Bone broth, a food with ancient roots, has made a comeback. It’s known to help improve gut and joint health, boost immunity, and heal wounds. Bone broth is especially popular in Whole30 circles as a stand-alone drink or as an ingredient in a recipe. Husband and wife Ryan and Katherine Harvey are right in the mix of things with their Whole30 Approved company, Bare Bones Broth. They sell shelf stable broths and collagen peptides online and at a variety of markets across the country. We caught up with Katherine Harvey to learn more about the company’s origins, values, and mission.
Tell us a little about your story – How did Bare Bones Broth come to be?
Ever since his father died of a heart attack at 39 years of age, my husband Ryan has been passionate about health and nutrition.
Ryan was working in a San Diego fine dining restaurant back in 2013 when he realized two things:
1) He didn’t want to work in food service for the rest of his life and
2) He was drinking stock on a regular basis to sustain himself during service, since he had no time to eat anything else.
He appreciated that it was not only nourishing, but also tasty. He recognized right away that it was different from the stuff sold in stores, so he set out to make chef-quality stock, or “bone broth,” as he called it, accessible and available to everybody. He started simmering bone broth on our home stove – something we would be too afraid to do now that we have a better understanding of health codes and USDA regulations.
Our best friend happened to be a web developer, so we threw a website up and started selling online and shipping frozen broth across the country. We were selling maybe $300/week in the early days. Things really took off for us when Chef Marco Canora started selling bone broth by the cup out a window in Manhattan’s East Village (for $9/cup!). This made bone broth a national sensation, and at the time we were one of I think two companies making and shipping it nationwide. It was the classic “right place at the right time” scenario. Which really just means working hard and being ready when opportunity comes knocking.
Why was it important for you to become a Whole30 Approved company?
When we first started, Whole30 was relatively unknown, but many of our early adopters – Paleo Crossfit types – were big on Whole30. It was one of the only certifications we could afford at the time, too. USDA Organic was way too far out of our reach, but we knew our potential customers knew and trusted the Whole30 brand.
Tell us a little bit about your company culture and social values!
We’ve grown a lot over the years, but Bare Bones is still mostly run by Ryan and myself. We are both wildly passionate about using food as medicine. I have a very personal relationship with food, because I “cured” my arthritis by following a Paleo diet when I was 26. It may not have been 100% cured, but I no longer experienced pain in my feet after 7 years of excruciating pain whenever I was on my feet. It was miraculous. We value helping others – through food and any other means at our disposal. We also value our natural resources, and work tirelessly to advance a more sustainable food system.
Finally, we’re big on transparency and constant learning. We said and did some things early on that just weren’t well-informed, and we have had to backpedal on those. Like we thought frozen was the only way you could make and deliver a high-quality bone broth, and even went so far as to say so, and imply that bone broth made any other way was inferior. We were dead wrong about that. We have learned so much over the years about how technology, used the right way, empowers us to deliver real food and true nourishment in more convenient ways than ever before.
Bone broth and stock are classic foods that people have been making for ages. Why are they now such an important part of the modern diet?
We laugh about this all the time – that bone broth, or stock, is such a “trendy” food now. Because you’re right, these foods are as old as boiling water. The truth is, since man learned to hunt, they have always been an important part of virtually every diet in every culture. But the Industrial Revolution got a lot of people excited about ways to maximize profits by making what we call “food” less and less like its plant and animal origins. They started putting cheap fillers in everything without really thinking about the long-term effects on our environment and health.
Why bone broth is so important now is that we’re realizing it’s been done wrong for decades, and we’re just going back to basics. Bone broth, made properly, is an easy way to add flavor and nutrients to virtually everything we cook and eat.
We know it’s hard to choose a favorite child – but which is your favorite flavor of Bare Bones Broth and why?
I am in love with our Organic Turkey Bone Broth, because it tastes like Thanksgiving. It’s so clean and “roasty” and just warms my soul.
Want to try products from Bare Bones Broth? Shop online at www.barebonesbroth.com and use the code “SEPTW30B15” for 15 percent off your order in September!