Meet Greg Leonard

The Good Life
Saturday, April 14th

Guy’s first guest in this week’s adventure in food, wine, & fun for your ears is Greg Leonard.  Greg is the founding partner of Alive & Well Olives.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Hi good afternoon welcome back the good life every Saturday noon to one it's food Bonham bunkers on the phone is Greg Leonard Gregg are you there. I certainly am Greg compliment about you you've been in the natural for business for a long time. And and your co-founder of this company make a news. I shudder to think of a better way to called Kraft columns from. From the source made by small family producers. Bring us up to date on how you got to that point. Well had the blessing of having that's essentially been in the natural food its industry since. Left college in the early seventies. That. Went straight into it at that point in time in the natural food business if you wanna call that was still very much cottage industry made about a lot of small companies and it really was in its infancy. Angrily the intensity started to date it's probably born back in the late sixties but. Bottom line was had the pleasure of being actively involved with the wholesale side of the business and retail side of the business. And the branded side of the business during those years and has seen growth from. I don't know the business of maybe two or three billion dollars by the into the seventies to now well over 100 billion dollars in the 21 century so you know that. It's it's there's certain irony to the whole journey because. Most everybody involved in the natural food industry in the seventies and eighties had a dream of influencing. Better food quality in America because it'd did it change rather drastically for the worst do during the sixties. And in the in some major incidents that happened because you can sign organic Suu Kyi confined to. Information about healthy eating and and and learn about how to access the best qualities to. Easily now and frankly virtually any place to shop so the we've been successful with helping influence. Better reading opportunities for the entire the American public. Well you know it is when you think about what has happened. Any major grocery store chain. Now as a section of organic. Non GM move vegetables and fruits and it really has started all of have been around for a long time and I know on the website it says some of the trees that. Did the small family farmers in the village co ops harvest from our or a thousand years older more. That's true and it's true. It's interesting because you you would think it is all is. Is rich in tradition. Is the cultivation of college process. It's that are possible that well for the very first for minutes I mean it certainly goes back to. For 5000 years ago certainly. And and frankly when. Torre go now. In with me. And frankly when we put this team together the legacy corporate partners scheme that's responsible for alive and well it's. We had a number we put we put the partnership together with the idea of bringing innovative products. Into the market that that really feels like space that that created new opportunities. And the acute said to me before we began this journey maybe go back three years ago when when it was starting to come together. It's cute that to me you're going to be introducing solids wouldn't have thought of that category because that it was a moderate sized category. Well everywhere whether all of our senators and olives and it's certainly in grocery stores on the dry grocery dollar cheap by and large. But is the learned the differences between. How conventional. Commercial loans are grown. Packed processed. As compared to how it was done traditionally we realized there was a tremendous opportunity to to bring real first class all the experience unique knowledge experience. To well lovers in the United States and that's what. You know drove us to this particular concept. So we've been a lot of fun with a wee bit in the market now for about a year rebuilding other distributions now will be getting in too many more retail analysts. Is 2018. Plays itself 1002019. So they'll they'll be widely available. I picked an epic its grated. I am. I think as you seem like columns and and yes. I love all of bar at some of our big chamber restores and you know they carry them a good selection of things. Talk you touched on it but talk about the difference in. How many of the commercially produced all of our made. And what the differences between alive and well Prada. Well just to see that answer. I referenced briefly a moment ago that. The food industry changed a great deal after World War II particularly in the fifties and sixties in the in the primary emphasis. In that period of time for most every type of food product in the grocery stores. Was how to make products get some. Yet from the farm to the grocery store shelves more quickly. And how much can we extend the shelf like of the product so they can sit on the shelf for six months a year year and a and still beat saleable and states. Those improvements have you wanna call it that were done at the expense of the quality of the food and that's true of the wait flower was handled it's true virtually any other any two type and it was definitely true of wallets because. Here you that a process that have been around thousands of years but was inherently an organic process. Of growing the trees. That word you were dealing with a system that was. Antics. By the farmers who grew the olives they were cured there on the farms going right into the brining system as quickly as they were picked its. And so it was a very fresh product kind of mentality. The the world the volatile as we know it in the United States today. It is very very different and that. First of all. Olives. Are grown across if you're if you're buying any conventional brand votes on the grocery store shelves. You're buying dollars that have been aggregated from many different growers and the process of getting the olives from the field. Where today and that model are picked all one time so whether the announcer override perfectly right or under right. In the commercial business all also harvested in one sweep of the growth it's the most efficient way to do it. And then. They are aggregated by brokers. On the number of different forms into a central location and ultimately. They go to a processors and ultimately they go to a packer but in the meantime those dollars in the commercial world. Are exposed here they're not too. Put into the fermentation prime efficiently there's several days lost in the process. So that ultimately affect the quality of the product at the end of the process. Then when they go into the fermentation bad debts in the policy of always been a fermented foods like like yogurt Saddam. Likes sauerkraut. Evenly go into the fermentation. It's. In the commercial world chemicals or edit the speed fermentation process sometimes including lie. And that accelerates the fermentation process. Then the original Berman the original bra line his poor dolphins simply replacement salted water. And the product is pasteurized. Which kills not only any cultures that existed in the natural fermentation part of life cycle the product but also it kills all the nutrients antioxidants. It makes the product essentially dead. So it just you're. That's what you end up with your buying tore volatile the grocery store Shelton and again in the particle very stable part is very safe. But the part of it has nothing to do it they gourmet quality policy experience you have in Greece or Italy. Which is exactly what alive and well almost delivers because you're talking about. Again they very traditional approach where. All the more Wallace's I think you know come from either small family farms that we we literally have direct relationships with more one village co -- a large village co op we were quick. But those. Growers. Harvest in successive runs sort of grows they don't pick a mall at one time they picked them when their rights and the same date they picked them they put them right into the fermentation that so they start the fermentation process. So the product has virtually no time to deteriorate from the time the comes off the tree until it goes in the fermentation debts and then they are naturally fermented for a period of around eight months seven statements depending on the particular all of variety. And that creates that brought in their living in. It is has naturally occurring elect to do so those cultures which give it its pro by chaotic qualities. And also frankly preserve the product naturally. So that the the the end products. Which is in the jars of a lot and while all of it is those solid still in the original bra line in which they were fermented which keeps him stable on the shelf. And that mother Brian itself is loaded with problematic cultures as well also. They're just dramatically different approaches. To. Accelerating. The speed to market in commercial loan production verses. A raw. Naturally permitted naturally problematic. Organically grown product like we're providing. Today. Well you know it. Obviously they taste triggered when you're talking and and thanks from a great information about have been playing with the tart green mixes her. Large Pitt is still inside green olives that. Are just tremendous stated their show meet the in and flavorful. Uncle and about how about is there anything storage lies. That we should know about alive and well olives verses. Other olives to they need to be in their bridge after we open them will they last as long or longer than some of the commercially produced all of that are not on the whether you've got to do that. Well. Shoppers people who are looking for. From attitudes in particular pro about a rich foods are going to expect to find them in a refrigerated. Environment. I said before that the naturally. The mother brine in which are all at risk within the jars. Acts actually. Acts as a preservative preserving agent in and of itself. But. It does enhance. The quality in the end in the retain freshness of the product but keeping it under refrigeration. So we've recommended every retailer attackers alive and well as that they stopped them in the permitted suits section of their stores next sauerkraut next to Kim sheets those kinds of products and went a chopper takes them home. We recommend they keep them in the refrigerator but mostly good for quite some time even after opening. And ideally I don't know if you noticed that ideally the best way to serve all of this to let them come to room temperature. So if you're. In in the process of putting out and all of played well absentees or something like that. It's good to take the olives and let them sit for 3045 minutes to come to room temperature before you serve in that tell you get truly the world class all the experience that. I think all of us enjoy the most. Well. I know that we do that. On almost every time we have guests over just to have something even as somebody's bringing an appetizer. We'll have some olives and some trees and you know crackers of good quality in it it's such a pleasure Wendy. The differences it's the same thing with wind it's too cold why one for example you know you you miss out on some stuff. Let's talk about at the varieties epic. I used to be three thank you very much of the different priorities when you make more than that. And and talk about some of the differences everybody. I just data column motto of the and everybody knows that you combine those. Most anywhere I jarred her on the dollar bar. But these taste different. Well it's again you're dealing with a product that. That has a different lineage and history than most alimony even those in and Al Gore as the ones allowable hours have also been pasteurized and once you apply that he becomes characterization. It materially changes the cellular structure of the product that you would expect. What's been interesting for us you know we have six varieties of all of that we offer we have cal modest we have agreed ruby we have a black ruby. That and Ruiz company particular part of of Greece. You were referenced during the Greek mix you're looking at their leader and studio. We also have two other rivals one's called day out Haloti. Which is has vote kind of a combination sweet and savory flavors. Big plot follows very delicious. And one called talk a DT I'm told that the Greek pronunciation of that makes it more or growl at the beginning of the CH so but I'm not gonna pretend to be authentic Greek. Interpretation plus I'd like to look at geeky rules apply it does sound American to answer simply. They're kind of a savory peppery kind of olive. But the degree match you have has some or all of those Gannett. When it's so good and end it but it said that the media missed the and he. The ratio of olive green vs Pitt is is splendid dumb. Everybody knows that we can put out an and all of trade in and some shook victory in chief whatever and have fun as we speak I have marinated in. It's my Spanish chicken recipe derivative by lived in Spain for four years. And and it has green olives and it in the marinade and they cook with it. And there's so many different things you can do with olives I think olives. Diced. And put into a posh that this. Whether it be with a spaghetti soft or just some parmesan cheese and olive oil. A main course or more giving all that good nutrition aspect from a lot monologues. What about though and this. I have done sort of like this with so while I've pickles that she's made. About the mother Brian that slipped over in the chart what might we do with that. On the idea ask that question because again it's one of the unique features of the alive and well products because here yes you're taking no Molly woods but you're also taking home. The mother Bryant and that mother Brian is a with frankly we could be modeling in marketing the mother Brian by itself because not only as a load the probe by next but it has so much. Played for built into it uses that I had some salad dressings and I'm putting together you know little olive oil some herbs spices. Put in some of the mother Brian and it it's just a really grounded all of flavor to it really special when you're making pasta sauce you can do the same thing you can do in marinades. You can do a lot of interest in things with the mother brides and I'm not sure at some point. We're going to start collecting recipes from people who are already doing experimenting. With alive and well. Tolerance and the alive and well mother Bryant because it's. It's counter intuitive if you figured to historical all of experience that you would be doing anything with that liquid that's in the jar because again. In in 99% of the cases are really just dealing with salt and water others that did the original primus discarded. Months before it went into the jar. So what we're talking about here is that he kind of a secret extra benefit in that chore. That is can be used in all kinds of positive things. Well you know what I was make on the marinated. Early this morning for my chicken. I had a jar of green olives and I taste you know commercially produced the mass produced. And that tasted the brine a minute took a little slip out of the Greek Mick. And instead of using the bribe from the commercial olives I dump them in there. A use some of the Brian from the great. Because it history. Pressure. But and then of course my day. My adult beverage loving souls thought oh my god. A martini. Martini. Hearst to discovered that in. Is always is that the dirty martini relatives to come out alive in conversation with with people who low post. And that is really don't want the joys of launching this brand. It is it is connecting there is a sub culture of all the developers out there. That you don't really know exist until you put their release special product in front of them you know we are at a trade show last month in California and the number of people that just. Cheered their love of policies were merchants in this community to retailers that they were thanking us for bringing him to market and you know that kind of thing because it's. It just elevate spiel of experience to a new level. And you know. To all well if you produce. The greens retained the pit. They do if you remove the pit it it it it's a very. It's if it's a painful process for the group to remove them but it. It effects of fruit and restrictive effects stability of the true. As much as I note that there's always a demand for pitted olives. We can't really bring ourselves to compromise the premium experience were trying to deliver. And that's why all of our alive and well Collins are that. He answered listening sit before you to comment about the way that the fruit separate from the from the pit and and I do think it's quite notable. I noticed what I eat the green rubies in the green movies are really the best you know but the effort tasted adds that crazy about him. You really get a fruit experience you don't you know you don't think just having. All of that ties are you feel like you're eating olives fruits and the meat of the ala separate so. Effectively as a much substance. When it comes free of that too it's just it's a special experience and that's what we're providing an. You know we're not doing everything for everybody here it's it's silly it is a gourmet products. But a product that really used more than an authentic product that made a list. As we were going to that Schiller mentioned in California. All of the benefits of alive while Wallace. And let me just kind of run it by you because it did even when it every time I revisit it it reminds me of why this was such an obvious. Product that deserve to come to market. There are organically grown their non U motor side there naturally pro bionic there's nothing added decree pro by chaotic content. The raw. They're permitted. Their authentic everything about it all the way back to the growers is total authenticity. They're transparent and we can literally trees the production of every batch of all inspector individual groups. They're sustainably grown their hand harvested. They're absolutely delicious so I mean it's just. It was really that recognizing. That bundle of benefits that made my team feel like this is something we release should. We should bring it to market this is something very special that we can that we can contribute to buy. Finding a way to argument to the grocery stores of the USS. Did you stay just for one minute. We know him and wanna take a brick and just in paper bills and have a couple more questions for a bid farewell. The topic we're talking about today is let's call trapped our future. Different than all of you by typically at a birthers or hopefully we'll few moments though. And and and are stored locally but nothing yet about summon. And minute wanted to do this little alive and well olive dot com or for children. The score look better in the reserves location here in Wichita will pop more of my guess Greg Leonard after this short break in the news don't go.