Nutty Steph's

American Made Since 2004
2014 Food Finalist

Jaquelyn Rieke

Middlesex, Vermont
Nutty Steph's is fourteen Vermont women passionate about hand-crafting extraordinary maple granola and delicious chocolates.
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Tell us about your business.

I was not happy with my job as a math teacher, so I started Nutty Steph's in 2003 with a nutty maple-sweetened granola from a family recipe. The granola became the best selling bulk granola in Vermont health food stores and co-ops nearly overnight, and for three years was our only product. 11 years later, I co-run the business with a total of 14 women. We make a full line of chocolate in addition to granola, and we are collaboratively run by fourteen amazing women. All of our products are made by hand in our Vermont shop and bakery. We work hard to create fantastic product while maintaining a work environment in which each member of the staff spends a good portion of her day doing what she loves, and is most skilled at. Our goals as we grow are to be 100% organic, continue to use as many local ingredients as possible, include more people with special needs in our staff (we currently have two), and to increase our national reach.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

Nutty Steph's production and retail outlet is a cozy chocolate shop, with an old style European feel. Located within Camp Meade, we are part of a small hub of artisan shops in Middlesex, Vermont. Customers can sample and purchase our chocolate and granola products 7 days a week, as well as enjoy our famous 'Bacon Thursday' event. At Bacon Thursday, a live band performs every week, artisanal wines and craft beers are served, along with our signature chocolate truffles, cheese samplers, and plates of local bacons, with optional sweet dipping sauces (including chocolate, maple, honey, and peanut butter).

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the abundance of small organic farms in our area and the farmers who run them. Some of the best food in the country is grown here, giving food makers like Nutty Steph's the opportunity to create some of the most delicious and diverse food products in the world.

What makes your business stand out?

All Nutty Steph's employees are very much involved in how the business is run. We meet regularly in special scopes (ie Sales & Service, Production etc.) and go through integrative consensus to create governance for the company; part of the decision making includes having a say in what our respective roles and responsibilities are, so that we are doing work that makes us happy, and thus as productive as possible.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

I would advise an aspiring entrepreneur to build excellent quality products and services rather than seeking cheap materials and methods, and to focus on ways to ever improve communications and productivity in the workplace.

What does American Made mean to you?

To me, American Made means re-building the American manufacturing community and giving better choices to our citizens for consuming food and goods that are healthful for the earth and its inhabitants. As a country, we will take responsibility for reversing the destruction that resulted, unconsciously for many, from the mass export of manufacturing work. American Made is a new promise to fill our needs without causing harm, making amends for a past in which we were not always conscientious about labor and agricultural conditions.

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