Husband and wife duo Shuli and Ronit Madmone founded Whole Spice, a Napa Valley company dedicated to the production of spices and herbs, in 2000. Having had experience in the business through his parents’ spice shop in the 1970s, Shuli decided to open his own outlet in the United States. Although sourcing products from all over the world (including India, Morocco, Israel, and South America), the couple is quick to note that all purchases depend on quality. “Each season, we may purchase herbs and spices from different origins,” explains Ronit. “It all depends on the quality of the products.” Their dedication to excellence also translates into in-house grinding and roasting practices.
We chat with Ronit about the company’s origins, the importance of spices and herbs in a diet, and more.
KA: When and how was Whole Spice founded?
WS: Shuli and I founded Whole Spice in 2000. Shuli grew up in the spice business in Israel. His family came from Yemen and were growers of paprika and other spices in the Negev Desert. They opened a spice shop in 1970 and Shuli decided to continue their business in the United States. We started the business with 60 products, and, today, we have developed a line of 1,200 products. We have expanded the spice business to include the exotic world of flavor blends.
KA: What makes your products different from similar ones on the market?
WS: Freshness is a top priority, so we grind our spices daily. Also, in developing herb and spice blends from around the world, we strive to recreate the authentic flavors of each product’s origin.
KA: Walk us through the creation of your products.
WS: First, we make sure that all of the spices and herbs we buy are in good condition and remove any excess stems or seeds. We select only the best of the bulk. Our unique formula for developing the perfect spice blend begins after we have experimented with different recipes for each blend. This allows us to make the necessary adjustments in flavor and quantity.
We then provide the formula to our team so they can make the first batch for us to sample and review. At this stage, we inform our team if any of the spices require additional roasting or if any seeds need to be removed (in the case of chilies). We describe for them exactly how the spice blend should be in terms of consistency and texture.
When the blend is ready to be shared with our customers, our professional staff handles all online and phone orders in an efficient and timely manner. Our made-to-order process is one of our most successful features at Whole Spice, there is no amount that is too small or too large to fill.
KA: What do people not know about herbs and spices?
WS: First, many people do not know what a difference freshness makes, especially if they have been buying large jars of spice in supermarkets and keeping them a long time. Also, many people don’t know what a variety of spices there is to discover and how a little spice or an herb blend can transform an ordinary dish, such as rice, into something exotic and delicious.