Meet Meg Barnhart, Zen Of Slow Cooking
The Zen Of Slow Cooking is a women owned business founded to help people find a little Zen in their lives through slow cooking. They run a food blog and manufacture spice blends crafted exclusively for the slow cooker and/or Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker.) Their award-winning blends feature premium, non-GMO, non-irradiated spices and are sold in various Whole Foods Markets, small specialty stores and online. A Certified B Corp and social impact business providing employment for adults with developmental disabilities, they also teach cooking classes to under-served populations.
What do you love about your business and industry?
Honestly - everything! The specialty food world is filled with passion and stories. We love helping people figure out ways to connect over the shared meal and are excited about creating work opportunities for adults in underserved populations.
What inspires you?
Anyone that throws their "hat" in the ring and tries to make a positive impact in the world.
What advice do you have for other creatives and entrepreneurs?
To ask yourself "why" am I doing this? Set your intention and surround yourself with people who share your passion, be prepared to work hard and have fun!
What's something surprising about you?
I'm comfortable leaning into my fears.
What's the most common question you get about you and your business?
"How did you come up with the idea?!"
Tell us about your process for making and creating.
My business partner, Jane McKay, hand-blended our first 10,000 spice blends. Today we have them co-packed by a spice purveyor and hand packed by adults with developmental disabilities.
Name three local makers and brands that you are inspired by and why.
We loved Ina Pickney (founder of Ina's Kitchen). Her journey as an entrepreneur and the work she has done to support victims of Polio is truly inspiring.
Kimberly Jung one of the co-founders of Rumi Spice. She was a West Point Graduate who fought in Afghanistan and went back to the country to re-build the saffron industry. I truly admire her dedication to make such a positive impact on the world.
My new friend, Jordan Buckner, founder of TeaSquares. Not only did he develop a healthy snack but is also creating employment in one of the poorest areas of Chicago.
What's the best advice you've ever been given and how has it shaped your business?
One of the best pieces of advice we received was from someone who told us to write 3-5 words to describe our business. That simple exercise took us hours to complete and framed the entire scope of our business. It helped us define our culture, vision, intention and put us on a path for growth. We use those 5 words whenever we need to make a critical decision.
Aren't all spices Non-GMO?
Yes but with so many spice blends containing fillers we felt it was important to customers to highlight that we are using "clean" ingredients.
How large is the slow cooking market?
There are over 21,000,00 homes that slow cook every other week. We are also converting our recipes for the Instant Pot. According to Amazon over 1/2 of all the US zip codes received an Instant Pot during the holidays.
Discover all about The Zen Of Slow Cooking at thezenofslowcooking.com