Sydney Chasin grew up on Chasin’ Dreams Farm, a truly magical place that always inspired creativity and innovation from simplicity. It was a place to be yourself. A place to dream. An inspiring place where imaginations ran wild and new ideas soared.
Diagnosed with Celiac disease at 7 years old, Syndey was gluten free back when gluten free wasn’t quite what it is today, which means she’s been snacking and crafting magical treats out of simple, alternative ingredients for as long as she can remember! It’s no surprise then that she would create a magical gluten free treat from popped sorghum.
Listen to today’s episode of The Nothing But Good Podcast to hear:
2:30 how Sydney found out about sorghum
3:30 what it was like to be diagnosed with celiac at an early age
5:00 an obsession Sydney had from an early age that foreshadows the work she does now
6:00 how Chasin’ Dreams Farm came to exist as it does today
11:15 the environmental and health benefits of sorghum
Links from Today’s Episode: Visit Chasin’ Dreams Farm Follow @chasindreamsfarm on Instagram to watch those mini musicals
Transcription of Episode 8:
You're listening to The Nothing But Good Podcast, a show that believes you should know where your food comes from, or more specifically, who it comes from. Each week we bring you new interviews with the makers and founders of the brands you love so you can see how they came to be and what makes them different. We focus on telling the stories of emerging brands and brands who are committed to using better for you ingredients in the snacks they create. Every episode of The Nothing But Good podcast is brought to you by Oh Goodie Box, a snack box subscription service that sends healthier snacks directly to your home or office so that you have the fuel you need to make your greatest impact each day. Order your first box at ohgoodiebox.com and use code PODCAST for 15% off your first order. That's ohgoodiebox.com and code PODCAST for 15% off your first order. Now grab a snack and let's get to today's show.
Sydney thank you so much for being on the show. For everyone listening and watching would you mind introducing yourself and your business?
Sure, thanks for having me. I'm Sydney Chasin, founder of Chasin Dreams Farm and we are a snack brand creatively crafting the Earth's most humble ingredients. So we believe that delicious and indulgent snacks are packed full of not so good ingredients. And on the other side of things better for you snacks are perceived as boring, bland and lacking taste appeal. So we're creating better for you, more fun for you, clean label snacks, taking a page out of conventional foods playbook, making it really high energy vibrant and fun, but keeping it completely clean ingredient deck. And our product that we have now is a popped sorghum snack, which looks like super tiny popcorn but is entirely corn free. And made with US grown sorghum, which is an amazing US grown ancient grain that's never been genetically modified, naturally gluten free and super sustainable.
So interesting. And when I first came across you guys, I was like, oh, it's like the world's tiniest popcorn. But then I started looking into it and reading about you guys and I have never heard of sorghum before. So how did you stumble across this amazing ingredient?
Yeah, so I've known about sorghum my entire life. I grew up gluten free since I was seven years old well before gluten free is what gluten free is today. So I mean it was really my mother and I in the kitchen making flour blends using rice flour and tapioca starch and sorghum, flour, etc. So I've known about alternative ingredients my whole life but I also grew up on a farm, which is Chasin Dreams Farm, which is the Chasin family farm. And while we did not grow grain surrounding farmers did so they were switching a lot of their corn and soy fields to sorghum fields that better use resources because even in a drought season, farmers wouldn't have to irrigate their fields.
Interesting and so what made your family go gluten free when you were seven years old?
Yeah, interesting. I got tested for celiac disease much earlier than most people were getting tested for celiac disease and had a super alternative Doctor chiropractor type guy that was like, Have you heard of celiac disease. And I actually originally got tested because I had horrible spring allergies. And growing up on the farm was allergic to everything on the farm. I got out of every possible chore because I'd have an allergy attack every time I stepped foot into the barns. But yes, they were testing me for all different things and came back positive for celiac disease which pretty much means I cannot process gluten and started living a gluten free diet right after that test. And while I still have plenty of spring allergies and you know, allergies to horses and hay, etc. It is nowhere near as bad since I cut out gluten.
Wow.That's incredible. And so what was it? Did you kind of always know then that you wanted to get involved in the food industry? Like how did you go from growing up on the farm getting diagnosed with celiac disease and then now you started your own food company?
Yeah, no, I had no idea this is where I was going to be. I always say, like any entrepreneur, that was like no, I thought this was gonna be my whole life is we all end up in interesting places, because of other things. So kind of taking it back to childhood just to bring it up to present day. I've always had a weird obsession with manufacturing. So my family, we did a trip to New England when I was maybe 9 or 10. And, you know, my mother was like where do you want to visit when we're up here? And, you know, my sister is like, a mountain and I want to do this, don't do that. And I was like, I want to go to the Cabot cheese factory, the Ben and Jerry's factory, the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory, and just have always been fascinated with how foods made, I'd be lying to tell you, if little nine year old me was like, I'm gonna create food one day, but it's just definitely, like, been part of me. But when I was graduating college, I entered an idea of competition. Pretty much how I could change lives and better the economy and entered this concept for a food platform. Using sorghum grain, this amazing underutilized ingredient and kind of fell into doing that was applying for corporate jobs was so put off by the idea of going into corporate world that I kind of went on my merry way and started as a farmer's market idea and has become a lot bigger than that.
How long ago was that?
Oh, so there's like multiple start dates in our Chasin Dreams Farm journey. Because I started working on the project for two years before properly starting. And I was living in the UK actually started the development of our pop sorghum line in the UK and had an enterprise fellowship with the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which like is almost like a little mini MBA for your idea. So I did that. And then when that program finished, I moved back to the US and properly started developing, like really building the business in November 2018.
Wow. That's awesome. So you've been like fully in this for four years now? Five years?
Yeah. Five years. Yeah.
Wow. Crazy. And so what has the journey been like. You had this idea and you so you've never been in the corporate world? As an employee?
I did an internship once.
Love it. So I'm just so intrigued by all of it. So are you just self taught? How did you go into just this idea to know your manufacturing, you're sourcing the product, you're finding packaging? I know, you guys just did a rebrand all of the things.
Yeah. So am I self taught, Yes. I knew nothing going into it. And I feel like I obviously know a lot of things now. But in hindsight I'm kind of grateful that I didn't know a lot of things going into it. And I went into it naive and just said, Yes, and took on whatever was coming at me. And I think I actually can credit a lot of success to that. I'm not being jaded or anything now. I'm like, Oh, my God, I would have never started this, even though I'm so grateful that I have started it, and I love what I do. But yeah, I mean, I had so many people, and still to this day, so many people helped me and mentored me and walked me through things. And you know, at the very beginning, it was, you know, where do I even start? Like how, what does it mean to have a business? And then, you know, those were like, super broad mentors, anyone who touched the business world, and now it's a lot more niche, you know, people that I work with that I specifically need mentoring and help figuring out third party logistics. Companies that properly integrate with Amazon and chocolate you know, super detailed things. But I've mentored and helped a lot of people that are just starting out on their journey now. And I think what I found to work and encourage other people to do is chunk it down and work backwards.
I love that advice, though. Because I think, sometimes when you're trying to just start and you're looking at the finish line, it can seem so overwhelming and so impossible. And it's like no, it isn't. It's impossible to go from point A to point B like that, but it is very plausible. If you can just break it down into the next right step, the next small step so I think that's it.
Yeah, and we still do it when we're looking at our revenue targets and I don't know like our optimizing margins and things that are far more complicated now. It's like you look at it, and I'm like, Oh my God, even looking into 2023 and 2024. I'm like, how are we gonna get there? And then we're like, okay, but this has to happen before that. And then it's just like, we have a month to month plan of how we're gonna get there. And at times it's overwhelming but it's totally manageable, where we're just putting our left foot in front of our right.
I love that so much and talking about the future. I know. You're currently working with sorghum right now? Or are you looking at creating other lines the way you introduced the company, it kind of sounded more like a comprehensive program, not just a one product, multiple flavors program. So yeah, what's next for Chasin Dreams?
Yeah, so we're working on a few different concepts. Just now, we want to stay in snacking, I would love to be able to incorporate sorghum into what we're doing. I think sorghum actually has a real opportunity to help with the future of food security, because of how resourceful it is. But what's interesting and how we've shifted our brand messaging, is that we are now a brand that we can do more than that we are not just known for sorghum, we are known for innovation and creativity and empowering consumers. And oh, by the way, we're using this amazing grain so in making that shift and change, we have a far better platform that we can do anything, you know, we will stay true to corn free, gluten free non GMO for forever. But we have a lot more flexibility in where we innovate.
I love that so much. And with sorghum, just really quick just to highlight again, I know you said it doesn't need to be the irrigated. Yeah. How was that? How was that possible? And then just quickly, can you just wrap up with the health benefits of that specific product just to kind of drive it home for our listeners?
Yeah. So sorghum, just a fascinating crop, I went and visited our farmers and the ground was cracking and dry and there's these beautiful sorghum plants coming out of it. So technically, it's got a fibrous root system, it mines groundwater a lot better than other plants and then it's got super waxy leaves that help retain the water in the plant as well. But it's regeneratively farmed, so it actually captures harmful airborne carbon and stores it safely in the soil. And then, like you said, drought resilient, and doesn't require irrigation to grow health benefits at the grain. It's a super great well rounded grain protein fiber, lots of micronutrients so a great, whole grain sustainable option to replace, you know, highly highly modified grains such as corn, wheat, etc.
I love that and I'm just kind of wrapping up here. I was curious, is your family's farm still in business? Is it still operating in the States?
It's not it has since been sold. But I feel like I have to just paint the picture for listeners. This was not a grain farm, my mother raised and bred Shetland ponies. So we had, at one point in time, 23 ponies that were like maybe two feet tall. So a very quirky, magical place.
I love it, it sounds like a magical place to grow up and I feel like with your branding, and your messaging, you've kind of incorporated some of that magic just into the language that you use. A very happy, bright brand and I love that about you guys. I think it's your brand and your personality just kind of match so beautifully.
I appreciate you saying that because I don't think our brand has always done that and it's very hard as a brand owner who's writing a lot of the copy to write something that's not super authentic to who we are and now I feel like it’s me, it is my upbringing. It is the whole Chasin family. And you know being authentic I think it resonates with a lot of people.
I think so too, it certainly did with us. We're so glad that you're in the box and can't wait to see what's next for you guys. That'll be kind of the end so where of course listeners can find your product in Oh Goodie Box, but if they wanted to just order directly or follow you guys on Instagram, where would they find you?
On Tik Tok and Instagram @chasindreamsfarm, lots of funny quirky content there and on our site chasindreamsfarm.com.
I love it. Now you mentioned Tik Tok and I was not expecting Tik Tok.
Honestly, we've not cracked the code for Tik Tok. Okay, a lot of our content we designed for Tik Tok and then put it on reels. So I don't know if you've seen, our intern does tiny movies or tiny musicals. Have you seen it?
I've seen the tiny things. I haven't seen the musicals themselves yet now.
So pretty much the concept is that it's a tiny news, tiny movie or tiny musical, where she's acting out, almost like SparkNotes of what happened in the musical and it's maybe 20 seconds long, but she acts it out with our pops. Totally ridiculous and still out there. But wildly entertaining, so you have to check out her tiny movies and musicals.
I’m gonna go check it out right now.
Guys, thank you so much, not only for being on the show, but for your partnership. And we'll have links to everything in the show notes.
Awesome. Thanks so much for having me.
Yeah, of course. Thank you for listening to this episode of The Nothing But Good Podcast. We hope you enjoyed today's show and if you did, we'd be so grateful if you could leave a review and share this episode with your friends. Before you go. Make sure you're subscribed so that you weren't always the first to know when a new episode is released. And don't forget to follow @ohgoodiebox on Instagram so you can get an even deeper look into how we decide which products get placed in our snack boxes. Last, but not least, visit ohgoodiebox.com and make sure you use promo code PODCAST for 15% off your first box. Links to everything are in today's show notes. Until next time, happy snacking.