Jenny Goldfarb knows delis. They are a part of her family’s heritage. Her great-grandfather left Romania when he was 17 years old and came to America with nothing and without knowing English. He had, however, the willingness to work hard and perseverance. His first job was as a dishwasher, his last as owner and operator of several delis in New York City.
Fast forward almost 100 years and his great-granddaughter, Jenny, was living in California and had become a vegan—quite a leap from her roots, but not one in which she lost her taste for the delicious flavors of a New York deli.
Jenny started experimenting with vegan recipes to satisfy the palates of her meat-and-potatoes husband and her two children. She came up with some clever and tasty recipes and started a vegan food blog and then her own YouTube channel, “Count Your Colors,” on which she shared a new vegan recipe each week. There are countless vegan blogs and videos out there, and Jenny wanted to get beyond food trends. That’s when her love of corned beef surfaced.
She got right to work and made a perfect “unreal corned beef”: 100% plant-based; animal- cholesterol- and nitrate-free; low-carb and low-fat; and completely without food coloring and preservatives. Jenny’s ingredients include high-protein wheat, organic beets, tomatoes, chickpeas and a blend of 12 savory spices. The reactions to her corned beef were so overwhelmingly positive that she founded Mrs. Goldfarb’s Unreal Deli and today is CEO and CFO (Chief Flavor Officer).
Jenny has been hands-on in getting her corned beef out there. Her first “marketing” attempt was taking one of her corned beef sandwiches to a popular Jewish deli in Los Angeles. The manager loved it and put it on the menu to test it out with customers. She did the same thing at several other delis in the region with the same result and knew she was successful when the reorders rolled in. Unreal Corned Beef is now a staple at iconic delis across Los Angeles and in the commissaries on the lots of Netflix and Fox studios.
Next was Whole Foods, known for having the finest natural and organic foods and the strictest quality standards. If she could make it there . . . . She used the same approach: gave her corned beef sandwich complete with rye, sauerkraut and her own Russian dressing to a local Whole Foods manager and asked him who she should contact about Whole Foods selling her unreal corned beef. He did more than give her a phone number; he explained what she needed to do before contacting the company representative so that he or she would be receptive to Jenny’s proposal. It was a great lesson in building and operating a business, and, long story short, 58 Whole Foods in the Southern Pacific Region recently began selling a pre-made unreal corned beef sandwich with Mrs. G’s Russian Dressing and lettuce on a whole-grain roll in the grab-and-go section.
Soon, thanks to a partner based in the east, the unreal corned beef will be available in New York City, Washington and Boston. And thanks to the Unreal Deli website, it is already available across the country in packages of sliced corned beef from 1 pound to 50 pounds, unsliced from 7.5 pounds to 45 pounds and 2.5 pounds cubed. It is not just for sandwiches. Use it for corned beef hashes, Cobb salads and quiches; crisp it up for tacos.
Jenny is now working on getting her unreal corned beef certified as kosher. All of the ingredients are kosher but she needs to make it official. She is planning on adding SKUs to her inventory, particularly unreal turkey. And she definitely will be giving back by supporting animal sanctuaries and educating the public on the 18,000+ edible plants, grains, fruits and herbs to encourage veganism. She also is looking forward to mentoring others who are starting vegan businesses.