Top 5 Organic Products at the 2012 Natural Products Expo West Trade Show

Written by Max Goldberg on March 12, 2012. Follow Max on Twitter: @livingmaxwell.

I just returned from the the 2012 Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim, California and saw some fantastic organic products.

These five, however, really captured my attention.

BIG TREE FARMS MORINGA POWDER

There is no other company that brings a greater number of healthy, sustainable, and innovative products to the market than Big Tree Farms.

Each year that I go to Expo West, I just shake my head in disbelief when company founders Ben Ripple and Frederick Schilling, two verifiable rock stars, show me their latest offerings. Not only do these guys set trends in the industry, but they are obsessive about employing manufacturing techniques that maximize nutrition levels.

While I could fill this entire post with Big Tree Farms products, the one that I left most excited about was their Tru Ra line of organic moringa, a green superfood that is almost beyond comparison – more Vitamin A than carrots, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more Vitamin C than oranges, and more potassium than bananas.

You may recall that I named moringa as one of my top 5 organic food trends of 2012. Given that, why would I be so impressed with seeing Big Tree Farms moringa?

A few reasons.

One, I had yet to come across an organic moringa that I could stand behind and recommend to other people. After all, this is not exactly a household product in the U.S.

Two, the color of Big Tree Farms organic moringa had a much lighter and fresher looking green color than any other moringa that I had seen before.

This is because moringa is incredibly sensitive to light and oxidates if not handled properly. Big Tree Farms processes its moringa in the dark (yes, in the dark), in order to maintain all of leaf’s beneficial health properties.

Big Tree Farms raw organic moringa will be for sale on the company’s website beginning June 1st. I can’t wait.

DIVINE ORGANICS GROUND VANILLA

I am a huge fan of vanilla but I have faced two issues with it.

One, it is next to impossible to find an alcohol-free, organic vanilla in liquid form. I have seen plenty of alcohol-free vanilla but it hasn’t been certified organic.

Two, buying the actual vanilla beans and scraping out the vanilla myself is always a challenging endeavor. I just can’t get enough out of the bean to make it cost-effective or worth my while.

That is why I love what Divine Organics, the maker of some of the best organic chocolate on the market, has done here.

The company’s raw organic ground vanilla is truly a beautiful product and gives me exactly what I want. Furthermore, you only need to use half as much as the liquid vanilla because of its potency.

Without question, Divine Organics raw organic ground vanilla will be a staple product in my kitchen. It can be purchased online.

LIVING TREE COMMUNITY FOODS BLACK SESAME TAHINI

I cannot tell a lie. I have a real soft spot for black sesame seeds.

While they are not widely embraced in the traditional U.S. diet, black sesame seeds are very rich in magnesium, calcium, copper, and zinc.

So, when I saw Living Tree Community Foods raw organic black sesame tahini, I kind of flipped out.

The taste is rich, deep, and hearty, and the seeds used are unhulled.

Even thought the product has actually been around for quite some time, it was brand new to me and is not sold at any organic market that I shop at in New York City.

Living Tree Community Foods raw organic black sesame tahini can be purchased online.

SAWMILL HOLLOW FAMILY FARM ARONIA POWDER

Prior to this year’s Expo West, I was under the impression that the maqui berry was the superfruit in the world, containing the highest levels of antioxidants of any fruit available.

But now having learned about aronia, this may change the picture.

Aronia is a superfruit native to the United States and was listed by the USDA in many states as an endangered plant until it was cultivated by Sawmill Hollow Family Farm.

Studies have shown that aronia has three times the resveratrol levels of red wine and almost twice the amount of antioxidants as acai.

The other thing that I really like about aronia is that it is harvested in the U.S., instead of Latin America, so the environmental cost of shipping is dramatically reduced.

Sawmill Hollow Family Farm claims that it has a unique freeze-drying process that allows it to maintain all of aronia’s nutritional properties, and the powder is completely raw.

Aronia powder is a very compelling organic product and will soon be available for purchase on the company’s website.

MI RANCHO HAND-CRAFTED TORTILLAS

Anything having to do with Mexican food will get my attention pretty quickly.

So when my friend Minh Tsai, founder of Hodo Soy Beanery, told me that I had to check out this tortilla company one aisle away at the trade show, I happily obliged.

Mi Rancho is making hand-crafted organic corn tortillas that are simply delicious.

Unlike other organic corn tortillas, Mi Rancho’s are cooked in lime and are stone-ground.

Additionally, these tortillas are not frozen or refrigerated but are kept at an ambient temperature, which allows the pH level to stay consistent and precludes a loss of moisture or flexibility. They also have a 21-day shelf life.

Let’s just say that people were raving about this product at the company’s booth.

Mi Rancho organic corn tortillas are gluten-free, contain no sugar or sodium, and the ingredients include stone-ground organic fresh corn, stone-ground organic corn masa, water, organic guar gum, and lime.

The product is currently for sale at numerous supermarkets in Northern California and will be soon be available nationwide.

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8 Comments

  1. Max,

    What a great round up. I’m so glad you stopped by Mi Rancho. I was really impressed with the flavor and texture of their tortillas and the obvious passion of the owners. I will be checking out your other picks as well.

    Cheers!

    Written by Deborah on March 13, 2012 @ 2:20 am
  2. Greetings Max,

    A very exciting selection of products!
    I am super stoked and I can’t wait to try Big Farms Organic Moringa Powder! Why will it not be available until June?
    The Aronia Powder sounds great as well.

    Thank you for the great recap of products of Expo West 2012.
    BTW I just tried the organic superfood goji and cacao cereal
    from Vigilant Eats and it was as fantastic.

    All the best,
    stephanie

    Written by stephanie haughey on March 13, 2012 @ 1:08 pm
  3. Hi Deborah,

    Thanks so much, and sorry I missed you at the show! Yes, I liked Mi Rancho a lot!!

    I also spent time with Minh and finally met Jean Arnold in person. Please keep me posted on news for both of their companies. Talk soon!

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on March 14, 2012 @ 10:18 pm
  4. Hi Stephanie,

    I am glad you liked all of the products!! Some real good ones at the show.

    Moringa: not sure why it won’t be ready until June. It may be a supply-chain issue but can’t say for certain. Yes, the aronia really impressed me.

    Thanks for your feedback, as always!

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on March 14, 2012 @ 10:20 pm
  5. Only fly in ointment of tortillas is Organic Guar Gum. The Organic does not lessen the risk for those looking to avoid processed free glutamic acid, aka MSG and many other additives.

    from http://www.truthinlabeling.org/II.WhereIsMSG.html

    – Low fat and no fat milk products often contain milk solids that contain MSG. Other dairy products often contain carrageenan, guar gum, and/or locust bean gum. Low fat and no fat versions of ice cream and cheese may not be as obvious as yogurt, milk, cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc., but they are not exceptions.

    Found this:

    Gums are unnecessary
    Gums are not necessary in gluten free baking. I never use them. I use sorghum flour and I get a great texture and binding from it. A combo of brown rice flour and garfava flour also works well. I also find that sprinkling in some ground flax seed helps with binding or a little chia seed. This is a much healthier route than gums. As an aside, I also don’t use starches. They’re empty calories, no nutritional value whatsoever.
    —ApplestoOranges

    from http://www.truthinlabeling.org/II.WhereIsMSG.html

    Written by Raymond Anderson on March 16, 2012 @ 5:22 pm
  6. I am a dsd distributor to the grocery trade in Alaska and enjoyed your post. I am always on the lookout for items that may take years to reach our shelves unless I can reach out to manufactures earlier.
    Thanks for the great info.

    Written by Wayne on April 12, 2013 @ 5:51 pm
  7. Hi Wayne,

    I greatly appreciate the feedback and am always happy share the fantastic organic food products that I discover. Hope all is well in Alaska!!

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on April 14, 2013 @ 2:43 pm
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