Who: Animal lovers and entrepreneurs Ward and Maggie Johnson, owners of Sojourner Farms, creators of Sojos brand of all-natural, raw pet food. “I worked at a holistic vet clinic that sold Sojourner Farms,” explains Ward. “A lot of people came to the clinic as a last hope with pets stricken with skin conditions, allergies, cancer, and hot spots. I saw firsthand the results that this product could produce. So I purchased the company knowing that the brand had immense potential.”
So Good: Unlike traditional cooked and processed pet foods that are robbed of naturally occurring nutrients, Sojos is a mix of ingredients suitable for human consumption (such as rolled oats, rye flakes, alfalfa, and flax meal) that pet owners combine with raw meat and water at meal time to make fresh, homemade food for their cats or dogs.
Into the Wild: “In the wild, and even at zoos, all animals eat raw food,” says Ward. “Dogs and cats thrive on raw food, which contains enzymes and nutrients that boost their immune system and provide the foundation for a healthy, happy animal.”
What’s Good for Fido: All of Sojos pet foods and treats are tested in the Johnsons’ kitchen. “Our main food, Sojos European–Style Dog Food Mix, is the original formula that Sojourner Farms introduced in 1985. Since we acquired the company in 1996, we’ve added grain-free and organic versions of our premixes, as well as treats. We typically come up with recipes and work with veterinarians to develop the right mix.”
Healthy Cost: While a Sojos pet diet might seem more expensive (a ten-pound bag of the dog food mix is $21.95, plus you must buy raw meat), the Johnsons figure it eventually evens out to that of a premium kibble. Sojos mixes don’t include binders—the fillers used to bind a kibble together. The lack of such fillers actually helps animals fill up faster. “It [the mixing process needed to prepare the pet meals] takes a little bit more time than just pouring kibble into a bowl, but the results—a healthier pet—are worth it.”
Mighty Tasty: The Johnsons added a collection of dog treats with flavors such as chicken pot pie, peanut butter and jelly, and apple dumpling, which, according to Ward, are quite tasty. “These days there’s a lot of anthropomorphism with treats, which is why we try and make our flavors taste like something you’d find in your own kitchen.”
— Melissa Colgan
Find Sojos brand pet foods and treats at Bone Adventure, 312 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-378-0211; Lunds and Byerly’s grocery stores; and at sojos.com.