“Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.”
If you don’t know, or don’t remember, where that comes from, it was a 1970’s Hershey’s marketing campaign. The concept was to sell two candy bars with one ad. One candy bar was Almond Joy – made with almonds – which you ate when you felt like a nut - and the other was Mounds, which was made with coconut – which you ate when you didn’t.
Despite its name, coconut isn’t technically a nut. Nevertheless, people who are allergic to tree nuts - like almonds, cashews, and walnuts - are typically also allergic to coconut.
Back in the 1970’s that didn’t bother anybody. The reason you ate one candy bar over another was just a taste preference. Today, things have changed. Now there’s an entire market of products for people who are allergic to nuts, including foods that are staples of the American diet, like peanut butter.
For those of you in that category – and those of you looking for healthier snack food - there’s a new nut in town. It’s called Sacha Inchi.
Sacha Inchi is a super-seed that is barely known in the US, but in South America it’s known as “The Inca Peanut,” having been cultivated in Peru for centuries.
The stateside pioneer of snack foods made from Sancha Inchi is a company called Brass Roots. Brass Roots makes three types of Sacha Inchi nut butters – unsweetened, chocolate, and classic. They make three versions of roasted Sacha Inchi seeds. And three varieties of Sacha Inchi puffs - which are kind of like healthy Cheetos.
If you’re familiar with our traditional New Orleans eating habits, here’s a sentence you probably weren’t expecting to hear: Brass Roots is from right here in New Orleans. The founder and self-described Chief Eats Officer at Brass Roots is Aaron Gailmor.
When we think about the natural world, we typically think of the outdoors. Although most of us spend the bulk of our lives indoors - either at work or home - we do make an effort to bring the natural world inside. We might have a potted plant in our office - though typically it dies the first time we’re out for a few days.
At home, whether or not we can keep indoor plants alive depends entirely on whether there’s one person in a household who has a clue about horticulture.
When it comes to the outside of our home or office, we can turn to professional landscapers who choose plants that are right for our specific location, and who come out and maintain them. Now, in New Orleans, we can do the same inside, thanks to an indoor landscaping company called FAIT NOLA.
Over the past few years you may have seen the FAIT NOLA truck around town – it looks like a food truck for plants. Now there’s a brick-and-mortar location on Magazine Street. The co-founder and self-described Plantpreneur at FAIT NOLA is Laura Stirling Joffrion.
Back in the day, the 70's ad campaign for Almond Joy and Mounds had the same level of success we would describe today as "going viral." In the 1980's there was another memorable ad campaign with an equally tag-line. This one was for a re-tooled American car. The tag line was, “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.”
Unfortunately, it turned out that your father’s Oldsmobile was actually better. And pretty soon Oldsmobile disappeared off the market. But the reason I bring this is up is because the businesses we’re talking about today – pioneering a brand-new healthy snack food and a new way of bringing nature into our indoor lives – are far from the old, stereotypical perceptions of what succeeds in New Orleans.
It’s been true for some time that we’re no longer living in your father’s Crescent City, and it says a lot about New Orleans today that we’re not surprised to learn that original and exciting businesses like Brass Roots and FAIT Nola come from here.
But we still have small town pride! All of us in the business community and the wider community beyond are happy for the success of these two pioneering businesses and we're looking forward to following their continued success.
Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at NOLA Pizzain the NOLA Brewing Taproom. You can find photos from this show by Jill Lafleur at itsneworleans.com. And you can check out Aaron Gailmor's earlier pre-Sacha Inchi appearance on Out to Lunch.