In an ideal world, everyone would have the time and resources to grow their own cooking spices, even restaurants, but in the real world that just isn't the case. Quality herbs and spices are the keystone of good cooking, so it's important to spend some time choosing a spice wholesaler that can provide you with the quality and prices you need to do business.
Before committing to any spice wholesaler, it's important to sample their work and find out exactly where the products come from. Some may be grown locally, while others may be imported from India or elsewhere. Some of the products that importers of herbs and spices should carry are:
1. Cooking spices
2. Cooking herbs
3. Gourmet spices
Crunch the numbers when looking at spice wholesalersTypically, companies sell their spices in one-pound packages, with a few offering them in sample sizes of 4 or 6 ounces. The best way to compare differing quantities is to first figure out how much each spice costs per ounce and then compare them ounce for ounce. Keep in mind that some distributors may offer additional discounts for ordering more than one type of spice at a time.
Find out where the herb importers are getting the goodsGetting wholesale spices like bay leaves and thyme is easy, but finding more exotic seasonings can be a bit trickier. Once you find a few wholesalers that carry Mexican or Indian herbs, for example, test their quality and freshness to make sure that they're up to your restaurant's standards. Many companies will share the import process with you, so you can keep track of where your herbs and spices are coming from.
Skip the spice distributors and grow your ownA growing number of restaurants feel that fresh spices and herbs are critical, so they go the extra mile to grow their own. If you're in this group, there are cooking herb suppliers that specialize in helping small businesses grow their own herbs successfully. You'll receive the plants already grown, and all you have to do is replant and tend them as needed.
- For an extra touch, try grinding your own food spices. They'll taste fresher, and may be cheaper than if you bought them already prepared.