Wild Wednesday


It is Wednesday once again and you know what that means…time for another special Wild Wednesday feature!

This weeks guest is someone who I will confidently say consumes the most peanut butter out of any person I know.  He is a p.b. lover through and through and eats it on pretty much anything, apples being his favorite!  So naturally he came to mind when I was brainstorming who my next feature would be.  Not only does he just love our peanut butter (and any for that matter), but he also plays an important role in Wild Squirrel’s history.  Besides Keeley and myself, he was the very first person to try our peanut butter creations!  The very same day we made it, we began giving it out to our friends.  Our first stop was to a house where a few of our friends lived…one of those friends being AJ!

AJ-aka peanut butter model

There are two words that comes to mind when I think of AJ…architecture+ wind surfing!!   Choosing the most time demanding major at the University of Oregon, AJ spends a lot of his time devoted to pursuing his major that he is incredibly passionate about.  During the summer months when he is not hard at work in an architecture studio, he spends his days pursuing his passion for outdoor adventure!

-Tell me more about architecture.  Why did you choose to pursue this degree, and what do you see yourself doing with it in the future?

Well, my favorite thing in the world has always been building things outside during the summer, and I’ve always had a knack for math, so it seemed like a pretty good way to combine the things I enjoyed. What I’ve since realized is that even more that drawing buildings, I enjoy working with people, so ideally someday I’ll be able to move into the project management end of a firm. There aren’t any specific firms I dream of working for, just so long as I’m close to the water and warm weather.

-Best/worst part of architecture?

The best part about studying architecture at Oregon is that while everyone else is spending late nights writing papers, all my assignments consist drawing and building little models. The worst part is the number of hours it can take to do all the drawing and model building, at one point freshman year I had to stay awake for 3 days straight just to finish my work in time!

Business AJ

- Beyond architecture, what is something you are passionate about and why?

My interests are constantly changing, but at this point my greatest passion is adventure. Every chance I get I try to explore some place new, I’ve been lucky enough to do lots of adventuring around the world but I still love exploring around Oregon. Hiking, cycling and skiing have dragged me into some spectacular parts of the wilderness surrounding Eugene.

Adventurous AJ!

-What is one of your favorite ways to spend your free time? 

One of my favorite things to do on the rare occasion that the sun is actually out, is to hop on my bike and just ride in a random direction as far as I can, and not turning around until I’m really lost as could be.

-Even though you love adventuring in the Northwest, I don’t think you’d argue that you are a Californian at heart!  Tell me a little more about your summers spent on the water in Cali.

Summer is my favorite part of the year because I’m lucky enough to work as a windsurfing/kite surfing/stand up paddle boarding instructor. Basically I spend the summer months playing on the water and teaching people of all ages how to do the same, I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend my break!

So you’ve been an instructor the past few summers, tell me more about your awesome adventure you have planned for this summer!

This summer it looks like I’ll be heading to Bolivia! I’m going to be a part of a 6-week human physiology study, observing how our body’s adapt to training at altitude. Basically I’ll be running around out at 17,000 ft, working on my spanish, and hopefully squeezing in lots of adventures with my camera.

-After starting Wild Squirrel people always ask me this question…where do you see yourself in 5 years?  I can hardly tell you where I’ll be next week let alone in 5 years so I have a hard time answering this one.  What are your thoughts on this question, do you have any ideas where you’ll be?

To be honest I could see myself any number of places working any number of jobs. I don’t have a good prediction for where I’ll be, but I can tell you where I’d like to be! I love the idea that in five years I will have finished peace corps and have just received my credentials as a licensed architect with a job awaiting me somewhere around the Mediterranean (I can dream, right?)

-You’ve been around since day one of Wild Squirrel.  Since you’ve watched us go from zero to where we are now, what have been your impressions along the way?  Did you think we were serious in the beginning?

I will never forget the first time you brought it to my house. The peanut butter tasted so good that I ate it just a tiny bit at a time, it lasted me almost three weeks! Right off the bat I think we all agreed with you guys that you oughta sell it, but I think I was envisioning a much smaller scale operation. What has impressed me most through all of this is your ability to maintain your friendship even through all the stresses of running a business.

Where did your love/obsession of p.b. begin?

To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of peanut butter growing up, mostly because of the way that it would stick to the top of my mouth and make it so hard to finish a sandwich. This all changed though when I discovered the magical combination of apples and peanut butter. Many of my friends on Division I sports teams were instructed to eat this combo as a quick nutritious snack, so I figured I might give it a try. I realized that the tart juicy apple perfectly balances out the sticky gooey peanut butter! I’ve been going through about a quart of peanut butter every week since then.

It wasn’t until the following year that I realized that PB was something that could be perfect straight out of the jar. This is when you guys came along with your first batch of peanut butter from your kitchen. The Wild Squirrel revolution began, and my love of peanut butter was renewed!

-Favorite flavor of Wild Squirrel and why?

Favorite flavor of Wild Squirrel? Well I love them all of course! But my favorite would have to be cinnamon raisin, probably because the flavors added to it balance out the peanuts the same way apples used to do so for me.

AJ you are awesome!  Thanks for believing in our “peanut butter dream” since day 1!

That’s all for now!  


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