Meet the Expert: Salad Girl
Once a Salad Girl, Always a Salad Girl
Pam Powell’s love of salads started young. In high school, she worked as the “salad girl” at Madden’s Resort on Gull Lake in northern Minnesota. The rest, as they say, is history. “That was the beginning of my 30-year love affair with salads,” says the founder of The Salad Girl Organic Dressing Company. “I became a salad-a-holic.”
Powell has worked on-and-off in the food industry ever since. She put herself through art school as a waitress and, for a time, she ran her own catering company. At 40, she started working full-time as an illustrator and designer, but the siren song of salads kept calling. While painting a mural for a food retailer, she crossed paths with the store’s product manager and asked, “if someone had a great salad dressing, how would they get it on the shelf at the grocery store?”
The answer? Test at farmers’ markets. So that’s precisely what Powell did. Customer response was positive and the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune gave her dressings glowing reviews. The Salad Girl Organic Dressing Company was born.
“Lunds & Byerlys has been an amazing local food partner for us,” she says. “They’re so family-oriented and working with their buyers is amazing. It’s different than working with other suppliers. They realize how hard the little makers work and it’s been really important for us to have their support.”
Pam’s favorite part of the job is creating salads for Salad Girl’s fresh, organic, gluten-free and dairy-free dressings. “Our dressings are inspired by seasonal ingredients — I’m a seasonal salad snob; I can’t escape it! — and I look forward to every season’s ingredients like I look forward to the blooms in my perennial garden.”
What’s her go-to Salad Girl recipe this season? “Old-fashioned potato salad with Salad Girl’s Dude Ranch dressing. It’s so easy to make and it can be a full meal,” she says. “Honestly, it’s to die for.”