Good To-Go: Delicious Dehydrated Meals Made In Maine

Camping & Backpacking / ZZBLOG POSTS

When it comes to choosing what kind of food to bring on a weekend camp-out or multi-day backpacking trip, convenience is king. You want easy to prepare meals with ingredients that won’t spoil, spill, or attract the attention of the furry local residents who are every bit as hungry as you are. For these reasons and many more, freeze-dried, boil-in-a-bag meals are popular alternatives to pre-mixing, storing and preparing your own breakfasts, lunches and dinners in the backcountry.

The do-it-yourself version of a pre-packaged, easy to to make meal as prepared by the ladies of Dirty Gourmet. View the original post here: http://blog.emsoutdoors.com/5-must-try-backpacking-recipes/

The do-it-yourself version of a pre-packaged, easy to to make meal as prepared by the ladies of Dirty Gourmet. View the original post here: http://blog.emsoutdoors.com/5-must-try-backpacking-recipes/

For years, the selection of prepared meals available at your local Eastern Mountain Sports stores has been dominated by Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry. Both brands offer lots of freeze-dried options for breakfast, lunch and dinner that are ready to eat within minutes after pouring boiling water directly into the pouch they’re sold in. For variety and convenience, these meals are tough to beat and as John K. Watts said on our Facebook page: “+1 for Backpacker’s Pantry Jamaican Jerk. That’s my go to freeze dried meal!”

On September 30, a Maine-based newcomer to the prepared foods game named Good To-Go took a huge step forward in the form of an Editors’ Choice Award from Backpacker Magazine. While the announcement won’t be public until October 15, we at Eastern Mountain Sports have had the pleasure of watching the Good To-Go success story unfold since May when we started carrying their tasty line of dehydrated meals in 10 stores.

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Since May, Good To-Go’s gluten-free Thai Curry, Smoked Three Bean Chili,  and Herbed Mushroom Risotto have sold so well, they will be available in 33 stores by the end of October and in all 68 of our stores later next year. It’s hard to believe that this explosive growth started with a chance meeting at a trade show this past January in  Providence. As Brian Nasser from our product management team explains: “They were just getting started and their rep only had three bags with stickers on them. I liked that the fact that they were super local and trying to do something new. I decided to test it in a few stores as soon as I tasted it and Good To-Go responded with great packaging and excellent results.”

Has Good To-Go made some incredible scientific breakthrough that has enabled them to make exceptionally tasty, gluten-free meals at reasonable prices?

No.

In fact, the creator of Good To-Go isn’t a scientist at all. Jennifer Scism is a world-class chef who was on the team that defeated Mario Batali on the popular Food Network show, Iron Chef and co-owns Annisa, a nationally recognized restaurant in NYC.  After being introduced to hiking and backpacking by her husband David Koorits, Jennifer was inspired to find a better way to enjoy delicious food while adventuring.

Jen Scism at work in her kitchen at Good To-Go Foods in Eliot, Maine.

Jen Scism at work in her kitchen at Good To-Go Foods in Eliot, Maine.

Jen began preparing some of her favorite meals as if she were about to serve them to her family and then experimenting with her countertop dehydrator. It’s the dehydration process that makes Good To-Go different. I asked David to give me the details:

“Freeze drying is done by taking the food down to -50 to -80 Celsius. Then using sublimation, a vacuum is applied to pull out the water. The freeze dried ingredients are then combined in the proper portions to make a meal.  In contrast, Good To-Go dehydrates its meals.  All the ingredients are fully cooked together allowing all the flavors to infuse like a dinner cooked at home would.  At that point the meals are dehydrated and packaged.  Dehydrating allows the meals to come back with more flavor and taste.  For example, the broccoli in our Thai Curry comes back with texture and chew when you bite into it.”  

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The way Jen and David go about running their business is every bit as impressive as the way they prepare their meals. If you’re looking for a definition of “transparency,” like the Good To-Go page on Facebook where you’ll be treated to regular updates on everything from the latest staff bike ride to the newest piece of kitchen equipment.

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I met David and Good To-Go marketing coordinator Emilie Chatelain at a staff training event last month and I was blown away by both the quality of their products and their dedication to sharing it with active people wherever they roam. You’ll find Good To-Go handing out free samples at trail heads, adventure races, local market days and of course, at our stores.

Vendor Village

Last month, EMS employees were treated to a preview of Good To-Go’s newest flavor that shipped out to stores YESTERDAY.

So, if you’re looking to spice up your next adventure with food that has earned the praise of Outside Magazine, Mountain Online, and Gear Junkie while supporting a small New England-based business that’s doing things the right way, I hope you’ll consider trying one of Good To-Go’s dehydrated meals. If you do, be sure to tell us what you think on the Eastern Mountain Sports Facebook page!

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Partners in business and in, life David Koorits and Jen Scism (with their dog Bella) have turned their passion for adventure and love of good food into a thriving business based in Kittery, Maine.

 

Jim Darroch