NY NOW Podcast

The Essential Delectable Pantry with The French Farm

May 19, 2021 NY NOW Season 1 Episode 39
NY NOW Podcast
The Essential Delectable Pantry with The French Farm
Show Notes Transcript

Our goal is to bring the taste and feel of Europe into your home for everyone to enjoy. Here, you can fill your kitchen and pantry with beautiful products from France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal. Our products are carefully crafted by small, family-owned businesses and are made using traditional recipes and techniques, which are handed down from one generation to the next. Our products contain the highest quality ingredients and materials, have exquisite taste, and are packaged beautifully.     

RESOURCES   
|
The French Farm 
https://thefrenchfarm.com/   

| NY NOW Podcast Page:
https://nynow.com/podcast   

| NY NOW Email Subscription:
https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/147c19d133dc472cbc83778bcaec0402   

| NY NOW Digital Market:
https://nynowdigitalmarket.com   

| NY NOW :
https://nynow.com  

Dondrill Glover:

Welcome to the new york now podcast, a modern wholesale market for retailers and specialty buyers seeking diversity and discovery, gathering twice a year in America's design capital, New York City. It's where buyers and designers on earth have refreshed and dedicated collection of eclectic lifestyle products. Hi, and welcome to today's podcast as we welcome Victoria Akari, founder and creative director of Victoria Chari, a brand organic culinary argan oil to a conversation with one of New York now's most charming and delectable brands. Victoria's argan oil is organic and rich with antioxidants, boasting a delightful nutty toasted aroma and taste the perfect finishing oil for grilled vegetables, salads, pasta and a dipping oil for our teas and our breads. Victoria's brand is ethically and sustainably sourced, mindfully harvested and handcrafted in partnership with a woman's cooperative in Morocco, a truly pure and golden experience. Victoria is joined today by our very special guest Giselle Oreo, the founder of the French farm. The French farm was founded in 1997. Gia Zell who originally hails from Leone, our French region known for its food, culture and wine. After settling down in Houston, she realized something was missing. She loaned for the high quality gourmet food products and kitchen assessments she'd been surrounded with back in Leone. Realizing that she wanted the jibs, mustards and oils and the cutlery she missed, she was going to have to bring them to Houston herself. So what started as a hobby, bringing gourmet products for self and friends turned into a business. And voila, the French farm was bored. Join me in welcoming GSL orielle and Victoria Chari.

Victoria Akkari:

Thank you johndrow for that warm welcome and introduction. I'm so excited to be moderating this conversation with Gisele Oriot. Hi Gisele, it's such a pleasure to meet you. I'm so excited to dive into today's conversation. Let's kick things off.

Gisele Oriot:

Happy to be here with you today. Oh yes.

Victoria Akkari:

I'm so happy to meet you. I think that the world is a little bit obsessed with anything that's French so please tell me how the farm was born. I know I am so oh

Gisele Oriot:

long story but so the French from I guess it goes back to my childhood where I was born in a small village in France and you know like in a small town where we my family just love food. I don't come from a very I come from a very I would say a simple family you know not a very wealthy family but it was all about food. My my father you know would grow his own vegetable. They would always find the best chicken go to the farm to buy the chicken or the meat. And it was all about food What are we gonna eat this weekend when all the families that I gather you know, so that's how you know I can have started thinking about everything about food

Victoria Akkari:

and fresh food and just like like you said everything fresh ingredients Yes,

Gisele Oriot:

my mother would do preserve with the fruit I mean everything was a basically all made and very much in season you know? So when I came to the US I came like you know many years ago as a whole pair in the family to learn English and takes us at the time was very basic. I mean you couldn't find any fancy food anything so I was missing a lot of things and then after you know I went back to France and I I said oh that would be so great to have you know some of those products in in the US why they don't have see sold why they don't have a nice digital Masada and so that's how the idea kind of came in my head you know, and of course it took few years and the one day I decided I kept many friends in Texas and I decided to come back and just start with one line of oil that I love from France and I just brought for you sample went to see some chefs and you know they loved the product and then I decided okay, I'm gonna bring a few cases of product and stuff selling it and that's how I started that's why we go from restaurant to restaurant you know, show the product and sometime they would be tired of seeing me said okay, we're gonna buy you two bottle, okay, we're gonna buy you a full that's how I studied and then of course, studying the trade show after that, you know, little belly thermalize you know, working by myself starting to doing trade show, and then we start shipping a little bit product outside takes us like Louisiana. New York. Of course, it was a whole learning process because I didn't really know anything about this nice. Also the shipping the shipping was quite a disaster at the beginning, I didn't know how to pack. So it was like a lot of a lot of but he was a very learning, you know, learning experience.

Victoria Akkari:

Oh, it sounds sounds like you learned so much from that. Yes. And design? Well, let me ask you, how do you feel the French culinary experience has been translated in America. And you've quoted what enriched your mission and sharing our typical French food and access to consumers here

Gisele Oriot:

I guess French cuisine as always, and the technique of French cuisine always has been popular, you know, for a long time because of people like maybe Julia Child track paper, at least water You know, I think it's it has been always popular, but finding the ingredients like 20 years or 30 years ago was very difficult to find important ingredient in the US. So so it has been a wonderful journey to to to tell story, you know, to my own my customer the story behind the project. And American love to hear both stories, you know, most of the product we both come from small family business, they have a sweat savoir faire and and there is always a story behind the product.

Victoria Akkari:

Well, we know in today's market brand consciousness and transparency are deeply important to consumers. So with that being said, what are some of the core principles and ethics in your brand that our audience should know about?

Gisele Oriot:

So we, we like to work with small company, of course, that have like the best ingredients, you know, we don't like shockcord we don't have any, any, any fake product or we like our product to be natural. So that's one thing that we lose. And also we like with those small companies, sometimes they not choose to export their products. So we like to add them like put the product in compliance with FDA or like create the label in English for them to be able to import them. And this has been a very nice experience to to to help some very tiny companies sometime like this lady, Nanda luzia, she makes only one product, wonderful orange jam. And for her for her shipping, one pallet of this orange jam to the US was a huge sell for and he was he was kind of so we like to work with a small company and of course, after that wants to produce in the US we we like to give the best customer service to our clients and you know, explain and tell story about the product.

Victoria Akkari:

I love that I love that you support small businesses like that. I think that's so so vital. And Zell tell us about working to create some of those relationships and bringing the French tape the French farm to the American kitchen and table

Gisele Oriot:

so in order to develop the business we've been doing quite a lot of trade show over the years you know of course New York now show is one of the best show for her we meet very many customer and we like to see them sometimes twice a year and that would be the you know the way to to to find a lot of new customer and it's always a pleasure to see them and the question is always Hey, what do you have new what's new. It has been like so nice to meet so many nice people over the years and we can go from small grocery store to like a little gift shop or like larger business you know has been wonderful.

Victoria Akkari:

Well let's shift gears a little bit about your incredible assortment. Let's talk regional specialties and must have available at the French farm.

Gisele Oriot:

So the regional specialty we try to import like from the three main region of French would would be like Provence, Brittany and burgundy. As you know France is known for its culinary tradition and each region has very much specialty you know to so Provence for instance, we like to import everything with lavender honey. Provence has a lot of lavender fields and the bees you know goes into lavender field and produce this wonderful on a very tasty and creamy And from there they also do an eye candy they do the new get with lavender honey. So that would be one of our you know men produce some promos so is the olive oil then we have Brittany Brittany's known for like doing a lot of dairy products and also have a wonderful sea salt. So we have like many line of cookies from Brittany with like full of very good butter and sea salt and also the salty butter caramel would be a specialty of Britain. So, many products from burgundy burgundy is known for for his one region but also produce a lot of messed up you know, the mustard seeds. And we have the brand and mold fallow that we have been carrying for many years that is would be one of our main line. And so dovan is also one of the main region where we import predictor. Then of course, after that, we we started importing also product from different countries in Europe.

Victoria Akkari:

Okay, and that that brings me to ask you about in addition to those French brands that you work with, you have selections from Italy and Spain and Portugal. So how did that come about? And what can we what can we look to find?

Gisele Oriot:

Oh, well traveling between Europe of course you when you start importing then you are tempted to discover more product and then of course going to Italy nobody does better faster than the Italians so I had to import Italian pasta and Italian pesto. Then in Spain, you know spend when you go to Andalusia they have this wonderful head of olive tree and they produce like really like lice naturally organic olive oil. Many different types of leaves, you know, produce this wonderful olive oil pour together also is known for like a story of navigator and fishing you know, so, so the canned seafood in Portugal is very popular. And we have been importing this for few years and it has been a very, very successful tool.

Unknown:

Sounds amazing. And let me so GSL I as you as you know, I work with a Women's Cooperative in Morocco are producing small batch culinary argan oil. So yeah, so there's there's nothing I love more than like a fantastic edible oil. So let's talk about Yes, I love oil. So let's talk about your selection of olive oils.

Gisele Oriot:

So I said we try to to to have like from the three country of Europe that produce the most olive oil. So that would be France that actually doesn't have a big production of olive oil up only in Provence. So we have one two brand of olive oil we import from from France, and they come from the south of France. Then we would we have Italy Oliver from Tuscany, which would be the region that produce the most olive oil with the brand called elbow Chateau ccle or so we have a brand called Francois this brand new one like many a while for this. They're wonderful olive oil. And of course spin on the losers. So we work with a small company called Aqua Jeeva. Who does also organic olive oil and offer like the different type of Oliva vicinia whoa he Blanca and printcious sensia which is very difficult word for me to pronounce.

Victoria Akkari:

Sounds to me like you got it right.

Gisele Oriot:

And I like traveling with you know this country producing olive oil. I realize olive oil is really like one you have so different type of olives giving you a different taste, you know when the so it's very interesting.

Victoria Akkari:

It is yes, I absolutely love or I love olive oils. So I'll ask you so as far as olive oil, so is Spain that the largest region in Europe that produces olive oil

Gisele Oriot:

spend Yes, producer layer? Yes, yes.

Victoria Akkari:

Okay. And do you have like a favorite? Do you have like a favorite oil of the olive oil that's from your favorite region or favorite Kanye.

Gisele Oriot:

That would be from the brand called liquidity. vada is from a small company in Andalusia and it's it's really a wonderful, wonderful boiler. And we'd like it's also organic, and a lot of oil actually small producers all actually don't choose they were explaining me that they don't really use pesticides on the olive tree. So

Victoria Akkari:

Oh yes the smaller is true.

Gisele Oriot:

I know that they organic. It's usually pretty natural.

Victoria Akkari:

Okay. yeah yes oh that's very nice so, so does out what are some of your favorite print farm staples and must house for small spring and summer gatherings

Gisele Oriot:

so

Victoria Akkari:

what do you love?

Gisele Oriot:

Everybody like most of French people in their kitchen will always have a digital master like a traditional digital not the grainy one the yellow master. We love our yellow master because we always make our salad dressing with it. So we use like olive oil we use a red wine vinegar, one spoon of the master and this is our salad dressing. leave without a drama, my style of digital messed up now for summer I of course I was talking about like crunchy but the only word which I drizzle I mean more I love all my volleyball but this is one of my favorite for summer because it's very fresh and green. So I've been using a lot of these cultiva olive oil and one of my new favorite is our smoked salt from Terra exotique. It has a natural smoky flavor which is created by your blend of spice which is mixed to the salt and his collection. The Viking salt and I put it a lot on when I agree like veggies or fish or or chicken it gives a nice flavor to the not not too powerful but a very nice flavor to the to the food you cook.

Victoria Akkari:

Oh I love it. Yeah having a nice olive oil or like you said a nice smoked salt anything like that. Adds like it makes a district so much more special. You can add that to anything and it just elevates it.

Gisele Oriot:

Then of course we have lippie Korean line which has been very popular for her son it's they make like wonderful spread like artichokes mix with truffle, red pepper, red pepper brochette eggplant Olive spread so very easy. You just open the jaw and spread on the nice tools and the refill a glass of wine and that's it

Victoria Akkari:

and and just sell Do you have any suggestions to maybe share with retailers and buyers who might be looking to add artistical selections to their store assortments. So tell us like what are some of your your top sellers

Gisele Oriot:

so we have like top seller in kind of every line we import but of course condiment are always favorite you know for everybody everybody buys condiment or like mustard or chutney or but I have to say also some of our best seller selling flavor always has been figure people love figure like a fig drum is always when we place order we always order double of the feet and the strawberry of the cherry fig is always one of the top selling flavor. So we have you know, fig jam fig vinegar figure anything fig would sell very well. And love for Wi Fi with COVID you know study last year we noticed like a lot of we have increased our cell a lot with pasta and can see food and seeing that people can cook at home and make an easy meal you know really quick so the sales have been increasing a lot in those things. And also all our hours line. hours were line have been very popular and also is increasing very much because people I guess this year have stayed a lot they stay more at home and they they want like nice peace in their house or they want to cook more at home. So we have been single a big increase in the cook cookware like our copper cookware, our line of pottery from the manufacturer, the Jaguar the number I've been increasing a lot you know this year so sing like that, you know for the for the house.

Unknown:

Oh very nice. And you have like a lovely line of knife wear and linens. You do so many hings

Gisele Oriot:

that are very popular. Yes.

Victoria Akkari:

Yes. And I in talking about those things. I have to take a moment to tell the audience about just how beautiful the packaging is and the curated presentations are so they're really lovely. Your website is lovely. And this leads me to my next question. You have several fantastic gift sets available our buyers and retailers able to

Gisele Oriot:

customize those. So we have gift sets that are already pre made that we imported In the premier like giftset with an assortment of Master giftset with an assortment of jam from our different line but you can I guess a lot of people also for the holiday like to create like basket or box and with you know the largest segment we have I think they are able to create let's say a French basket or Italian basket a Spanish basket a sweet basket. So sometimes they like to do that they would buy a certain amount of to just put together and you know sell it to the customer like that Yes. Ah so okay so you can so that so the retailer can sort of get a collection of different things and create a basket from a we do yeah, they usually find a nice assortment because we also have the linen that can go with you know in the in the box of the basket or the jam and the Mustang and the Oliver's Yeah, that's my

Victoria Akkari:

lovely Yeah, that's really lovely because I'm sure it's not I mean not just during the holidays but really anytime that you want something special. Good knives are so essential for a truly functioning kitchen. Just Oh Can we talk a bit more about your cutlery and linen collections?

Gisele Oriot:

Yes Victoria. One I tell me since we can never keep enough in stock would be all the 24 piece flatware. So the best selling color would be like black white stainless and those are three of the most popular color. Our second bestseller I would say would be probably like everything steak knife, the set of six people can use a steak knife being different than they're still aware and also everybody likes to have a nice beautiful steak knife on their table. also makes like a very nice gift for special occasion like for the holiday or like maybe Father's Day. The third one would be of course everything related to cheese. Having a nice cheese said you know in a nicer on a nice cheese platter would always make a nice statement.

Victoria Akkari:

The collection sound fantastic and so essential for any kitchen or pantry. I'd like to look back to the weekend essentials. What are some of the best French farm accessories from your cutlery collection? What would pair well with that assortment?

Gisele Oriot:

Yes, thank you for this question Victoria. Yes, I would love to share more about this collection. So we started importing a line called Ronnie bow a cutlery line. Ronnie bow is located in in a small village called wiscon Tao located near che and here will be known in France for being like the capital of the contrary. They have been like making knife in this region for like many generation and they have a very old tradition and savoir faire of making cutlery that probably goes back to the middle age. So depot is a small family owned business. And they have been the nice thing when I go It's like they employ like many people from the village so it's very nice to see that. All the cutleries all en mer like many step in making a knife so it takes quite a long time to to achieve you know one of those beautiful shaunavon life so they studied the way spending mean they studied like 100 years ago making mostly utility knife like a butcher knife kitchen knife knife or like Baker and then a few years later or maybe not quite a few years later like 50 years later or maybe they decided to introduce like everyday item like steak knife flatware pocket knife and the little burrito only became very successful. So we have been importing their line for about 15 years now and we have more than 300 References it goes from cheese said flatware steak knife wine said salad servo spreader and of course all those reference come in many different color going from basic color like mercy rock Hello, ivory, black, white red for the holiday but also some fun color like more seasonal like pink turquoise pastel. And then of course all the natural wood endo like Hollywood we was a more rustic feel to the to the line. So many many selection and so every every every day I see oh we have enough reference we won't be importing more but they always come out with new styling a new idea. So one of the new style is going to be like the end all will be made of the quality of bio plastic but it's not plastic. It's actually made of cornstarch and it's totally bio degradable. Which is nice and again, the has been very popular among our customer for many years and they love the selection of color and different items that we have. And he can go we can sell all this cutlery goes from like a cheese shop wine shop gift shop. And it seems like we're we have a little bit of a selection for everyone in this collection.

Victoria Akkari:

Yes, absolutely. There's nothing like a great set of cheese knives, such as our going back again to talk about those amazing gift sets that are available. Where you How can people be inspired to create gifts from them? So if we have some retailers and buyers that really want to add to their different assortments of gifts for people, how can they How can they build on that? And what inspired you were you when you were bringing these when you created these gift sets and when you were bringing all of this fantastic food from Europe or you gifting it to friends in the beginning and it really kind of started from that?

Gisele Oriot:

Yes, actually, I would. I would come to the US is it my friend and I would always bring food gifts Yes. And French people do that a lot we bring when we travel we always bring a little box of chocolate or we bring some jams or we bring somebody from your region it's very typical to the French people to do that. Yes when they travel yes of course it's some question at the airport Hey what is this you know from the customer? You have to explain. But yes, and then I was inspired to bring like like cookies for instance they come in the French packaging in Brittany they always use like the traditional decor. One is called campaign design its campaign is like a type of pottery and painting that you see on on dishes and tableware. So many cookie company reproduce this on a metal tin and the cookies are sold you know in this very pretty metal team with the campell design so the campell design is one of our best selling cookies from Britannia. And then of course we have all our cookies would be like very gifted to give by itself but also our jobs you know are very well packaged and very very pretty. And we have a very large large assortment of flavor you know going from fabric or lavender or fiig black cherry, Queens, rhubarb very blackcurrant many many many many flavors also we didn't talk about our our candy selection or so which is very popular because people like sweet you know, and the candies are also very cute gift in it by itself. We just starting with this line called Maxime which is a very old brand from France or so. So they specialize in nuga fruits, fruit paste, chocolate, chocolate and new gas I mean a very very cute packaging.

Victoria Akkari:

I love that. And you know if a retailer was interested in carrying your products, let's say they don't have your line already and they were they saw so many things and they didn't really know Okay, what should I start with? What would be a great introduction to have these amazing fringe products? You know in our location, what would what would you suggest that they start with or

Gisele Oriot:

there's something that I guess depending on what they are, if they are if they have a gift shop for instance, I would I would suggest maybe our line of jobs you know I want to fool I would do the cookies. I would do some of the some of the very beautiful sea salt in the crock pot in the crock cha I would do some of the some of the her nails so that is very, very beautiful package. We have I mean all our products are really good. It's the test wonderful but they are also each each drawer is a gift in itself you know? So it's pretty easy. The soft math and I said if they find a selection from you know from pasta to early vote to chance. And we do many sell where people open a store and they find a little bit of everything at French farm. So from condiment to sweet two hours where they can find a very large large assortment,

Victoria Akkari:

their friend farm life right You know I something that I'm looking forward to that I'm going to treat myself to you had a dark chocolate and pistachio and a beautiful ceramic. It was like a fun to look at I'm afraid to get this because I will eat I know I will eat all that it

Gisele Oriot:

looks amazing. Easy because so you what you do you buy some grapes or pineapple fruit or strawberries and then you can put the little Johnny in the microwave for like few sfusd minutes you know you then you steal the chocolate and you have a little chocolate fondue at home. And he makes 30 no should have guests or just by yourself. You open the jar.

Victoria Akkari:

Oh my gosh this is beautiful. Now there's so many things like I can't wait to like do some shopping it's you have so many beautiful things that food looks amazing and the packaging is just ever so lovely.

Gisele Oriot:

One of our new addition also is a line of house. I mean SOPA and flip fragrance for the house that is also made in Provence which is correlational sample. The simple thing and it's also all natural so they do they do soap they do. They do also dishwashing liquid cleaning spray, and they do many candle with wonderful, wonderful science.

Victoria Akkari:

Oh I love that this is a new line.

Gisele Oriot:

We can't wait to be at the New York geek show to show this line because it has been difficult some time to sell some fragrance you know like not being at a trade show and showing the product to the customer. Oh, I

Unknown:

love that. So this is a whole new line that you've done. Yeah. Can you to expand?

Gisele Oriot:

That's when one of our newest addition Yes.

Unknown:

So it's been such a wonderful conversation just sell as we come down to a close. What's next for their French farm what can we look forward to in 2021 I know you have this new line for the home of candles and so yeah, is there any other exciting way to plan this year we

Gisele Oriot:

we trying to expand a little bit more like organic production organic line we will have a new line of organic jam with you know unread, processed French foods. All natural Of course. Melina from the company called febrile and beautiful package also wonderful taste. We are also expanding like maybe the past or gluten free pasta from our itallian supplier because it has been in high demand and and we starting importing and they are selling pretty fast too. So that would be some addition for 22,022. And also expanding the line for manufacturer the Jaguar, which is a line from Grogan, g these people manufacturer for many many generation pottery very beautiful colors and like dishes and Kirpan plates. So we are expanding the color in this slime

Victoria Akkari:

foundings exciting

Gisele Oriot:

and I can't wait to be back at the trade show and and to see all our wonderful customer again very soon.

Victoria Akkari:

Yes hopefully this will all be very soon and we know that buyers and retailers can find the French farm here in the New York now digital market. So how and where can the others in our listening audience connect with the brand on your social media accounts?

Gisele Oriot:

Yes of course we we are on Instagram Of course Facebook and French from that calm you know as a lot of we have a blog with recipies and we always feature all the new product. So fresh from that calm. Meeting in January at the New York now again.

Victoria Akkari:

Yes. Great.

Gisele Oriot:

Thank you so much because it was so wonderful chatting with you. And thank you also to Don reel and the New York now for inviting us and sharing the story of French farm It was such a pleasure.

Unknown:

Thank you. Well it's been so inspiring hearing the front farm brand story. We truly appreciate you sharing with us and you're so lovely like you have such a beautiful smile and you're every you're just so passionate about food and and and your country and Europe and it's just as crazy the fees

Gisele Oriot:

like cooking is giving end podcast like that cooking is giving

Victoria Akkari:

cookies given I'm like that. I love that. And let me also say a huge thanks to the New York now community for listening Name. It's been great being here with you today. Thank you so much.

Gisele Oriot:

Thank you so much Victoria.

Victoria Akkari:

Thank you.

Dondrill Glover:

To learn more about the French farm please visit the French farm.com. To learn more about Victoria Akari please visit Victoria akari.com Thank you for listening to the New York now podcast. Make sure to tune in weekly for engaging and insightful conversations touching on the most relevant topics facing our community today. Is it through your mouth comm to learn more about our market, and how you can join in on the conversation