“In Australia, we had a really big “Buy Local” movement back in the 80’s. Coming to Canada in 1996, I never noticed that kind of a push here so much. Since being involved with the Farmers Markets through my business, I feel it now. Covid-19 has made it even more important to support your local environment, local farmers, and local shops. Putting back into your community will be better for everybody.”
Founders, Moe and Parviz, both come from restaurant backgrounds and started making pesto and tapenade. It all began with the hunt for a fresh pesto. Moe couldn’t find a simple, fresh pesto with no preservatives in any grocery stores. Why isn`t anyone selling dips and spreads with fresh ingredients? The hunt became the mission for BobAli Foods.
VOICE(V): “Please tell us more about how you started BobAli Foods.”
Moe(M): “BobAli is a homage to my father and Parviz’s father – Bob and Ali.
We began selling at Farmers’ Markets in 2012 with just pesto and tapenade. Those were 2 things that I always used at the restaurant on charcuterie board and platters, but to be honest, not many people were familiar or liked tapenades at the market! (Tapenade is olive based spread, and it goes lovely with cheese!) Another vendor had asked me to start making hummus for them. That’s when we started to bloom. Hummus is still about 70% of our sales, compared to tapenade and pesto.
The thing is, we don’t just make a plain hummus. We make different and a unique variety of hummus as well as tapenade and pesto. All of our 7 varieties of hummus are made with fresh lime juice, garlic, tahini, and extra-virgin olive oil, including Roasted Garlic & Truffle Hummus and Miso, Sesame & Horseradish Hummus. Our newest addition is Kimchi Hummus, because there is a Korean lady in our commissary kitchen making amazing Kimchi and I love Kimchi! So, we collaborated together with the hummus. We do 4 varieties of tapenade, including Fig & Orange Tapenade, and 2 flavors for pesto: Cilantro, Basil, Jalapeno & Lime Pesto and Cilantro, Mint & Lime Pesto.
Everything is vegan, we use extra-virgin olive oil, and no preservatives added. All our herbs come locally in the summer. Our focus is to keep it really simple and really fresh.”
V: “Speaking of freshness, how long does your product last?”
M: “The product’s shelf life is about 6 weeks. Because our dips don’t have any preservatives or extra stuff added, they will last in the fridge for up to 5 days once opened. If you can’t finish within 5 days, they freeze well for up to 3 months. ”
V: “How has Covid-19 changed the Farmers’ Markets scene?”
M: “We’ve been doing the Farmers Markets for 8 years, and feel very fortunate to be established in the market scene. Most customers are familiar with our products but we’ve seen many new customers this past year coming out to support their local food businesses. With the new Covid-19 protocols, we were not able to sample our dips anymore but thankfully people are understanding about the changes and still shop. We are doing Riley Park Winter Market every Saturday and Hastings Park Winter Market every 2nd Sunday until the end of March.
We are really thankful to have regular Farmers Markets through these times, and also we are very lucky that everything is made here locally including our packaging. Containers are made in Langley and labels are made in Coquitlam. If our product were in glass, things would have been more difficult.”
V: “How has Covid-19 affected your personal life?”
“The year 2020 was so crazy! My partner, Parviz, went back to Iran on December 8th of 2019. He went home for the second time in 40 years. Initially, he was going for 2 months, but in the beginning of January 2020, a Ukrainian airplane was shot down at the Tehran airport and his return flight was cancelled. Soon after, Iran was hit hard with Covid-19. Parviz is still in Iran, caring for his 90 year old mother! We’ve been apart for over a year now, but we keep in touch everyday through WhatsApp. I joke that 2020 is my sabbatical year!”
Moe is fun and bold, and her personalities surely reflect on her hand-produced, flavorful hummus, tapenade, and pesto. Can’t wait for more BobAli Foods punchy flavours!
You can find BobAli Foods in many local retailers, including East Van Food Co-op, SPUD, Whole Foods, Donald’s Market, Stong’s , Nourish Market, and Queensdale Market. (Many locations in the North Shore!)
Moe’s Favorite: The pesto! It is her jam! It goes nicely with anything. It makes a great topping over scramble eggs.
VOICE Community: Sriracha Revolver Hot Sauce