Jennifer was active, but not outdoorsy when she met David six years ago in Maine. He’d traveled the world backpacking, climbing and mountaineering. She was a chef who trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York City and owned Annisa, a nationally recognized New York City restaurant.
Together, Jennifer and David began adventuring in the backcountry. Their excursions evolved from day trips to lasting a few days to a week, and suddenly they worried about how much weight they were carrying. So they got lighter gear and switched to freeze-dried meals instead of carrying fresh ingredients.
Jennifer loved exploring and seeing new places. She loved escaping, leaving email, phones and work behind for days or even weeks at a time. But as a chef—one who had cooked at four star restaurants and beaten Mario Batali on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef”—she couldn’t abide by the freeze dried food.
Rather than give up their love of outdoor adventure, about three years ago Jennifer began dehydrating meals for camping. She picked her favorite comfort foods like Thai curry, and soon Jennifer and David’s meals were the envy of their friends and trip companions.
The meals they made for themselves and their friends was the start of Good To-Go, a company that makes healthy dehydrated meals for camping, that are so delicious that some people make them for lunch and dinner at home, David said. Dehydrated food, as opposed to freeze-dried, doesn’t get mushy and allows Jennifer to use high quality ingredients.
“I don’t know why more people don’t dehydrate,” David said. “We’re inventing this process.”
Good To-Go currently offers four meals. In addition to the Thai curry, there’s classic marinara with penne pasta, herbed mushroom risotto and smoked three bean chili. All three are Jennifer’s favorite dishes and by chance, since milk and cheese don’t dehydrate well, most are vegan and gluten free. However, the company just recently got its approval to start using meat and will be adding some more protein to the meals.
Jennifer prepares the meals in a commercial kitchen the couple built when she started a catering company near their home in Maine. The food is already sold by about 50 retailers and also available online. But even as the company grows, it stays true to important values. The meals are lightweight and packable for extended trips in the backcountry.
“And the number one thing is taste,” David said. “This is what we eat so it’s gotta be good.”