Niman Ranch warning

Many of you are familiar with Niman Ranch, based in Bolinas, California.   It’s a name that has been associated with humane, organic and sustainable farming.   Many of you may object to the idea that meat could ever be considered a meal with a conscience, but for those who refuse to give it up, Niman Ranch provided some solace. 

Well, be warned.  Niman Ranch is no longer what it used to be.  It was taken over in January and founder Bill Niman is angry about the direction that the new owners have taken with it.  In fact,  “he refuses to eat their products.”  
Read “Niman Ranch founder challenges new owners,” a featured article in the San Francisco Chronicle.  

Natural Products Expo WEST

The Natural Products Expo (West) is taking place next weekend, March 5-8, in Anaheim, California.   For those of you who work or associate in any way with the natural products industry, this is a fabulous place to network and to find out what’s new and happening in the market this year. 

From natural foods manufacturers, to grocers and independent retailers, health care practitioners, and even pet care products, you can find it all here.  It’s a fun and festive environment with free samples everywhere you look and a lot of great people to talk to behind those booths.  
Soy Happy won’t be attending this year, due to budgetary constraints, but we look forward to sharing updates and products from exhibitors and attendees.  Go visit our Affiliate, Lightlife Foods in Booth 2560!   Tell them hello if you get the opportunity to visit.

Lightlife turns 30!

Soy Happy is proud to promote Lightlife Foods as one of our Affiliate manufacturers. During the past several years, we have helped to introduce Lightlife’s veggie dogs to Major League Baseball stadiums.  Last season, they were offered by the Giants, Phillies, Dodgers, Mets and Padres.  

In addition to their veggie dogs, Lightlife makes a wonderful variety of meat-free, non-GMO products, including veggie burgers, vegetarian chili and quick microwavable meals.   They are very focused on creating good environmental policies and pursue a ‘green’ approach to manufacturing, in every way possible.  Their philosophy is this:

“From our beginnings to now, our mission remains the same.  We’re in this business because we care about the food that people eat and the earth on which we live, and we go to great lengths to ensure that our customers get the very best.”
Thirty years ago, Lightlife was started by a couple of “hippies” selling tempeh to local businesses.  They’ve come a long way.   Soy Happy extends a very warm and celebratory, “Happy Birthday, Lightlife!”

It’s baseball menu time!

(Photo by George Nikitin for the Los Angeles Times.)

Baseball stadiums are now preparing for the 2009 season.  This means that they are currently looking at their concession menus and assessing whether to keep, remove, or add any food items for the coming year.   Most Major League Baseball concession managers have recognized that there’s a fan base out there that wants healthier options and yummy vegetarian fare.  As of 2008, fifteen Major League stadiums offered veggie dogs to their fans.  (Check out the fab Phillies menu, too.  It’s fan-tastic!)  

This is the time to contact your favorite ballpark with your menu feedback!  They will be looking to fans’ comments as they finalize the 2009 concessions menu.   If they already offer the items you want, THANK them.  If they don’t yet offer veggie dogs or other options of your choosing, let them know you’d like them to do so.  Tell them Soy Happy is here to assist with samples and promotions, too.  (We’ve helped almost all of the existing veggie dog parks to date.  Our motto is to combine fun with profit.  We celebrate veggie menus!)
Help us help YOU by putting in your two cents at the ballparks you frequent.  Do it today. Every day, after all, is a Soy Happy Day.  If you’re interested in heading up the effort locally, and there’s no Soy Happy Manager listed for your stadium, contact us.  We welcome new SH Managers to our fabulous roster!
We’ll keep updating the site as we get new menu confirmations from ballparks.   If you have any updates for us, please let us know.  We rely on fans to keep us posted, too!

MaggieMudd in L.A.-have your say!

If you have not tried MaggieMudd’s Mudslinger’s Free Style dairy free ice cream, you’ve been missing out.   Those of us in the San Francisco Bay Area have been salivating over this delicious frozen dessert for years.  If you live in the L.A. area, you’ve only had the opportunity to purchase their fare at Whole Foods.  That might change!  Yesterday, Soy Happy received a query from MaggieMudd’s founder, Michael Juarez, asking for our suggestions on possible L.A. neighborhoods where they might open a shop.  We thought it’d be fun to take it directly to supporters in the area and get their feedback.  They said, “good idea!”

Here’s your chance to chime in.  Where do you think they should open a shop?  Do they open one in Santa Monica?  In Eagle Rock?  Studio City?  We want your suggestions. Where do you think a fabulous vegan ice cream maker should set up shop in L.A.?  Offer your comments below.  Or send an email our way and we’ll share it with them.  

CA Senate open to your input

For all you Californians, here’s some news I received from 9th District, California State Senator, Loni Hancock, whom I am proud to call my representative. She has joined Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez in announcing the newly revamped Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture. This committee is expanding its jurisdiction beyond issues of food production and will now look more broadly at issues related to sustainability and safety, as well as animal welfare reforms.


They created a website for the California Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture, to provide information on the change and to encourage public input. You can vote on which issue matters most to you and stay informed and active on policy discussions. Check it out!

Audubon Magazine: veg diets for the environment

This month, Audubon Magazine features an article by Mike Tidwell entitled, “The Low Carbon Diet.” It’s a fantastic essay on the connection between dietary choices and global warming.

Tidwell begins, “Full disclosure: I love to eat meat. I was born in Memphis, the barbecue capital of the Milky Way Galaxy. I worship slow-cooked, hickory-smoked pig meat served on a bun with extra sauce and coleslaw spooned on top.” He continues, “Even the cruelty of factory farming doesn’t temper my desire, I’ll admit. Like most Americans, I can somehow keep at bay all thoughts of what happened to the meat prior to the plate. So why in the world am I a dedicated vegetarian?…The answer is simple: I have an 11-year-old son whose future-like yours and mine- is rapidly unraveling due to global warming.”

Thank you to Karen Dawn and the fabulous DawnWatch for raising awareness to this article.

Vegetarian Teens

A recent Associated Press article, “First US count finds 1 in 200 kids are vegetarian,” written by medical writer Mike Stobbes, caught my attention. The statistics cited in the title come from a government study, but “other surveys suggest the rate could be four to six times that among older teens who have more control over what they eat than young children do.”

There’s a reason why the Healthy School Lunch Resolution was passed by a large majority of California’s legislature in 2003. They recognized that school lunches needed to accommodate students with a proclivity for vegetarian diets. Implementation? Well, that’s another story for another time. (Click on the link for some wonderful organizations that are focused on this issue.)

The rise in demand for vegetarian fare is notable among older teens and college students. College dining options have changed considerably over the past five years, in order to reflect that demand. This is what I emphasize to concession managers when I encourage them to add vegetarian options to their menus.

Anyway. The AP article does a good job of highlighting the increase in vegetarian teens, profiling a few individiduals as examples. Check it out.


The Fab Phillies Menu

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies on their 2008 World Series championship!

You could say that the Phillies’ Citizen’s Bank Park also takes the Soy Happy cake.  May Aramark’s Kevin Tedesco be an inspiration for all ballpark concession managers in 2009.
Check out these fun news stories:

On October 9, 2008 the Philadelphia Daily News ran a front page feature story, “Venue Vegan; Phillies Citizens Bank Park finds a winning combo with meatless menu.”
Also, watch a terrific 2008 opening day piece from Philadelphia’s ABC6 News.

If you are a foodservice director or concession manager, remember that Soy Happy has provided consultation and liaison services to dozens of MLB parks.  We are here to help you find the best veggie items for your venue.  We also promote the heck out of ’em by alerting your fans and local media when they become available.