Categorize a snack as part of the raw food movement and you might anticipate piles of chopped vegetables topped with sprouts and mushy fruits. Add the words wheat-free and gluten free and you might be further tempted to dismiss the snack as tasteless and bland.
You don't expect to bite into a crispy cracker snack topped with rosemary and garlic. Wait, weren't we talking about raw foods? Aren't crackers usually baked?
So how does Baeza make a healthy snack disguised as a cracker from raw ingredients?
A food is considered raw if it is processed at temperatures between 40 and 115 degrees. Proponents of this type of eating believe that processing foods at higher temperatures can deplete the health benefits of the food. According to Baeza this is particularly true of flax, one of the main ingredients in her crackers.
When flax is baked at high temperatures, it loses valuable enzymes. Baeza soaks the flax in her recipes to release the natural oils and allow the body to digest it. Mixing the flax with other seeds, like sesame, she creates the cracker using a dehydration method. This method keeps the mixture below 115 degrees for several days, while removing moisture to produce a crisp cracker. The result is a snack that tastes good, but is also actually good for you.
Baeza, a mother of two and life-long vegetarian, believes in adding healthy options to her diet. But she knows everyone isn't sold on her lifestyle, so she likes to convince them by disguising her vegetarian ingredients in tasty recipes. She has been known show up at a party with a dip, only revealing her secret - and surprisingly healthy ingredients after the bowl has been scraped clean.
This aspect of the business is what fuels Baeza to work long and often odd hours while juggling her busy family life. She bakes at night, works on paperwork while her kids are napping, and takes her youngest on deliveries with her. But the former technology sales person says that she gets a thrill from converting consumers, who she says approach her market booth with the "no face," but almost always leave with bags of crackers after tasting the products.
Baeza started the business two years ago and in just a short time she has created a sizable demand for the product, selling round 750 bags of Raging Raw Organic crackers each week. Baeza has recently added cookies to the mix and plans to introduce pastas. She is working on expanding her industrial kitchen space and plans to market Raging Raw regionally.
Raging Raw Organic products can be found at over 13 grocery stores, including a much sought after spot on the shelves of Phoenix area Whole Foods Market and at almost every local farmers market. Check the website at www.ragingraw.com for more information.