Roaring Fork Spice Co. Seasons the Valley and Beyond
What do you do with 100 mason jars left over from your wedding? If you’re Tony de Moraes and Jenn Dockery, you start a business with them.
“We made our own unique seasonings at home because we love to cook, but Jenn is allergic to ingredients found in many commercial spice blends. We made large batches of our blends, filled the leftover mason jars and gave them out as Christmas gifts in 2015,” Tony recalls. “We had so many people telling us how good they were and that we should do something with them.”
Within a few months, Roaring Fork Spice Co. was born. Tony was able to draw upon more than 20 years of experience in food and beverage package design, applying it to their own Glenwood-based brand, and things took off.
“We really didn’t want to name it ‘Roaring Fork,’ because of how overused it is by local businesses, but in the end we decided it was the perfect name for a spice company, even outside our beloved valley,” he says.
With an inspired lineup of natural, gluten-free, preservative-free products, the couple’s culinary venture quickly amassed a local following of home cooks, foodies, and professionals, offering dozens of savory and sweet blends to the community at local events and farmers markets. They then added infused local honeys to their roster of goods, and now also sell meat rubs, chili kits, gift boxes, and are planning a new line of no-salt seasonings—making variety the spice of life, in more ways than one.
For Tony and Jenn, their mission comes down to good flavor and convenience: essential ingredients for the best homemade meals.
“We’re often asked if we have culinary backgrounds. My answer is no,” Jenn explains. “We just love to cook and eat interesting, diverse foods. We cook like everyone else—often without a formal recipe. But, with just a few shakes we can transform a simple dish into a unique meal every night just by using a different blend.”
Tony adds, “We have the added challenge of varying diets and food allergies in our home too. Jenn is vegetarian and gluten-free, but I eat EVERYTHING! This forces us to use our blends on a wide range of foods in many different ways.”
After a wildly successful first year, Tony and Jenn moved their operation from their home to a production facility and set their sights on wholesale and online sales. Their tent was present at almost every major valley event of summer 2017, and now they hope to reach statewide buyers and beyond via their website, RoaringForkSpice.com.
“The first year was a proof-of-concept phase for us,” Tony says. “It’s kind of cool to see it go from being brand new—where nobody knows anything about you—to having a following with repeat customers. People actually seek us out now.”
Jenn adds, “Turning a hobby into a business can be interesting. And now we’re cooking for Instagram, not just for us.”
Despite such growth, the couple is committed to keeping true to their roots here in the Roaring Fork Valley, though online sales allow them to reach spice fans in the wider world of e-commerce. Tony reports that some 80 percent of the company’s web sales are generated from outside the valley, but they still enjoy participating in local events and adding a little spice to their own hometown region.
“We’re really trying to create more of a one-on-one connection with our customers through community: food, recipes, and ideas revolving around our seasonings,” he says. “Running an online business allows us to reach people here, as well as beyond, and offer our customers content that traditional commerce doesn’t.”
What’s next for the company?
“We’ll be ramping up sales efforts dramatically over the next six months,” Jenn says. “And we’re working with a firm out of Denver that is going to help us get into stores along the Front Range, as well as help with some social media, blogger outreach, and getting on Amazon—all that ‘next level’ stuff.”
Amazon? We knew them when.
Look for Roaring Fork Spice Co. goods online this holiday season or at local suppliers such as Country Rose Boutique in Glenwood and Kitchen Collage in Basalt.