It began with a seed of an idea…
The original plan started back in 2006: relocating our online cookie company to the Finger Lakes region of New York, from a pricey metropolis to the agricultural sources of high-quality wheat, butter, eggs, and fruit that were central to the cookie mission…but no sooner were the chocolate cherry jumble cookies cooling on their racks in Geneva, when a farmer approached us with a handful of butternut squash seeds and some creative ideas from Cornell University on food waste reuse.
Suddenly the plans changed. Why not press these seeds–that would otherwise go to waste–to create a Finger Lakes’ version of olive oil? Talk about local sourcing. It turned out to be an oil that not only tasted great, but had great nutritional value, reduced agricultural waste and provided the farmer with value-added product.
Over a decade later, Stony Brook WholeHeartedFoods is still the only company in the U.S. producing culinary oil from vegetable seed waste, and one of the only regional producers of culinary oils using 100% USA grown seeds.
Stony Brook has since expanded its production to offer a range of locally sourced culinary oils: organic sunflower, organic golden flax, and heirloom pumpkin in addition to the squash seed oils. We’ve also begun producing roasted and brined pepitas snacks from pumpkin and squash seeds.
All seeds used in oil and snack production are locally grown and are never treated with any chemicals or preservatives during production. We have also remained a fully nut-free, soy-free, GMO-free and gluten-free operation.
So while the cookies crumbled to give way to an entirely new business, our original philosophy still holds true: sourcing local ingredients and local talent to add some flavor and imagination to the world of specialty food.