THE BACK STORY

It was the spring of 2017.

 

Dave Forbes was planning a barbeque to celebrate his son’s high school graduation. As an amateur cook, he often experimented with sauces, and was noodling what kinds of sauces to serve. As he considered different types of green sauces, he surveyed his refrigerator inventory and noted a large bunch of kale. A thought popped into his head, “What about a kale-based sauce with similar attributes (sweet, sour, salty, fine textured, dense, pourable) to a barbeque sauce or ketchup?” Turning to the Internet for a recipe, he searched and found… nothing. So he continued to search, tweaking and refining to tune the results. And still nothing useful, or even close. Then he looked for existing commercial products, and found nothing. Even when he expanded his search queries to other vegetables with similar attributes to kale, he found nothing that met his criteria.

Not one to give up on a notion no matter the outcome (meaning perhaps there was a very good reason no one has ever created a kale condiment), he took his beloved creamed kale recipe, added to it the key sweet, sour and salty components in a barbeque sauce or ketchup, tweaked a few things, and invented the kale condiment. Not only did it offer a fourth dimension of herbal savoriness, but required substantially less salt and sugar to achieve a balanced flavor.

The sauce was a hit at the graduation party, so Dave continued to experiment with flavor, texture, viscosity (and learned a lot about chlorophyll, emulsification, liquefying and natural thickeners in the process), and consulted with knowledgeable associates who filled in his gaps in expertise. Once convinced he had a viable and marketable formula, he then focused on refining the health aspects, experimenting with different cooking techniques for maximum retention of nutrients as well as the reduction of sodium and sugar content without sacrificing flavor.

 

Chock full of entrepreneurial enthusiasm (and dreaming of an alternative to his particularly boring day job), Dave filed a provisional patent application, and during the due diligence process he decided to broaden the scope of the patent to include the entire cruciferous family of vegetables. To validate this, the formula was standardized and extended to other cruciferous vegetables as well as tested in various forms of potential consumption such as dilution with liquid for drinking, reduction to syrup for flavoring and dehydration for flavoring powder.

 

Dave began selling the kale sauce, now formally christened "Kalechup," at the Falls Church Farmers Market in the winter of 2017. He also made a large batch of Kalechup at Speedy's Sauce Shop, a co-packer in Virginia Beach, so that he could get Kalechup into local retailers and test market it, with the ultimate goal of revolutionizing the condiment world with this amazing ketchup alternative.

Dave very quickly learned something valuable. Some people really, REALLY, hate kale. And some kids (a key audience for ketchup, of course), irrationally so, really, REALLY hate green foods. And now he had a garage full of the stuff.

 

Not one to easily give up, he accepted that Kalechup may not be the home run he had dreamed of. So he rolled up his sleeves, and, following his own advice in his patent application, created a family sauces made from other cruciferous vegetables. Thus, Mayonot, a cauliflower sauce, and Yumchup, a cabbage ketchup (tho he could not call it ketchup as the FDA demands any ketchup product must contain tomatoes when everyone knows the origins of ketchup are Chinese, ke-tsiap, a fermented fish sauce. Damn you to hell, Big Tomato!!!).

 

Anyhoo, Dave decided he need to better understand the manufacturing process so he could properly produce and scale the products that he envisioned. He started looking in the Falls Church area for a production facility, and on Memorial Day 2018 Dave, along with his friends Chris and John (all with tech backgrounds), opened Monkeyboy Consumables (the name inspired by a whimsical logo he created for a failed app project), a pop up food lab certified by the Fairfax County Health Department, Virginia Department of Agriculture and the FDA, in a former restaurant that was scheduled for demolition in the fall. The team figured it gave them the summer to refine manufacturing processes and crank out product to build up inventory.

The Monkeyboy Consumables facility closed as planned in November 2018, and we opened our new facility, Disturbingly Delicious Foods, in July 2019 in the city of Falls Church at 455 H Maple Avenue.

So, in the winter of 2020, we had a dozen awesome products, and we were ready to revolutionize the condiment world. Again. And... Covid. So we scaled back growth ambitions, and figured we would spend a few months in isolation creating a few new products. Long story short (too late?) two years later, we had 300+ SKUs and a very wide variety of product, from general grocery to specialty to gourmet foods. Hot and spicy sauces, condiments, dips, cooking sauces, oat snacks, rubs and powders, fermented oat drinks, and much more. All super healthy and super delicious! Enjoy!