The Salad Girl Organic Dressing Company sprouted from a summer job I had as a teenager in the early 70’s working as a dishwasher at Maddens Resort in northern Minnesota. All summer long, when I wasn’t tediously washing dishes, part of my duties were to assist the “Salad Girl” with her chores.
The “Salad Girl,” who was a few years older than me, had worked her way from dishwasher to her position. She patiently taught me how to peel a carrot in under 8 seconds, how to carve a beautiful rosebud out of a local radish, and how to artfully arrange veggies for the resorts famous relish trays.
My favorite part of the Salad Girl's job was when she crafted the “House Made Salad Dressings." I would watch in awe while she carefully measured and whisked together a variety of delicious, fresh ingredients to magically create the best tasting homemade dressings and vinaigrettes.
Oh, how I wished I could do that job someday. Fortunately, the odds were in my favor because the “Salad Girl” needed to return to college before the end of the summer, and I was promoted to being the “Salad Girl” for the rest of the season!
At that time, I had no idea this chance introduction to fresh produce preparation would lead to a life-long love for eating and preparing fresh, organic salads or that someday I would pay homage to this wonderful summer job by naming an organic salad dressing company after it.
My husband, Jim, and I put ourselves through college and art school running an organic food catering business called “Obscene Cuisine." Hand-crafting unique salads with home made, fresh artisan vinaigrettes and fresh, seasonal, organic ingredients was definitely my forte. Soon our customers, as well as family members and friends, began ordering my vinaigrettes for parties and as gifts, always commenting on "how nice & convenient" it would be to be able to buy all of my fresh, organic salad dressings (made without added preservatives, cane sugars and high fructose corn syrup) at their local market.
I often dreamed of bringing my recipes to the marketplace, and just by chance, I ended up painting a mural for one of the most prominent grocery stores in our town, Kowalski's Markets. When I finished my artwork, I presented my line of organic, fresh salad dressings to the owners, and they graciously set up a meeting for me with the company's new product category director. I made my presentation to corporate management, they loved my dressings, and invited us to bring them to their refrigerated produce shelves once we had them bottled.
Jim and I spent the winter of 2006 taking classes on how to start a food business and how to bottle a salad dressing product. We began meeting with folks in the local food community in our city and a wise food business owner suggested we carefully test the waters to see if there was really a market for a fresh, organic salad dressing.
So, in the summer of 2007 with loads of help and much encouragement from family and friends, my husband, son, and his wife (Nick and Anna pictured above) rented a small kitchen at our local armory and began bottling our preserve free, uncooked, fresh, organic vinaigrettes. We set up a booth at one of the coolest farmers markets in town located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis called the “Mill City Farmers Market.” To our delight, our dressings sold out every weekend!
One good thing led to another, and the we were invited, as promised, onto the refrigerated shelves of Kowalski's Markets. By March of 2008, we leapt from the stepping stone of our small, commercial kitchen to being crafted by a local Minnesota organic co-packer enabling us to scale up production and fill our first order for all eight Kowalski's Markets.
Salad Girl actually became the first Certified Organic, Fresh Dressing for Fresh Greens on the refrigerated shelves in Minnesota. From Kowalski’s Markets, we expanded in the Twin Cities to Whole Foods Markets, Lunds & Byerlys, and almost all of our metro co-ops. In 2012, we gained shelf space at all the Whole Foods Markets throughout the Midwest, including 20+ stores in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. We were also brought into Mariano's first twelve stores and have grown with them as they have expanded to 40+ plus stores in Chicagoland. During the past few years, we were invited onto the shelves of Hy-Vee's, Jerry's Foods, Cub Foods, and Coborn's in Minnesota as well as Midwest Super Targets, 175+ East coast Targets, and all Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets.
Our delicious assortment of Salad Girl Organic Dressings are inspired by seasonal garden flavors and are made with only the finest and freshest organic ingredients sourced as close to home as possible. Salad Girl dressings are preservative free, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy free, cane sugar, corn syrup free, certified kosher, and organic.
For vegans who eat honey, all of our dressings are a wonderful choice. For vegans who don't eat honey, we offer four totally vegan dressings -- Crisp Apple Maple, Pomegranate Pear, Citrus Splash, and our "balsamic-like" Dark Cocoa & Sea Salt.
Salad Girl’s inventive and vibrant flavor combinations will not only complement fresh greens, vegetables, and fruits but definitely add an incredible flavor blast when drizzled as a finishing sauce for fried rice & veggies, couscous, quinoa, ramen noodles, and fresh pasta. Our vinaigrettes also provide a marvelous marinade and delectable dipping sauce for grilled meats, poultry, and fish (and french fries I hear, according to my grandkids).
Our Promise To You: The Salad Girl Organic Dressing Company believes eating fresh, organic goodness benefits us individually, communally, and environmentally. We are committed to bringing healthy, safe, and tasty organic products to your table.
Thank you & Enjoy!!
Pam & Jim Powell