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Good health and good taste compelling combo for local spice maven

Aga Wajda Plytta knows taste is just one component of food. As a chartered herbalist, she pays close attention to the healthful properties of spices, spreading their goodness through food and drink on a daily basis.

For the last two years, Wajda Plytta has been building a business based on her passion for health and flavour. It’s called Herbologie, and was inspired both by her parents, and her travels. Now, the entrepreneur hopes to expand her business through a $5,000 infusion of cash via ATB BoostR, a crowdfunding platform sponsored by Alberta Treasury Branch that ends Feb. 28.

“I have a background in herbalism, and the business marries culinary with wellness in this synergistic way by introducing flavour and other functions into our food,” says Wajda Plytta, who is a wildlife biologist in her day job.

Her parents are from Poland, where there is a strong belief in the value of herbs and spices to improve health. Indeed, the thrust can also be seen in Canada, and there are studies (yes, studies) that assert the link between some spices and good health.

Waida Plytta works directly with spice farms, and also has a supplier in the U.S. who helps with the import of spices from places like Tanzania and Spain. She also works with Alberta’s Chickadee Farms in Flatbush, which supplies ingredients for an edible flower blend. Herbologie carries 10 single origin spices, and six botanical blends made from plant material, such as roots, flowers, and leaves in a powder form.

The spices are boutique products, and the prices are 10 to 20 per cent more than for a comparable bottle in the grocery store, but Wajda Plyatt says they are fresh, and so customers use less than with commercial varieties. A small container (roughly 65 grams) typically runs from $9 to $13, and a 120-gram bottle costs between $10 and $20, depending on the spice.

“I hand bottle and label everything and work with local designers, so now we’re looking at the next step, more scaling up, including the labour to help with that,” she says. “Currently, it’s just myself, but the tipping point is starting to happen in the business and the extra funds are needed to get where we want to go.”

The ATB BoostR campaign is part of the ATB’s Build Her Business program, which helps female-led businesses to grow. Hundreds of women applied to be tutored by the Build Her Business program, and 25 (including Wajda Plytta) made it to the stage of this particular BoostR crowdfunding effort. Four women who meet or exceed their financial goals will be chosen by ATB for further support, including a mentorship with Dragon Den’s Manjit Minhas and $5,000 in cash (in addition to what the entrepreneur raises herself).

I recently sampled Waida Plytta’s spices during a demo at Culina Muttart. I can’t speak to their healthful properties, but in combination with chef Larissa’s dish, they were delicious.

“I bring forward the flavour profile and the functionality and you put it in to your lifestyle as you see fit,” says Wajda Plytta.

Through the ATB BoostR campaign, Wajda Plytta offers a range of Herbologie products as incentives for contributing to the campaign, including a spice-of-the-month option and an herbal mixture to combat the negative side effects of caffeine.

“Herbs and spices are holistic. It’s like meat — you get protein, but other things as well,” says Wajda Plyatt. “That’s the biggest thing that comes with the knowledge of herbs and spices; you learn they are very holistic in their influence on the body as a whole.”

lfaulder@postmedia.com

Follow  me on Twitter @eatmywordsblog

Article source: https://edmontonjournal.com/life/food/good-health-and-good-taste-compelling-combo-for-local-spice-maven