shop in our second location, dodging WF customers as we wheeled through the store. The electricity went in and out at our second location too! Finally, with the help of some really great team members at WF Dedham, we got hooked up to the power source at the hot bar and could resume heating up our chickpea, kale, and taro root dumplings.

We shared hundreds of dumpling samples nonstop for 3 hours, to all kinds of people, young and old. We were so busy that as soon as one batch was ready, another line was already forming. Our suggested and preferred way to heat up Asulia dumplings is in an oven, but we can’t seem to heat them up fast enough at tastings. This is why I switched to an induction cooktop. I love seeing people’s faces when they first taste our dumplings. Of course we talked about our mission, vegetables, and healthy eating, but we also talked about other things, what they were shopping for, families, holidays, the Patriots game,  personal stories, things going on in people’s lives. I find that food is a connector, and I love that. Afterwards, we were exhausted and ecstatic at the same time. My mom and I had a late lunch at WF and of course picked up a few items. It’s hard to leave WF empty handed!

For me, the experience was super surreal. It’s a true milestone for me. I’ve spent countless nights and weekends bootstrapping Asulia, taking it from a dream to reality. When I see Asulia boxes on the shelf at Whole Foods, I’m seeing my dreams of helping people eat healthier and helping to send more girls to school come true. I love my job!

Many thanks to the team at WF Dedham! We couldn’t have pulled it off without you.

Stay tuned for future events by signing up for our e-news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and check our events page. We look forward to eating dumplings together soon!

Find us at Formaggio Kitchen, South End Boston

asulia-blog find us at formaggio kitchen south end boston boston
asulia-blog find us at formaggio kitchen south end boston

We’re feeling at home and have already had lots of good chats with the puff pastry dough next to us and the amazing pastas and ice creams ‘upstairs’ You can find Asulia’s chickpea and taro root dumplings in the freezer section at Formaggio Kitchen, South End Boston.

Formaggio created  the first cheese cave in the country. More than just artisan cheese, the store carries charcuterie and specialty food. They travel the world in search of the world’s finest artisan products. You can read their latest travel adventures in their Travelogue section. As noted from our friends at Formaggio’s website: “We believe in the one-herd farmer in Corsica, the tiny storefront baker in Tuscany and the fifth-generation olive grower in Andalusia, each striving to preserve their traditional methods in a world of mass-produced, industrial food. Our shelves are brimming with products made by individual artisans, each as wonderful as the next: honeys from Sardinia & Piedmont sit aside farmhouse jams from Pays Basque & l’Ardeche, while spicy organic tomato sauce from Liguria neighbors briny Brittany fleur de sel. Marble slabs support cuts of cheese artistically arranged each morning into a “wall”: a horizontal stretch running from Great Britain and North America, through France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy, more than two hundred varieties in all.”

Sourcing locally-grown ingredients from MA Farmers

Eating more fruits and vegetables is not only good for your waistline, but also good for mother earth. The impact on the environment is lessened when we eat our greens.

Asulia supports Massachusetts farmers. We’re busy working to source as much locally-grown organic produce as possible for our handcrafted dumplings. Sourcing non-GMO is important too! We’re not currently certified, but can’t wait to revisit our conversation with the non-GMO Project when we can afford to be certified. Rates are the same regardless of if you’re a startup or a long standing huge food company. With this said, we fully support the efforts of the non-GMO Project and look forward to being certified soon!

Kale is especially resilient and hardy with the cold, so we can use local kale in our dumplings. Some ingredients such as taro root  and chickpeas are not available locally, since they grow in warm climates and prefer lots of sun. Hey, I don’t blame them, I could get used to the warmth too! Also, as we grow, I might change our offerings based on what produce available locally during the changing seasons.

Get Dumplings at Formaggio Kitchen, South End Boston

Great News!  Starting 11/20/13 11/19/13 Asulia dumplings will be available for sale in the freezer section at Boston’s Formaggio Kitchen South End!

We’re so excited – this is our first store!

Just in time for Thanksgiving, our dumplings make great appetizers to compliment your feast with friends and family. Pair with Comté, our favorite cheese at Formaggio, for a savory treat that will delight your guests.

We’re ecstatic that you will be able to buy our taro root and chickpea dumplings from one of Boston’s most beloved specialty food stores!

More store announcements to come soon.

Get Asulia Dumplings in Whole Foods Soon!

Great news! We recently got confirmation that Asulia’s new line of fusion dumplings will be carried in New England-area Whole Foods Market stores and specialty stores very soon. I love shopping at Whole Foods, so I’m ecstatic!

Once the details are worked out, I’ll announce the when and where you will be able to buy our dumplings. It might be as soon as – fingers crossed – Thanksgiving.

To hear the latest about our dumpling launch dates and store locations, sign up for our e-news! We only send the good stuff, news, deals, and reviews.

Connecting for Change and YouthTrade

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My mother and I at Connecting for Change on a cold morning last week in New Bedford.

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Some of the awesome buying team members from Whole Foods Market and YouthTrade team.

Last week, I packed up our veggies and dumplings and headed out to New Bedford for the Connecting for Change conference, an annual event by the Marion Institute. It’s a great conference that brings together people who work in social justice, food, health, green business, women and youth empowerment and sustainability. People who want to change our world. It’s a great fit for Asulia’s values.

It was also fun because my mother came along. She was so excited to be able to help sample dumplings!

While we were there, we also participated in our first YouthTrade show with Whole Foods Market “WFM”. First, I can’t say enough how much I love WFM to begin with. I’ve only grown more fond of the company over the course of this last year as we’ve started our partnership together. Seriously, what’s not to love? Amazing team members that care about our community, animal welfare, planet, and oh, yummy food! The entire WFM team is a joy to work with and I’m beyond ecstatic and grateful for their support in this launch process! If you haven’t heard already, they are implementing a new produce rating system.

Our electric cook top stopped working after a few hours. Perhaps the cold got the best of it? Luckily, one of our volunteers was there to make a run to the store to pick up an emergency toaster oven so we could continue to heat up our dumplings. A huge shout out to Greg L. for his support last week. You rock!

 

Asulia Dumplings in Boston’s Copley Square

asulia blog asulia dumplings in boston's copley square

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Thousands of people came out on Saturday, 10/5 for the third annual Let’s Talk About Food festival sponsored by Whole Foods and the Boston Globe. Asulia and an awesome crew of volunteers were on hand sampling our kale, taro root and chickpea dumplings non-stop to Bostonians from near and far under the YouthTrade booth. Many were surprised at how good our healthy vegan dumplings tasted! The average dumpling is about 40 calories. With eight pieces per box ranging from 275 total calories for kale, 350 calories for chickpea, and 375 calories for taro root, no wonder eaters were delighted!

We were lucky to have the perfect fall weather as we met and chatted with the great people that stopped by. I especially enjoyed meeting the kids (particularly the skeptical ones) that came back for seconds!

I’m encouraged by your enthusiasm. 10 days of our Indiegogo fundraising campaign remain. Please consider supporting us! Custom color block chopsticks, launch party tickets, and, of course, dumplings shipped directly to you are just some of the rewards we have for our supporters.

Please keep liking our posts on FaceBook, retweeting on Twitter and forwarding our newsletter to your friends and family. Let’s get Asulia on the shelf together.

Special thanks to Grace Lee, Suzanne Brendle, David (he likes to be mysterious), Helen Ye, Rachel Sale, Sarah Cowen, and Steph LaShoto for volunteering! The event would not have been possible without you!

Sue