6.13.12 Open Your Mouth
Since leaving the city to live upstate full-time, I definitely do more online shopping. I support local purveyors as much as possible but that can be limiting and, as you know, I’m spoiled. I order my olive oil from here (hey, at least it’s not coming all the way from Italy) and my raw coconut oil from here, and I compensate for that in part by growing vegetables and foraging for wild edibles. When I learned recently about New York Mouth, a new online business that specializes in “indie food” and carbon offsets its shipping, I was glad to be able to support some local resources. It’s not about being virtuous, it’s just about doing what makes sense. They have put together an amazing selection of handcrafted, small batch products and they do a great job of packaging them into clever and creative collections that make fantastic gifts.
Stumped about what to get the patriarch for Father's Day? I sent mine this over-the-top assortment of pickles which went over like a house on fire.One of the company's founders is Craig Kanarick, a technology and web design consultant whose last company—an interactive agency called Razorfish—was ultimately sold to Microsoft. He said the impetus for starting New York Mouth was realizing, during one of his frequent visits to Marlow & Daughters in Brooklyn, that "even with so much going on in the food word—like Smorgasburg and the Brooklyn Flea—most of these new, interesting, independent food companies just don’t have a digital presence." He felt frustrated that he wasn't able to get what he needed on the days he couldn't make it to the store, and decided to do something about it. You or I might throw a tantrum, but he founded a company, helping himself and, in the process, supporting a bunch of struggling food artisans.
New York Mouth is careful to refer to its products as "indie" and not "local," a term that can be hard to define. For some people it comes down to a particular radius, but imagine if every ingredient had to be truly local—that would mean no sugar, pepper, olive oil, coffee, chocolate or citrus. So, as Craig explains, "New York Mouth is going to try to raise the level of awareness about the impact of food miles and production miles and add that information to the website, so that people can make their own choices about what’s important to them—whether it’s nutritional value, environmental impact or social/moral impact." For this thoughtful company, it’s about revealing as much as they can about the way products are made and letting customers think for themselves.
Everything about New York Mouth is carefully considered without feeling precious. The founders have a hands-on approach, including interacting directly with customers which, in this virtual age, is rather nice. The products—all clearly made with love, skill, creativity and gorgeous ingredients, many of them in Brooklyn—range from ostrich jerky to peanut butter loaded with chia seeds to pistachio caramel corn. There's no shortage of condiments and caramels. In short, yum. The writing and design of the site is refreshingly smart and friendly. The packaging is clever and reusable. Oh, and those drool-worthy photographs? Yet another hat that Mr. Kanarick wears. Beyond the site, his candy-focused photos can be found here. For now, though, start with an order of these raw chocolate bars. Think of them as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.