Jul/Aug
2018

GARDENAIRE: HANDCRAFTED ORGANIC FRUIT AND HERB CONCOCTIONS

Written by CINDY MENNENGA
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GARDENAIRE FOUNDER AND ROCHESTER NATIVE AMY LORBER HAS ALWAYS ENJOYED WORKING IN A GARDEN AND HARVESTING PRODUCE AT THE PEAK OF ITS FRESHNESS. GROWING UP, HER FAMILY PRESERVED THE BOUNTY FROM THEIR GARDEN BY MAKING APPLESAUCE, SOUP, TOMATO SAUCE AND A VARIETY OF JAMS TO ENJOY THROUGHOUT THE WINTER. AS A RESULT, AMY HAS FOND CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF PRESERVING FOOD—CAPTURING THE ESSENCE OF SUMMER—TO LATER BE SAVORED LIKE A BURST OF WARM SUNSHINE.

A BUSINESS IS LAUNCHED

As an adult, Amy lived in Nashville for several years; however, in 2016, she moved back to Rochester to be near her parents. Amy shares, “I love to create new flavor combinations and have been mixing up interesting concoctions since I was little.”

Because of her lifelong interest in preserving food, Amy also wanted to get involved in Rochester’s vibrant organic, local and sustainable food community. The result: Gardenaire was birthed soon after Amy’s return to Minnesota.

MOTHER-DAUGHTER (AND FATHER) TEAM

Today, Amy and her mother, Linda Lorber (with assistance from Amy’s dad, Walt), work closely together growing, harvesting and creating Gardenaire’s prized sustainable, handcrafted products.

Amy feels incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to work alongside her mother every day. She says, “It’s amazing to work with my mom. I love it! My mom and I are very, very close. We get along really well, and we have a lot of fun working together. I am so glad to have moved back home, and to be able to spend time with my mom and dad is great. Being able to do this business with my mom is really special, and I wouldn’t want to do it without her.”

SHRUBS…

Gardenaire’s highly sought-after products are not your garden-variety fruit and herb offerings. One of Gardenaire’s most popular items is their shrubs. A shelf-stable combination of fermented and cold-pressed fruits and herbs, Amy explains, “Shrubs were a Colonial-era means of preservation of fruit with apple cider vinegar. This made the nutrition from fruit available year-round. They are tart and tangy, packed with health benefits.” Amy adds, “The word ‘shrub’ comes from an Arabic word meaning ‘drink.’”

Available in a variety of flavors, Amy says shrubs are ideal for use in vinaigrettes, marinades and cocktails. Another popular way to enjoy shrubs is to simply add a tablespoon of the blend to drinking water or sparkling water for added flavor. Other product offerings include infused fruit syrups, drinking chocolates, marshmallows, spice blends, teas and tisanes.

2018 AWARDS WINNER

Gardenaire’s products have been well-received in southeast Minnesota since the company's inception. In January 2018, Gardenaire was nationally recognized as a recipient of the 2018 Good Food Awards, winning awards for their Rhubarb + Basil Shrub and their Tomato + Basil Shrub. Amy and Linda traveled to San Francisco to accept the awards from renowned American chef, author and food activist Alice Waters.

GARDENAIRE’S PRODUCTS

Never had a shrub or infused syrup before? Try one—or several—of their distinctive flavor combinations. You may just find a new go-to secret ingredient for that perfect, you-never-knew it-was-missing, unique flavor sure to leave your guests raving about your culinary talents.

You may also want to try Gardenaire’s drinking chocolates or marshmallows for a sophisticated taste of heaven. Soon, you’ll be clamoring to try more of their out-of-this-world delectable creations.

Gardenaire products are available to purchase on their website (Gardenaire.co). To receive recipes, learn about upcoming events and be the first to hear about new flavors, subscribe on their website.

Gardenaire has a booth at the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, and their products are also available at People’s Food Co-op, Dwell Local, Forager/Fiddlehead Coffee Co. and Cook’s Pantry in Rochester.

Cindy Mennenga, owner of MedCity WordCraft, LLC is a freelance writer and editor based in Rochester.