New food company Goodness Grazers offers delicious and beautiful “graze” boxes on Mercer Island

June 16, 2020 | by Sophia Maggio

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The newest graze box, featuring a savory mix of Mediterranean-inspired tapas. Photo credit: Maggie Dickinson

In January, Mercer Island native Maggie Dickinson began Goodness Grazers: a Seattle-based company with food, human connection, and community at its center. The company, which currently operates out of L’Experience Paris on Mercer Island, offers beautifully arranged “graze” boxes and platters, brimming with fresh produce, meat, cheeses, breads, and pastries. With the purchase of each graze box, Seattle-area and Mercer Island locals are invited to “gather, graze, and savor,” in keeping with the company’s motto.

In March, only three months later, Dickinson determined she would need to adopt a new approach with Goodness Grazers in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Party-style graze boxes became “Stay-At-Home” boxes, and graze tables and platters, which are intended for groups larger than 10, has shifted temporarily to the back-burner.

Despite these changes and the uncertainties of operating a new business, Dickinson’s deep love for food and human connection propels her forward. A self-proclaimed “foodie,” Dickinson often travels for the sole purpose of eating and sharing unique, locally sourced cuisine. She attributes the origins of Goodness Grazers to a solo trip to Europe in her mid-20s, which included stops in Greece, Italy, and France. In France, she says, the cheese plates were “structured for two to three people, but normally I just ordered them for myself.”

In addition to numerous food-oriented trips, Dickinson worked as a server throughout high school and entered culinary school shortly thereafter. After one year of culinary school, she felt that she needed “something more serious and structured,” so she left the program and obtained her bachelor’s degree at Washington State University.

“It took a little growing up,” she says, to realize that she could pursue a full-time career in the food industry. Ultimately, Dickinson took the leap and intends to transition out of her full-time job as Goodness Grazers establishes a stronger foothold in the local food industry.

Each graze box is uniquely shaped by Dickinson’s food adventures, formal training, and attentiveness to local and seasonal foods. She describes each box as “a condensed version of European tapas,” which offer an array of delicacies – varied in taste, texture, and color – to share with friends and loved ones.

She strives to source ingredients from local suppliers in the Seattle area. Her current suppliers include Peterson’s, Charlie’s Produce, Big John’s Pacific Food Importers, and L’Experience Paris, where she currently rents kitchen space to produce her graze boxes.

In a post-quarantine economy, Dickinson aims to source exclusively from local companies, particularly as farmer’s markets and other small businesses reopen.

Goodness Grazers currently offers three different graze boxes for purchase on its website – a Stay-at-Home Graze Box, a Crudités n’ Cheese Graze Box, and a Picnic Graze Box. The company will soon introduce rotating monthly graze boxes – and for those who prefer salty over sweet, the first rotating box will feature a savory line-up of marinated artichoke hearts, Spanish cheeses, and other goodies.

Customers can pick up their orders directly from L’Experience Paris, or Goodness Grazers also facilitates no-contact delivery.

Goodness Grazers accommodates special requests for boxes and even offers holiday-themed assemblages. Their recent Mother’s Day box included fruits, jam, cheeses, and homemade biscuits, which were baked in-house by Dickinson. Their Father’s Day box delivers a delicious combination of cured meats, cheeses, nuts, and sweets. Graze boxes also function as beautiful (and functional!) gifts for graduations, new parents, birthdays, and anniversaries.

As Goodness Grazers grows, Dickinson hopes to pack larger graze boxes on a to-go basis and to eventually re-introduce platters and tables. As she reflects on the growth of her company since its introduction in January and in its future in the midst of an uncertain time, she projects confidence – advising others small business owners who may also just be launching to “really believe in yourself and what you’re producing … things will fall into place,” she assures, as unexpected connections form and excitement about the product builds.

Learn more about Goodness Grazers and order your first box at: www.goodnessgrazers.com/grazes

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