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Foodspring, March 2013
Foodspring, March 2013
Meet the Producer: Sylvia Tirakian
Co-owner, Harvest Song Ventures
Her childhood memories of harvest time in Armenia-filled with the sweet aroma of fruit simmering on the stove-inspired Sylvia Tirakian to partner with James Tufenkian, a pioneering designer and supplier of handmade rugs from Armenia and Tibet, to start Harvest Song Ventures, a purveyor of artisanal, exotic fruit preserves all from Armenia. By importing fresh, natural gourmet food products directly from Armenia, she felt she would hit a chord with the American palate. And she was right. From the get-go, Harvest Song has been winning awards for its delicious, jewel-colored preserves. Her first flavor was apricot, which won a sofi Gold Award in 2006 and opened up doors for the business to take off.
Today, Harvest Song sells such luscious flavors as Apricot & White Cherry, Fresh Walnut, Golden Figs and Tea-Rose, counting high-end restaurants and hotels like Daniel and The Carlyle in New York City among their clients. Tirakian remains committed to sharing the healthful and natural tastes of Amernias terroir with the world, which to her are memories worth sharing.
Tirakian shares more with foodspring.com.
What's your favorite product in your line and why?
I have two. First is the Apricot Preserve. We had just gotten into the business and I only had few stores [selling our products] when it won the Gold sofi Award in 2006. Our Apricot just opened all of our business doors. The second is our Fresh Walnut, which was also a sofi Award winner, in 2010. I have had Michelin chefs with draconian standards just go wild on the uniqueness of this product. Consumers love that they are eating the shells and all.
Who is your culinary idol and why?
I actually have few but one in particular is Anthony Bourdain. He has stayed pretty close to a "passionate chef" personality. I also admire that his career gives him the platform to talk about it.
What's your guilty food pleasure?
Dark chocolate, but I don't feel much guilt.
Best meal ever?
I have had many best meals, both in the food mecca of New York City, as well as all over the world, but my most memorable meals have been made by the villagers when I am working in the rural valleys of Mt. Ararat [in Armenia] up to 10,000 feet above the sea level. Their lives and kitchens are pure organic without an effort-just because it is.
Aside from your products, what three items can you always find in your kitchen?
Lemon, olive oil and sea salt.
If you weren't a specialty food manufacturer, what would you like to be doing instead?
This is already my second career; my training is in telecommuncations engineering. I have the craziest curiosity about past civilizations. I think I could have been a happy anthropologist. I also love the study of traditions. It really fascinates me that people for thousands of years did certain things the same way without ever meeting each other.