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Kelseyville company's salt-free spices revival

  • Co-founders Jason Sherwood, right, Pat Gage and Jeremy Fitzpatrick with some of the saltless spice blends produced by the Potter Valley company. (JOHN BURGESS/ PD)

Pat Gage is hoping she can catch lightning in a bottle a second time. Salt-free lightning.

Gage, a Kelseyville resident and self-described serial entrepreneur, is reviving the salt-free spice recipes that she first commercially produced three decades ago in Sonoma County. Her original company, Parsley Patch, was successful enough that global spice manufacturer McCormick & Co. purchased the business in 1987.

Now, Gage and her family are reviving recipes like “Garlicsaltless,” one of the Parsley Patch’s more popular blends. But this time, their two-year-old company, Engage Organics, is bottling spices that not only are sodium free, but also organic, gluten free and non-GMO.

The company’s products are featured online and in more than 100 Bay Area stores, Gage said

Engage Organics touts not only the health benefits but also the flavor of its nine blends — soon to be 11 varieties.

“It makes things taste so good,” said Gage, “and you don’t have to know how to season things.”

Along with Gage, the family business includes her husband, Jon Gage, son Jason Sherwood and nephew Jeremy Fitzpatrick.

Gage was a single mother named Pat Sherwood in 1980 when she teamed up with Elizabeth Bertani to start Parsley Patch. The two women, both Sonoma State University students, took out student loans in order to launch the business.

Their products drew considerable interest when they debuted at a 1981 food trade show.

A September 2012 Vegetarian Times story noted that the young company then was selling its products in 25 states. The blends were showing up in such diverse places as the Neiman-Marcus Spring Catalogue and the Pritikin Longevity Center in Santa Monica.


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