POSTED BY: ERIKA
One day last school year as I was walking out of class I got a phone call from Keeley. She was so anxious to tell me her exciting news that she could hardly spit out her sentence! That morning on a whim she decided to e-mail our favorite food blogger Kath, to tell her about our all-natural flavored peanut butter that we had just created. This food blogger was our equivalent to a Hollywood celebrity, as she has an incredible fan following nationwide! So, when she e-mailed Keeley back saying that she would love to try samples of our p.b., we were beside ourselves!
Now let me just say that we sent samples to her in March of 2011, just over a month after we had made our very first jar. At this point, Wild Squirrel was nothing more then a fun hobby…little did we know how quickly our lives would change!
After we sent out the package of p.b., we checked her blog every morning to see if she had received our package. We were so anxious and nervous for her to try and review our VERY rustic p.b. creations on her very popular blog. As inexperienced packers, we were also worried about our little 8 ounce mason jars arriving in one piece! But our worries were put to rest and emotions ran high one morning when we opened her blog and there, right on the computer screen were our jars of peanut butter. What an unforgettable moment that was!
Our first jars of p.b. featured on the blog!
Now I am sure you are wondering who this blogger is that I am raving about ;) Her name is Kath Younger at katheats.com!
Here is Kath in her Great Harvest Bakery in Charlottesville, Va with some jars of Wild Squirrel Peanut Butter!
Keeley and I are both so grateful to Kath for trying our peanut butters way back when and featuring us on her blog. We always say that Kath is one of the main reasons we believed in our products from the get go. After she posted about our p.b. we received hundreds of orders from around the country. For only being a month and a half into our p.b. adventure and then receiving hundreds of orders in a single day as a result of her posting, it gave us the confidence to grow our little idea into where we are today!
Clearly Kath has been one of our biggest supporters and after featuring us on her blog a few times I am so excited this week to finally get the chance to feature her for Wild Wednesday :-) This is an example of life coming full circle!
1) Explain a little about your work, the bakery, blogging etc.
I started blogging in 2007 after losing 30 pounds after graduating from college. I wanted to show people that healthy living could be fun and delicious. A few months into blogging, I decided I wanted to help others get healthier and set out on a 2.5 year journey to become a Registered Dietitian. In the meantime, my blog became a part-time job. Towards the end of my dietetic training, my husband, Matt, decided to open a Great Harvest Bread Co. and we embarked on that path together. I finished my dietetic internship in 2010 and pass the exam the month after - just after we moved to Charlottesville, VA to open our bakery. By then, my blog was a full-time career.
2) I have always been so impressed by your blogging dedication! What inspired you to start your blog? Have you posted 3 times a day since day 1?
Three times a day for nearly 5 years!! The thing about food blogging is that your content is created naturally. You never have to sit down and brainstorm post ideas because you’re always eating! That’s the beauty of my style of blogging. It’s a lot of work to document, but the work comes naturally.
3) We discovered your blog in our college dorm room 3 years ago when we started becoming interested in food and nutrition. Can you explain more about your nutrition education and your food philosophy?
When I started losing weight, I did what everyone else did: I turned to sugar-free and weight-loss industry products like high fiber bars and cereals because I thought that’s what healthy meant. But the more I read about nutrition, the more I realized healthy living was much more than cutting calories. It was about nutrients, feeling satisfied after a meal and putting real food in your mouth. Health is more about what you DO eat than what you don’t. Hence, Kath Eats Real Food was born : ) I still strive to eat as many whole foods as possible and balance delicious with nutritious.
4) Did you ever think you would own a business? What has been the best and the hardest thing about starting your Great Harvest bakery?
Never! I think I would have been too intimidated to take the risk, but here I am with not one but two businesses in our household! KERF was a lot easier to grow because there was no risk - just a small fee for hosting and a lot of time and dedication. Great Harvest on the other hand was a big risk, a huge financial commitment and requires a lot more focus than a blog. I worked full time at the bakery for a while until Matt got on his feet and I was able to back off to focus back on my path. The bakery is Matt’s career and nutrition, food and blogging is mine, so we balance out well and both support each other when needed.
In March 2011 Kath blogged about our peanut butter. As of April 2012, she started selling our peanut butter in her Great Harvest Bakery!
5) Family is very important to you. Tell me how you are feeling about your family expanding ;)
Very excited! I have wanted to be a mom my entire life and sometimes have to remind myself “This is it! You are doing it!” before this whole pregnancy flies by! We’ve been married for 5 years and have both settled into our careers (finally!) so the timing feels right.
We first learned about the idea of “Oats in a Jar” from Kath! She puts her breakfast oatmeal in an almost empty jar of nut butter, how clever! This particular morning she used Chocolate Coconut!