When Kalamazoo locals find themselves asking, "What's that smell?" it's never usually a good thing. The Northside neighborhood has long been known to be plagued with putrid smells thanks to commercial global packaging company, Graphic Packaging.
However, when Kzoo resident Meredith Donmyer noticed a unique smell as she was driving across town on W. Main recently, it actually turned out to be a good thing!
Meredith posted in the local Kalamazoo Foodie Facebook group asking,
I cant be the only one who smells a delicious garlicky aroma while driving down West Main by the Haven on Main apartments. Usually between 8PM-11PM. Anyone have any idea what this is?!
Thankfully, for once, the smell someone was asking about was actually a pleasant one and not the sulfuric smell of hydrogen sulfide from the packaging factory.
It turns out Meredith nailed her "garlicky aroma" descriptor as the culprit was none other than natural herb and spices company Kalsec.
Kalsec stands for (KAL)amazoo (S)pice (E)xtraction (C)ompany and has been headquartered here for over 64 years. With beginnings as a spice and herb company, the family-owned business soon expanded into food protection, coloring, and "sensory solutions"-- basically anything that helps preserve food and make it look and taste better.
Says the Kalsec website,
Today, Kalsec® is an international leader in the development of natural taste and sensory solutions... advanced hop products, dry products and nutritional ingredients for the manufactured food, beverage, nutritional and pharmaceutical markets.
Today, Kalsec has spice factories across the globe from Texas to the United Kingdom to Malaysia!
But don't feel bad, apparently we're not the only ones who didn't know Kalsec was a thing. Commenting on Meredith's post Kzoo locals added:
- "Yep spice factory, depends on the spice they are producing. Sometimes its gross, sometimes its awesome. Lol" - Rachel Carmel
- "it’s definitely tucked way back there. I would never have known otherwise!" - Rachel Kirtley
- "Mmmmm-when they do peppermint!!" - Jen Geiselhart