August 11, 2015
After revealing January’s Amber Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Christine Lash, owner of Sporkables!
Read on to learn all about Christine and her company.
WN: How did you come up with the business name?
CN: “In 2011 I was in a horrible accident which basically ended my career as a commercial chef. As cooking for others is my passion I was crushed both physically and emotionally. I was adrift and did not know what to do. That is, until my son David and his girlfriend Chloe decided to hike the Appalachian Trail in 2014. I wanted to support their dream so I began experimenting with dehydrating various foods. Admittedly there was a learning curve on how to best dehydrate , mix and package these foods but eventually I started to get the hang of it. David reported not only his and Chloe’s excitement about the meals but as well the favorable reviews by their hiking companions out on the trail. As I now appreciate not only were David and Chloe living their dream one step at a time but they were helping create mine.
And so Sporkables was born. David suggested the name: a “spork” is a combination spoon and fork used by hikers. My son- in- law Ned, an art teacher, designed the amazing logo. Emily, my daughter, created and maintains my website. With the input of my hikers I envision, prepare, package and ship the meals. This is a family affair and of course the hikers are now part of our family.”
WN: What’s your most popular menu item?
CN: “It is critical that Sporkables meal options be fresh and exciting. Therefore, I am constantly rotating meals based largely on the feedback I receive. What foods do hikers crave? What comes easy and what is more difficult in terms of preparation? What ratio of carrying weight to calories can I achieve? And, importantly, what measures can I take to keep meals affordable without sacrificing quality? My hikers are my partners and together we get the job done.
Hikers have been so kind and positive in their suggestions and reviews. I am humbled. To date, the biggest sellers have been “Sheepishly Good Shepherds Pie” and “Chickin Lickin Biscuits.” Within the last month I introduced three new meals including “Sopranos Crime Scene Pizza”, “Rock My World Ribolleta Soup” and “Your Invited Sunday Supper.” I am keeping my fingers crossed that these new meals will be well received.”
WN: What areas do you serve?
CN: “Because Sporkables is small I have been cautious in making sure I do not take on too many orders. For the immediate future I am sticking to orders from Appalachian Trail hikers for the most part. As my production capacity expands I intend to market to other hikers such as those on the Pacific Crest Trail and various regional trails. On my radar as well is selling nutritious and healthy meals to shut ins, disabled and older folks who may appreciate the ease with which these meals are prepared.”
WN: What are your goals for the future?
CN: “My dream for the future of Sporkables is tied directly to those of the hikers I supply. This adventure is much more than just about food: my joy, personally and professionally, comes from being able to connect with my hikers one to one, largely through feedback on the food. I often feel as if I share their journey, out in the woods, putting one foot in front of the other. Singing, laughing and of course struggling. It is amazing how preparing food with a spirit of hope and joy connects me to the hiker consuming that food a week or two later. For me, more than all else, this is a journey of the soul.
One step at a time. It is all any of us can do whether we are in the woods or in the kitchen. Sporkables is my step forward.”
Best of luck to Christine as she continues her journey!
Thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.
And if you’d like to vote for Sporkables to win the $2,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for them here.