Jonah Reider caught the country's attention as the dorm room chef at Columbia University. Despite getting kicked out of Columbia Housing (twice), the 24-year-old finished school with honors and a B.A. in Social and Political Economics. He also left with his own supper club, Pith. Now serving off campus (legally), Pith is an improvisational dining experience hosting everyone and anyone interested in an alternative to restaurant fine dining. Three years since his first meal was cooked in a toaster oven and served on IKEA plates on a used table he found on Craigslist, Reider is collaborating and curating exciting experiences with food. His latest project is Alto, a collection of high-quality cannabis condiment products. PRØHBTD spoke with Jonah Reider to learn more about Alto.
The Alto project is something I'm super excited about because it really aims to be a new category of edibles. Really essential things, a way to incorporate cannabis into your lifestyle that involves eating, but it's not really a product in and of itself. It's just something that beautifully elevates whatever you're eating. It would already be elevating what you're eating if it didn't have cannabis. We have three products that are each really high-end essentials, things that people use all the time.
We have salt. But it's beautiful, giant, crackly, saline, oceanic salt. We have honey, but it's raw, buckwheat honey. Super dark, earthy, smoky, outrageously flavorful. And we have olive oil, which is the ultra first-press, cold-press, slow pressed from really picante olives. It's just fucking delicious, it's crazy. They're all products that any chef—and anyone who likes eating, whether you're having take-out at your desk or at a nice restaurant, or at the movies, or on a hike, or in your morning coffee—would like to have. It's just a really easy way to enjoy cannabis, and it's something that is pretty social, too. We really like the idea that they're all micro-dosed culinary essentials.
There are other companies that sell cannabis-infused olive oil or cannabis-infused honey. It's not like it's the first time anyone's thought of this, but what's really unique is that we're offering a line of a few different essentials. We're really underscoring that this is a whole line of products that are well-curated basics. But also, we're selling the products only in single-serving packets. So instead of getting a jar of weed honey that just kind of nebulously gets you extremely high, we are selling discrete packets that look like a little ketchup packet. It has five milligrams of THC. It has basically no calories, so if you want more THC, you can feel free to use as many packets as you want. They're just super easy. I have one in my wallet right now.
You can have a dinner party, and everyone who wants to have cannabis in their meal can. For people who don't, they don't need to. I'm hoping that this product will appeal to a diverse crowd of people. I'm not so concerned about cornering the hardcore stoner market. I think those people, actually, will still enjoy these products because they're just so social. It's really fun to have them around and just to have this opportunity to, whatever you're doing, just be gently elevated. But really, I see it as a product for anyone. For parents, family, people of all ages. Everybody fuckin' eats. And I'm not asking people to eat a super sweet gummy bear that is gonna make them sit on a couch for 10 hours.
Right now, everything has to be sourced from the state that you're selling in. We're live in Oregon with our production, so all the THC Alto stuff is sold in Oregon only right now. But we'll be expanding pretty soon to a ton of new markets. I'm working on the product line with a bunch of people from an amazing cannabis farm called Indigo Gardens. It's a bio-dynamic vineyard space that's been converted to a bio-dynamic cannabis growing site. They're doing a lot of cool work on soil health.
For the Alto products, we're just using THC distillate because it's important to us that the products don't smell like cannabis and don't taste like cannabis in a noticeable way. I definitely see the appeal in full-spectrum extracts or targeting really specific strains, and that is definitely something we're considering doing down the line. But the most basic manifestation of our brands are these delicious culinary essentials to add to your food that have a tiny bit of THC distillate.
One big thing we're looking at for our expansion is CBD production. That's going to allow consumers anywhere to order our products and have them directly mailed to them. I love the CBD packets that we're doing! Our CBD products will be dosed higher, whereas our THC products are dosed lower than any similar ones. Because with CBD, we really find people benefit from having a higher dose than just five or ten milligrams. I'm pretty excited for the CBD stuff to launch. I'm going to be bringing this concept all the way to Whole Foods.