hummingbird SPICE CO was formed in 2014 when Judy Henninger, a former public health professional and a passionate traveler, decided to share her love of international cultures and food by offering gift packs of exotic spices, many of which she had discovered during her journeys to the markets of India, Tunisia, Bali and Morocco.
“I love traveling and discovering new things,” says Judy. “Every culture is identified by the way they spice their foods.”
The spices in her beautifully designed gift collections – each of which contains eight different exotic spices or proprietary blends – are informed by her journeys. Cloves from Indonesia, curries from India, Tahitian vanilla and fiery Szechuan peppercorns deliver the essence of exotic cuisines, and salts infused with fine wines like pinot noir and chardonnay pay tribute to her home base in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
A native of the Chicago area, and then a cytotechnologist for many years, Judy was a single mother when she moved to Christchurch, New Zealand in 2004 with son Jeff. There she pursued a Masters degree in Public Health from the University of Otago. Before turning her attention to spices, she worked to promote global cervical cancer prevention and control. A workshop with Herbie’s spice guru Ian Hemphill in Sydney, Australia, trips to India and China, and then a two-month residency in Bali, where she cooked and explored spice plantations, sparked the idea of bringing exotic world spices to American tables.
Judy relocated herself and her business to McMinnville, Oregon in the heart of the Willamette Valley wine country, where an ethos of fine food, wine and fresh, imaginative ingredients permeates the local culture. A visit to the 2014 San Francisco Fancy Food show yielded sources for wholesale imported spices and the distinctive, tin containers for Hummingbird’s gift packs, and a seven-week program at the Chemeketa Small Business Development Center on launching a business gave her the tools and confidence to get hummingbird SPICE CO up and flying. She began experimenting with combinations of exotic spices – from Wine and Flowers salt infusions to Global Migration collections of exotic flavors like South African Piri Piri and Middle Eastern Za’atar, and a logo and package design were created by McMinnville-based Nectar Graphics. The brand was launched in the autumn of 2014.
Hummingbird Spice Company gift collections and seasoning blends are now available on-line through the company’s direct-to-consumer shopping cart, and at selected boutique shops throughout the Willamette Valley.
For more information or for interviews, contact Judith Henninger at 503-857-6467.