Mark and Christine Mc-Connell were after "convenient goodness" in their diets, but rather than waiting for products that fit that description to hit store shelves, they decided to create them themselves. The Indy couple launched Heirloom Ventures, a line of certified organic fruit-based sauces and chutneys.
The McConnells have long been a food-centric family, and when their son was born six years ago, Christine began experimenting in the kitchen preparing whole, organic foods for him.
The couple made test batches of a versatile pear-based purée sweetened with natural agave nectar, which led to a line of whole-fruit sauces called Perfectly Pear, now sold at select food retailers in Indy. Using only ingredients sourced from organic US farms, the pear sauces come in three varieties, each blended with additional fruit: blueberry, mixed berry and strawberry-peach.
Perfectly Pear can be eaten as a stand-alone treat similar to applesauce or used in baking, smoothies and even as a glaze for roasts.
"The reality of the modern lifestyle is that frequently our everyday foods also need to be convenient," Christine says. "We began to think of 'convenient goodness' as a proper starting place."
Organic chutneys followed the pear sauces.
"Our chutneys are sort of like your grandmother's recipes, with a modern twist," Christine says. "One of my favorites is a blend of peach, pear, jalapeños, garlic and shallots. Top off your fish, smother a pork roast, give your sandwiches a zing, put it on a wedge of aged cheddar."
Up next for Heirloom Ventures: organic, vegan, gluten-free bake mixes for brownies and cupcakes called Complete Treats, packaged in fully compostable plant-based bags.
Each new Heirloom Ventures offering follows a simple principle: Use Old-World ideas about what defines good food and make them relevant for today's palates and lifestyles.
"Mark and I have always had an interest in food – how it was prepared, where the ingredients came from and how they were grown before they reached our table," Christine says. "Mark grew up farming with his father, who farmed with his father."
Mark now operates his own consulting company that focuses on sustainable land management and organic production, in addition to running Heirloom Ventures with wife Christine.
"I think there's a need for real products that aren't stuffed with filler ingredients," Christine says. "[We're] using real ingredients, treating them with care and providing them in a convenient form for the modern household."