Hi there, we’re OBELO
OBELO is a New York based company committed to sourcing authentic, sustainably produced products from Latin America. OBELO is comprised of founders Said Fayad, a native Caleño, and Sam Hardenburgh, a native New Englander and latinophile.
OBELO was born from Said’s desire to bring the flavors and unique products of his native Colombia to his home in New York and Sam’s interest in organic, all-natural foods and the people who bring them to our tables. Focused initially on Colombia’s distinct food culture and stunning array of natural food products, OBELO’s mission is to showcase the rich and diverse food products found across Latin America.
A bit about Sam and Said:
Said was born in Miami and raised in Cali, Colombia, the country’s largest producer of sugarcane (where panela is derived from) and the capital of Salsa music. He has spent the better part of the last decade in various advertising agencies as an Art Director and Brand Consultant working with brands like Cadillac, Spotify, and Visa.
Sam is a New Englander through and through—born in Boston, spending summers in Vermont, and now living in New York City. She studied painting and printmaking, but has been working in technology for the past 8 years. She’s worked with major brands to design new ways of experiencing the web and mobile apps, and is currently at Facebook.
Sam and Said both share a passion for travel. Said first took Sam to Colombia in the winter of 2013 where she first tried panela, a raw, sustainably produced whole-cane sugar with a unique taste and surprising nutritional value.
Her interest in panela took her on a search of New York’s diverse Latin American markets where she was unable to find the same high quality panela she had in Colombia. And thus OBELO was born.
Our first product, panela
We want to introduce you to panela and the people behind it – the Colombian farming communities that have grown their businesses and improved their lives by making a high quality, raw sugar.
Panela is a sustainably produced raw sugar with a unique taste and aroma. Since panela is minimally processed, it retains most of its naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.
Who we work with
We source our panela from a family operated farm located in Colombia's Valle del Cauca. The farm was founded in 1936 by an Agronomist and Agricultural Engineer who dedicated his life to the production of high quality, organic, non-gmo foods. The farm uses grazing animals, such as sheep and goats to help fertilize, de-weed and improve soil fertility, instead of using chemicals and synthetic fertilizers.
The farm is constantly experimenting with a system of small parcel crops which allows them to try and breed different sugarcane varieties, without taking a toll on the land. This helps them improve the genetic diversity of their crops, ultimately, helping them achieve a stronger and more efficient sugarcane plant.
Our goal is to practice sustainability at every step. From sourcing panela from farms that integrate pasture methods with organic agricultural production systems, to using biodegradable packaging made from 100% recycled materials.