About this project
What is Heather's Choice?
Heather's Choice® is a line of dehydrated meals and snacks for adventuring. Established in Alaska, we first started supplying food for our adventurous friends in 2014. Since then, our meals have traveled world wide, from the top of Everest to the beaches of New Zealand and beyond!
Originally created for those who rely on lots of calories to fuel them in the backcountry, our meals provide healthy, lightweight, sustainably sourced food without sacrificing taste. What we've come to find out is that people from all walks have recognized the importance of our meals; sailors, pilots, military personnel, and those who value emergency preparedness.
We use the highest quality proteins to create balanced, satisfying meals. Our current menu includes smoked wild caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, 100% grass-fed bison, 100% grass-fed elk, as well as humanely harvested venison, antelope and quail. These proteins not only provide you with high-quality nutrition, but are also sourced in a way that's environmentally friendly.
All of our meals and snacks are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, Paleo-friendly and nutritionally balanced. Our Buckwheat Breakfasts and Packaroons™ are also vegan friendly! With each package, you get the correct balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat to keep you fueled when you need it most.
The Heather's Choice Difference
Why dehydrated? We're glad you asked!
We like dehydrated foods for a lot of reasons; the first being that they condense down to be smaller than freeze-dried food (so they take up less space in your pack).
Second, we're able to fully cook recipes together in a great big stock pot (much like you would at home) and then dehydrate the fully cooked meal on our dehydrator trays. When you add hot water to the bag, your meal tastes just like it would at home!
One of the most important reasons we prefer dehydrating food is because it requires less energy to preserve a product. With just a little bit of heat and a little bit of air movement, one can easily preserve food for years. Compare that to freeze-drying, which is one of the MOST energy intensive forms of preservation.
We're the first dehydrated backpacking food company to source high-quality, sustainable ingredients. Humanely raised, 100% grass-fed elk and bison? Wild-caught Alaskan salmon? We'd be hard-pressed to believe that any conventional meat out there tastes better than what we put into our products!
Not only do we put an emphasis on healthy, high quality protein, we also make sure all of our meals are nutritionally balanced. This way, you aren't simply getting a big bag of carbohydrates - you're getting high energy fats, carbohydrates, and satisfying protein. Each of our dinner meals contain the equivalent of six ounces of protein, which will keep you feeling satisfied long after you finished your meal.
Have you ever eaten another backpacking meal and swelled up like a balloon from all of the sodium? You won't experience that with Heather's Choice! We use a minimal amount of salt in our recipes, because too much salt can cause you to retain water and will actually inhibit the rehydration of food.
When we first started Heather's Choice, we knew we wanted nice, small packaging that would fit easily into a backpack. Plus, we wanted our bags to be short enough that you could eat from the bag with a regular ol' spork without having to stick your entire hand in the bag.
After a year in a business, we're now looking to perfect our packaging. However, in order to do this we have to order 75,000 pouches! That's a lot of bags, and they're not free!
With your help, we'll be able to purchase our ideal sized packaging, giving Heather's Choice the smallest packaging of any backpacking food on the market! This is great for you because it means you can fit more food in your backpack, and stay out for longer periods of time!
If we surpass our initial goal, we'll put that extra money towards the purchase of an additional commercial dehydrator to help us fill all of those bags!
Who We Are.
My name is Heather and I'm an evolutionary sports nutritionist and certified psychology of eating coach. I've had the pleasure of working with hundreds of people from all around the world to help them develop healthy nutrition plans, and it's my personal mission to teach everyone how to feed themselves in a delicious, satisfying way. I was born and raised in Bird Creek, Alaska which I still call home today.
While packing for a trip on the Sanctuary River through Denali National Park four years ago, I was blown away by the lack of wholesome, lightweight and shelf-stable foods available to take with me. After three days of backpacking with a bear canister full of dry salami, canned salmon and dried fruit, I knew there had to be a better way.
From there my love of dehydrating food was born! I bought a small, five tray dehydrator and began experimenting with the recipes that would eventually become Heather's Choice. It's been a fun five years in the kitchen!
With Heather's Choice, I hope to inspire people to enjoy health-promoting whole foods and to be conscious of how their food is sourced. We all deserve to have a satisfying relationship with food, and a big part of that is knowing that the food we are eating is not only healthy for us, but for the planet as well.
What's In the Bag?
Currently, we have five flavors of our Buckwheat Breakfast, five flavors of Packaroons™, and five dinner entrees. Here's our current adventure menu line up:
Buckwheat Breakfast Flavors:
Blueberry Cinnamon. Pie Spiced Apple. Strawberry Vanilla. Spiced Raisin. Banana Nutmeg.
Buckwheat. Flax seeds. Chia seeds. Coconut milk power (coconut milk. non-gmo tapioca.). Flaked coconut. Dried Fruit. Spices. Sea Salt.
Sweet Coconut. Lemon Lavender. Spiced Cocoa. Black Espresso. Orange Vanilla Bean.
Shredded coconut. Organic coconut oil. Organic maple syrup. Spices. Sea salt.
Smoked Sockeye Salmon Chowder
Wild caught Alaskan sockeye salmon. Peas. Carrots. Potatoes. Coconut milk powder (coconut milk. non-gmo tapioca.). Dill. Cayenne. White Pepper. Sea Salt.
100% Grass-Fed Elk Shepherd's Pie
100% grass-fed elk from The Honest Bison. Purple potatoes. Sweet potatoes. Tomatoes. Onions. Carrots. Celery. Zucchini. Yellow Squash. Garlic. Thyme. Rosemary. Sage. Marjoram. Sea Salt. Black Pepper.
Dark Chocolate 100% Grass-fed Bison Chili
100% grass-fed bison from The Honest Bison. Tomatoes. Yams. Onions. Cocoa Powder. Garlic. Oregano. Chili Powder. Cumin. Espresso Powder. Allspice. Sea Salt.
Tomatillo Venison Rancheros
Humanely harvested wild venison. Onions. Green Peppers. Tomatillos. Jalapeños. Garlic. Green Chiles. Cumin. Chili powder. Oregano. Lime juice. Cilantro. Sea salt. Black pepper.
Chipotle Cherry Chili
Humanely harvested Texas quail. Tomatoes. Carrots. Bing cherries. Garlic. Chili powder. Apple cider vinegar. Cumin. Sea salt. Black pepper.
Who Is This For?
Food is arguably the most valuable supply for you to bring on any backcountry trip, and healthy food options are of the utmost importance.
We were surprised to find that our customers included much more than backpackers, hikers, and climbers! We've received orders from recreational boaters, fishermen, hunters, sailors, military personnel, firefighters, pilots, emergency preppers, and more! Anyone can use Heather's Choice meals or snacks in their bag just in case!
What Are People Saying
"I can honestly, no bullshit guarantee you will not be disappointed if you give them a try. If you’re even remotely serious about the quality of your food and try to eat a healthy, balanced nutrient dense diet throughout the year the days of compromising while on the hunt are behind you. In my opinion, the previously undisputed King of Backcountry Meals has been de-throned. There’s a new Queen in town."
Adam Janke Editor in Chief at The Journal of Mountain Hunting
"Heather’s Choice is the perfect option for any adventurer with a high standard for eating while in the backcountry. They may cost more than the leading brands, but the payoff is in the quality. No more choking down barely palatable food for dinner! With Heather’s Choice, you’ll eat as well, or better, than you do in town."
Clint Helander Mountaineer, Freelance Journalist for The Alpinist
"We took Heather's Choice to Kyrgyzstan and China in search of technical first ascents in remote locations. Heather's Choice meals fueled our climbing, and we came back with a first ascent and the second highest point reached on another coveted project with many attempts. Thank Heather!"
Benjamin Erdmann + Samuel Johnson Alaskan Mountaineers
"The food was AWESOME! We were super happy with the meals and looked forward to them every night. Breakfasts were great, loved the blueberry especially, but they were all really good!"
Kelly + Rebecca Chilkoot Trail Hikers
Where Can I Order Heather's Choice?
If you're going on ANY adventures in 2016, we would love it if you stocked up on food for your trips right now by making a pledge to our Kickstarter. We're chomping at the bit to start making your meals for you and will deliver by June of 2016 at the latest. This will get your meals to you in time for the summer camping season!
If you need meals and snacks sooner than that, you can visit our website http://www.heatherschoice.com to order today.
If we surpass our fundraising goal, we have a boatload of new products we would like to release, as well as more dehydrators to purchase! Help us bring to life our full adventure menu, which includes more dinner entrees, new breakfast options, Heather's Little Helper Snack Packs, hot drinks, desserts, and more!
As our business grows, we hope our menu does too.
Risks and challenges
From the beginning, our largest obstacle has been satisfying the demand. Great food takes time ;)
We source specific, high-quality ingredients and want to continue doing so. The challenge thus far has been finding a way to reduce other costs (like ordering bulk packaging) to help off-set the higher costs of our premium ingredients. This Kickstarter campaign will help us with our cost of goods sold immensely. By decreasing our packaging costs, we also hope to be able to work with more wholesalers who will be able to carry our goods in their stores. This way, you the adventurer will be able to swing by your local shop to stock up on healthy, delicious meals and snacks for your next trip.
In the event of a HUGE amount of support from Kickstarter, it could take us a little while to source and cook and dehydrate all of our meals, but we will be aiming to have all of our meals and snacks delivered in time for the 2016 camping season.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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