MEDP Spark - True Naturals: McMinnville Companies at NPEW
Apr 13, 2017
MEDP Spark, Volume 2, Issue 4 -- April 2017
TEAM Oregon booth next to other Oregon-based companies.
Spending time at the Natural Products Expo West (NPEW) show is like diving into another culture. Surrounded by the words “organic”, “natural”, and “non-GMO”, with people with seemingly endless amounts of energy, it’s easy to forget that individuals exist who do not pay attention to the food they put in their bodies. Oregon state had over 80 companies with booths at the show. McMinnville alone had three companies in booths on the floor and offering samples of their products. With One Fork Farm, Dundee Fruit Co., and Betty Lou's, Inc., McMinnville was well-represented.
MEDP was also present at the show, along with TEAM Oregon Food Processing. Every year, TEAM Oregon attends the NPEW to not only represent Oregon and speak to companies and organizations interested in the state, but to also provide an opportunity for companies that otherwise may not get the chance to attend. This year, the TEAM Oregon booth featured six different Oregon companies including Liv Bar, Other Foods, Treehouse Chocolates, Lucky Rabbit Snacks, Lola’s Fruit Shrubs, and McMinnville’s own One Fork Farm. Watch the video below to learn why going to the show was important to Jess and One Fork Farm.
One Fork Farm
One Fork Farm was started by Jess and Dave Herzog. With a mission of using all locally sourced ingredients and never using artificial flavoring, One Fork Farm caramels are made using a combination of great ingredients from around our state. Using sea salt from the Oregon Coast, butter and cream from the Willamette Valley, locally sourced Tea Chai Té, Woodblock Chocolate, and Wildflower Blackberry Honey from Woodburn, One Fork Farms caramel show a love for Oregon’s agriculture and ingredients.
The company is three years old and growing. Recently purchasing a century-old building off Highway 18, NPEW is just one way the company is expanding. After receiving a $30,000 grant from Yamhill County last year, One Fork Farm has been able to hire employees and build a kitchen. According to Jess, “Part of the reason why we choose to have our business and our family and our barn in the Yamhill County McMinnville area is the fabulous access to so much good food. We have a wonderful array of farmers around. Caramel is a really great way to showcase the local food scene that we have.” Eating One Form Farm’s caramels is a lot like letting the sweetness of the area melt in your mouth.
Dundee Fruit Co.
With various branding and co-packaging, Dundee Fruit Co. was represented at NPEW with their GoldenBrew Tea, Golden Apple “Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic”, and Red Hills Fruit Company Preserves. Each product is made and packaged in McMinnville, Oregon. GoldenBrew Tea is micro-brewed with whole tea leaves and can be found in a variety of flavors. It stands apart from other teas by utilizing the whole tea leaf in small batches to ensure consistency in flavoring. This year at NPEW, the company launched their new hibiscus flavored tea to go along with their selections from black and green teas.
With a first look at the words “vinegar tonic”, your initial reaction might be a polite decline to sample the product—but think again. Drinking vinegars are a new health and fitness craze. Celebrities from Hillary Duff to Gabby Douglas are said to take a shot of apple cider vinegar every morning to stay healthy. The drink provides a way to “clear out your gut” which is why many people use vinegar as a detox, to improve blood sugar levels, and to protect their heart health. GoldenBrew Teas makes the vinegar drinks both satisfying and enjoyable with flavors like “Lemon Ginger Turmeric” and “Wildflower Honey & Cinnamon.”
Betty Lou’s, Inc.
At NPEW, Betty Lou’s, Inc. is considered a type of rockstar. With a wall lining the main floor of the expo, new product releases, and people surrounding the booth sampling, Betty Lou’s is like a beacon to people who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle while needing snacks and meals on the go. Vice President of Sales, John Sizemore, seems to feed off the energy of the excited individuals approaching his booth to try the newest Betty Lou’s products.
Some of Betty Lou’s newest releases include a new flavor of their popular fruit bars, a tropical flavor with pineapple and coconut, a new Smackers Bar, a salted caramel flavor (you won’t believe it has 7 grams of protein and is gluten free), and their new probiotic bites. According to Founder Betty Lou Carrier, “You only have to eat one package to get all of your probiotics for the day.” The product was tested extensively for over a year to ensure quality, and that it would be stable on shelfs and in kitchens across America.
Though not everyone is in tune with the health food craze that seems to be surrounding Oregon, these three McMinnville companies are at the forefront of what it means to have a natural product. These products boast a positive impact on the environment and better health for the people who consume them. They are also vitally important for individuals with food allergies, from gluten to lactose and more. Walking around, every company has a story behind their product, like a company making chips similar to a popular brand, but without the food coloring so the founder's son could enjoy them. Or a company using humane fish farming to improve America’s health. Or companies like Betty Lou’s, Inc. that started with Betty Lou Carrier creating snacks her sons could enjoy despite their food allergies.
Walking around the NPEW show it’s clear: most natural products stem from a passion for food, people, and the world. In other words, natural products seem to come from companies who care about a triple bottom line approach to business. We’re lucky to have companies in McMinnville who share that passion and their products with the people around them.
MEDP knows that these companies and many others are looking for growth opportunities. Our job is to help them prepare for those opportunities—we seek out the best business resources, look for strategic grants, and uncover new technical training. MEDP exists as a one-stop business development resource. We need to understand what keeps our company leaders up at night, where they want to be in five years, and how to make valuable connections to innovative solutions. We need to remove the barriers so our businesses can focus on business. Programs like TEAM Oregon and industry shows like NPEW deliver on our mission to help our companies grow. Together, we will meet our goal—1,500 new jobs in 15 years.