small bites

Hummingbird Fine Foods

By Randi Donahue / Photography By Naomi Chokr | November 24, 2015
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Sarasota native Vaughn Dorrian could never have imagined that after a career in fashion PR and becoming mom of three, she’d be making a name for herself in the gourmet condiment business. But merely two years after her foray into the industry, Hummingbird Fine Foods is quickly catapulting to success.

Although Dorrian started her company in Manhattan (she still lives in New York) and has made waves nationally, she’s managed to keep her company’s roots firmly planted in her hometown.

“Being from Sarasota, it was really important to have part of the company based there,” says Dorrian, who regularly comes to Sarasota to be with friends and family.

Hummingbird Fine Foods is registered in Sarasota, and two of its successful products, the Moroccan Spiced Ketchup and Salsa de Serranos, are produced in the Sarasota/Bradenton area.

Growing up, Dorrian also spent a lot of time at her family home in the Bahamas. Since there weren’t always familiar products available there, her family cooked with whatever was fresh and available, which meant simple meals of fresh catches and local ingredients.

“We always had big spreads to celebrate the day’s bounty and were always making our own concoctions.”

As an adult and home cook, Dorrian found herself making salad dressings at home, and then by request for friends and family. She knew she was onto something, but it wasn’t until she observed two close family friends battle terminal cancer that she gained the confidence to finally start her company.

“They were waking up and fighting for their lives every day,” says Dorrian. “So I thought, if they can do that, I could have the guts to start a salad dressing company.” That inspiration remains at the forefront for Dorrian, who donates a portion of her sales proceeds to Cook for Your Life, a New York charity that helps cancer patients adjust their diets and cook their own healthy meals.

Once she knew what she wanted to do, Dorrian hired a food and recipe developer to help scale the recipes properly.

“I knew how to make a Mason jar full of salad dressing, but was not familiar with how to produce larger batches.”

Recognizing that people lean toward traditional with a twist these days, Dorrian chose not to stray too far from conventional flavors and condiments. Also answering to modern consumers’ distaste for the over-processed, her products contain no GMOs, no gluten, and no preservatives. If she isn’t willing to feed it to her kids, she isn’t going to sell it either.

Hummingbird Fine Foods products can be found at retailers like Sarasota’s Morton’s Gourmet Market. You can also buy direct through the company website.

And Dorrian’s reach is spreading: Hummingbird Fine Foods recently sold a variety of products to Home Goods.

Although Dorrian is excited about the national account, she maintains her moment of “business glory” is still the day her products hit the shelves at Morton’s—her favorite store as child and still today.

Hummingbird Fine Foods: hummingbirdfinefoods.com

Article from Edible Sarasota at http://ediblesarasota.ediblecommunities.com/eat/hummingbird-fine-foods
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