We’re always looking for delicious, local ways to fuel our bodies. When we came across Battenkill Wholesome Foods, we knew we found something special. Supporting our local producers is incredibly important to us. We especially think it’s important to find folks who not only are making delicious food but making sure their impact in this world is positive. Check out our friend down in Arlington, Vermont who make fantastic foods that will energize you through all your adventures. Thanks to Leslie for chatting with us about her story of Battenkill Wholesome Foods.
Q. Can you share the story of why and how you developed your first recipe?
A. In the summer of 2010, my wife, Liz and I took a 7-day bike trip through northern VT. We were so tired of the energy bars that were loaded with sugar so I experimented with an alternative. We took my creation on the trip and were amazed at how it powered up Vermont’s hills. Liz is hypoglycemic and it was a game changer for her because with only 2g of added sugar and 5g of protein it doesn’t spike your blood sugar. We were hooked!
Q. What inspired you to launch Battenkill Wholesome Foods?
A. At the time of the trip, I was in transition having just moved to VT full-time. While I wasn’t thinking that starting a business would be my next step, I had flirted with entrepreneurship in the past. I realized that this energy bar could turn into something. So I jumped in and was thrilled at the reception.
Q. What’s the story behind your company name?
A. We live near the Battenkill River in Arlington. The original and sole product in the beginning was Battenkill Brittle. My business name was EvenKiel Unlimited since I wasn’t sure what direction the business would take and I had some ideas for other non-food items. But as the business grew and I added other products to the Battenkill line, I realized that the name needed to reflect the business more and so I changed it to Battenkill Wholesome Foods in 2018.
Q. What sets your product apart on the shelf?
A. All our products are gluten-free and they are all super low in sugar. Many gluten-free products and energy bars have much higher sugar content. I hear from customers all the time how appreciative they are for the low sugar content. In addition, I use simple, clean, mostly organic ingredients.
Q. How do you come up with your product recipes?
A. I develop all my own recipes. When developing a new product, I am not only thinking about what would be interesting to customers but also how it will work with production. All the work is done by me and 2 part-time employees in a small commercial kitchen in the basement of my home. I really enjoy the production so I am not interested in getting so big that it would take me out of that aspect of the work. So any new products have to fit into the flow of things and be within our capacity.
Q. Can you share with us the steps you’ve taken to make your company earth friendly?
A. This is a huge priority for me! I expend a lot of energy to lower our carbon footprint because it feels absolutely essential. We became solar-powered in 2014 and all the equipment is electric. I am fanatical about reusing wherever possible. We use the seed bags and paper from labels as packaging material. I harvest some shipping boxes from local stores whenever possible. I buy other boxes made from recycled cardboard. I burn the parchment paper used in baking. The little stuff that is leftover when the products are packaged get used in the cookies that I sell on the website and at farmers’ markets and any other food scraps are composted. Hence, we generate less than 2 pounds of garbage a week! In addition, while I do ship to online customers all over the country, I have focused my marketing to stores in the northeast because I want to encourage the concept of people buying local.
Q. What are your favorite ways to enjoy your energy snacks?
A. The Battenkill Brittle is a staple for me when I am hiking, biking or working. It absolutely keeps me going. But it is also great with some almond butter on top if I need a little extra. Lately, my favorite way to eat the Crumble is sprinkled on top of my morning kale banana smoothie.
Q. Anything else you’d like to share about your company or products?
A. We make and package everything almost entirely by hand. There is a tremendous amount of care that is put into creating this food. And it makes me so happy to be creating healthy wholesome food for folks.
The other thing I would like to share is that during the pandemic, I started a donation effort with the help of my online customers. They helped me to donate over 1700 packages of our energy bars to frontline hospital and nursing home workers as well as food pantries in Vermont and New York City. I was so gratified to be able to do at least a little something for the people who were putting their lives on the line every day and was humbled by the generosity of my customers who stepped up to help.
For more info: Battenkill Wholesome Foods – The perfect foods!
Local food nourishes us, supports our families, builds community, and benefits our environment. Local Food Is Love. We are so fortunate in Vermont to have access to such a wide variety of foods made and grown by neighbors we know and trust. This is what Local Food Is Love is all about. Every summer we celebrate the local growers and producers who enhance our lives and communities in countless ways. Stay tuned for more stories about these amazing people and the unique and delicious foods they bring to our tables.