Why We Fill to Order
I was having an email conversation with a new potential customer earlier this week who is a long time customer of Penzeys. She wanted to know how we compared to them. Penzeys is a great company and I have never heard anything bad about them and they’ve certainly earned “King of the Hill” status when it comes to specialty spice companies. All I could really tell her is what we do and what our commitments are to deliver over-the-top service and the quality of our spices.
This particular conversation popped into my head again when we had some first time local restaurant operators stop by our facility for an appointment the next day. Now, as I’ve mentioned before, we love giving “the grand tour” of our place.
One of the things that we always mention as we walk around the various areas is that you won’t find jars of spices and seasonings on our shelves that are already pre-filled and are waiting to ship (or to buy and walk out the door by our local customers). This was done on purpose from the very beginning. While it would certainly make us more operationally efficient, it would take away from the quality of the spices and seasonings.
Freshness and Quality Matter!
We’re grinding spices every day of the week. Some days it’s the smell of freshly ground cumin as it makes its way around our building and the next day it might be allspice, cardamom or coriander that has just been ground. We’re also hand blending spice blends every day. John, our Master Blender, might be concocting the latest batch of Blackened Seasoning, 18 Spice Chicken Rub or Moroccan Vegetable. Some days he only has to mix 4 or 5 blends and other days it can be 20+. His spice blend batches are big enough to fill about a week's worth of expected orders. We only grind and blend when we need more to fill that day’s orders.
We do this so that we are filling each order that comes in with spices and seasonings that are as fresh as possible when our customers buy them. The flavor profile of freshly ground spices (and the blends that they are used in) is so much more robust when it is done this way. This is a detail that we feel there can be no shortcuts or built in efficiencies.
You’ll find when you receive one of our spices, seasonings or chiles that we have the packaged date (by month and year i.e. 3/15) on the label. We recommend that ground spices and seasonings provide maximum flavor if used within 12-18 months of purchase and whole seeds and dried chiles within 2 years. This date is done so that you have a better idea of how long you’ve had a spice (I always have a bit of distrust with “Best if Used By” dates).
So if you place an order by 2pm today you are guaranteed that we filled your jar or bag with spices or seasonings that day.