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.
Dave decided that filing a patent had merit, 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 as well as other cruciferous sauces 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. As a result of that experience, Dave decided he need to better understand the manufacturing process so he could properly produce the product that he envisioned. He started looking in the Falls Church area for a production facility, and on Memorial Day 2018 he opened Monkeyboy Consumables (the name inspired by a whimsical logo he created for a failed app project), a pop up food incubator 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. Dave figured this gave him the summer to refine his manufacturing process to his liking and crank out product to build up inventory. The reason it was also a food incubator was to evaluate the potential demand for local co-packing services for small, artisanal producers.
The Monkeyboy Consumables facility closed as planned in November 2018, and we opened our new facility in July 2019 in the city of Falls Church at 455 H Maple Ave. Stop by!