Saturday, January 17, 2015

Barsy's Almonds is all over the map!

We're proud to announce that Barsy's Almonds is now in 21 states! Check out our Where To Buy page on our website to find our complete list.
We're especially proud of this accomplishment because we don't work with a distributor. Nope. So every single one of those Co-ops, grocery stores and specialty stores was added one by one over the last six years. It's not the most efficient way to get our product on the shelves, but it does have some invaluable advantages:
1. We build a personal relationship with every store, which means we get really good at anticipating orders. This lets us fine tune our baking schedule, so stock is never more than a week old when it ships and 90% of it ships within two days.
2. It helps us keep prices as low as possible. Since we are a very small-scale operation we don't have the economies of scale the big food manufacturers have, which means every bit of savings is a help - and that includes distributor fees.
3. We get to know the unique story of every store, even the ones we only reach through email or the phone. We've heard some truly fascinating histories. This has been a particular joy for us. And the perfect antidote to the sometimes exhausting tedium of running a small business.
4. We make great friendships! Turns out the folks we deal with are some of the nicest, brightest and most interesting folks around. No kidding! You want to meet great, committed people? Start chatting up the clerks at your local co-op. Trust us.
5. We get great feedback. We've made a lot of changes to our business operations and a big percentage of them have been in direct response to suggestions from our various store contacts.
Did you know Barsy's Almonds has been professionally paired with local beer? And no, we don't just mean in your den. Heavy Table had a great article about us a couple of years ago. They did the hard work of tasting and testing a number of local brews to see which ones went best with each of our almonds. That kind of selfless dedication is hard to fathom.
Anyhoo, go to the article in Heavy Table to see the results. We're especially amused by the surprise pairing with Smokies.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lake Wine&Spirits Best Cheese Shop For 2013

Our friends at Lake Wine and Spirits (404 West lake Street, 612-354-7194) are way tickled that City Pages has chosen them Best Cheese Shop for 2013. CP said they have a "friendly, helpful staff," and an "unpretentious corner-market vibe."

"A fairly recent (and sorely needed) addition to Minneapolis's Whittier neighborhood, Lake Wine and Spirits is your one-stop shop for a Friday night party run or an evening in with a block of cheese, a baguette, and two bottles of wine."

We'd like to think that we had something to do with CP's choice, so pick up some Smokies, Sweeties, Naughties, Hotties, and Stuffies while you're getting the cheese, baguette, and vino.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Recipe, 3 Weekend Demos

We'll be at three stores this weekend, introducing Barsy's Almonds to new friends.

Friday, 11-1, we'll be at both Mississippi Markets in St. Paul, 1500 7th Street West, and 622 Selby (Selby at Dale).

Saturday, 12-3, we'll be at the Edina Whole Foods, 7401 France Avenue South. It's Local Vendor Day, and we'll be helping the Edina WF celebrate its First Anniversary.

Here's a recipe for Barsy's Almond Berries. Thanks again to Jeanette and Christopher for this tasty treat.

1 pint Strawberries (I know we're rushing the season, but I'm tired of winter!)

1/2 pint blueberries

1/2 cup of your favorite Barsy's Almonds (Call me conservative, but I'm going with Sweeties. Don't let me stop you from getting a little daring, though, with -- say -- Hotties.)

1 cup amaretto liquer

Mix berries together in a bowl. Pour amaretto over the berries and toss well. Cover and chill. Sprinkle almonds on top before serving.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Creation of Barsy's Almonds

Maybe it would be a good idea to talk about what we're talking about here.

The Barsy's website,, says this about Barbara and Jason:

            Tired of working in an office for someone else,
            they were determined to start a business of their
            own. But what kind of business?

They had been the creative team for a business-to-business mail order company which its founder had bootstrapped from himself, an accountant, and a shipping-receiving guy to a thirty-some-employee, eight-digit concern. In failing health, and not up to the challenges presented by the Internet, the founder sold his brainchild to a company full of bean counters that buys going concerns from people who know what they're doing. It was the turn of the millennium.

The two hung in there for a few years. In 2008, they took a recipe of Barbara's -- Smokies -- to Minneapolis' Midtown Farmers' Market. Smokies were a hit!

What are Smokies? Here's what the website -- -- says:

         Sometimes called our “regular almonds”, these are
         the first almonds we sold and they’re still
         our most popular. They feature a deep hickory flavor
         that’s been called “vegan bacon”. The delightful
         crust is nutritional yeast, believe it or not.
         Wonderful with beer!

That "delightful crust" gives Smokies the savory, umami flavor that rockets Smokies to the next level of sensation. (Umami is a Japanese word for one of five basic flavors, along with sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. It's the one they didn't teach me in fifth grade science.)

At the Midtown Farmers' Market Barbara and Jason realized they might be able to fulfill their dream of freedom and self reliance.

Customers suggested a cinnamon almond. Always alert for the surprising, subtle twist, Barbara and Jason covered almonds with the spices of chai lattes, and invented Sweeties. (Barbara has always made a fabulous cup of tea!)

They also created Naughties, Hotties, and Stuffies. A very bright niece suggested a maple-flavored almond, named Sappies, but so far the motif seems to be names that only just get by the censor.

More on Barsy's flavors later.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Green Beans Amandine Recipe

Here's Jeannette's and Christopher's recipe for Green Beans with Barsy's Almonds.

1    Pound fresh green beans, trimmed

1    Tablespoon olive oil

1/4 Teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 Cup of your favorite Barsy's Almonds

Heat oven to 375. Toss green beans in a baking pan with olive oil and salt. Bake 30 minutes. Stir in almonds.

I remember having something like this at my grandmother's house on Sundays. The grownups called them "Beans Amandine," and I wondered what "amandine' meant. Now I bake amandes. Around here, we call this "hot dish."

This will serve 4-6. The entire dish will have about 485 calories, 8 grams of protein, 47 grams of carbohydrate, 21 grams fiber, 20 grams of fat (the good kind), and pretty good vitamin A, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

I think I'll make this with Hotties to spice up the evening.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Biscotti Recipe & Luck, Wisconsin

Saturday Barbara will be at the Natural Alternative Food Co-op in Luck, Wisconsin (241 South Main Street, 715-472-6544). It's Customer Appreciation Day. Drop by to say hi, and sample some Smokies, Sweeties, Naughties, Hotties, and Stuffies.

Take home some Naughties (or any other flavor) and try baking some of Christopher and Jeanette's Barsy's Almond Biscotti.

3 eggs

Grated peel of 2 oranges

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup of your favorite Barsy's Almonds

Heat oven to 300. Whisk egs, orange peel, vanilla and almond extract. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, and add egg mixture, mixing until just blended. Stir in almonds.

Divide dough in half and form each half into a log measuring 12 by 1 1/2 inches and 1/2 inch thick. Bake on a prachment-lined baking sheet 50 minutes, until golden. Cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.

Reduce oven heat to 275. Slice biscotti 1/2 inch thick on a cutting board with a serated knife. Lay slices flat on baking sheets and bake 20 minutes until dry and lightly toasted, turning once. Cool on a cooling rack.