Quit horsing around: For Grate Roots, selling horseradish at the Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show is serious business

By Ella Srholez
Special to the Daily
Stephanie Miles has been making horseradish ever since she was a girl growing up in Chicago.
Ella Srholez | Special to the Daily

Editors’ note: This article appears as part of a series about vendors at the Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show. The series will be running throughout the summer.

“Fresh horseradish. You’re welcome to sample, these are made here locally every week, 100% pure, natural, and organic, four different varieties to choose from,” said Grate Roots entrepreneur Stephanie Miles, as a vibrant glass-bottled display of horseradish invites in prospective customers. With a rainbow of products like ruby-red Beet the Heat and Double-Trouble Citrus, it’s almost impossible to ignore this corner of the Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show.

Miles has been making this spicy condiment professionally for almost nine years, though her roots — no pun intended — with the root vegetable go much further back. A Chicago native born to a foodie family, growing up, she helped her father make the family’s recipe for sugary beet horseradish. Over the years, she found a passion for creating new variations on old family favorites — the beet horseradish she sells at the market currently is a less-sweet version of the one from her childhood. 

Just because the business has grown doesn’t mean the quality has diminished.ll batches are still made in quality-control sizes each week from mostly Colorado-sourced ingredients. However, just Colorado horseradishes aren’t enough to meet Grate Roots’ demand, so it also sources produce for customers’ bitter cravings from a 250-acre California farm. No matter the batch, Miles’smission is to ensure that all ingredients are organic and pure to create a high-quality product. 

Beet the Heat has quite a subtle flavor – it is smooth to the taste and gentle on the tongue, with just a touch of sweetness and a gemstone color to match. However, not all of Miles’s creations are quite so mellow. Double Trouble Citrus horseradish contains orange juice, lemon juice, and the zests of both to create a clear condiment and bold taste that perfectly compliments seafood, vegetables and salads.

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Miles’ horseradish varieties have flavor combinations you might not necessarily find in the grocery store.
Ella Srholez | Special to the Daily

Horseradish itself is unique in the way human tastebuds process its heated, often intense flavors. Unlike the characteristic slow burn of hot peppers, horseradish heat is like a gradual buildup. It lingers for only a moment before melting across your mouth until it eventually finds its way up to your nose and sinuses. 

This interesting property is actually what makes horseradish such a great ingredient when it comes to healthful foods. Besides being a great antidote to congestion and sinus issues, the plant itself has numerous other health benefits including fighting cancer, respiratory issues and other infections, according to Healthline.

With positive health effects and a versatile taste that pairs well with roast beef sandwiches and as an added zing in summery pasta or potato salads, perhaps Miles has it all figured out. Grate Roots has consumer support in all corners of the world – from local residents to visitors from Australia and Egypt.

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