WEST CHESTER, PA — Eight years ago on Thanksgiving, Tashelle Darby-Wong’s eight-month-old son Kai experienced a severe food allergy reaction and was rushed to the hospital. Soon after, his diagnosis of serious allergies to the top eight food categories changed her family’s lifestyle and the way they interacted with food forever. No longer could Kai eat the flavorful dishes Tashelle typically served that were inspired by her Indian and Jamaican heritage, for fear of a reaction to the ingredients.
Compelled not to let a limited diet restrict flavor for her son, Tashelle immersed herself into researching food allergies and alternatives to help heal her son. Reconnecting with her cultural roots, she drew on her grandmother’s methods of preparing traditional Indian meals with fresh ingredients and fresh-roasted, ground spices to create her own custom spice blends. After years of development, in April 2022 she launched IrieVeda, a line of handcrafted spices that are rich in flavor, free of allergens, with the added beneficial aspects of helping to manage inflammation and aiding digestion. “My goal was to make mindful spice blends that are safe, flavorful, and worry free,” says Tashelle.
Blended in an allergen-free facility in West Chester, Pennsylvania, IrieVeda spices and blends are top-12 allergen friendly, gluten free, vegan, FODMAP safe (onion/garlic free), salt free, sugar free and made from organic ingredients.
With 13 initial offerings, IrieVeda highlights three handcrafted specialty blends including New World Chili, Old World Roast and West Indies Curry, which are all soothing (sattvic), versatile, and diverse to meet everyone’s dietary needs. For those who want to add some heat to the blends, IrieVeda offers Jamaican Scotch Bonnet pepper, Ancho Chili or Cayenne as add-ons. Single spices, such as Ceylon Cinnamon Alba and Jamaican Allspice, range from $5 to $8, spice blends range from $10 to $12, and spice bundles range from $18 to $45. All items are available at IrieVeda.com
IrieVeda ingredients are organic, high-quality fair-trade spices, blended using traditional methods such as artisanal, small-batch roasting to enhance the natural flavors, according to Tashelle. “Spices aren’t harvested or picked until the order is placed, and we try to source our herbs from local farms,” she says.
Tashelle participated in the New Business Champion program provided by the Chester County Economic Development Council (funded by the Chester County Workforce Development Board) that connects emerging businesses with professional guidance. A Certified Life and Health Coach, Tashelle is no stranger to entrepreneurial success. The founder of a multimillion-dollar energy solutions company, she recently turned her full-time focus to growing IrieVeda.
“I coined the name from the Jamaican word ‘positive’ (Irie) and the Indian word for ‘knowledge’ (Veda), because I think it’s important for people to connect with and understand the food they eat,” says Tashelle. “I encourage people to practice ‘Yoga in the Kitchen’ to be mindful of who we are, where we are, what we eat and how it makes us feel.” As her spice business grows, Tashelle intends to develop a demonstration kitchen at the West Chester headquarters to inspire others to enjoy meditating while cooking together with healthy ingredients and flavorful spices.
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