Isadore Nuts are vegan, non-GMO, mostly organic, sugar-free, gluten-free, soy-free.
But that’s not why I buy these crunchy, eat-the-whole-bag-at-once snacks.
Boldly seasoned with layers of spice that seem to hit you in waves, these are what you need to sprinkle on yogurt, over curries, on ice cream, to serve at cocktail time and to pack for the road trip.
Company founder Tasya Kelen began perfecting these spiced nuts when she needed a healthful snack while she was training to become a yoga instructor. With encouragement from friends and other yoga class students, she packaged them in pretty glass jars to sell at the Morningside Holiday Boutique.
“Soon as I put out samples, I sold out,” she said. That was in 2013 and within the year, she’d leased space from a certified kitchen in a synagogue near her home in south Minneapolis and shortly afterward moved production to City Foods Studio in Minneapolis.
The company is named for Kelen’s grandfather, Isadore Rosenfeld. “He was ahead of his time, remarkably passionate about his health and clean food,” she said. “When he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the late 1950s, he just wasn’t satisfied with Western medicine’s approach to his treatment. So he traveled the country seeking out alternative therapies — acupuncture, hands-on healing — he was extremely careful with his diet. He taught my dad, who taught me, the idea that food is medicine.”
Kelen credits her company’s success to her move to City Foods Studio.
“I can’t overstate the positive impact of working with other small businesses in this space,” she said. “We share ideas, food, equipment. For example, I use a lot of lemon zest for our lemon rosemary nuts and Green Bee Juicery needs freshly squeezed lemon juice, so I zest their lemons and we both are able to cut back on the amount of waste. When Eat for Equity [also at City Foods Studio] needed nuts for a catering job, we were happy to provide some from our supply.
“I’ve learned so much from Angie Gufstason at Gustola Granola about packaging,” she continued. “In the Twin Cities, our community of food entrepreneurs is truly amazing. They are extremely collaborative and supportive, and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a business group quite like it,” she said.
Isadore Nut Co. offers four distinctly different nut mixes. I’m partial to the Cinnamon Spice with its distinct seasoning of turmeric and cumin, as well as cinnamon very lightly sweetened with maple syrup. All of the blends, including Cayenne Kick, Zesty Lemon Rosemary and Cocoa Kiss, are a mix of organic walnuts and cashews with non-GMO pecans.
The 4-ounce packages retail for about $10 and are available at some food co-ops (the Wedge, Eastside, Mississippi Markets and all three Lakewinds) and Surdyk’s, Cooks of Crocus Hill, Lowry Meats, Clancey’s Meat and Fish, Rustica Bakery, Penny’s Coffee and online. IsadoreNutCo.com.