Lifeforce Specialty Foods (Lifeforce Naturals) has been in the specialty food business since 1985. We originally started in Idaho as a specialty honey business called Life Force Honey & Winery.
The winery part of our business was an "experiment", using honey to produce wines, or meads. Honey wines are a specialty wine, and, the 4 different types of mead wines and melomels (honey wines made with fruit), that we produced, took numerous awards at national competitions.
I personally liked the development stage, where, as head of “quality control”, I had to make sure that they were smooth, sweet, and had the correct alcohol content, that involved a lot of tasting as we were bottling! It was also interesting to me that the quality and taste of the honey used for producing the meads could actually be tasted in the finished product.
Our business model was, and still is, based on quality and customer satisfaction, and began with different marketing activities such as home deliveries to senior citizens and disabled individuals, educational programs, and beeswax candle rolling for children.
What started out as a simple hobby, got “a little” out of hand to the point of having over 250 bee hives and producing 10 TONS of honey a year, a thousand or more bottles of honey wine, as well as 2000 pounds of bee pollen, most of which was put into small capsules, by hand, and exported to Taiwan. Talk about a hobby run amuck!
Over the space of several years, we saw other areas in the specialty food market that we could create different products for. Eventually, we were producing over 28 different quality gourmet-style specialty foods, from jams, and syrups, to flavored honeys, meads, and red bell pepper sauce and mustard.
The specialty food market was just finding it’s place in the mainline grocery industry, so having people try something different, that tasted really good, was a great experience! In this expanding market, we were also doing 20 to 25 retail and wholesale shows each year, and marketing a number of our products internationally. We really were having fun!
In our travels throughout the Northwest participating in craft shows, wholesale food shows and other activities, we noticed that there was a need of an outlet for specialty foods and fine crafts. So, in 1992, we opened a successful specialty store in Moscow, Idaho, called Northwest Showcase. We featured the works of over 80 artists from the Northwest, as well as 50 specialty foods and wines, including our own.
We also opened an espresso bar in a portion of the store. We ran the store for 15 years, until the 80+ hour work weeks got a little tiresome, and it was time to move on.
We sold most of our businesses and kept some of our products like our award winning Palouse Red Bell Pepper Sauce, which we still market. We then moved to the Olympic Peninsula where we still live today.
Our honey wine business we sold as well, the federal and state paperwork was pretty intense,and breaking into the "sophisticated" wine markets was a little stressful.
I remember when we participated in the American Express Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado, and, the Sun Valley Wine Auction in Idaho. We were just this little winery set up at the tasting table next to all of the big guys, and, when they found out that we had "honey wines", they literally moved down the table from us---until the tasting started and we had the longest line of people waiting to taste our meads! Some of the other winery representatives actually got into line to taste our wines for themselves! Pretty funny!
Our Roasted, Sweet Red Bell Pepper Sauce is called “Palouse Red Bell Pepper Sauce” because of it’s origins in the rolling hills of the Idaho and Washington Palouse region.
It is not a hot sauce, but a sweet, tasteful sauce that compliments many dishes from smoked meats and poultry to omelets, and bagels with cream cheese. One of our favorite uses is over crabcakes and eggrolls. We participate in local farmer’s markets in Washington, ship throughout the United States to stores and individuals, and, we are building an online catalog business with our sauce, and other quality specialty foods as we discover them.
Our sauce received an award for the best recipe in 1993, from the N.A.S.F.T. (National Association of the Specialty Food Trade), and our Red Bell Pepper Mustard was the 1998 National Mustard Association runner up for best mustard.
There is no cholesterol in our sauce. It is low fat, and low sodium. It is one of those specialty food products that is just fun to eat. You can be as creative as you like with it! It’s just a great product, and it tastes really good!
We use state of the art food production equipment to produce our red bell pepper sauce, and we are always striving for higher quality and complete customer satisfaction in every part of our business. We invite your comments and recipe suggestions on our website (which is under construction). Look for more specialty foods coming in the near future!Garrick & Andrea Kruse