The idea for Solavore™ started with a scratch-made, double-layer carrot cake on a sailboat under a hot Caribbean sun.
The cake was one of many dishes prepared by Anne Patterson as she and her husband, Ray, wintered off an island near Puerto Rico. To her friends’ surprise, Anne baked the cake to perfection on the Sea Lady’s foredeck in a small black box designed to trap sunlight.
Anne’s solar oven came from a small Minnesota-based humanitarian organization called the Solar Oven Society (SOS), which distributed ovens to Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and other developing countries. Anne fell in love with her solar oven and how it liberated her from the Sea Lady’s one-bum (read: small) galley. But what really filled her sails was the SOS mission to provide a clean and healthy cooking source to the world’s poor.
Anne sun-simmered habichuelas (Puerto Rican stewed beans), pumpkin soup, and spicy jerk chicken, never fretting about overcooking. Her brown rice turned out fluffy and savory every time. She loved putting dinner on and leaving with Ray for a shore day. She loved the fact that clean-up was a swish, since nothing ever burned. She loved conserving propane and keeping the galley cool and how the oven helped her already modest carbon footprint shrink even more. And Anne’s friends around the anchorage loved the sun-baked magic of her banana bread.
Anne loved her solar oven so much she recommended it to her sailing friends. But in 2013, SOS funding dwindled. After supplying more than 20,000 solar ovens to people around the world over 15 years, the organization stopped production.
Anne Patterson launched Solavore™ in 2015, resuming production of SOS’s flagship oven, the Sport. With guidance from SOS’s founders and the Sport’s designers, Anne is applying a career’s-worth of business savvy to build a robust, sustainable company that generates not only profits but also social and environmental dividends.