Owner of Spice Sanctuary Trusha Patel about award-winning organic spices
Spice Sanctuary is founded by Trusha Patel, an investment banking lawyer. Trusha is known as Canada’s Spice Queen™. She travelled the world to find some of the best producer. Today, the award-winning range offers organic, high quality spices and spice blends.
Trusha, how did the idea for Spice Sanctuary come about?
Spice Sanctuary was born out of frustration at the lack of access to high quality spices with provenance. Spices have become so commoditised that the quality and flavour they should impart has been lost along the way and it was our mission to bring that back.
There was a lack of high quality, fresh and flavourful spices. What have been the first steps for you?
I travelled and met with farmers, sought out the best suppliers, immersed myself in learning all about the production of spices from how they need to be planted to harvesting methods and unique ways of preserving volatile oils. All this knowledge was then used to launch a premium organic range of spices and spice blends, first in Canada and then in the UK.
What happened next? Where did you find buyers for your spices?
We did not want to use middle men or wholesalers as that wasn’t going to guarantee us the quality we were seeking. Also, we didn’t want to go the easy route of using suppliers from just one country – our mission was to seek out farmers in the countries that produced the best grade of a spice.
For example, you can get turmeric from Indonesia, Vietnam, Hawaii but we went to southern India where the best is grown – same for star anise – Chinese star anise is cheaper and way more accessible but Vietnam is the best producer of star anise.
Why should everyone eat more quality, fresh spices?
When the quality and flavour delivery of spices is high, they can be effective in also helping to reduce salt and sugar intake. Adding flavour to food is the obvious answer but for us it is also to adopt a healthier lifestyle and to encourage people to think about the ingredients they use.
How do you meet your own high standards of freshness, quality and taste? What guarantees your spices to be second to none?
Many reasons! We source directly from farmers. We only buy in small batches which usually means we can offer recent harvest products. We source for premium grades only. All of our products are organic so have not been grown with pesticides or chemicals. The short supply chain preserves the oils in the spices. All spices are hand harvested and commercial processing is limited to a certain temperature. Plus we have won 14 taste awards as testament to this!
There is a focus on clean organic ingredients with clear provenance and a sustainable approach? Why is it so important to you? What is Spice Sanctuary’s mission?
Our mission is not just to offer the best tasting spices and spice blends but to also support the small hold farmers and uphold the organic farming movement as much as possible. It was very much a conscious decision to offer organic spices only for this very reason and to do our part in helping to enrich and preserve our soil and food supply from chemicals.
What do you love most about your product? What makes you proud?
Fabulous customer reviews and winning awards is the best feeling – knowing that the quality we have strived to offer is being received and appreciated in exactly the way we intended.
Your range of spices won awards like “Great Taste Awards” or “Free From Awards”. In Canada you are known as Spice Queen™. Are these soothing compliments for the many hard but honest work?
Yes, I feel very honoured and proud!
Could you share some recipes with us where your spices are the highlight?
I am an avid cook and providing recipes using our spices is something we have done from the start. There is a great range on our website and also we are showcasing easy and healthy ways all the time on social media like Instagram. Quick and easy ways to use our blends is just one example e.g. adding Indian Super Spice to a cauliflower soup or Wholly Smokes BBQ rub to a broccoli and cheese soup.
When I hear spices “pepper & salt” are the first things that come to my mind. But there is more than just pepper and salt, isn’t it? Can you give us a brief overview of your product range?
Our current range comprises 20 products split into the following categories:
- Breafkast, Baking and Beverages: Golden Turmeric Latte, Chai, Sweet Delight
- International Range: This showcases flavours of the world like India, Jamaica, Mexico etc
- Smoked Range: Unique spices wood smoked like paprika, cumin, black pepper.
- Single Origin, Premium Grade spices: Alleppey Turmeric, Asafoetida, Kaffir Lime Leaves
We are always happy to discover producers like you who are committed to the environment. What are current projects that you initiate/support?
In Canada for several years, we supported a plant a tree program but we are currently seeking and considering alternative projects to fit more in line with our international presence.
Local and seasonal are becoming increasingly important topics for chefs around the world. Is there some cooperation with some restaurants? Do you supply your Spice Sanctuary’s spices to chefs?
We have done in the past and are always open for great collaborations.
Why do you think chefs rely on your product?
We have had some of Canada’s top chefs comment on how fresh and aromatic our spices are compared to what they were used to before being introduced to our range.
Thank you very much, Trusha!