Whenever someone calls love an ingredient, we usually make a valiant effort not to roll our eyes. When Donna Sky says that the love in each jar of her hummus is an ingredient, just like the California organic chickpeas or fresh tahini, we're easily convinced she is genuine.
Sky has a rare air of sincerity about her. When she talks about Love & Hummus, the only local and organic hummus in California, she radiates enthusiasm.
This hummus is creamy, almost to the point of fluffiness. It comes in four varieties: classic, roasted lemon and thyme, spicy harissa, and caramelized garlic.
Chickpea flavor and undertones of toasted tahini and olive oil permeate each bite. Each variety is distinctive -- the mild spice of the spicy harissa builds with every taste, while customer-favorite caramelized garlic is slightly sweeter.
Is it the best hummus we've ever had? We'd say it's the best hummus we've brought home to stick in the fridge, but only rivals the hummus we've eaten in local Mediterranean restaurants. It's closer to the hummus we've made at home (those times when we remember that sticking some chickpeas, olive oil and tahini in the blender is actually easier than going to the store). Love & Hummus might not be redefining the omnipresent dip as we know it, but the variety of flavors and commitment to sustainability keep us coming back.
Love & Hummus comes packaged in a glass jar -- a decision that embodies the character of Sky's company. The glass preserves the fresh flavor, ensuring Sky's confidence in the quality of her product. (She points out that plastic containers not only seep chemicals into the food they contain, but also into the earth. She also eschews corn-based biodegradable containers because they come from genetically modified corn that was not organically farmed.) Sky encourages her customers to reuse the glass jars and even has a list of ways to use them on her website. She sources her chickpeas from a third-generation family farm in the Central Valley, with whom she has a confidentiality agreement because of the small size of the farm. Sky wants her family-run, local, organic business to really be just that.
Love & Hummus has been growing rapidly since Sky got started through La Cocina in 2010. You can now find Love & Hummus not only at the La Cocina Kiosk at the Ferry Building and a at a selection of San Francisco markets, but also at Whole Foods locations all over the Bay Area. 8 oz jars sell for $6 and 10 oz jars are available online for $8.
Sky will be at La Cocina's San Francisco Street Food Festival on Saturday, August 18, where she'll be highlighting her hummus in a falafel (made from the same organic chickpeas) and on house-made pita chips.
She is most excited, however, for her additional stand in the children's section of the festival, from which all the proceeds will go towards creating a community garden at Marshall Elementary School. Sky's daughter attends Marshall Elementary, which she calls a very community-oriented school. "Everyone at Marshall lives in the Mission, so it's a really important community space. It doesn't draw from other neighborhoods like a lot of bilingual schools do," she says. At the Festival, kids can choose between the different kinds of hummus and their parents can decide between vegetables and pita chips as hummus vessels for their kids. We might be sneaking in for a kid-friendly bite as well.