On this episode, we have Monique Hypes and Marie Krane who are the Co-Founders of Tomato Bliss.
Tomato Bliss is on a mission to “save the heirloom tomato from extinction” with their line of heirloom tomato soups that are made with tomatoes grown on their certified Regenified™ farm in Southwest Michigan.
In this episode, we learn why tomato farming became Marie’s chosen form of activism, how she found Monique to help Tomato Bliss become more than just a farmers market brand, and the strategies they’re using to grow both supply and demand for regeneratively grown heirloom tomatoes at the same time.
😍 “Saving Heirloom Tomatoes From Extinction”
👏 Marie’s journey fighting to save heirloom tomato seeds
💡 Why farming and CPG became her best path to seed-saving
🤝 Hiring Monique to take the brand beyond the farmers’ market
🤯 90% of tomato production comes from less than 25 seeds
👍 Intercropping as their secret weapon for pest prevention
🏅 Why their farm is certified Regenified™
🧑🍳 How they’re using food service to fuel their growth
⚡ Why stores should merchandise their SKUs in the produce department
📈 The imperative for regen brands to scale supply and demand in tandem
ReGen Brands Recap #55 - Saving The Heirloom Tomato From Extinction - (RECAP LINK)
Disclaimer: This transcript was generated with AI and is not 100% accurate.
Kyle Krull - 00:00:15
Welcome to The ReGen Brands Podcast. This is a place for consumers operators and investors to learn about the consumer brands, supporting regenerative agriculture and how they're changing the world. This is your host, Kyle, joined by my Co-Host, AC, who's going to take us into the episode.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:00:33
On this episode, we have Monique and Marie who are the co-founders of Tomato Bliss. Tomato Bliss is on a mission to save the heirloom tomato from extinction with their line of heirloom tomato soups that are made with tomatoes grown on their certified Regenified™ farm in Southwest Michigan. In this episode, we learn why tomato farming became Marie's chosen form of activism, how she found Monique to help Tomato Bliss become more than just a farmer's market brand and the strategies they're using to grow both supply and demand for regenerative grown heirloom tomatoes. At the same time, these ladies were delighted to have on the show and we're excited to share this episode with y'all. Let's dive in what's up everybody. Welcome back to another episode of The ReGen Brands Podcast. Very excited today to have our friends, Marie and Monique from Tomato Bliss. Joining us. So welcome ladies.
Marie Krane - 00:01:30
Thank you. Thanks for having us.
Kyle Krull - 00:01:33
Yeah, we're super excited. I've been lucky enough to try Tomato Bliss Monique and I connected a while back and she was kind enough to send me a couple of samples and it was fantastic as somebody who sells broth and soup on a regular basis. Um, it's really cool to try some other regenerative brands in the category. Um But for those who are unfamiliar with tomato Bliss, give us a quick lay of the land. Like, what sort of products do you produce? Where can people find you today? What flavors do we have? Just that kind of high level overview?
Monique Hypes - 00:01:59
Absolutely. So a tomato bliss. Our mission is to revolutionize the American tomato industry. So we make heirloom tomato soups and quick scratched sauces in four globally inspired flavors. So in Tuscan, which is our balsamic roasted a masala Moroccan and a Chipotle flavor. And they can be found at farmers markets in Dom's market in Chicago and uh predominantly in food service right now. So we work with chefs and um right now we're sold at Notre Dame Universe or were served at Notre Dame University in their dining hall seven days a week, also
Anthony Corsaro - 00:02:38
also Ecommerce, right? Monique, the website and I think Amazon as well.
Monique Hypes - 00:02:41
Absolutely. Yeah. Thank you for reminding me. Yes. So Ecom and actually we recently moved um our ECOM traffic all to Amazon. So we have a really nice direct to consumer business that we're building on the Amazon platform
Marie Krane - 00:02:56
and snap magic,
Kyle Krull - 00:02:58
you know, make, making it easy for consumers to find tomato bliss. That's the key. Right. Um, I've tried the Chipotle. It was fantastic. It wasn't too spicy, it was just spicy enough to get some heat, but, you know, it's still subtle. Um, I did not try the masala. Is that a new skew? Because that sounds absolutely fantastic.
Monique Hypes - 00:03:15
It's actually one of our best selling skews. Um, it is, is one of the more recent developments from about a year and a half ago. Coming off the farmer's market, the Green City farmers Market in Chicago. Um, so that was one of our, the recipes that we tested and that we decided to take into production and I'd be happy to get you a box of Bliss olive.
Kyle Krull - 00:03:36
I'm happy I will, I will purchase and support my own. I want to make sure that we're supporting the farm here. So, uh happy to do that.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:03:43
I, I almost feel like it's a disservice to call it tomato soup because to me, tomato soup is like bland Campbell's tomato soup and like this is so not, that's why I love the name. Tomato Bliss so much. And it, you know the product when you have it and I've been lucky enough to have it as well. Really shows I think what y'all are doing on the farming side because it's so not that bland regular tomato soup. Um Not only because of the flavors and, and the uniqueness there, but just the tomato soup itself like the base tomatoes, right? Um But Marie, I think you're gonna kick us off with the origin story. Like how, how did this whole thing come about? How did, how did tomato bliss get started?
Marie Krane - 00:04:21
Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. And I'm with you when I was a, when I was a little kid, I was like I had to have three bites of everything and I was allowed one. No, thank you. And I would save my No, thank you till dinner in case tomato soup was served, I just could not, I, I couldn't, I couldn't get it down. Um And uh which is funny. Um uh I uh I grew up in downtown Chicago and uh and uh had a, a small uh garden in, in my backyard in Hyde Park and uh grew heirloom tomatoes. And I was also working as a community activist artist and uh would trade heirloom tomato seedlings with, with my neighbors, um, you know, for their pepper seedlings. And uh proposed uh uh uh post retail economy idea where I um we would trade heirloom tomato seedlings for, well, whatever you wanted to trade them with kind of like a holiday cookie exchange. And I'd set up like 500 heirloom tomato seedlings in a, in art spaces.
Marie Krane - 00:05:21
And uh you know, come, you know, trade trade, uh trade with us and you could buy them for a dollar if you wanted or you could trade whatever you wanted. And that project, general economy, exquisite exchange really showed what heirloom tomatoes can do. Uh About four years after we started doing it, we were uh getting about 5000 heirloom tomato seedlings all over Chicago. I was doing uh heirloom tomato gardens in food deserts. I was teaching people about heirloom tomatoes and loving them. And we, we were like, have people, you know, plants for poems. And in downtown, in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art, people lining up to write us poems to get our seeds. Um And I loved them and I say I preserved them.
Marie Krane - 00:06:22
Of course, I use them all year long and it struck me why, why in the grocery store is the whole thing red when heirloom tomatoes come in so many, so many varieties and colors. Really? No clue about the state of farming. Really? None whatsoever. But I thought, oh, heavens, that's interesting. Um And I'd also go to farmers markets because I love preserving them and I get great deals from farmers at the end of August into September with just bucket loads of heirloom tomatoes.
Marie Krane - 00:07:04
So having great luck as this community activist, I thought, you know, if we started farming, I'd have more tomatoes to share in downtown Chicago. So I in 2012, my husband and I urbanites our whole lives, bought a farm in Glen Michigan and went to plant our seeds, our seedlings into the ground. And I needed a drill because the, the soil had turned to dirt. It was as hard as concrete. Thanks to it was a degraded soybean farm. And that's when my very idealistic post retail economy sharing is caring approach turned into, you know, really, because I needed to find out how to be more efficient. This wasn't gonna work at the time.
Marie Krane - 00:07:58
It was my husband and me doing the farming. And I, and I was starting to think, you know, it's time to, to get some heirloom tomato sauce, some colorful stuff into the grocery store. So then I went ahead and got my wholesale food processing license. Thanks to Michigan State University, taught me how to start a food business. In 2016. My husband and I were doing the farming. We were doing the canning ourselves in a shared kitchen. My husband said I'm in it for life, but Coring is boring.
Marie Krane - 00:08:40
We're gonna have to figure out how to get help. And I luckily met a terrific co man who a family owned co man in northern in uh central Michigan and started partnering with them. In 2017, we were barely had a business at that point. Uh We were selling at farmers' markets. Uh 2018 or 19. A big break for us was getting into the green city market in downtown Chicago. It's one of the top 10 farmers markets around the country. It's highly curated. They almost never take a package product.
Marie Krane - 00:09:18
Ours met their requirements for being locally grown, grown uh organically. Um And uh that, that's where we landed. We, I didn't know what I was doing. Let's get that right. No clue. And uh but uh so, you know, when I say the word launch, that was not a word that was in my vocab back then, but I, I put out all my heirloom tomato faves.
Marie Krane - 00:10:04
I had sauce, roasted tomato salsa and heirloom tomato broth and heirloom tomato soup for about two years. Wound up having people now not lining up to give me poems, but lining up to buy our products. And there was a clear winner. It was heirloom tomato soup. Lots of good stuff happened along the way. It's just sometimes it's uh I was partnering with farmer because I didn't know how to farm. So I was learning from other farmers, started partnering with farmers and also one as early as 2018.
Marie Krane - 00:10:37
But, um, you know, now we're with about, oh, I don't know, 10 or 12 farms. Uh just things just really kept and keep breaking in our direction. And uh you know, the biggest break, I'm just gonna call it straight up and I don't want to embarrass Monique. But the biggest break because what we needed was somebody who would know how to do the business. We were in a couple of accelerators that were terrific, merit based accelerators, good food accelerator out of Chicago taught me a lot. Uh And then the food foundry, which is uh taught really taught us.
Marie Krane - 00:11:26
Met Monique, I guess just, you know, not quite two years ago and Monique came aboard and I, you know, just about the biggest break for our, our mission to uh transform bring color into the tomato aisle was when Monique came and started working with us and uh cause Monique Monique, it's I bring, well, you, you probably figured out what I bring. I don't want to put a name on it. Monique brings some real, some real chops to the business side. So that's, that's my story.
Kyle Krull - 00:12:14
Super appreciate that. Share. There's a lot I would love to dive into there. But before we do, I want to get Monique's take on the story when she got in, why she decided she wanted to be a part of this business and, and what that relationship has looked like moving forward.
Monique Hypes - 00:12:27
Yeah, absolutely. So my whole career has been dedicated to scaling mission led businesses and most of them are focused on the health and wellness sectors. Um So the way it kind of started, I'll take you a little back. We were living out in California during COVID and moved back. I thought we were moving back to Chicago. My husband informed me we're in fact moving back to the suburbs. So all of a sudden I found myself. Yeah, exactly. You know me. Well, Anthony.
Monique Hypes - 00:12:40
So all of a sudden I found myself um nine months pregnant with my third baby living in the suburbs of Chicago. Um We had just, I was running an instant bone broth soup company. K I can't remember if we connected during that, but it's called Parks and Nash with two partners and we just shut it down. Uh We had massive growth right before COVID hit into 5000 doors and it was kind of a typical story. Um And so again, I am living in the suburbs, transitioning out of this role that I really loved and thinking, how did I arrive here? What is next for me and the silver lining?
Monique Hypes - 00:13:20
Well, there are a few silver linings, but one is that we have this beautiful edible garden um at our home. So I was out there with my two boys and again the third, the incubator inside. And all of a sudden, I got a call from a friend who also is an investor in the food tech space. And she said, do you have any interest in speaking to this woman? Woman, Marie, she is a farmer, has had tremendous vision for tomatoes and what they can do for the environment, what they can do for human health. And would you like me to connect her?
Monique Hypes - 00:13:59
And it was like to connect to her and it was like the clouds parted and the sun hit my face. And I said I would, I would be delighted. Um and to be totally honest to you, this has been the opportunity of a lifetime. It is such a privilege to be part of this project. I um have immense admiration for Marie and I'm so delighted to be on this. You know, we are saving heirloom tomatoes from extinction and I'm really excited about being able to offer all the health and wellness benefits to everyone in a much broader atmosphere.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:14:47
Beautiful. It's a beautiful story. I want to double click on the saving heirloom tomatoes from extinction. I think it's important for us to talk about that. Um There's a lot of things that I'm really passionate about. In this episode, female founders Midwest Supply Chains, we're talking specialty crops, which we don't talk about a ton still in the regenerative world. Um And on the specialty crop, he, you know what a lot of people don't understand and what I understand. Well, and what y'all understand. Well, uh from our backgrounds is many of those crops have been bred significantly and very intensely for durability more so than flavor and nutrition. And so we're in this world where we have these really mass produced uniform commodities that are very available, but we've lost a lot of what I would say, you know, kind of the human health and even the environmental benefit of a lot of that stuff. And tomato may be the number one culprit of that or the number one victim of that um which if you know anything about just like farmers market tomatoes, they're always better in season soil grown than what we have most of the year, which is hydroponic.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:15:33
Um, so all that to say, Marie take us into kind of like how, how is tomato bliss saving the heirloom tomato? Why is that important? And what's, what's going on in that neck of the woods with the business?
Marie Krane - 00:16:00
Oh, wow. Uh, there's a lot to unpack there. Um, well, for me, it, it was, uh, personal heirloom tomatoes. Just, there's just, they're flavorful. They really taste better. Um, and how that there's so many different ways to go there. Uh, they, they, they taste better and I think the future of food and diversity, crop, diversity, uh, those things are at risk. Indeed. I, you know, I think it's a little to say we're saving heirloom tomatoes from extinction is, uh, a little overly optimistic because the truth be told heirloom tomatoes are extinct. They are not in our food supply where if it, if tomato bliss is and we are the only company trying to get tomatoes into commercial production there. It's extinct. Our business is, is at this point it's an i, it's a great idea with a little bit of attraction,
Monique Hypes - 00:17:16
but Anthony, you're spot on that tomatoes have become a commodity crop, you know, like wheat or soy. And we eat such a limited variety of tomatoes. I mean, uh, the first call was on with Marie, she shared out of 90% of tomatoes in production, less than 25 seeds are used. And so tomatoes
Anthony Corsaro - 00:17:39
say that again, Monique. That's crazy. That's
Monique Hypes - 00:17:44
over 90% of consumption. Only 25 seeds are used. And so as you, as you touch on, tomatoes are bred, they're bred for yield for human deformity, for thicker skin. So they can transport. And in that, sadly, we compromise flavor and also nutrient density. And I think the nutrient density too is a really interesting piece, especially, you know, as a mom, it's like I'm telling my kids constantly eat your vegetables, eat your vegetables. And before I met Marie, I, I got to a point where I started really studying the importance of soil health and it's like, yeah, eat your vegetables because they're great and they've got fiber. But the truth of the matter is that they're really lacking in flavor and in nutritional value. Um if they come from a, you know, commercial farm and so certain commercial farms. And so I think that there is a lot of opportunity to bring a better product by focusing on biodiversity. Biodiversity is really our North Star. And how do we get many types of varieties of heirloom tomatoes and specialty tomatoes into commercial production and into products that we consume?
Marie Krane - 00:18:58
Hm. Right. There you go. That's obviously, I couldn't say it better myself. Um And, and that's true. So what, so what we actually do what that looks like on our own farm. We grow about 100 and 70 varieties of tomatoes every year. Um And we uh we, and so it's one of our, you know, I didn't, I also didn't know the word regenerative until about a year ago. That was I not part of my mission at all. I had no idea that not my thing. Uh Biodiversity. That's my jam. And uh so we, we grow there's 10 certain uh heirloom tomatoes types that just have great yield, great flavor. They're the core of our soup. There's about 75 that I always grow. And then I experiment with about 100 some years.
Marie Krane - 00:19:35
I only do 100 and 20 whether I'm doing uh experimenting well, I found here's the trick for that we found is successful. We in our plants uh species. So I don't have a whole row of jean flam. I have five jean flam, five black cherries, five green zebras. So, and that thereby we actually find we make smaller targets for testing diseases. If we don't make a big, if you can imagine a mono cultivated field, that's a huge target for pests and disease. And so then you need a lot of inputs.
Marie Krane - 00:20:20
We, we have crop diversity on all levels including every tomato row. So by ha having biodiversity at that level, we are zero uh herbicides. No, no, there's not an organic. We have, we will not kill anything that's living in the soil won't do it. Uh And uh we still, we have almost no organic pesticide not needed. It's a, it's the ecosystem is taking care of our crops. I think a key to that is this biodiverse approach. We have not just on the farm but within the annual crop field.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:21:32
Marie describe like what, what the growing environment actually looks like because I'm thinking of a backyard tomato kind of plant. And then I'm thinking of the large like greenhouses or indoor growing operations. And I'm thinking of maybe something in between that where you're still maybe using some greenhouse structure, but it's in soil. Like what does this thing actually look like if we come to the farm? What what are we walking up and, and seeing or going inside of?
Marie Krane - 00:21:54
Yeah. Well, please do come to the farm. Uh We love giving farm tours. We uh we have um a 60 acre farm, we have three acres in commercial in uh annual tomato production. Uh It's uh we have, we have a permaculture and bio uh not completely biodynamic but biodynamic approach where we have, we start with the king of the forest, which is walnut trees in uh Southwest uh Michigan. Um paw pot trees, a lot of of multi-purpose trees, multi-purpose shrubs, multi-purpose perennials amidst the annual crops. So we, we do have field uh fields of annuals but they're surrounded, they're, they're really birds live in our tomato fields. I mean, it's, it is a, a living ecosystem. Uh We have three hoop houses to extend uh our season, but they're, they're very, um they're not fancy pants. They are essentially tents and, and uh we, we water uh hydro um on the ground and uh very minimal water. We experiment with dry growing tomatoes.
Marie Krane - 00:22:58
Uh We, you know, if we get into more specifics around the farm, we believe in that using tiles to try to get water off the farm. We have approaches. We have these big rock pits to hold water on the farm. That's another approach uh that has protected our farm from flooding. So at this point, we, we started farming in 2016 at this point, uh we do, we don't, we haven't lost crops where sadly, some of our neighbors have lost crops to floods. Um We also don't have trouble so much with drought. Uh So it's, that's another one of our, you know, it, it and it was, it's really came from just this desire to make it easier. I'm, I'm, I'm essential. I don't, people laugh at me. I'm essentially lazy.
Marie Krane - 00:24:03
And so I, all of these, all of these approaches are how to, how to make it easier to farm. Not harder, not gonna lie. We have to uh hand pull weeds. We are no dig beyond no till we are 100%. Now, I'm really proud of it for two years. No dig. Except when we plant our seedlings. So again, this the crust of the soil, the top of the skin of the soil does not get hurt by us. Um Except, you know, I have paths where we can walk.
Marie Krane - 00:24:50
I have areas where I say no walking so that we don't put any pressure on soil. Um As a consequence of this kind of lazy person's approach, uh the earth has absolutely healed itself. The earth has, it's the amount of birds that we have is astonishing the wildlife that lives there. Um All of the um like we have it, it's just, it's a, it's a beautiful, beautiful place. Can't really take responsibility for it because the earth has done this, the climate of southwest Michigan which is second to California for uh wonderful ecology for growing tomatoes, right? We have red gold is 40 red gold is 40 miles from my house.
Marie Krane - 00:25:52
So um it's really, really a wonderful, you know, we say see what heirloom tomatoes can do. It's impressive.
Kyle Krull - 00:26:26
The picture you painted like visually. Uh It sounds like you have a legitimate tomato mecca, you know, at your house. And what I'm most struck by is you mentioned that this is like a very rural community. I'm curious like the surrounding farms near you, you mentioned that some of them have lost some crops. Is it primarily mono crop everywhere else? Is it like what, what's being grown around you?
Marie Krane - 00:26:51
Corn soy wheat? I'm in the middle of big egg. I'm, I'm like, I'm like this 60 acres in the middle of Monsanto Central.
Kyle Krull - 00:27:04
That's, that's what I was hoping you were going to say because for you to, to bring back as much wildlife and life into that sort of sea of mono crop, chemical intensive agriculture, fertilizer usage, et cetera is just inspiring. Number one, number two, anybody who grows that many different varieties of tomatoes, there's no chance they're lazy. So I just need to make sure we call that out on now. Um Another thing I wanted to bring up a little bit earlier, Monique when you were talking about nutritional density and how we are raising tomatoes. If anybody hasn't read the book, The Dorito Effect, it goes into it like the history of how tomatoes have been grown and why and why they don't taste good and what we can do to make them taste better and become more nutritionally dense. It's a fantastic book um by the author's name is Mark Schatzker. So highly, highly recommend that. Um I do have a question. I'm not just rambling, Marie.
Kyle Krull - 00:27:46
You mentioned that you hadn't heard the term regenerative until about a year ago, but it sounds like you sort of have been adopting these regenerative practices because of the nature of your quote lazy method of farming. So when did you first hear about the term regenerative from where? And like, how did that resonate with you having already sort of implemented most of those practices on your farm.
Marie Krane - 00:28:18
I would say pro I, I probably heard about it two years ago. Um um brings to mind when Monique first came, Monique. Monique had heard about it. Uh The word I would use when I was talking about it before and, and I, I regen I'm not sure it's my word to use. I think re regenerative speaks to uh cultures that came before me and I don't want to uh co opted to. So so, but, but I let's be clear the world as it is today. Regen ag that's the way everybody's talking and there's no question. We are regen, we're certified, we're gen uh why Certified Regenified? I this kind of gets to answer answers your question.
Marie Krane - 00:29:01
They have a biodiversity requirement. That was my approach. If you remember, I started with a drill, my husband and I having to use drills to get into dirt. What the, what is wrong? I was growing, I was growing heirloom tomatoes in, in buckets easily. And so I uh I did do the um there's a Rudolf Steiner Biodynamic nine month course. I ST I did that. I uh studied uh books on permaculture. So those were, that's how I learned and, and I trial and error.
Marie Krane - 00:29:42
But it was about, I, as I understood it, biodiversity was what I needed to bring the soil to health. That's, that's what I wanted to do. So it is, we have it, it, it works. I mean it, we have regenerated, degenerated land
Anthony Corsaro - 00:30:27
love that. Um and just to clarify for the audience. So the farm that grows the tomatoes is certified or identified the brand is not, we will double click on, on that and maybe talk about that some more. Um I kinda wanna wrap up maybe the last piece of the origin story back to Monique's journey and just ask Monique like where was the business at commercially when you showed up? And what was so enticing about it? Was it just, hey, I have experience in this category just coming from this previous, you know, broth company. Was it was it Marie's story? Was it the whole heirloom tomato angle? Was it this regenerative angle?
Anthony Corsaro - 00:30:49
Like what, what commercially resonated with you that said, hey, I can go help this because it's got some really unique aspects and claims and and we're gonna go do X with it.
Monique Hypes - 00:31:08
There was so much to like so much. Um So one of the most compelling parts is that when I came on tomato bliss was really a farmer's market brand. Marie touched on it, but we were at the Green City farmers market, which is one of the premier farmers markets in Chicago. And it was such an incredible place to be able to showcase our product, to get consumer feedback, to try new products, product extensions, to meet chefs and local retailers, people that are interested in growing and building supply chains. So it was this incredible community and sort of like tangible thing that we could really get involved in and it was such an honor. Um I left because I loved working at the farmers market. And I think Marie would think I wasn't being honest, if we needed extra help, I'd be like, I'll do it. My husband would, you know, I'd leave at 530 on Saturday morning. My husband would be like, gosh, darn it. But he knows me.
Monique Hypes - 00:31:58
I mean, I'm a passionate person. So like I jumped in the car with my c
Anthony Corsaro - 00:32:13
that was his punishment for, you know, moving you to the suburbs, you leave him with the three kids on a Saturday and you go to work at the farmers market.
Monique Hypes - 00:32:20
Exactly. And it was such a delight. Right. I got to share these unbelievable farm fresh soups. And so that was one component. The other honestly is being able to work with Marie. I mean, she sort of um downplays, but I quickly saw that the way that she is farming and the playbook that she developed has developed is incredibly compelling, right? Our experience is that it, it has worked right. Our farm is, is more profitable, it's better for the earth and it delivers something that consumers love because of the flavor and the nutrient density that we've touched on. So it was kind of like, oh, wow. I might have the opportunity to share this with more people and try to build this into something even bigger beyond us. What a delight. Um So that, and the other thing that is sort of interesting that we haven't touched on, but um is that we're vertically integrated.
Monique Hypes - 00:33:04
So not only are we vertically integrated, obviously with the farm and the seeds, but we also own a local production facility. So the fact that we have such a local operation um and that we're able to, it, it's not without challenges. Let's be honest, like any growth in entrepreneurial endeavor. But the fact that we're able to build a production line that's local, that can really care for these very delicate true heirloom tomatoes that can't be transported, we can extend the shelf life of them by putting into these thoughtful products. And that when she told me we had a freezer or freezer space that could hold up to a million pounds of fresh roasted heirloom tomatoes. I thought, oh, you know, like that, like just that alone, I'm like that is a proverbial.
Monique Hypes - 00:33:57
That's a bab my opinion is of one of the most precious resources available in that bank. And so I kept seeing all these things about the business that she had very, very thoughtfully built. And um that's why I came on. And honestly, when I was talking for the first time, we were just trying to get to know one another. And she said to me, do you have any interest in being the CEO of another company. And I was like, you know, let's, let's not date, let's go straight to getting married. I said, yeah, I actually, I, and ironically had sort of turned down a couple of opportunities previously and in talking to Marie, I thought hell yes, given the opportunity. Yeah.
Monique Hypes - 00:34:35
So it's been, it's been a really, really fun, it's been a really fun opportunity if I cannot touch on one more thing. Kind of circling back to Kyle's question and um I know eventually we'll move off the supply, although that's kind of sometimes our favorite side. But um um you talked about what the Southwest Michigan looks like and our farm and our farm is this like biodiverse mecca, this ecosystem that, that really thrives that we're extremely proud of. But another thing that we're really proud of is our partnership with other like minded, independent farmers in the area. And so we, we partner with them um to buy their surplus heirloom tomatoes, we guarantee the purchase of their surplus heirloom tomatoes so that they have a revenue source and an incentive to continue to grow. Marisa put, you know, I can be an optimist and I'm like, we're gonna save the heirloom tomatoes from extinction, but they are basically, they're basically gone.
Monique Hypes - 00:35:44
So anything that we can do to support fellow farmers and their growing of heirloom tomatoes is something that's really core to our mission and to our vision and building out a bigger supply chain and really being able to take, convert more land from monoculture commodity to this biodiverse ecosystem.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:36:15
For those that are not familiar with the Midwest, a lot of folks in Chicago would consider Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana local growing regions because they're very close to Chicago. So I just wanna just want to throw that out there for people who are hearing that and maybe being like what that doesn't make sense to me. Um But for those that need some midwest geography schooling. Um So I also think that's like really attractive from a commercial perspective because if you have the farming operation in Southwest Michigan, you can grow a really, really nice large business just on Chicago, like let alone even becoming a national brand, like just just the T in Chicago is really compelling. And secondly, Monique, I think we talk about it a lot on the podcast is CPG is the vessel to do some of that. Um saving the heirloom tomatoes work, meaning it's great that everyone's gonna grow fresh heirloom tomatoes. That's always gonna be a seasonal thing because of weather and that's gonna stay pretty local because of like supply chain dynamics.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:37:03
But if we can have tomato bliss, that's making it in a soup that can be sold everywhere that totally grows the market and kind of the offtake potential for these other varieties or these growing practices or whatever piece of the regen puzzle we're talking about here. So I think it is really important to highlight that and that is the power of kind of the product innovation and the brand piece to, to do that work.
Kyle Krull - 00:37:31
Great comments. Ac I was gonna ask a question about what that partnership looks like between your farm and your fellow farmers, your partner farms, like um from a quote regenerative or biodiverse perspective. Is there like an educational sharing component there? Is there like, maybe you'll find a farmer who's interested but they need to improve their practices a little bit or vice versa. Do you learn from some of the farms? Walk us through what that like, partnership, identification and selection and relationship looks like?
Marie Krane - 00:37:56
Uh Yeah. So uh our hard rule is that it has to be a biodiverse farm. So if it's not biodiverse, we're not, it's a, it's a, we won't talk to, we won't work with it.
Kyle Krull - 00:38:12
Now, I want to get you say biodiverse. Does that mean they're growing two different varieties of something? Does that mean 10? Like how do you quantify what a biodiverse farm
Marie Krane - 00:38:22
is? Uh farmer's market farm or essentially is what it is? So, if you can imagine a farmer's market farmer, uh we also, this year for the first year we worked with a commercial tomato farmer who happens to also be a farmer's market farmer. So they and I toured their farm and it was not equally full of life, but they grow a lot of fruit. Uh, they, and so they have a lot of built in diversity. Uh, we are and I was, I had been talking to them for three years. I had been wanting to get them to see if they would convert part of their commercial tomato farm to, um, you know, biodiverse tomatoes. And this year they said yes. And I don't think we want to fall too much into the weeds about why, go why commercial farmers want to switch to specialty crops. But that's a real thing.
Marie Krane - 00:39:18
If the farmer is interested in paying a living wage, they're, and they're gonna have to go to specialty crops is my guess, not my area of expertise and not just my guess it's what I've heard from this commercial farm we're working with. So, uh, so that's essentially numeral una, it's, it's a, has to grow more than one crop of the farmers we are working with are by and large farmers farm by and large, large market farmers and the commercial farm. Yeah. So they grew, we provided their seedlings this year. And so they grew like 50 types of heirloom tomatoes. Uh, we're talking to them, we're talking to them, which they don't want to do that next year. They're, they are a much bigger, a 200 acre operation.
Marie Krane - 00:40:14
Um, and, uh, we're talking to them next year, they're gonna take a couple of acres, maybe up to four acres, 10 types of toma tomatoes and So we haven't confronted those hard questions yet. Like, would two be enough? I don't, it, I don't, I don't know, we're, we're not there yet, but, but then, you know, just to kind of do the thinking out loud during this conversation, if we could get a commercial tomato farmer who grows one type of tomato to go to two types of tomatoes, that would be a step in the right direction. So, so I can't imagine that we'd ever have a hard line that wouldn't support any improvement.
Monique Hypes - 00:41:29
You guys know of farming. It's, it's an art. It's not always a perfect science. So we really do try to focus on progress over perfection. And how can we make incremental steps to continue to build a food supply chain that works? And when I say works, there are so many components, right, as profitable that's aligned with our mission for people and planet that there's a whole. And so we're we're working towards that North Star every day. Um And our experience thus far, I mean, the fact that this commercial grower dedicated one acre to tomato bliss was a huge feat. This past summer, we were so delighted by this one acre and now, you know, they're they're offering four times that this next year. So to be seen how we continue to grow. But that's just a an example of how it's starting to work and real tangible impact that can be made.
Monique Hypes - 00:42:16
Kyle Krull - 00:42:30
There's a lot. I want to touch on there. Number one, super, super appreciate the efforts you all are making and it really highlights one of the key 10 points in the regenerative movement today, especially from the CPG branded side where there's so much regulation, there's certification, there's non certification, there's retailer requirements, there's, you know, when you try to get organic certified or any other certification, you got to talk to all the different par partner farms, they all have to be at the same standard. And it feels like based on what you two just shared is like, that's not necessarily the most important thing right now, what you're trying to do is to continue to grow this business profitably in a way that benefits the planet. And can we, we can allow for that small incremental progress with some of these partner farms that can really move the needle. I love the example of, you know, penetrating what half a percent of that 200 acre farm to have them grow some biodiverse land, right? And then that's full rex next year. Then maybe there's another neighboring farm who sees what's happening there and that they're selling, you know, higher premium commodity vegetables or fruits and they want to get involved.
Kyle Krull - 00:43:20
And that's like the snowball effect that just keeps on rolling and to a C's point earlier, like the brand is the vessel without the brand, the ability to, to catalyze this transition becomes next to impossible um, it, and it's, it's hard and then we, we sort of touched on the, the Regen piece Monique. I'd love to kind of dive in a little bit more about like why the brand doesn't have a certification yet? And is that something that we could potentially see in the future? And if, if so, why and if, if not, why not?
Monique Hypes - 00:44:03
Yeah, great question. Um, yes, my hope is, it's absolutely something that we will all see in the future. Um The truth of the matter is that certifications are expensive and timely and they can be overwhelming and cost prohibitive to small independent farmers. And so again, it kind of comes back to incremental progress versus trying to get to the end goal immediately. And so, um Regen has been an incredible partner to us. They came to our farm, we're certified level three, which means our tomatoes and also um our onions and other products can be um go into a certified Regent CPG product and we've talked to them about offering similar pathways for our partners and potentially at like, um, you know, a hurdle that they could, that they could reach. But um it's just, it's going to take a bit of time to where in terms of where we're going
Kyle Krull - 00:45:07
totally makes sense, you know, and to your point like making sure that the transition is viable and profitable for the farmers is really the most important point because if, if that doesn't happen. Why would they even consider the certification?
Monique Hypes - 00:45:19
Mhm. Yeah. It's like the cart and the horse, right? Chicken and the egg.
Marie Krane - 00:45:26
Well, and also our primary business monique, I think, you know, you're invested to talk about this, uh, is in food service where food service customers aren't. You know, if, if they were a food service customer that wants a certified Regen product, please call, call Marie Crane at Lotus Flower Farm and because we could develop it, you know, we've got the produce to, to develop that. But Tomato Bliss is about moving uh is going into food service Monique. Why don't you talk about that? Because that that's been a bonanza for turning us into a profitable company.
Monique Hypes - 00:46:19
Thanks Mar. Yeah, I think, right. That's something we talk about all the time. What is the pathway to market and you guys which I love talk a lot about brand and then I think about brand too. But with Tomato Bliss specifically, which is a bit different from my previous experiences. I also think a lot about demand. So it's not always branded but it's building demand. How can we get biodiverse roasted heirloom tomatoes into restaurants in front of chefs at colleges and universities within the healthcare system, right? So for us, the focus on food service, this has been really intentional because we're a small but mighty team and it really comes down to capital efficiency and how can we best achieve our mission? Right.
Monique Hypes - 00:46:53
And so for us, our mission is to get more acreage converted from the monoculture, commodity crop to biodiverse eco ecosystems in a timely manner, right? And eventually I would love to build an intention, uh really thoughtful retail roll out. Um But it's been challenging, to be honest, I'm gonna go ahead and just like float this dream out here. I presented it to Kar Dreaming. I presented it to um I was talking to the head of Innovation at Whole Foods and this was like a year ago. And he's like, what's your dream? What would you really love? And I shared it with him and I don't want to, to hide the ball. But he literally said to me, he said, keep, keep dreaming. That's, that's a pipe dream.
Monique Hypes - 00:47:42
And I'm gonna put it out there like, you know, you guys know rolling out into retail is incredible seeing your product on a shelf, having consumers buy it. Actually, Marie I told you this, but my husband was at the dentist the other day and his dentist, her daughter is really into health and wellness. So Jeff among the dental work is telling her about tomato bliss. The dentist texts her daughter. Have you heard about this? She was at her desk at work and held up a jar of tomato bliss that she had purchased from Dom's Market. And now she purchases on Amazon too. So that's where to find, you know, you can find us and it was like this unbelievable moment.
Monique Hypes - 00:48:20
So for retail, it's sexy. Like, yes, I want it, I want people to be able to have, I want biodiversity in every pantry and I want to have tomato bliss in every pantry. Right? Um But my, my real dream is I kind of got sidetracked is to be able to cross merchandise in the produce section and in the vile
Anthony Corsaro - 00:48:57
we've talked about
Monique Hypes - 00:48:58
this. I know, I know it's just like a dream that won't die. But I think that the center of grocery store has unbelievable potential to be revisited, um to be fresh and have a real attention to ingredients and the sourcing of those ingredients and the climate impact and things like that. But the, the truth of the matter is that our consumer predominantly shops the periphery of the grocery store, right? And so, and then you layer on this really unique product that we've developed. We've developed an innovation that allows us to extend the shelf life of fresh roasted heirloom tomatoes so that you can enjoy heirloom tomatoes all year round. We all know, we love the um, season with the farmers market that have the heirloom tomatoes. But how can we enjoy them year round? And that's what we do. We put them in a glass jar and it allows you sometimes I call it almost like a salad in a jar.
Monique Hypes - 00:49:46
And because of our really clean thoughtful ingredients, you know, extra virgin olive oil vinegar and spice blends. That's it. It is. I see a vision for having us merchandise by the heirloom tomatoes. So it's like a quick scratch ingredient. It's the ability to get them year round in a really fresh but convenient factor. Right. And is there any retailers listening that would be interested in partnering with us on this test? We would be more than delighted.
Marie Krane - 00:50:25
Well, and, and uh, the, we never get it out there. But in, in every jar, 65% of our ingredients are tomatoes, 90% are vegetables. So it's, there's no, it's not a tomato powder. It's, that's then gussied up. I don't know what, I don't know how traditional tomato soup is made. It's not my fave and, but so ours truly is mostly vegetables. You know, I I'm, I can be kind of a big dreamer about it, but it's like there's got to be, you know, grocery stores need a new category and the category is, uh you know, the freshness of the produce aisle with the convenience of the inner market. That category where it's clean fresh food in, in a uh self stable product. And I'm, you know, that's where something I'm not, I'm not gonna hide the ball there. That's, that's the genius of tomato bliss is that we have figured this product out.
Marie Krane - 00:51:19
Um And, you know, bridging the produce aisle with the center aisle. So, yeah, I think retail is not ready for us. But
Anthony Corsaro - 00:51:51
yeah, and II, I wanna pull the curtain back and do a little 101 on some of the points that we're just making because I think it's important for maybe the more layman audience. Um and I wrote some notes here. So one is why is it so hard for an item like this to get into the produce department? And so for people to understand it's because what goes into that grocery aisle and what goes into the produce department is governed by two completely different teams, completely different strategies. And so while there is some cross merchandizing, like it's a really difficult strategic thing to get done. So that's just background on that first point. Second point is going back to what we talked about. The very interesting, you know, the very, the very start of the podcast is it's still really, really hard, even as differentiated as a product like this is to stand out in the tomato soup aisle from the other tomato soups, like given everything that was just shared, it's still really, really hard to get that customer that's in a hurry with their basket to, to understand that and to, to make a purchasing decision that's different based off of that in that aisle.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:52:24
So that, that's the other piece I think from a consumer demand perspective. Um And then we've talked about a lot, a lot about this in other episodes. But I think brands managing for that capital efficiency and the proper route to markets at the proper times of their growth is really important and the average consumer might not understand that, but just to give them really high level scope. Tomato bliss. The, the CPG version that's getting sold at retail is getting put into glass jars. It's got a label on it, it's getting wrapped into cases, it's getting put onto a pallet, it's getting sent directly to the store or through a distributor versus food services going into like a five gallon, you know, container or something that's larger that the packaging cost is not, not uh as expensive.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:53:14
There's less hands ta uh touching it by the time it gets to the point of consumption. And so that's what creates these market dynamics that makes that a more profitable channel right now. Um And I, I could have done a better job there, but I just wanted to highlight that for the, the audience that maybe is not as in the know on, on those dynamics.
Kyle Krull - 00:53:47
I want to take a few more things to add on to what Ac said and Monique, I know you're chomping at the bit and I'm, I'm excited because you're fired up. I want to talk about something. But another part of like how the grocery delineation works is not only are the different departments, but they have different distributors and different ordering systems. Um And they're also measured and they have their own goals within those different distributors and managing those relationships. So that's another compounding factor of why it's hard. Um, part two, I had kind of lost my train of thought. I, I totally forgot what part two was. Uh, you go ahead. You go ahead. I know you want to share.
Monique Hypes - 00:54:20
I love a challenge. So you're totally right. They don't know where to merchandise us. Um, I want to share a little bit about, sort of like they don't know where to merchandise this, but I will say tomato bliss can decrease spoilage. We can significantly increase the basket size, right? And the price per square inch. And so if we were able to partner with the right person that saw this vision and customers love it. And I also do want to share that we are, have just developed is not quite out yet, but a new label because Anthony, you're right. Um, it is hard to communicate with a customer when they're walking down an aisle. You have, they say three seconds, I would venture, it's less.
Monique Hypes - 00:54:58
And so we're really excited to debut a new label, which we think is really gonna help our product jump off, jump off the the aisle and straight into someone's basket and the look of a, um, like a split. Um, and the other thing that we're talking about is, you know, form factor, right? How do we work within a form factor that works, um, for retail. Um, and we are you know, local climate positive, um, carbon sensitive, all those things are really important to us. So we don't want, we don't want to move beyond that. But are there ways in innovation potentially? So we're working on that?
Monique Hypes - 00:55:38
But a really interesting statistic is, you know, on average, the consumer goes through the proto 2 to 3 times a week and three times a year down the soup aisle. I don't know, Kyle, is that, is that in alignment with what? You know,
Kyle Krull - 00:55:59
I have never heard that before. And as somebody who spends way too much time looking at soup data and broth data, I should. So that's, that's news to me and it's also, it's both discouraging and encouraging for kettle on fire. Um So yeah, that's, that's news. I did remember part two though. Um You both had mentioned that you're dreamers and I think that the only individuals who change the world are those who are willing to dream. So want to commend you and support the dreaming. Number one. Um Oh God man, there was another number two and now it's gone. I got it back.
Kyle Krull - 00:56:23
Um I think this is really important and I think the, the way you all have your mission identified and how you're funding your company and brand is something that could be replicated and should be replicated across the regenerative movement. Like I love the food service first because of the efficiencies, the scale and the opportunity with less red tape, which can make it easier to transition acreage and gather more partner farms. And as that channel starts to become more profitable, you can get more farmers up to the retail, quote, retail, ready standard, get the certification and that can fund the kind of retail side of the business. So I think that's a beautiful model that nobody has yet identified on the podcast. Innovation.
Anthony Corsaro - 00:57:11
Oh my God,
Kyle Krull - 00:57:12
commend you both for putting that together. Super, super cool. And uh I think it's, it's something everybody who's any founder who's listening, like how do I get regenerative active scale? Like that model feels like it can work better than a lot of others because retail a solo to your point is just so hard.
Marie Krane - 00:57:30
Well, and that's Monique, let's I, I just wanna give credit where credit is due, you know, I, I gotta get in whole foods. Uh and Monique is very clear. She's really, we've never had such a great chance because of our commitment to capital efficiency and our and Monique's idea, strong idea in the face of a strong argument that food service is our path to market and, and then it, what has been and it, what's been especially nice is that we found a lot of traction in food service. A lot of channels want tomato bliss. It is food is medicine. This Notre Dame launching us in their cafeterias and I, when I can speak to it more, but it's terrific to see the reorders overcome fast and furious.
Monique Hypes - 00:58:40
Yeah, Kyle and Anthony, when, when, when we have the opportunity to focus even more on retail, I would love to pick your brain maybe now is not the time. But let's please because I can learn a lot from you guys and your experiences. Um So it's a not never, it's just not our main focus right now. Um But Marie kind of touched on it, you know, food service has it. It's, it's been so much fun to build. We've had some really strong interest out of the gate from local colleges and universities because a lot of them have an ESG mandate. I was just at Notre Dame talking to the students about tomato bliss, giving out jars of them to uh jars of it to take back to their dorm rooms. It was so much fun and it was so awesome to see how interested they were.
Monique Hypes - 00:59:11
How important an ESG mandate is, how important it is to have a vegan option. You know, when I shared with them that uh one serving of tomato bliss is 60% of the, your daily vitamin C. I saw like an entire sports team, you know, of run to. It's, it's so exciting to be able to share our mission and to be able to get it in that atmosphere. Um The other place that we've had some initial interest, we're still, we're still working on it. But it is in the healthcare space.
Monique Hypes - 00:59:41
And for me, that's really heartening. Honestly, it's just so beautiful to have the opportunity to potentially offer someone in a hospital or an elderly living center or a rehabilitation center, something like tomato bliss. That is tasty. That's naturally low in sodium that's packed with vitamins. See in antioxidants and has all these functional benefits. Um and the fact that our, our systems and our food service partners are, are interested in having some, some really heartening conversations about, about getting them getting tomato bliss into their distribution is really exciting
Kyle Krull - 01:00:36
monique that really hits home for me as somebody who spent over a week in the hospital after having a a colon cancer surgery and my entire digestive system rewired. And, you know, after that surgery, they put you on what's called a quote G I soft diet. That's what the medical terminology is and the food they serve you isn't real food. And I'm sitting there in this hospital bed, like looking at like the ingredients on this stuff or whatever this group is. And like thinking to myself, this is the stuff that's going to put me back in this hospital in five years. You know, like they are not thinking through at least the system thus far. I'm not saying this is, this is indicative of everybody, but the system is not wired towards food is medicine or, or health or truly like nutritional priorities. It, it's all about you know, II I, I'm having a hard time articulating what it's really all about.
Kyle Krull - 01:01:10
I'm not sure what it is to be honest, but the fact that you're having those conversations and the potential impact that can make, I can't tell you how thrilled I would have been to have received a tomato bliss soup in that moment. Um, would have changed my take on the entire medical industry. So, so stoked that you're having those conversations because that's, that's really something we don't talk about enough. Um And it can make a tremendous impact.
Monique Hypes - 01:01:50
I am too and I heard the CEO of Gordon Food Service say I am focused on food as medicine and it's just so wonderful. It it takes time like everything we sort touch on it's progress. But um you know, they've been tremendous supporters to us. They have really been unbelievable and sheering us through the process. Marie mentioned that um we went through the Food Foundry, which is a accelerator program that's put on by relish works. Who is the investment in innovation arm from Gordon Food Service? Um So we learned a lot and had such tremendous resources within the food foundry and with relish works. And then since then, Gordon Food Service has been unbelievable in getting our tiny farmers market brand set up with um within their distribution centers. They have offered us marketing and sales support that has completely blown our mind and given us an opportunity to share our product and our story in a capacity that's beyond our dreams, you know, being able to be at the trade shows and a kind introduction to uh a broker who really cares about the space.
Monique Hypes - 01:02:44
And Anthony, you talked about it. Um There's so much opportunity just in the Midwest. So we're really focused on, on Michigan and the surrounding area. So Chicago and Indiana and stuff, but just that alone, um and Gordon food service is also focused in Michigan. So it's like, can we work together to make Michigan the biodiverse capital of the world? I think so
Marie Krane - 01:03:24
we can we hope that's
Anthony Corsaro - 01:03:27
Yeah, my, my last couple of
Kyle Krull - 01:03:30
things, my, my
Anthony Corsaro - 01:03:32
last couple of things to wrap up the food service love affair uh would be we talk about all the time how local and flavor still resonate more with consumers on shelf at retail, but it means even more in a food service uh setting as well. And I think there's more price elasticity too where I look at the price of stuff on the menu way less by the time I sit down, sit my ass and see at the restaurant than I do when I'm picking, you know, some sort of product i off off the shelf. So I also think those dynamics are great and I would just say for other brands, there are so many distributors and routes to market in food service that you might not know about or aren't as, as easily, uh, known as, um, unifying the whole foods and K the sprouts and those people will hustle for you because their mark their incentives in the way those supply chains are set up are much better than, than our, our retail ones. Unfortunately. Um, I'm very biased because that's the world that I come from. But, uh, they will hustle for you. Whereas with a lot of those retail and distributor relationships, unfortunately, in natural CPG, it's almost on you to sell them the product and then figure out how to sell it to the customer too. Um And there's not as much buying, I don't think either way.
Anthony Corsaro - 01:04:27
So um just, just want to point those two things out.
Monique Hypes - 01:04:42
Yeah. And you kind of touched on it, but it's like, it's not just an heirloom tomato soup. Yes. Our product is great. It's just like literally slice and serve. It can cut down on kitchen staff and things like that. Um But also it can be really versatile. So it's been really fun to see what chefs have done with the product, you know, an heirloom tomato macaroni and cheese, uh lamb meatball, tagine a, you know, enchilada, like there's so many ways to incorporate an heirloom tomato flavor into different meals. So that's been really fun. And Marie and our colleague Sasha have done an amazing job developing recipes on our blog of ways to use Tomato Bliss as a quick scratch ingredient as Well, that's cool.
Kyle Krull - 01:05:26
We're gonna stop talking about that because I'm literally getting hungry. Just thinking,
Anthony Corsaro - 01:05:29
I've never wanted to eat tomato soup more than I have in this, in this moment. Yeah, I was gonna say savory.
Kyle Krull - 01:05:34
I totally agree. Um,
Monique Hypes - 01:05:36
my husband makes Shuka like four times a week with our tomato bliss. So I'll, I'll get you guys some bliss to play around with.
Kyle Krull - 01:05:44
That. Sounds fantastic. Um, we talked about some, some partnerships that have been established recently. It sounds like there's a lot of opportunity on the horizon. Tell us a little bit about the future, you know, are there? I I'm guessing probably not more skews and more flavors being developed because the focus really seems to be food service. But what does the future look like? What are something like the 135 year goals for Tomato Bliss
Monique Hypes - 01:06:06
growth? My friends. Um Yeah, our plan is beyond world domination is, I mean, first, it's what Marie has done a beautiful job. So just thus far as building our supply chain and then what I'm focused on is building our demand. Um So that is working with chefs um restaurants and then also event, you know, with consumers, we do have a thriving DTC business and eventually um in retail, um I'd love to see Tomato bliss as a main ingredient at a quick serve restaurant. Like can you imagine a tortilla soup or a chicken heirloom tomato mole at Chipotle? Um So I mean, something like that would be sort of like a pinch me dream. Go, go ahead, Marie.
Marie Krane - 01:06:56
Well, and I was gonna say that has been one of the uh one of the heartening things from my side has been a lot of people said you're crazy trying to build uh uh national brand uh without industrial food as the main ingredients. And the supply chain has proven to be robust. Uh We had hoped for 100 and £80,000 this year and we had £330,000 of uh of this lot of tomatoes, clear path to £2 million within five years. So, so the supply chain uh and we have the one commercial farmer that we've mentioned, but I have an Indiana red, I don't know if they're a red bull farmer, but you know, he said when you can commit to £750,000 call me and I'll convert. So there is, there's farmers want this, this is not gonna the and, and a year ago, we would be sitting kind of quivering. We can build, we think we can build the supply chain. We can, we are going to convert mono cultivated tomato fields to biodiverse tomato fields if it and and what I love or why do I think that works? It tastes really different than industrial tomato puree, it tastes really different.
Marie Krane - 01:08:14
So and the health benefits are scientifically proven to have. It's a way broader spectrum of, of nutrition than indu industrial tomato puree. So it, it could be good. It could be
Kyle Krull - 01:09:00
good. I just want to throw it out there on the food service front. If there was a regenerative, super high quality pizza sauce out there in the world. Um, my God, I think there's, there's so much like artisan pizza out there in the world these days. Uh, it feels to me like a be no brainer. I also try to make everybody do regenerative pizza products because I love pizza. Um So it would be personally great. So just throw it out there just on my wish list. Regenerative pizza sauce would be great.
Monique Hypes - 01:09:28
Murray loves R and Ds and I think that could be done in lickety split.
Marie Krane - 01:09:34
Yeah. Well, and it was a question where we gonna go to Biodiverse onions because I have apple bliss. I have onion bliss. And uh we're really, we're gonna stay in the tomato ales. So it's about bringing rainbows into the red tomato ales. Ultimately,
Kyle Krull - 01:09:58
I take it
Anthony Corsaro - 01:09:59
that. So I think a perfect segue into our last question. And what I love about this dynamic duo is it emphasizes the need to build supply and demand at the same time, which the whole impetus of why we started this whole media platform was that we felt like that demand conversation or just that conversation of both these things need to happen at the same time wasn't happening. So love that, that has just kind of come up naturally in the conversation today. Um Last question for you two ladies that we ask everyone is, how do we get Regen brands at 50% market share by 2050? I
Marie Krane - 01:10:31
think that they find repeat purchasers. No. Uh and uh and I think stay focused on what the world as it is and not as we want it. And so figure out the benefits and the and the value propositions that consumers care about that aren't too weird. Mhm.
Monique Hypes - 01:11:01
Anthony Corsaro - 01:11:02
couldn't agree more.
Monique Hypes - 01:11:06
I honestly, I honestly, I don't know. I think there has to be,
Anthony Corsaro - 01:11:13
we love the Transparency monique. Thank you.
Monique Hypes - 01:11:17
I don't know, but I think there has to be shift in policy, legislation, insurance, things like that. Um You know, we talk about customer appetite and demand that too. Um So I think all those factors need to play in play. I think we're just really focused on what we have done on a micro scale and continuing to do that in bigger scale going forward each year. And that is building a truly sustainable supply chain. And for us it's of heirloom tomatoes and by sustainable, I mean, it's better for, for, for the planet, it is better for people and it's profitable. And I think those components really need to be there so that we can build something that's lasting. And that makes sense and that's not just a flash in the pan, but like something that we're proud of for generations to come.
Anthony Corsaro - 01:12:10
People planet profit. That's the regen brands, triple bottom line. So I couldn't have said it better myself, ladies. Thank you so much for joining us. Really appreciate it.
Marie Krane - 01:12:19
Thank you guys. Good to see you. Real pleasure
Anthony Corsaro - 01:12:25
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