Side Dishes: New VT company sells hot stuff
As public concerns about the danger of bisphenol A (BPA) in canned foods mount, a new Vermont company is looking to saturate the soup market with a safer line of products sold in glass bottles.
The biz, called Two Guys in Vermont, is the brainchild of managing partner Jeff Weinstein, a soup lover and veteran of the food industry. After working for Bertolli and Quaker Oats, he moved to the Green Mountains for a job with Seventh Generation. But “that wasn’t where I wanted to be,” he says. When Weinstein did some brainstorming, he kept coming back to broth.
Having noted that 95 percent of American households sometimes buy prepared potage, Weinstein felt sure he could formulate “a fresher soup that wasn’t in a metal can,” he says. He teamed up with business partner Doug Barg, an experienced chef, and the two went to work creating flavors.
The resulting mixes are made with plenty of local products, including Monument Farms Dairy cream and apples from Champlain Orchards. They may not be as long lasting as canned goods, but Weinstein says the sealed bottles are shelf stable for more than a year.
While Weinstein and Barg are still making final tweaks to their recipes, two of the Two Guys in Vermont concoctions — chunky tomato fennel and curried apple butternut — will be on the shelves of area co-ops within the next few weeks. White-bean bisque and mushroom-barley varieties will arrive next, along with kid-friendly tomato. “We’ve gotten really good feedback from City Market, Hunger Mountain [Co-op], Natural Provisions and Healthy Living,” Weinstein reports.
“I’m not saying [our soups] are better than what you could do at home, or in a five-star restaurant,” he concedes. “But I’m going to put it out there and say it’s close.”