Pasta, Rice, Beads & Soups
11 Beans Soup
With a French bread and a green salad, this soup makes a hearty dinner for a crowd.
Ingredients: dried beans,peas,lentils and herbs (bay leaf,thyme,parsley).
It all began in 1986 when Trisha Anderson, a young literature graduate passionate about cooking, decided to help a friend who was organizing a Christmas event for a local market. Knowing Trisha had catering experience, her friend asked her to feature one of her products. Trisha herself prepared 275 brown paper bags with a hand-written label and filled them with a bean soup blend. At the market, she displayed them with a small sign saying, “A meal for 10 to 12 guests for only $6.” The soup was an undeniable hit, selling out by the end of the evening.
This soup, which marked the beginnings of Trisha’s company, was called Minnesota Heartland. Made with 11 kinds of legumes and fragrant with bouquet garni, this warming dish was a unanimous success, loved by young and old alike. That is what makes Frontier Soups so special: they are made for sharing around the family table. First inspired by Minnesota, where she started her family and began cooking for her husband and children, Trisha soon decided to continue her adventure by creating Dakota Territory Beef Barley Bean Stew and Illinois Prairie Corn Chowder. Drawing inspiration from people and ingredients from the four corners of the United States, the Frontier Soups company was born.
Armed with her three soups packed in boxes at the back of her truck, Trisha took her slow cooker, her apron and her ladle and set out to conquer small local markets in Milwaukee, Detroit and Chicago. She spoke personally to customers who stopped by her table, made them taste her products and asked for their impressions. With this unique sales technique, the small business stood out. Local markets offered a unique platform for Trisha's products, a highly innovative approach at the time.
It is worth remembering that when Minnesota Heartland was founded, nearly 30 years ago, it was much harder to source healthy ingredients and a wide variety of legumes. Trisha found her supplies in fine food stores and health food shops. By attending Fancy Food Shows and other industry events, she found a community of foodies and retailers just as passionate about cooking as she was, and equally focused on the quality of ingredients. Word of mouth also had a huge impact on the company’s success. Thanks to numerous sample tastings, Frontier Soups generated a lot of buzz: those who tasted the soups couldn’t help but sing their praises. “People need simple recipes, but they also want to cook flavourful, healthy meals for their families,” explains Trisha. “By adding a few fresh ingredients to our soup blends, they can prepare a complete, healthy, comforting meal in less than an hour.”
As Frontier Soups continued to grow, Trisha’s passion never weaned. For several years, she lives in the fast lane, constantly travelling from one food show to the next to set up her tasting table. When she had a few minutes to herself, between two flights or back home, she continued to create recipes, experiment with new ingredients and try out new flavours. When asked about her career’s turning point, Trisha replied that after attending one particular event, she realized she had sold over $40,000 worth of soups in one day! That is when she understood Frontier Soups was not just a hobby, but a solid business with tangible success.
Today, to meet a continuously growing demand, the company no longer prepares soups by hand but uses commercial techniques. While it now offers 36 different flavours, it still embraces the values of simplicity and quality that guided Trisha in the beginning. Supported by a team as passionate as she is, Trisha still finds inspiration in the meals she cooks for her family to create a wide variety of delicious chilies, soups and stews requiring minimal preparation. Still deeply involved in her company’s activities, Trisha now counts on the help of her husband and children to manage Frontier Soups, in particular her son Matt, who has taken over as president and CEO.
When Trisha comes home from work these days, she continues to dream in her kitchen with the same passion that has carried her business all these years. When asked about the secret of Frontier Soups’ success, she replies, “I started out doing something I knew and loved: cooking.” Trisha still cooks for her husband, her children and her mother, her greatest inspiration since childhood. Her strength, resilience and ingenuity were passed on to her by Mrs. Jane Clarke, now 94 years old and still full of life. It is thanks to these qualities and to the passion that drives her that Trisha Anderson created a versatile, premium quality product that warms us from the first bite.