I know I’ve said it many times in the past year-and-a-half since I started this blog, but I really HAVE met some amazing people on this Zelos journey and love that our Artisans’ products are making their way into parts of the country that I don’t even know about! One of our most rewarding collaborations has been with a gem of a shop in the coastal town of Beaufort, SC - Wild Mala. When I saw this phrase on their website, “With everything on our shelves comes a story, a life, and a dream being lived”, I knew Zelos had found another kindred soul.
Wild Mala was named after a stray dog found on the streets of Guatemala and cared for with love….and the shop reflects that same care and love in the curation of the products carried.Every item on the shelf is sourced from a producer who excels at what they do and who is trusted to select the cleanest ingredients possible for their product. Wild Mala is all about reconnecting people to the source of their food, reminding them that there is a face and a name behind the products they consume. You can see why I was so excited when Sheena found me while, as she put it, was "frantically searching online for organic roasted red peppers from a single farm”. I just knew Tragano Greek Organics and their peppers from Stathis Xenos’ farm were just for her!
Pauline and I have had wonderful conversations with Sheena these past months, and can only admire the attention to detail that she dedicates to this labor of love. She has expressed her philosophy so eloquently: "When the world was a simpler place, people were more connected to the sources of their food by way of the land or through relationships with neighbors who grew it. We can't turn back time, but we hope to play a small part in getting us all back to seeing the faces and places behind our food.” This is a philosophy we share, and a belief that we must change our attitudes to food in the US. The sad reality is that we’ve become far too used to fast and easy and cheap, and often have forgotten just what real food tastes like and just how much it costs to produce. I’m the first to cheer for convenience, as you’ve all seen from many of my recipes, but, like Sheena, I also want us to remember what real food tastes and smells like, to appreciate the effort that goes into bringing it to our tables, whether we’re in Cincinnati or Beaufort or Honolulu or Los Angeles.
Sheena and I also both believe in the importance of healthy, clean food and the need to spread that culture more broadly. But we want to do that via the little ripples of our shoppers - you won’t find Wild Mala’s unique range of nut milks in your local supermarket, nor do we look to take our Greek Artisans to the big box stores, for we simply couldn’t keep the level of quality we want in such large numbers. But we do hope that all of our friends and fans will continue to spread the word about the benefits and true value of clean, real flavors. Meeting fellow entrepreneurs like Sheena give me hope that this movement for authentic, natural food will continue to grow.
If you’re ever out on the Carolina coast, do stop by and visit Wild Mala for a taste of their daily batch of cold brew coffee or a drink from their kombucha draft bar. This shop in a palm-tree lined residential area of Beaufort will entice you with pure products for eating, for the body, and for your home. You’ll leave knowing you played a small part in making our world a more caring and healthy place.
Wild Mala closed as a physical store early in 2020 - yet the Wild Mala philosophy continues through their online market, as they work to connect the people producing quality ingredients with people creating top-notch food & coffee. We wish Sheena and the team all the best in their exciting new chapter.
Enjoy the delicious taste of PDO Kimi figs from the island of Evia and bring the flavors of a Greek summer to your table. Hand-crafted by Kumilio using traditional techniques with no additives, preservatives, artificial coloring or flavors.