Celebrating 30 Years
of the BEST of the NEW CROP
Here’s what some of you have to say about discovering “the best of the new crop”:
Dianne Wells of Armstrong, BC, has been ordering from us almost since day one and is a former colleague who worked with us in those far-off Sunseed days. Dianne says, “My partner Reg and I started buying Vignola nuts in the early ’80s. With no electricity at our housing site, the nuts were stashed outside in the winter, bolted tight against hungry critters, and in the summer stored in a mini root cellar dug into a deep hole the size of a garbage bin!”
Dianne says over the last twenty-five years her order has increased from a basic one case of almonds and walnuts to a more varied and indulgent assortment, including seeds and dried fruit that form the basis for a granola that has been in constant supply in her kitchen.
Dianne: “You’d think two aging hippies with diminishing appetites would be buying less, but although I'm baking fewer desserts, I’m using nuts in salads and rice dishes and we are enjoying them as much as ever.” Dianne and her sister Susan take turns in handing out the wholesale price list to interested friends and family members who place orders with them.
Fresh walnuts every time. Jean Hauta of Enderby, BC, has a story she likes to tell when asked why she’s so committed to Rancho products. Jean’s parents were visiting from Saskatchewan, and during a kitchen visit, as Jean was preparing a dish with walnuts, her mom absently nibbled on a couple of them. She immediately commented on how fresh and tasty they were compared to those she could buy at home. Jean says, “Mom was amazed when I told her that I had bought them the previous fall (almost 10 months before) and that they had been in the freezer since then!”
After buying Rancho products through a friend for a few years, Jean started her own buying group about ten years ago. Jean: “My own order is actually well over the wholesale minimum ($500), but I order for others so that they can have access to the delicious food.” Jean says her buying group has changed over the years. “It started mostly with co-workers who have now formed their own group, so mine is now mostly friends, family and neighbours.” Jean says her family consumes Rancho’s nuts and/or dried fruit almost every day. Jean: “There are so many uses! In granola, salads, trail mixes, snacks, cookies ~ in fact our current favourite recipe is cookies made with Rancho’s Breakfast Mix.”
We also have many health practitioners in our customer base. Here’s a snippet from Dr. Brenda Gill, N.D., of Rossland, BC: “I first got involved with ordering nuts, seeds and dried fruit about eight years ago through a friend, and they have proved to be the freshest products I’ve been able to get anywhere! As a naturopathic physician I have recommended Rancho products to many of my patients and friends, since they are such an important part of a healthy and well-balanced diet! Thanks for the great service and supplies!”
In the marketing world, word of mouth advertising is considered to be the gold standard. This is definitely the case for us, since most of our customers have discovered us “through a friend.” Many of our larger clubs have had to split into smaller groups when the ordering process became too daunting for the one or two club members who typically handle all the coordination.
Bagging sticky raisins! Don and Mardelle Hansen are Calgary customers who first started purchasing through friends associated with their local Waldorf school twenty-odd years ago. Mardelle says, “After a few years we began purchasing direct from Rancho ourselves, buying thousands of dollars of fresh, organic, wholesome food every year, which was pretty hard to contain in our house! We have so many friends who are also Rancho customers, people who are as passionate about what they eat as we are. We have encouraged many others to join our buying group so that I would not be the only one separating and bagging all those sticky raisins!”
Mardelle goes on to say, “For a month every fall our piano is covered with extra bags of goodies, which my husband’s music students just cannot resist. The stories of friendships created through great food is a constant conversation piece in our house, and Rancho Vignola is at the top of the story list.”
Food for thought. Some wholesale customers are also business owners who supplement their goods or services with the inclusion of Rancho products. Bruce and Josée McMorran operate a kayaking resort in the Broughton archipelago off the tip of Vancouver Island, BC. We featured their resort in an earlier newsletter after a memorable visit to their ocean paradise! Here’s Bruce: “Josée and I have always favoured organic and healthy foods, and having wholesale business accounts allowed us to buy in bulk, often including friends in our truck-sized orders. We were hooked by Rancho Vignola after a good friend of Sue and Richard’s, Claude Poulin, gave us some samples. Our initial order was around $3,000 for about fifteen people, but within five years we were ordering huge amounts of goodies for close to 100 people in the surrounding communities of Cortes, Quadra and Sointula Islands, as well as the town of Campbell River on the main island.” Bruce says he and Josée have always loved how the products sell themselves by their obvious freshness. Moving on from Cortes Island, Bruce and Josée have now scaled things back to just providing Rancho products for their island community of Sointula. Bruce: “There isn’t a day when we don’t enjoy some food product from Rancho ~ mango, hemp seeds, almonds or dates ~ our world actually tastes better as a result of Rancho Vignola’s commitment to inspire both growers and consumers to care about quality. We have learned over the years that the Vignola family care as much about their relations to their customers as they do about their products.”
United by food! Rancho Vignola has always operated on the principle that “food is community.” From the families who grow the food to the families who sit together and share it, food creates a human bond which unites us all. Thanks to all of you who share our commitment to search out food with integrity. We intend to bring in “the best of the new crop” for many more years to come!