Meet the Vendors: Spice Sanctuary

Monday December 21, 2015

Spice sanctuary

Many of us think about the freshness and quality of the foods we eat, but how much consideration do you give to the spices you use to flavor those foods?

When Trusha Patel, a former lawyer from the United Kingdom, found herself struggling to find high quality organic spices in Canada, she solved the problem by starting a business. Spice Sanctuary is a Canmore-based business that imports high-grade, organic spices from farm to kitchen in 6 steps or less.

Originally, Trusha’s vision was to support as many Canadian farmers and businesses as she could through Spice Sanctuary, but after a lot of hours spent researching she found that Canada simply does not have a robust spice market. What she did find was usually grown in the U.S. and packaged in Canada, and had very little transparency in regards to how long the product had been in transit. She realized she was going have to take the harder route of sourcing spices directly from the countries they were grown in. Now this has become one of Trusha’s greatest personal benefits of running the business- traveling to countries like India, Greece and Sri Lanka and meeting the farmers who grow some of the highest grade, best quality and most potent spices in the world.

Education is one of the key facets of Spice Sanctuary’s business. Because many Canadians have not access to high quality spices, in some ways, we don’t realize what we are missing or even how to cook with spices. That’s why the Spice Sanctuary mission is to make spices super easy, super good and to create super food. The goal is to help people use spice every day in easy ways. Trusha has recipes on her website and likes to encourage people to use spices in ways they hadn’t thought of. For example, cardamom is typically associated with curries and chai teas but Trusha suggests that it is great to add to baking, soups, granola or oatmeal, and even part of a BBQ spice run.

For Trusha, organic is a baseline. It is her starting point, and from there she is looking to optimize quality and freshness. All of the Spice Sanctuary line is of the most current harvest for that spice, and is bought directly from the processor where the spice is cleaned, graded and prepared for international export. The spices are then packaged here in Canada. To ensure quality everything is bought in small batches and packaged only once. When spices are exposed to air the volatile oils that provide their flavor start to diminish, and many of the spices on the market have quite a bit of exposure as they are in transit and repackaged multiple times. The fewer the steps, the better the spice is going to retain its health and flavor properties, and that is why Spice Sanctuary is committed to bringing spices to your pantry in 6 steps or less.

Check out the Spice Sanctuary line up in the grocery section of your nearest Community Natural Foods.