A friend asked us the other day how our smoothie business is progressing and said she's been following our progress on the blog. She was interested in what happens before & after the smoothies are tested, re-tested, recipes are created and photos taken. So this is a quick behind-the-scenes of how we're setting up at the moment.
Later, I'll be happy to do a behind the scenes photo shoot. Before marketing & smoothies, I was a very happy little photographer doing commercial and food photography. It will be fun to jump into how we organise and take our photos later but let's take a peek behind the curtain of our current setup.
Food & Ingredients
If you're watching this blog very closely you'll see that there aren't yet any products for sale in the Nom Nom Smoothie shop. We are testing a variety of ingredients for flavour, nutritional information and consistency. So while we drink smoothies pretty much every day, our own products are still in processing. We want to ensure the absolute best for you when we do open.
So what do we use in the meantime? A few different things!
Test products - in the process of learning what works we need to know what doesn't and how they compare. We have tested (so far) four different protein powders (and 2 flavours of each) for a total of 8 unique protein powder flavours. Some are smooth and excellent. Others are chalky and really ruin nearly everything they touch.
Similarly, we have to test the consistency of our powder suppliers. Kale powder can be bright green, dark green or sort of what I called "moldy green." (YUCK!!!!) Again, we're trying a bit of everything before making our final choices.
For the record, kale powder should be light forest green and while it may clump a little, generally "powders" if you touch it.
Fruit & Veg - we buy our fruits and vegetables from the local markets whenever we have time to go out but on busy weekends will often just put a handful of bananas from Coles or Woolworth's in our basket. We use Coles frozen fruits as they taste really good and make our life very simple in the morning.
This is the fruits section of our freezer. You can see strawberries, blueberries, mixed berries, mango, cherries and a few others here.
Similarly, we often rely on frozen "fresh" fruits and vegetables as ingredients in our smoothies so we freeze pumpkin, avocado, bananas and other ingredients ourselves. Our frozen pumpkin and bananas aren't much to look at but you can see how we package them. Our extra large ice cube tray makes 1/2 cup servings so we boil one pumpkin, toss it in the blender by itself, and then freeze it in nearly-full 1/2 cup servings (nearly full because freezing things expands so if you fill right to the line, it overflows.)
Smoothie Blenders, Glasses and Photography
We have been making our smoothies in two blenders: a Nutrininja with small, medium and large cups and a Russell Hobbs blender that is definitely on the way out the door. The RH blender is only for large servings (when we're doing 2x recipes for both of us generally) or make-ahead smoothies that we can freeze and save.
We are looking into two nicer blenders both available in Australia (so if we like it, you can potentially have one, too!)
Once the companies get back to us and get our orders out we can do a bit of a test and see what we're going to do. We hope to It practically smells like smoke when you turn it on. It doesn't pull ingredients to the bottom of the pitcher. It can barely get through my frozen pumpkin and ... yeah, it's just not great.
We do love our NutriNinja - it's small for a lot of things we like to make but it's perfect for travel. I take mine to work pretty much every day and cleanup is so easy!
What else? Oh, we're accumulating quite the collection of smoothie glasses, mason jars, reusable straws and cool bowls. Have a look!
You can see some of the straws we have, a few of our new bowls and a really colourful placemat we love. We're getting there! Not every one of our smoothie photos will look alike soon. haha
So there you have it. You can see a bit of how we're doing what we're doing. We are a very, very small business today. Just Loretta and myself. We don't have a commercial kitchen. We don't have 50 (or even 5) employees. We pick up fruits and veggies from Coles, pop them in a blender and make healthy snacks happen.