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They Turn Soybeans Into Snack Food
“One day I was plowing under an unharvested crop of organic soybeans and wondering where this business was going,” says Darren Kornowske. “I was so darn frustrated that I started to pray out loud asking ‘Lord what do you want me to do?’ A few minutes later it hit me like a bag of beans in the head that I was supposed to roast beans and sell them by the ounce.”
  That inspiration occurred to the Denmark, Wis., farmer in the fall of 2009. Almost four years later, he and his family have a growing business called Soy Almost Nuts. They produce four different flavors of roasted soybeans and market them under the brand name ‘Almost Nuts! Crazy Snack Food’. Kornowske says having the product idea was the easy part. Developing it into a viable business required patience, dedication and a big dose of faith.
  “It’s never a straight line from idea to product,” Kornowske says. “There were wrong steps, missteps, a steep learning curve and finally success.” The family learned that roasting beans isn’t as simple as putting them in an oven and pulling out a flavored snack.
  “Roasting is a delicate process that we learned from experience, advice, and trial and error,” Kornowske says. “It’s all about the exact temperature, the exact moisture level and the exact amount of time.” The family built its own roasting equipment and, after getting it perfected, now has a private company with a food grade license roast their beans. After roasting, the beans receive a special coating of seasonings or different types of chocolate.
  Dark chocolate was their first product, creating a high-protein snack that’s sweetened with 70 percent Cacao. It’s ideal as a plain snack or as an ice cream topping. They also offer milk chocolate coated soybeans. The seasoned nuts are popular in soups, on salads or just by the handful.
  They also offer White Coat Yogurt Soybeans that are drenched in a layer of yogurt. Kornowske says that flavor is great when mixed together with the dark chocolate to make a cookies and cream flavor.
  Almost Nuts! has distribution in 25 states, mostly in gift shops and coffee shops. The snacks are also available online from the company’s website. Prices range from $2.49 to $3.49 per package. Shipping and handling is extra and varies by the quantity ordered, with 8 bags or more shipped free. Kornowske says inquiries for wholesale orders are welcome.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Darren Kornowske, Almost Nuts!, P.O. Box 19, Denmark, Wis. 54208 (ph 920 915-0152; www.soyalmostnuts.com).

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2013 - Volume #37, Issue #3