Helping The Alchemist Kitchen Program Make a Difference
September 15, 2022
Dreyfuss + Blackford began a passion project to create a space for Alchemist Kitchen in October 2020. Since then, the project has evolved from an extensive program and tenant improvement in an existing building, to the design of a ground-up multi-use campus, with small permanent “food trucks” for incubator participants to operate in their community. Recently, Alchemist received funding from the State Legislature to purchase a plot of land in the River District, within walking distance from the new Richards Boulevard Office Complex, another D+B project that will soon be populated by up to 4,000 state employees.
Alchemist Community Development Corporation has several programs with a mission to make Sacramento a better, more equitable place. One of those programs is Alchemist Kitchen. Alchemist Kitchen is a food business training program and incubator serving aspiring food entrepreneurs from low-income populations in Sacramento. Their program utilizes two phases for building acumen around food business concepts and operations.
Alchemist Microenterprise Academy (AMA) is a 12-week business training course that teaches the basics of starting a food business. Topics covered range from financial literacy and legal business structures to recipe development and safe food handling.
The Incubator Program is open to select graduates of AMA and provides in-depth assistance customized to specific business needs- including technical assistance, mentorship, and low-cost kitchen access.
One of the program’s graduates and success stories is a small batch tea company called Puzz E Gata Jamaica (PGJ).
Puzz E Gata Jamaica (hah-my-kah) is an artisan-brewed hibiscus flower tea, steeped in the traditions of México. PGJ uses real hibiscus flowers to brew a unique tea that embodies indigenous Mexican practices and tradition.
Over the past few years, Pamela Marquez has mastered the craft of brewing her most beloved beverage of México. She has worked hard to duplicate the flavor, aroma, and color that she learned from her conversations with her elders, grandmothers, aunts, all holders of ancestral wisdom. Through their art of storytelling, they revealed to her the meaning of the flavor, aroma, and color. She was taught love and respect for the flower and how to uphold the timeless tradition of authentically brewed jamaica tea. Her heartfelt dedication to maintain the tradition of the tea and preserve those lessons has led her to hone her own unique jamaica tea blends.
Currently, Puzz E Gata Jamaica touts four unique blends: Original, Jalapeño, Nopal (cactus), and Agrió (tart). All the blends pair beautifully with vodka and other spirits and mix well with club soda or sparkling water and make interesting ice cubes.
Puzz E Gata Jamaica has seen impressive growth and is offered at the following Sacramento area locations: the Sacramento Natural Food Co-op, Corti Brothers and the Davis Foods Co-op, and soon the Midtown Farmers Market starting October 1st. They will also have a tent at this year’s Farm to Fork Festival.
D+B is proud to be a part of Alchemist Kitchen’s future, and we look forward to more people like Pamela enriching our community with diverse, multicultural offerings of fantastic food and drink.