People We Love: Annie’s Naturals Salad Dressings

My first trade show I saw her, looking like my friend Byron Stookey’s mom, somewhat hippie, somewhat suburban, all combined to looking pretty cool. I think it was 1986, perhaps in Las Vegas at the Nutritional Foods Association Show or maybe it was Anaheim. (Note to self: time for more ginkgo!) She was selling her salad dressing, something that at that time saved me from my sadness over leaving home, and leaving my mother’s fine tuned vinaigrette.

Today, I’ve mastered my mother’s touch at making my greens sparkle; yet I still love Annie’s Goddess and Shitake dressings. And even more, I love the idea that someone from Vermont made a small splash, not only on salads, but also in the lives of lots of people I know who swear, with apologies to Paul Newman, “Annie’s is the only packaged salad dressing I ever buy.”

They mastered the art of growing sales with classics, innovating on the way, sometimes with success (think vinegar-free) sometimes without (think herbal enhanced dressings) and in the process adding mustards and sauces along the way, all with the same great taste and the same great label that makes me think of leaving home, tossed and turned along the way, before I knew how to cook. Thanks for the memories.

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