When Krista Sanderson and her husband decided to start eating local, she realized they had a lot to learn.
“We went to the farmers market and had no idea what to do with it,” Sanderson said of the food sold there.
Today, Sanderson is teaching other people just that through her Web-based business, Get Real Wichita, which offers recipes, meal ideas and coupons to subscribers. The cost is $10 a month, with a 30-day free trial membership. Scott, who works in risk management, helps on the financial end but leaves the day-to-day running of the business to Krista.
“All the things we learned about buying and using this food, we thought, ‘This is not rocket science; this is not hard to do,’” Krista Sanderson said. “We’re not chefs or nutritionists. We just felt like everything we learned, we wanted to share.”
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Sanderson said she and her husband decided to change the way they and their two children were eating about three years ago.
“We basically told our son no more Chicken McNuggets or mac and cheese.”
She said no one thing prompted the move, but, “When you have kids, I think you also start to realize your decision about what you’re feeding them is going to affect them.”
Sanderson said they got help from Wichita State University’s Small Business Development Center and then went to Cassandra Bryan Design to build their website, which launched in October. It features a rotating lineup of gorgeous food and an occasional pop-up asking, “Getting Hungry Yet?”
This week the website included recipes for chicken shawarma, balsamic watermelon chicken salad, parsnip fries, kale Sriracha salad, Hatch chile crab cakes with peaches and more.
Sanderson said she adapts the recipes from other sources and tests them all on her family before they go on the website.
“We take our own pictures. Our kids have tried it, and it’s good for you, too.”
There are categories for breakfast, snacks and slow cooker dishes, as well as for meal ideas, cooking tips and food-related events.
“I also do a blog every Tuesday about some topic, whether it’s how there’s no maple syrup in Aunt Jemima or how to preserve pecans,” Sanderson said. “I’m doing one this week on Hatch chiles.”
Sanderson has also partnered with local restaurants and vendors to offer coupons through the site, including GreenAcres Market, Public at the Brickyard and growers at the city’s bigger farmers markets. The site recently added suggested wine pairings for dishes from Beyond Napa, a liquor store in Old Town.
Sanderson’s background is in marketing.
“My husband says I can talk to a wall, so I guess that means I can do sales,” she said.
She’s promoting the website in person wherever she can find a receptive audience. Last Saturday, she and Scott did a cooking demo of Asian Sloppy Joes at the Old Town Farmers Market, with locally produced beef, peppers, onions and cabbage. On Tuesday, she did another demo for wellness managers, who were meeting downtown.
Sanderson said much of the positive feedback she’s received is “people saying they don’t want to have to think about” what to eat or prepare for dinner.
“They want somebody to tell them what’s for dinner. That got us hooked on the idea, what if we could do the thinking for them.”
Others have said they appreciate being introduced to new foods, Sanderson said.
“I had somebody say, ‘I had no idea I liked Brussels sprouts.’”
However Get Real Wichita does, changing the way they eat has definitely affected the Sandersons. Scott lost about 40 pounds, Krista about 10.
“And the odd thing is our kids don’t seem to get sick very often,” Krista said. “Knock on wood.”
Now you know
Get Real Wichita
Owner: Krista Sanderson