Amanda Girton started Slow Foods Kitchen with her mom, Felicia, after her dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers. As they switched from the SAD (Standard American Diet) to a plant-based one, they struggled to find pre-made snacks and foods that were both clean and nutrient dense to support their busy lives.
So, they started making their own plant-based snacks and now it’s their mission to make it easy for other families to incorporate more plants into their diet.
Listen in to find out:
2:45 the news Amanda received at 21 years old that changed her life
4:15 why Amanda and Felicia turned to plants in a holistic approach to help heal her dad
5:00 tips for anyone wanting to incorporate more plants into their diet
7:15 how the name Slow Foods Kitchen was created
10:45 how these kale chips are different (aka better) than others on the shelf
12:30 what’s next for Slow Foods Kitchen, including a nut-free kale chip
17:45 the type of community Slow Foods Kitchen is trying to build (hint: you don’t have to be vegan to be a part of community)
19:00 what it means to lead a “snacktive” life
Want to support Amanda and Slow Foods Kitchen?
Follow on Instagram @slowfoodskitchen
Subscribe to The Slow Foods Kitchen YouTube page
Order your Slow Foods Kitchen kale chips:
Or get a bag in Oh Goodie’s February Snack Box
Transcript of Episode 6:
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. 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.
All right, Amanda. Well, thank you so much for being on the show. For everyone listening and watching. Would you mind telling them about you and Slow Foods Kitchen.
Thanks for having me, Jennifer. I'm super excited. So my name is Amanda. I am the co-owner of Slow Foods Kitchen. We make kale chips and my mom is my partner and we're located in Florida. So we make super foods for serious snackers whether you're a carnivore or vegan doesn't matter, we want to make vegan snacks accessible to everybody.
I love that, What was it?
Super foods for serious snackers.
I love that. Well. What were you doing before you started Slow Food Kitchen and then I want to hear all about how you guys got started and how you ended up working with your mom.
I just graduated college and I got a marketing job out of school, part time digital media. So I was doing that before and I worked there for about a year and a half. And then my boss he told me one day you're gonna quit and lead me to start your own business. And I was like no way, never, you work all the time, you don't sleep. No way, I'm not doing that and then what six months later I quit.
So the tipping point, the reason we started our business was I was 21 years old, and my mom met me for dinner and told me my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and so that was life shattering.
And that's how we started. So we started to make healthy snacks for him. My mom bought a super expensive raw food cookbook. And then we realized how expensive it was. So we started make her own plant based snacks at home and we just kept going. We started going to farmers markets all over Tampa Bay and at one point, we just thought you know what this is working we should just commit. And that's how we got started. My mom sold the family farm, moved into a bigger city, because we were out in Stuart Florida, which is tiny, and converted her garage into a commercial kitchen. And that's when our business became official so that's why she's my partner, Wow, I made it happen.
That is intense. A commercial kitchen in a garage is no joke, that's a lot of work.
Yeah, it is. I mean, the building was already there. It wasn't quite as much and it's a huge space. It's not just like a one car garage. But the building was already there, It just came with the house. It was the perfect setup. But we had to put in firewalls, we had to build walls, put in doors, you know the codes. But it's a pretty legit garage kitchen.
That's amazing. And so you go and you start this business, what kind of made you want to make healthy snacks for your dad. But can we dig into a little bit of that? How did you know that plant based foods would help?
We knew that what you eat matters and you are what you eat. And we've heard it before and it just started to click. So we grew up on a farm and we ate eggs and potatoes and meat and mac and cheese and things that just were not healthy. And so my parents, my mom, the first thing she wanted to do was what can we holistically do to heal my dad. And so food was step number one. And so that's why we started with snacks.
So good. And I love the idea that it was too expensive so you just started to do it yourself. And then I think a lot of times there's a barrier for people who want to eat healthy. They have this notion that it's too expensive to eat healthy. And so
What would you say to somebody who wants to start, like eating better, but is afraid that their budget can't sustain it?
I would tell them to make their own food or try other cuisines. Like when you think American food, hamburgers and potatoes or you think vegan food today, the vegan burgers and the vegan burritos and all the processed frozen vegan foods, those are expensive. I don't buy them because they're expensive. And their not necessarily healthy either.
But when you look at other cuisines, like Mexican food, they're not eating a lot of meat either, but they're eating rice and beans and vegetables. So think about foods that you like, if you'd like burritos, but you filled them with chicken, look at other alternatives. It doesn't have to be expensive, it can be very affordable. It just takes a little bit of work, especially if you're not used to it. And you have chicken like my husband has chicken with every single meal because the guy can never switch. Well, I started slowly adding in vegetables and other meal items. That's what I would say along with slowly like people think I have to go vegan overnight, which you don't if you want to you can. But if you start slowly, it makes it more sustainable. And it gives you time to learn. You think okay, I can slowly add in more vegetables, I can slowly eat less eggs, like whatever your goal is, makes them more practical, too.
I love that such good advice. I've definitely been someone guilty in the past Well, I'd say in the past, but still now where I I'm learning about food and why what you eat matters. And so I'm like, let's just purge everything. Let's just start from scratch, which seems like a good idea in the moment. But it's just not sustainable. Because you don't have the knowledge or the tools to back it up. But just because you heard one podcast or you read one book, it doesn't mean that you're all of a sudden a guru who can make all of these changes overnight and sustain them. You might be able to do it for a day or two. But then life happens and you go right back to your old habits at least that's my experience. So I love the idea of going of going slow. And in regards to slow How did you guys come up with the name for Slow Foods Kitchen?
Our original name was Terra's Harvest. Terra like the earth TERRA. And for some reason I don't remember we didn't like it. We didn't love it or something. Maybe it was trademarked, I'm not sure. So then we're like, okay, slow, raw food is slow. It's dehydrated. Okay, slow. It's food. If you make in the kitchen, it was just there was not really anything else.
I actually really love that though. Just from an entrepreneur aspect. I think sometimes people think about starting a business and it gets so overwhelming and they're just like, well, what would I even name it Or what would the website look like? And it's like, no, if you have a good product, like you guys do with your kale chips, then the name, you'll figure it out. And it can just be something like okay, it's slow, It's food and it's made in the kitchen, Slow Foods Kitchen and Bada bing, bada boom, you know, It doesn't have to be this Well, since 1990 Whatever, that's not even a long time ago, I was trying to go for an old time, It's not that long ago. But that's so bad anyway. That's embarrassing.
Oh, my gosh, well, so how long have you guys been in business? How long has Slow Foods Kitchen been around?
It'll be five years in April. Wow, that's our official. We've been in our new kitchen about it'll be three years in April, we started very slow. Taking care of my dad and trying to run the business. It was almost impossible because he lived at home and it was difficult, which was good we didn't have this huge pressure to quit our jobs and then go into a business. So we slowly work slowly developed our recipes.
But we've stuck around so it'll be five years, April 27.
That's so good. Congratulations. That's a long time. So how has it been for you? Leaving your corporate job? Like how do you like having your own business?
I love it. I never really had the real nine to five corporate job. So at my marketing company, I was a contractor part time. So I was eased into the make my own schedule, get to work whenever I want. I never had to be there at night and work all day. So I'm a little spoiled I think I was like, Yeah, this is just, it's just how people work.
My parents never had a corporate job. They ran the family farm.
But I didn't work for other people. And so now I really love working for myself it's difficult, you know, you don't make as much money. I have to work hard. You know, sometimes I've worked nights sometimes I've worked weekends. But overall I love it. I mean the freedom and flexibility of making my own schedule. I mean, sometimes, I still have to go to work, but I could do this call, I can have breakfast with my husband and like I can do other things. So I love it. I don't know that I could ever go back. I think about like what if something happens in my business? What would I do?
It would not be going to a nine to five, you would start another business.
I would start a mobile swim school teaching swim lessons. That's my backup plan.
But that's a great backup plan.
That's my career. I've been teaching for about 10 years so If anything were to happen. I'm ready to go. But that's not the plan.
Are you still teaching right now?
I do still have some clients now.
Oh, wow. That's awesome. Yeah, I love it. Okay, I'm on the kale, making kale chips.
Well, for your kale chips, how? How do they differentiate from other brands on the market or what makes them unique just from other snacks that might be on the same chip aisle? Or are they even on a chip aisle? I don't know.
Yep, they're on the chip aisle, if there would have been a bigger store to be the chip aisle unless maybe they had a plant based aisle. But generally, the chip aisle, the biggest couple of differences is that our products are small batch.
And so we're making them by hand, we don't have any big equipment yet. So they're still very small batch, which keeps our quality. Great, and we don't have to worry about something chaotic going wrong. And that's why we want to keep our processes even as we scale bigger. The biggest difference though, is our ingredients. If you really see other brands, they're using seeds, and they're using pasteurized lemon juice, powdered garlic, those are their ingredients. Whereas for our number, our savory kale chips, we're using fresh squeezed lemon juice, we excuse ourselves, because you can't buy raw lemon juice it has to be pasteurized, whereas we're using whole cloves of garlic. So in it, you really can taste the difference. So that's our biggest differentiator.
I feel like that's a huge difference. It is actual garlic instead of garlic powder or fresh squeezed like you actually are out there squeezing lemon juice, that's pretty impressive.
That just seems very fresh to me. You know, like you can taste that freshness. You can and you really can taste it. It's easy to buy powder ingredients. You can buy every ingredient you think of powdered, they're all out there. But they taste like they're powdered. They don't have that freshness. So that's important. That's why we started was to have a healthy, nutrient dense snack. So we want to carry that through in our ingredients.
I love that. And as you're looking to grow slow foods, are there any other product lines you want to bring out? Are you guys adding any other flavors for the kale chips?
Yeah, so we all three of our flavors right now have nuts in them, they have cashews. So our next flavor too will have no nuts be in that free version. Because there's a lot of vegans who have to be vegan or a lot of snackers who can't eat nuts. When you look at vegan snacks, they all have nuts. They're just easy, cashews are super easy to work with. They're bland that take on flavor. But that means you have a hard time finding that nut free snack. So nut free kale chips is our next flavor. And then we have some other snacks we had launched before. So we are launching our pumpkin seeds. And we have a grain free granola. We used to have so many products and all of the things and every direction. And we stepped into just kale chips. So we're bringing back a couple of those. And then I think from there, we'll expand our kale chip flavors.
And then who knows, it's a surprise.
But it's awesome. Well, how did you realize were kind of going like in multiple directions? What made you decide to scale it down just to the kale chips.
It was too much, we had a vegan taco. We made the shell, the fillings, the sauce, the guac. We had a pumpkin tart and so we had to make the tart and cut them and freeze them and send them out. What else do we have?
We had color chips.
We were like, ooh, we're so cool. We have color chips nobody else has that says that for a reason. They are really labor intensive, more expensive, they don't taste quite as good. And so we were doing farmers markets. And that was our market, we went to multiple markets. And after a while, it just got too much. We just couldn't attend a market every single weekend, prep all the ingredients and then you either sell out or you sell nothing. And now it's about time you had the kitchen certified. So we said you know what, we're going to scale back and do less products well and focus on distribution over multiple little markets.
I love that. It's so smart with the distribution. How has that been? How do you get into stores or how do you get into distribution channels?
It has been good. It's been really good. So our first step was we just literally went on people's doors and knocked on them. Please buy my kale chips. Will you buy my kale chips? I will give them to you.
That's how we started. We just went out I had one client find me and I was like wow, this is amazing.
This is what people do, they take phone calls.
And then we got on other channels like Etsy and Fair, Tundra. And those are almost self driving the platform pushes you out. But now we just got in with CNS wholesalers. And so we did that through a ECRM trade show, okay, because getting a lot of buyers is hard. They're busy, they only take certain products you have to call during a certain time of the year. But during the trade show, got us into a distributor. So that's our next step is taking the big step, going to trade shows, meeting with the buyer, give your sample right to the buyer. And that's our next plan for going into more distributors across the nation. That's exciting. And I am, wowed by Etsy and Fair, I know of those but I don't typically think of food on those platforms. I think of someone like making a scarf or like knitting a beanie kind of thing. So, I love that it's a platform for food as well. There is some food, there's some kale chips on there. Some like vegan snacks, a lot of T shirts, like Chapman vegan most time you get T shirts, I
wish I bought T-shirts from there. So thirsty, let's just take a test, it's not my biggest source of revenue Fair is definitely way bigger because then you're getting in with smaller stores across the country. And it's a win win for everybody because they can buy smaller orders. And then we can drop ship across the country. I love that. So people buying on fair might be like smaller grocery stores or like coffee shops, or just even like, I'm thinking like local stores that sell a mixture of things. Yeah, that's basically all of our clientele. I've had a juice bar, a coffee shop, multiple coffee shops and juice bars. I had like a tourist spot. They have snacks and goodies. And then you pop into buy a gift and a snack, maybe lunch, a hotel actually just purchase so their guests who come in are hungry, and they have snacks for them. I love that. Oh gosh, for anyone listening, and they want to purchase some of your very fresh kale chips. Where would they find you guys? How do they? How do they what's the best platform for them to go and purchase?
Our website would be the best slowfoodskitchen.com. You can also find them on Amazon if you want to. If you can't wait
three days, or walmart.com We're on a lot of the platforms, but the best place would be on our website. Amazing. We will make sure to send everybody there and to your Instagram. Before we let you go is there anything that you'd want the listeners to know about your brand? About your family? Anything that we haven't covered that you're just like, oh, man, I wish they knew that.
I think the biggest thing is that a lot of meat eaters feel like maybe they want to go vegan or vegetarian, or they have to do it overnight. Or they can't tell their vegan friends about it. Because some vegans can be very pressuring, like, how could you have one egg? If your sandwich can augment on it? How can you still eat it? Like the vegan community can be very harsh sometimes.
And so I'm actually not a vegan. I know it's surprising.
But that's what makes our brand so great is that if you come to me and you want a recipe, or you just have questions on how you can be more vegan, like, I'm not going to judge you and say, Well, you just have to stop eating chicken today. We all want to create a community of snackers no matter where you come from.
Yeah, so that's super important. If you feel like you've been pushed out by other communities, you just have questions where you want to talk about food together. We can do that. I love that. Well, gosh, thank you so much as you were saying that I realized there was one part on your website that I absolutely loved when you're talking about how people live a snack active life where they're active, and they need food to fuel them on the go. Who came up with that? Like Who are you doing your website or do you do everything?
So I do all the front end marketing advertising. I'm listing on Etsy and all those places and my mom has more back of the house accounting, inventory and all that other, less fun stuff. So I did the website, but my friend Jason garble is a branding expert. Yes, branding is rare, and he's a branding expert. And so that was his term. He helped me get our like wording more specific to talk because I was just talking to vegans. And that wasn't who I wanted to be with. So he helped me come up with that phrase. I love it. Yeah, your whole website. I love everything about it and you're reading it and I'm like, Oh, this still resonates with me, I totally get this. So yeah, thanks. It's good to hear I'm glad you liked it.
Ashley, our purchasing manager met you I think through an ECRM trade show and then she was like you've got to meet Amanda. You just got to hear her story and got to have her
on the podcast, and so I went to your website and I was like, Oh, I think I do need to meet Amanda.
Yeah, that was awesome. Yeah. Well, guys, well, Amanda, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. We really appreciate you being on the show. And we'll send everybody your way to the website and Instagram and are there any other social platforms you like to be on?
I'm on Facebook. YouTube is my best. So I'm Oh yeah, in addition to my legacy of kale, so I'm building a YouTube channel. And so if you're just like, I want to support your business, but I don't like kale chips. That's fine. If you could subscribe to my YouTube channel. That would be amazing.
I love it. It really does seem all of your YouTubers subscribing to their channel is a easy free way to support them. But I also share some really cool things. I make my mom make videos. So if you're ever on YouTube and need some entertainment, or some good recipes. I'm going to launch some new videos the next four weeks on tips for new vegans for new vegetarians. So I always put out videos every Friday. I love that. Well, we will definitely go take a look at it right now. I didn't realize.
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 are 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.