M. Ed Culinary Expert
Executive Chef and Co-Founder
Rachael LaPorte was raised on a self-sustaining family farm
in Lebanon, CT. “I grew up on a kitchen counter. No matter
the season, we were making stew, canning and preserving.
This was our family time,” she says. With these early
influences, Rachael decided to pursue a culinary career, and
graduated cum laude from Johnson and Wales University.
After graduation, Rachael took time to travel the world,
affording her the opportunity to work under many chefs with a
variety of culinary expertise. Returning to CT, she earned a
master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the
University of Saint Joseph.
Rachael began to struggle with her own health and began a
weight loss journey. She developed both a knowledge and a
passion for healthy eating and wellness. The result? Rachael
lost over 100 pounds! Rachael’s same eating principals are
what fuel Azuluna Foods today and empower others
with the tools to meet their own personal health goals!
Farmer and Co-Founder
Ken’s passion and mission is to provide sustainable living for the community. With the serenity and natural beauty of his farm, and working with the Wyndham Land Trust, Ken and his staff have preserved nearly 200 acres of pristine New England landscape encompassing native American Indian trails and the pre-revolutionary “Old Kings Highway” running from Hartford, Connecticut to Plymouth Plantation. Securing this land and nurturing its growth for eternal preservation is a legacy to his late wife, Linda, who is the inspiration for the farm and its bounty.
Ken is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and worked internationally in the oil service business starting in 1978. Since 1986, Ken has pursued his entrepreneurial endeavors and has businesses in the technology sectors supporting IT and telecommunications, power generation, and software—all of which continue today.
Azuluna Supply-Chain Manager
Lori Holmes is a founding farmer within the Azuluna Family of Farms, and has been delivering fresh eggs directly from her farm to Whole Foods consumers at their flagship store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for more than a decade.
Lori has been faithfully caring for a flock of over 500 pasture-raised chickens for more than 15 years. Her love of animals translates into caring for each bird individually…allowing every chicken to gracefully age into retirement. She was instrumental in creating the premium, chicken laying standards, in accordance with Global Animal Protection and Tuft’s University Veterinarian, Dr. George Saperstein. Lori will be working with our expanding number of Azuluna Farms to guide compliance and quality.
Lori operates Goat Nook Farm in Cummington, Massachusetts, which is on the nationally-registered homestead of University of Massachusetts Professor, William Smith Clark. Dr. Clark is revered by the Japanese for introducing modern, sustainable agriculture in 1876 at Hokkaido University to feed and support the growing population of Tokyo. Both Lori Holmes and Azuluna are proud to not only continue, but to promote this nearly 150 legacy of sustainable agriculture.
Lori Holmes has an extensive background of more than 30 years in both Food Services and Farming.
The Kitchen Team
Our cooking team is comprised of culinary professionals and farm-enthusiasts alike who share a passion for healthy delicious food. From assisting in selecting the ingredients, creating recipes or utilizing every bit of fruits, vegetables and meat, our team genuinely cares about how your food is prepared.
Dr. George Saperstein
Product Sourcing and Sustainability Advisor, Board Member
George boasts an extremely diverse career. A faculty member of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University for 34 years, he was the Amelia Peabody Professor of Agricultural Sciences, the Director of Corporate Research, Farm Director and Chairman of the Department of Environmental and Population Health. A leader in the school’s International Veterinary Medicine program, George directed a U.S. Agency for International Development-funded livestock disease control program between Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, along with a premier United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization funded project.
George founded Azuluna Brands, LLC back in 2004 to develop markets for premium pasture-raised livestock products, promoting farmland conservation and profitability, and agricultural diversity. He was instrumental in the creating the SVF Foundation in Newport, Rhode Island, where he serves as a board member. George also patented a novel antibiotic susceptibility test and started Lotek, Inc to market the innovation.
RD MPH CDN, Board Member
Geri has over 30 years of experience as a registered dietitian-nutritionist. She currently works with Azuluna as a health coach, helping our team to develop effective nutrition programming for you and your family. Eating a nutritionally balanced diet is essential to achieving goals of healthy weight management and improving physical and mental energy. It's also a much better alternative to the fast food that we’ve some to rely upon for ease and convenience.
Geri practices Integrative and Functional Medical Nutrition Therapy. She earned a master’s degree in Public Health Nutrition from New York Medical College and was awarded the Sirach Award for outstanding achievement in the field of Public Health. She is a recipient of the Excellence in Practice Award of Dietitians in Functional Medicine, a practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She also holds certificates of study in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia from Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, IAACN, and the Institute of Functional Medicine.
TJ Delle Donne
Associate Instructor & Assistant Dean, Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts
Thomas J. “TJ” Delle Donne MAT, CEC is an Associate Instructor and Assistant Dean of Culinary Relations at Johnson & Wales University (College of Culinary Arts). He is an award-winning chef and is a frequent contributing writer and expert panelist to Flavor & the Menu Magazine.
TJ takes particular interest in a conscious style of cuisine that works to preserve a sustainable food future for the next generation. He takes a modern approach to food, often with an eye on its historical perspective. He explains more in this brief interview.
Azuluna’s culinary team is proud to work with Chef TJ, whose work continues to introduce culinary trends and new ways of increasing sustainability.