There I was. It was 8 am and I knew I was going to be late to work, but I had to find this chocolate. I remembered the taste: the familiarity of cacao with the exciting addition of maca. It was barely sweet, but strangely addicting. Yet every time I searched the Whole Foods chocolate aisle, I left empty handed and disappointed. Where. Is. That. Chocolate.
The staff sensed my desperation and embarked on a mission to help me locate my item of interest. “Is this chocolate, by any chance, raw?” they ask me. And that’s when it dawned on me. The raw section, a mere hop and skip from where I was currently standing. The change in my emotions must have been extreme when I finally held it in my hand, because the staff member who had helped me became very curious about the chocolate. “So what’s so great about it?” he asked. Good question!
It’s hard to talk about this company without first explaining the journey Audrey Darrow went on in order to create it. So we’ll start there.
In 2006, Audrey took a job in a health food store. She had recently finished chemotherapy and radiation, and was looking both to heal the effects of these treatments and prevent the reoccurrence of her cancer. The discount she received by working there would help her afford these healing, nutritious foods. Still, she was discouraged when she picked up a raw chocolate bar with a price tag of $14. She describes this as being a defining moment for her, when she realized that she could do it better.
A Place For Making Pure Foods
Earth Source Organics, the parent company of Righteously Raw, started as a manufacturing facility, a place where Audrey could make foods she felt safe eating, foods that are free of top allergens, and thus safe for virtually anyone.
Audrey wasn’t looking merely to produce her own healthy creations and call it a day. She opened her facility to others looking to make high frequency foods, those sourced naturally, minimally processed, and free of chemical additives.
If you are someone who dreams of making wholesome, healthy foods, you know it’s not as simple as whipping something up in your kitchen, bagging it up, and taking orders. When your goal is to make foods that are safe for those with common allergies and sensitivities, the hoops to jump through become even smaller.
Earth Source Organics’ co-packaging program allows conscious food makers build a product line without the overhead that’s normally required to do so. By assisting new and small businesses throughout the start up process including obtaining certifications, networking and connecting for packaging and ingredients, and helping to get their product ready for distribution or direct sales, Audrey and her team help bring more healthy products to the market and to their community. It’s more than just healthy; everything made in their facility must meet the same standards they hold themselves to.
Chocolate that Everybody Can Eat
Righteously Raw chocolate is certified free of top allergens! That means gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. They aim to make chocolate that anyone can eat. Every single product they make is also free of refined sugar. You can decide which of those feats you find most amazing.
Their list of certifications reads like a girl scout showing off an impressive array of patches: Certified Organic, Green America Approved Business, Non GMO Project Verified, Vegan Verified, Certified Kosher, Certified Gluten Free, and they are a member of the Organic Trade Association. These are testaments to their dedication to creating truly pure products.
Another way they protect the integrity of their ingredients is by using unroasted beans. The cacao used to make their chocolates is never heated above 118 °F. Hence the name, Righteously Raw. Cacao is a superfood, though usually tainted by excessive heating and mixed with high amounts of sugar and dairy for a less-than-nourishing candy. These chocolates retain the nutritional value of cacao, not to mention the various superfoods that make each bar special.
With 1500 accounts throughout the United States and Canada, including Whole Foods, you might expect Righteously Raw to be a few people short of a small army. Not the case. This team of 14 people is responsible for making the chocolate and making sure it makes its way to mouths around the continent. Recently selling via their website, their online presence is growing as well.
Marketing isn’t a huge part of this company’s strategy; they don’t employ people specifically to do sales, and it seems the product just sells itself. Five people work the phones, speaking with buyers to help them order the correct amount of product. With 14 employees – 5 in the office and 9 in production, it seems like a Christmas miracle that they make as much chocolate as they do.
In a recent interview with Kevin Price, Audrey humbly describes the magic that is her team: “It’s like work of art to watch them, and this a handmade product.” In another interview with Marie Grace Berg, Audrey credits her hard-working and passionate team for how she is able to maintain work-life balance. “I hire people I can trust, so I know that if I have to walk away from my business… I have people that I know I can trust to do the job the way I want it to be done.” Beyond hiring the right people, she treats her employees with the utmost respect, and instills the same passion in them that she has.
Back to the Chocolate
Many of us around the Annmarie Gianni Skin Care office are conscious of our sugar intake, in addition to being hopelessly enamored with chocolate. With 4 grams of sugar per serving in our favorite Maca Bar, we celebrate this chocolate that leaves us satisfied and free of regret.
To sweeten these bars, dates, raisins, and agave do the trick. Raisins do double duty, acting as a natural preservative as well. Himalayan pink salt, cacao, mesquite, and vanilla bean complete this recipe.
Unfamiliar with the benefits of superfood maca? This stimulating root is a female’s best friend, relieving cramps, hot flashes, anxiety, and mood swings related to menstruation and menopause. Don’t worry, guys, you can maca, too! Maca is known to balance the endocrine system, increase strength, and improve libido. If I just lost every reader to an impromtu grocery store journey, I’m okay with that.
Metrics of Success
Beyond making chocolate that will leave you craving nothing else, Righteously Raw operates on ethics that will give you the warm and fuzzies. For Audrey, success is less about the money she makes and more about knowing that she is able to pay her employees a fair wage while also giving back to the community. She values being able to inspire her customers with the work she does. This is what makes her raw chocolate so righteous.
Let’s Eat Some Chocolate
Righteously Raw has generously made an offer for our customers! Purchase any of their chocolate for the rest of this year and receive 15% off using the code AMG15. Click here to purchase now!
We Heart is our monthly column where we tell you about products and companies that are wellness-oriented, sustainable, ethical or otherwise lovable! Subscribe to stay up to date on our monthly We Heart column!
Annmarie Gianni is a mother, health activist, entrepreneur, and founder of 3 successful businesses. Over ten years ago, she and her husband, Kevin, formed a team and Annmarie Skin Care was founded to provide a clean, natural skin care experience using natural, organic and wildcrafted ingredients. After a few years of focusing on creating a successful skin care business, Annmarie was able to step away and focus on raising her kids. Today, you’d find Annmarie volunteering her time at her kid’s school, helping out at community events, going on trail runs, and spending quality time with her family.
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