Because I’m personally invested in the pursuit of better coffee, I’m also invested in the pursuit of better snacks to go with that coffee.
Have you ever looked at the ingredient list of a granola bar? There is a lot of information you can glean from any food packaging, most notably nutritional content, ingredients, and address of place of distribution, presumably the last place the item previously was before it arrived at the place you purchased it from.
But, as Steve Ettlinger’s 2008 “Twinkie, Deconstructed” proves, just because an item is listed on an ingredient list doesn’t mean that explains what it is. For example, the second ingredient on this Nature’s Valley protein bar is “soy protein isolate.” The snack food industry (and yes, it’s an industry, with trade shows and conferences and monthly publications) has worked hard to make “bars” market themselves as health foods, when in fact most of them are filled with mystery ingredients.
What’s a snacker to do? From 2010 to 2012 I wrote more than 50 Tasty Tuesday articles for examiner.com as Manhattan Green Living Examiner trying to drudge up suggestions to answer that very question–what to eat if you don’t want to eat processed junk with mysterious ingredients?
I trudged all over Manhattan–and even into Brooklyn!–visiting restaurants, cafés, carts, gardens and roofs all busy producing ingredients and food that eaters could trust. They could trust it because the people making the food or growing the ingredients had values aligned with theirs and weren’t holed up in some factory in New Jersey behind closed doors, clandestinely tinkering with additives derived from everything from charcoal to petroleum (Eric Scholsser gives a great visual of that exact reality in his 2009 “Fast Food Nation.”
This is a shameless plug to garner your enthusiasm about and support for food that is even more trustworthy than all the food I wrote about as Manhattan Green Living Examiner, food that comes from someone whom I know and trust, whose family I know and trust. I wrote in “The Question That No One Really Wants to Know the Answer To” that if you want to really believe in what you eat and drink, then you have to be sure that the person producing that product has an uncompromisable commitment to the things you care about. Rebecca is in the throes of a Kickstarter campaign to support the expanded production of her Mountain Morsels line of snack bars under her company Sustainable Snacks, LLC.
Rebecca Scott is the oldest sister of one of my best childhood friends. From our quiet town in New Hampshire, she has been around the world and is now hard at work in the Bronx, toiling to the teeth to offer her own personal, handcrafted answer to the question of “what to eat when you don’t want to eat THAT?”
Starting in her mother’s kitchen in New Hampshire, Rebecca developed recipes for snacks inspired by the White Mountains of our home state, part of the northern crown of the Appalachian trail. She uses ingredients she trusts and today crafts perfected versions of those original Mountain Morsels batch by handmade batch in a shared kitchen in the Bronx.
Listen to her tell her story: when snackmakers speak!
She has been diligently peddling her sustainable snacks along the city’s farmers market trail (which is in some ways as daunting as the AT). Whole Foods has taken an interest. They want her to make more.
Rebecca can’t up her production to meet the volumes Whole Foods would need without an infusion of capital. To raise that capital she needs hungry investors, a crowd of investors hungry for lip smacking, sustainable snacks, to be exact. These are the days of crowd sourcing, and it’s about time our food catered more to the demands of the crowd rather than to the output that’s conveniently cheap to produce in a system that is not exactly transparent nor trustworthy.
I asked a lot during my own Kickstarter, and I would not appeal to the communal pool of Kickstarter backing generosity on behalf of someone else if I didn’t feel that person deserved every dollar of if. You can feel confident backing Rebecca’s campaign. I have known her since elementary school, and an incomplete follow-through of a goal she sets for herself or a commitment she makes to others is simply not something she is capable of.
From the student council of small town New Hampshire to the churning kitchens of New York’s freshest food scene in the Bronx, Rebecca is making change happen. And it tastes so good.
Donate to her Mountain Morsels campaign and get your hands on all 5 flavors (Katahdin Cranberry, Blue Ridge Blueberr, Spicy Harper’s Ferry Cherry, Clingman’s Dome Date, Great Valley Ridge Raisin)
Be a backer, get snacks to love, and join a community of people who do the hard work of building what they believe instead of reaching for something prewrapped and flavorless. But hop to it! The campaign ends June 28th.