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Episode 193 – Creating Real Food for Real Adventure with Kate Schade
Episode 1939th June 2022 • The Jackson Hole Connection • Stephan C. Abrams
00:00:00 00:43:14

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Kate Schade is the Founder of Kate’s Real Food. Originally from upstate New York, Kate moved out to Jackson almost 30 years ago. She started off as many locals do, playing during the day and waiting tables in the evening. A summer position at Cosmic Apple Gardens instilled a passion for organic farming and changed her perspective on food. Kate used this knowledge and inspiration to create and perfect the recipe for the original Tram Bar. 

In this episode, Kate shares her journey out to Jackson and her pursuit to live a life full of adventure. She goes into why she began making whole-food, energy bars and how she grew a local fan base. Stephan and Kate then discuss how her business grew from personally wrapping bars in plastic wrap or in slabs to having a facility that creates over 50 million bars a year. 

To find out where you can purchase Kate’s bars, visit KatesRealFood.com 

If you get a Kate’s Real Food bar on your next Delta flight be sure to tag us and Kate on Instagram! 

Follow Kate’s Real Food on Instagram @katesrealfood

This week’s episode is sponsored in part by Teton County Solid Waste and Recycling, announcing the new commercial Curb to Compost Program for restaurants and other commercial food waste generators. More at TetonCountyWY.gov or at @RoadToZeroWaste.JH on Instagram 

Support also comes from The Jackson Hole Marketplace. Find Kate’s Real Food bars here! The deli at Jackson Hole Marketplace offers ready-made soups, sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and hot lunch specials. More at JHMarketplace.com 

Want to be a guest on The Jackson Hole Connection? Email us at connect@thejacksonholeconnection.com. Marketing and editing support by Michael Moeri (michaelmoeri.com,@thatsamoeri).

Transcripts

Stephan Abrams:

You are tuned in to the Jackson hole, connection, sharing, fascinating stories of people connected to Jackson hole.

Stephan Abrams:

I am grateful for each of you for tuning in today.

Stephan Abrams:

Support for this podcast comes from:

Stephan Abrams:

Folks.

Stephan Abrams:

I enjoy reading and learning from others.

Stephan Abrams:

And I usually find that in books or listening to podcasts, and this guides me to share a quote before we begin this episode, today's quote is remember, teamwork begins by building trust.

Stephan Abrams:

And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for in vulnerability that comes from Patrick Lencioni.

Stephan Abrams:

If you haven't read any of his books, get out there, find one.

Stephan Abrams:

I bet you can find them at your local library or downloading them.

Stephan Abrams:

However you like to listen to audible books.

Stephan Abrams:

And today's episode is 193, and I have the opportunity today to speak with Kate Schade.

Stephan Abrams:

Who's the founder of Kate's Real Food..

Stephan Abrams:

And in our community, they're better known as Kate's bars or the Tram bar.

Stephan Abrams:

Kate started her company by wanting to make something healthy, nutritious, which was packed with a ton of fuel for the active lifestyle that she was leading starting off making the bars for friends and handing them out in the tram line.

Stephan Abrams:

Uh, hence the name, the tram bar, the bars kind of became a burden to make.

Stephan Abrams:

So Kate started asking people to pay for the bars.

Stephan Abrams:

And so she grew from making them in her kitchen and wrapping them in plastic wrap to now making over 50 million bars a year.

Stephan Abrams:

So, wow.

Stephan Abrams:

That's wild to think.

Stephan Abrams:

And this is today one of the many 20 years in the making overnight success story.

Stephan Abrams:

Everybody thinks that people become successful overnight because they see success, but they don't know the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into it.

Stephan Abrams:

So today folks, Kate shares with us, her journey and the passion that she has to grow a local business, from the roots organically to a business that's known all around the country.

Stephan Abrams:

Kate, thank you for joining me here today at the Jackson Hole Connection.

Stephan Abrams:

It's wonderful to have time to connect with you and, , learn more about your journey,

Kate Shade:

Sure thing I'm excited to be here.

Stephan Abrams:

Let's start off with, Kate.

Stephan Abrams:

With you sharing, how did you arrive in this valley?

Stephan Abrams:

So where did you grow up and when did you arrive in this beautiful place?

Kate Shade:

I grew up in upstate New York, central upstate New York, about a half hour east of Rochester, a small town.

Kate Shade:

So from there.

Kate Shade:

I knew nothing of the west.

Kate Shade:

but my brother was about four years older than me.

Kate Shade:

and he had come out to Jackson hole.

Kate Shade:

So after I graduated or actually no, before I graduated from college, uh, I went to the university of New Hampshire after my junior year, I came out to visit Pete actually in Victor, Idaho.

Kate Shade:

and I stayed with him for the summer.

Kate Shade:

Loved it.

Kate Shade:

I was just super excited.

Kate Shade:

I'd never been out west.

Kate Shade:

and I had a place to stay with my brother coming out here.

Kate Shade:

and that was my first summer in the Tetons.

Kate Shade:

My first huge hike.

Kate Shade:

From the Victor side of the Tetons, over to the Jackson side.

Kate Shade:

And I just fell in love with the place.

Kate Shade:

So after, after I graduated from UNH, I think within a week I packed my car with a friend of mine and we moved up.

Stephan Abrams:

That was fast.

Kate Shade:

Yep.

Stephan Abrams:

And you said your first summer you hiked, you did a through height from one side to the other.

Stephan Abrams:

That's

Kate Shade:

impressive.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

No, it was impressive.

Kate Shade:

you know, and I, yeah, I never, I think I was like super sore.

Kate Shade:

Because I'd never experienced anything.

Kate Shade:

I mean, it was 20 some odd miles.

Kate Shade:

I think we, we started in Fox Creek because that's where we lived.

Kate Shade:

and the other side, and there was hardly any snow.

Kate Shade:

It was actually at the beginning of June.

Kate Shade:

And you know, that's kind of rare up in the mountains to hardly have any snow.

Kate Shade:

And in the middle of June, it's a really dry summer, really great first experience.

Kate Shade:

I had a lot of really great first experiences out in the mountains.

Kate Shade:

growing up back east, we just did, you know, it was more of, I grew up, you know, doing sports and, my parents would take us cross country skiing.

Kate Shade:

We'd go on little camping trips, either in cabins or tents or a little cabin by a lake.

Kate Shade:

And I started downhill skiing, you know, on the east coast ice.

Kate Shade:

so that was kinda my growing up experience in the outdoors.

Kate Shade:

the west was a completely different animal coming out here, but if you learn a little bit about it, there's something mysterious in.

Kate Shade:

Great.

Kate Shade:

And you want to go experience it.

Stephan Abrams:

So true.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

So what year was that?

Stephan Abrams:

That you graduated and packed up your car and moved out here?

Kate Shade:

1993.

Kate Shade:

Oh, wait, no, sorry.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

93 graduated in college.

Stephan Abrams:

Congratulations.

Stephan Abrams:

That's a long time ago.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

And did you land in the Jackson side or the Victor side?

Stephan Abrams:

You still with your brother?

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

I first landed on the Victor side.

Kate Shade:

and.

Kate Shade:

Well, no, I landed on the Victor side, my brother at first summer when I moved back, after we graduated from college, my friend, my girlfriend and I, we moved to Jackson.

Kate Shade:

we lived in basically a little trailer home that's not there anymore.

Kate Shade:

and, We just had some, you know, service industry jobs.

Kate Shade:

So I think when I first came out the first summer, I was a housekeeper in Teton village cleaning house at vacation rentals.

Kate Shade:

the next summer I kind of did the same thing with did some reservations, became reservations, like assistant manager hated the office.

Kate Shade:

Couldn't do that anymore.

Kate Shade:

Started waiting tables at night and played during the day.

Kate Shade:

So that was my gig.

Kate Shade:

I thought it was the best thing going.

Kate Shade:

Um, wait tables, get to see, get a free dinner.

Kate Shade:

we get up in the morning, you know, go hiking or biking or climbing or kayaking or whatever the big mountains have to offer and then go to work at night.

Kate Shade:

Then I started needing a little bit more money.

Kate Shade:

So I got a part-time day job, Wilson back country sports, you know, with the bikes.

Kate Shade:

And, so that was really great too, because I was in the, you know, the outdoor scene getting some good deals on bike parts or skis, et cetera.

Kate Shade:

and then I also started working, in the summers.

Kate Shade:

Part-time at a cosmic apple gardens.

Kate Shade:

That's shortly after I moved over to Victor.

Kate Shade:

So I lived in Jackson for a while.

Kate Shade:

And then yeah, early two thousands.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

I made the leap to the other side.

Stephan Abrams:

And what were you doing in the winter time?

Stephan Abrams:

waiting tables as well.

Stephan Abrams:

Just keeping some of these part-time full-time jobs

Kate Shade:

waiting tables, and then part-time Wilson back country sports, summertime.

Kate Shade:

The cosmic apple.

Kate Shade:

I stopped working at Wilson, in order to farm some more.

Kate Shade:

And I really fell in love with the farming and the organic farming I aspect and biodynamic farming of the cosmic apple gardens.

Kate Shade:

And that's when I started making my bar.

Kate Shade:

Well, I started making my bars, yeah, right around the time I started working at cosmic apple, but they were completely different.

Kate Shade:

then I just kept on taking things from my cupboards.

Kate Shade:

And just kept mixing them up and see what tasted good.

Kate Shade:

See what came out.

Kate Shade:

Good.

Kate Shade:

And, eventually came up with a tram bar recipe and I said, this one, is it?

Kate Shade:

I said, this is it.

Kate Shade:

I gotta write it down so I can keep making it at the same time and time again.

Kate Shade:

And I started doing

Stephan Abrams:

that.

Stephan Abrams:

And when do you think you gave making your first bar a shot?

Kate Shade:

Oh, it's a good question.

Kate Shade:

I would say it was,

Kate Shade:

I'm trying to think of the first I know the first place I made them.

Kate Shade:

Oh, I've never really thought of this before.

Kate Shade:

First place I made them was like a little A-frame at the base of Teton pass, where I had some friends that were living.

Kate Shade:

I think it's still there, right below the affordable housing and, I would make them there and give them.

Kate Shade:

all the guys that live there, that was probably like 19 95, 94, 95.

Kate Shade:

That was the first version.

Kate Shade:

you know, I remember also when I used to wrap them up in saran wrap and put a little gear sticker on them to seal them.

Kate Shade:

and then, sister Smith, remember sisters.

Kate Shade:

no, it was an old local band that Justin Smith was.

Kate Shade:

And Kyle, anyway.

Kate Shade:

John Penn Savage was in the band.

Kate Shade:

but they would play the mangy moose sometimes.

Kate Shade:

And I remember, you know, there's like the pre ski parties and I made what was called the tram bar jar, which was a big gallon jar with like the, you know, one of those banana pepper, big glass jars with a lid on it and put tram bar jar are on there and made a bunch of bars and stuff.

Kate Shade:

In the jar and those were given away as a prize on stage, before I had even started really selling them, I still know Wilson back country.

Kate Shade:

like for a buck each, when I first started making them wrapped in that little saran wrap of the gear sticker

Stephan Abrams:

and Wilson back country.

Stephan Abrams:

Was it Andy?

Kate Shade:

yeah, Andy and kitchen.

Kate Shade:

They owned it then still do.

Kate Shade:

yeah, so they let me put them out in the counter was really great.

Kate Shade:

And then there was another guy who would come in and give me all these different stickers.

Kate Shade:

You know, you get the little gear stickers in the boxes, when you buy whatever outdoor gear, you know, whether it was, you know, climbing gear or what have you.

Kate Shade:

So he bring in a bunch of stickers that I could use to seal up the bars.

Kate Shade:

That's pretty neat.

Kate Shade:

Thinking way back to all those little things, you know, that helps you get going.

Stephan Abrams:

so what made you think about I'm going to start making a bar?

Stephan Abrams:

What was your purpose of wanting to make a bar?

Kate Shade:

And I wanted something that tastes good and had a lot of calories and what actually, you know, fill me up when I was skiing.

Kate Shade:

and a lot of it was back country skiing, back in the day when we'd be at the Jackson hole mountain resort, though in, in go out of bounds before they had the out of bounds, like real gates out of bounds.

Kate Shade:

I don't know if you remember, it never used to really be open.

Kate Shade:

Like you weren't allowed to go out of bounds from my memory.

Kate Shade:

Now they get those gates out.

Kate Shade:

so we weren't

Stephan Abrams:

allowed to, but people did it anyway.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

We sneaked out and did it, super fun and exciting, you know, talk about adventure.

Kate Shade:

So I used to make these bars, they were huge.

Kate Shade:

They were Mongo.

Kate Shade:

and they probably had like 500 calories.

Kate Shade:

So that's how they started, just mixing up different.

Kate Shade:

And I, you know, I like great texture and flavors and really good ingredients in there.

Kate Shade:

And so.

Kate Shade:

The ingredients in there that I wanted to have.

Kate Shade:

And I loved, and peanut butter was always one of them, cause I'm a huge peanut butter fan, a lot of fuel to it and they kept you going.

Kate Shade:

so I'd make batches and I'd give them to my friends too.

Kate Shade:

And that's kind of how it started.

Kate Shade:

really just for my, I'd say specifically for those back country pursuits out of the Jackson hole, mountain resort.

Kate Shade:

And hence the name, you know, of the original bar was the tram bar

Stephan Abrams:

and the, I guess the there's trams all over the world.

Stephan Abrams:

So they're saying Tram that's not,

Kate Shade:

it doesn't have to be Jackson Hole tram.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

It could be all over the world.

Kate Shade:

Be a great bar to take to Europe, go up there, trams there and take a hike too.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

So during this time you started making bars, but you're probably still working.

Kate Shade:

Yeah, I was working and then I was making bars on the side, you know, when I'd have like a little, an extra hour, I'd make what I'd batches and trays of bars.

Kate Shade:

when we were skiing right in the resort, I'd always have them in line or tram bar in my pocket and have them in line in the beginning of the day.

Kate Shade:

And we used to go so early so that we could try to get the first box, which was never really the first box, because you know, all the special people got to go first, but we would be in line super early.

Kate Shade:

So you had to bring like food and breakfast really to like hang out for awhile.

Kate Shade:

And it was just like, you know, a hang out, chill, little party waiting for the tram to open.

Kate Shade:

and that's when I really kind of started passing out the.

Kate Shade:

and then my friends loved them so much that they'd asked me to make some for them.

Kate Shade:

So I started doing that and then it kind of became a hassle kind of a pain in the butt because I wanted to play all day and I wanted to, you know, then you go to work at night and so I'd have to try to fit some time to make the bars, which really wasn't a problem.

Kate Shade:

But.

Kate Shade:

I guess it kind of became a problem cause I was making too many for what my time allotment for it was at that moment in time.

Kate Shade:

And were they paying for them?

Kate Shade:

I ended up asking them to pay for them.

Kate Shade:

Eventually.

Kate Shade:

I said, at least pay for my ingredients.

Kate Shade:

I'll make you guys a bar.

Kate Shade:

And they were like, no problem.

Kate Shade:

and I would, I would cut up a tray and put it in a Ziploc bag and call it a slap.

Kate Shade:

Yeah, sell slaps.

Kate Shade:

I'll get, I should get you a slab sometime.

Kate Shade:

They're pretty cool.

Kate Shade:

If it perfectly at 20 bars, I think it was, that would fit.

Kate Shade:

And as a black bag, you know, they were, they changed to about, I mean, the bars probably ended up being about three ounces, which a few years ago that the tram and the grizzly were still three ounces.

Kate Shade:

If you remember.

Kate Shade:

yep.

Kate Shade:

And I'd, I think I'd sell them 20 bars for 25 or 30 bucks.

Kate Shade:

Something like that.

Stephan Abrams:

How cool.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

People still want those people still want to buy the slabs from me.

Kate Shade:

They're like, I just wanted one of those big Ziploc bags you used to sell.

Kate Shade:

So, yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

And how many years were you making them in your house or friend's houses before you started having to find a more appropriate place to make them?

Kate Shade:

so I started making them.

Kate Shade:

I'd say about, well, when I got legit, I mean, legit got my business license and such that was in

Kate Shade:

right around 2005.

Kate Shade:

that's when I started making them at Nora's the 2005, somewhere around there.

Kate Shade:

I sort of make them at Nora's.

Kate Shade:

I waited tables at Nora's at night.

Kate Shade:

so I would make them either on the night they were closed or I would go in after all the prep had been done on my days off and work in the back kitchen, making the bar.

Kate Shade:

Once it became legit before that.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

I just made them at the house and it was, you know, kinda just to my friends mostly.

Kate Shade:

so yeah, I had to have a health inspector come.

Kate Shade:

I thought it was such a big deal.

Kate Shade:

do all this paperwork to become, you know, official and I needed all of this same time for a few accounts in Jackson Hole.

Kate Shade:

Like they wouldn't buy my bars unless they, you know, certain things,

Kate Shade:

And I think it was actually hungry jacks.

Kate Shade:

That was the first one that let me know, I need these items in order to sell them the product at Hungry Jacks.

Kate Shade:

So it got me all, you know, doing it the right way and becoming a legitimate business.

Kate Shade:

And, yeah.

Kate Shade:

Then I can actually start growing the business properly.

Stephan Abrams:

Now were you at that point, were you still wrapping them in saran or did you have a different type of packaging?

Kate Shade:

So it came to a point where I started looking around and found these little plastic, like cellophane bags.

Kate Shade:

That I could put them in and you get these little thermal impulse sealers, these hand sealers, and I'd feel the end, put them in a bag still the end.

Kate Shade:

But I used to freeze the bars before I put them in because they slide in, they would slide in the bags easier.

Kate Shade:

There's a whole technique to it all.

Kate Shade:

so it slide in the bags easier and then they could seal them and put a sticker on the front, a sticker on the back.

Kate Shade:

I did thousands upon thousands of bars that way.

Kate Shade:

Yeah, labor intense, but you get really good at doing that when you're doing it over and over again, it was pretty neat.

Kate Shade:

Um, so that was, that was my first packaging.

Kate Shade:

I mean, after the saran wrap that actually had the name on it.

Kate Shade:

when I was working at cosmic apple gardens, I met quite a few people there.

Kate Shade:

So I got my first website from a friend who wanted to learn how to.

Kate Shade:

Make websites, from her.

Kate Shade:

And then my first design, there was a graphic designer who also volunteered her time at the farm and she made my first design for the bar.

Kate Shade:

so I had a lot of friends that.

Kate Shade:

Helped make it come together now.

Kate Shade:

And we're all saying, you've gotta sell these bars.

Kate Shade:

They're way better than whatever big brand we all know.

Kate Shade:

So eventually I bit the bullet and gave it a try.

Kate Shade:

And we, you know, we grew and grew super slowly and grew and in Jackson Hole and got into more accounts and became a what's the word that I've heard people, use, Oh, it'll come to me later, but really, yeah.

Kate Shade:

Coveted or the bars seemed so coveted by my people back then, because I think they were, you know, not real easy to get.

Stephan Abrams:

They were commodity,

Kate Shade:

there are commodity.

Stephan Abrams:

and where was the first place that you went outside of the Jackson Teton Valley or.

Stephan Abrams:

As far as selling your bars,

Kate Shade:

I'd say,

Kate Shade:

well, it's interesting.

Kate Shade:

And think back to then, when we first started selling the bars and I had a couple sales people, I mean, in the industry now people would call it shotgunning.

Kate Shade:

so.

Kate Shade:

I called, we would call up accounts that we thought would be a good fit, like bike shops.

Kate Shade:

And it was a lot of bike shops and outdoor shops at first, cause really targeting that outdoor, you know, kind of mountain audience.

Kate Shade:

so we would call them, we would send them samples, they would try them, they loved them and then they would start selling them.

Kate Shade:

I can't tell you, I mean, it was.

Kate Shade:

It was kind of all over.

Kate Shade:

we did the same thing with some grocery stores and these were all, so we did this all direct, make the bars, put them in boxes, shipped them to another state and they'd put them on the shelf and sell them.

Kate Shade:

You know, we didn't hear from them for awhile.

Kate Shade:

we call them up and say, you know, how's it going?

Kate Shade:

How the bar is selling, blah, blah, blah.

Kate Shade:

started making also little baby samples.

Kate Shade:

That I'd put in small Blake bite size square that had put it in a little small cellophane bag and seal it up and we'd send samples to every single store so they could sample them out to their customers.

Kate Shade:

so very mom and pop, but it worked, and we worked hard, her doing it.

Kate Shade:

I'd say.

Kate Shade:

kind of bigger stores that were close by where the whole foods in salt lake city, we went to each store directly there and sold direct.

Kate Shade:

You can't really do that now with whole foods.

Kate Shade:

And then I would go down there and do a lot of sampling at those whole foods.

Kate Shade:

And the bars started selling really well there, which enabled us to go direct to all the other Rocky mountain region, whole foods.

Kate Shade:

and that was a really great indicator for me.

Kate Shade:

as to how good our bars are.

Kate Shade:

I mean, they're pretty, they're a great account to get into.

Kate Shade:

And really gauge how good of a product do you have if you sell well?

Kate Shade:

and I spent a lot of time in salt lake and then in Colorado, when we got more of the Rocky mountain accounts at whole foods, and they were a great company to work with and super fun.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

okay.

Stephan Abrams:

Let's share with people.

Stephan Abrams:

How many different bars do you make now?

Kate Shade:

We have eight different bars now.

Kate Shade:

Okay.

Kate Shade:

But this is going to be more, it's more, really great local history for Jackson ball, but I'm glad you asked this.

Kate Shade:

we have eight bars now.

Kate Shade:

Four of them are almond butter based and for a peanut butter based, you can't find them all in.

Kate Shade:

Every store, like some stores will just get four different flavors and that all the flavors, but we have eight, you can see them all on the website.

Kate Shade:

I have probably, I dunno, six or seven more recipes for different bar flavors.

Stephan Abrams:

Oh, awesome.

Stephan Abrams:

But, it's I think it's lemon coconut in it.

Stephan Abrams:

Lemon, coconut, my wife doesn't like coconut.

Stephan Abrams:

She won't go near it.

Stephan Abrams:

Oh, good.

Kate Shade:

Well then

Stephan Abrams:

you already my bike.

Stephan Abrams:

Hey Kate, we're going to do a break to get a word from a sponsor.

Stephan Abrams:

We're going to come back and learn about where Kate's real food is.

Stephan Abrams:

and Where you are now.

Stephan Abrams:

Okay.

Stephan Abrams:

All right.

Stephan Abrams:

Cool.

Stephan Abrams:

Sounds great.

Stephan Abrams:

Welcome back.

Stephan Abrams:

Kate, talking to Kate shade with Kate's real food and you organically started and grew grassroots style of a food company.

Stephan Abrams:

And you started with one item that you were making for friends, handing them.

Stephan Abrams:

Selling them as a slab.

Stephan Abrams:

I love it.

Stephan Abrams:

Which people listening in the world of avalanches it's a slab breaks away.

Stephan Abrams:

Right.

Stephan Abrams:

That's so true though.

Stephan Abrams:

You are selling a slab and I just love the connectivity to nature.

Stephan Abrams:

I love that too.

Kate Shade:

That's awesome.

Stephan Abrams:

And so now you make.

Stephan Abrams:

Different bars.

Stephan Abrams:

You're in.

Stephan Abrams:

Are you international?

Stephan Abrams:

How many states are you in you and every state

Kate Shade:

we're going to have a state.

Stephan Abrams:

Okay.

Stephan Abrams:

And are you international?

Kate Shade:

I could probably get some information on that.

Kate Shade:

we should be.

Kate Shade:

We had just, started working with yes.

Kate Shade:

I would say we would, I can tell you where and little later time.

Kate Shade:

Oh, it's

Stephan Abrams:

all right now, just on the other half before the commercial, you said interesting connection story.

Stephan Abrams:

When I asked about how many bars you.

Kate Shade:

Oh where you, you had said something else right before that,

Stephan Abrams:

talking about what was the next bar, maybe that's

Kate Shade:

what it was.

Kate Shade:

So the next bar was actually the tram bar with a different label.

Kate Shade:

The grizzly bar back in the day, the tremor and the grizzly bar were exactly the same.

Kate Shade:

What I did.

Kate Shade:

As a request from one of my customers, which was Jenny Lake Boating up in Grand Teton National Park.

Kate Shade:

They wanted to sell my bars up there, but the name of the tram bar just really didn't work in the park.

Kate Shade:

Right.

Kate Shade:

and they thought it would be great to have a grizzly bear bar.

Kate Shade:

So, so that's how the grizzly barking.

Kate Shade:

But it was exactly the same.

Kate Shade:

It had milk chocolate.

Kate Shade:

Now the grizzly bear has dark chocolate.

Kate Shade:

but it, they sold like hotcakes up there and it was such a great fit.

Kate Shade:

It was the only food product they were selling, I believe.

Kate Shade:

And I think it might still be the only food product they sell.

Kate Shade:

If you'll go through, there's a, just a display of the grizzly bear.

Kate Shade:

And that's it.

Kate Shade:

They're like, it's easy.

Kate Shade:

That makes it really easy that way.

Kate Shade:

And you've got a great product.

Stephan Abrams:

So, and that's at the Jenny lake boat area.

Kate Shade:

Yup.

Kate Shade:

Right on the ramp when you get on the boat.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

Wow.

Stephan Abrams:

What a captive audience ,Kate

Kate Shade:

yeah, it was amazing.

Kate Shade:

We got so much great response from them.

Kate Shade:

and eventually I changed the grizzly bar to have dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.

Kate Shade:

so it's the same but different, but now it is the best-selling of bar.

Kate Shade:

We have the grizzly barn with the dark chocolate.

Kate Shade:

So just, yeah, kind of just a neat little local tidbit about the history of the bars, some of their names,

Stephan Abrams:

what enabled.

Stephan Abrams:

To grow and, well, I guess also are your bar still produced here in the valley?

Kate Shade:

They're not produced here in the valley.

Kate Shade:

So in 2010, that's when I quit my, you know, my other waiting jobs, and other jobs in general, just to go for it with Kate's Real food.

Kate Shade:

and I had partnered with Bruce daily.

Kate Shade:

So that way I was able to, you know, kind of pay myself and start to grow the company.

Kate Shade:

I feel like, you know, since 2010 we have we've grown pretty significantly.

Kate Shade:

it was pretty organic growth, I would say in the first four and five years and in more, and we produced the bars in Victor, Idaho.

Kate Shade:

well actually originally I had a small place in Driggs where.

Kate Shade:

We handmade made the bars.

Kate Shade:

and then we moved to a bigger facility in Victor.

Kate Shade:

once we were in Victor, it was quite a bit bigger.

Kate Shade:

We were even able to get a packaging machine.

Kate Shade:

So that was like my first huge moment where instead of it taking, you know, one hour to package a hundred bars, It would take I think it was 60 bars.

Kate Shade:

A minute.

Kate Shade:

We could do so it, it completely change.

Kate Shade:

That wasn't like the first aha, holy cow, the efficiency moment.

Kate Shade:

you know, lot more efficiencies after that, little things and kind of made a big difference.

Kate Shade:

And then it was just two years ago.

Kate Shade:

So we produced the bars in Victor, Idaho.

Kate Shade:

until two years ago, we probably could've made up to 3 million bars in a year.

Kate Shade:

labor was a little more difficult.

Kate Shade:

We had some really good bar makers, but if you have someone that that's sick for a week, you know, that's however many thousands of bars that you're not putting out that week.

Kate Shade:

Um, and for that, for us, that was a big deal.

Kate Shade:

two years ago, my business partner.

Kate Shade:

well, it opened, so it was more than two years ago that it started, but he created a, he built a co-packing facility.

Kate Shade:

So a co manufacturing facility, basically another business that would make Kate's Real Food bars for us.

Kate Shade:

so two years ago, our bars started to get made in Bedford, Pennsylvania.

Kate Shade:

I had two employees that moved from Victor to Bedford, Pennsylvania to help in the project.

Kate Shade:

They're still there.

Kate Shade:

I would say that was instrumental and be able to make it happen.

Kate Shade:

to me.

Kate Shade:

It's really important how the bars are made and they're made correctly.

Kate Shade:

you'll see a lot of extruded bars out there to me.

Kate Shade:

they become over mixed and kind of homogeneous where when you hand make them, you know, you can retain all the texture and the whole ingredients of the bar.

Kate Shade:

So, you know, you bite into a chewy cherry, and then you've got like a little crunchy rice nugget or crunchy almond that you're biting into.

Kate Shade:

And to me, good food has like great texture, especially in the bar.

Kate Shade:

So because it's vertically integrated, we, I feel like we've got more control over how the bars come out.

Kate Shade:

And I'm super picky.

Kate Shade:

So I'll, yeah, we work together really hard to make sure that the bars are coming out the way they should.

Kate Shade:

And I think that is rare in the industry to have such a good connection with someone else.

Kate Shade:

That's making your bars.

Stephan Abrams:

Now, could you share with us, you've mentioned an extruded bar versus your bar more handmade.

Stephan Abrams:

what is it extruded bar mean?

Stephan Abrams:

And you don't have to share names of other bars, but what's that type of texture look like compared to you actually see the cherries and the almonds and the coconut flakes, you know, pieces in your bar.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

When it's extruded.

Kate Shade:

I mean, some bars are extruded and you can still see some of the ingredients in there, but they're really, it's all the ingredients get mixed together.

Kate Shade:

Very much so very mixed together so that the ingredients pretty much start breaking down and you can't decipher, Like what the ingredient actually is some of the bars you get that are extruded, you might see it, you know, an almond, and some almond bits here and there, but you might not really know what's in the rest of the bar.

Kate Shade:

unless you read the ingredients.

Kate Shade:

This is the one I experienced mixed in a big hopper.

Kate Shade:

It goes down smaller and smaller into a tube.

Kate Shade:

And basically.

Kate Shade:

Bars are pooped out and that's what they look like.

Kate Shade:

You know, everyone will say it.

Kate Shade:

I heard everyone say it, so it's not original, but yeah.

Kate Shade:

Yup, exactly.

Kate Shade:

So that's extruded.

Kate Shade:

And to me, I can tell the difference between there's some extruded bars that are better than others.

Kate Shade:

Like they don't mix them up as much.

Kate Shade:

other extruded bars, I think that's the way they want them.

Kate Shade:

I mean, they're all.

Kate Shade:

You know, you eat them and it's smooth.

Kate Shade:

there's not, it's a very smooth texture.

Kate Shade:

You don't get whole bits of different ingredients in there.

Kate Shade:

So was that helpful?

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah, it is.

Stephan Abrams:

It gives people an idea.

Stephan Abrams:

Not everybody knows about Kate's Real Food.

Stephan Abrams:

And so it gives them an idea.

Stephan Abrams:

If they're going to a place in their community and see Kate's real bar, what's the difference between your bar and somebody else's bar.

Stephan Abrams:

And can people still find them in whole foods on a national level or w what other type of stores, and you can find

Kate Shade:

us in a lot of different regions of whole foods.

Kate Shade:

hopefully we'll be in all of the whole foods soon enough.

Kate Shade:

Hopefully it says multiple different regions.

Kate Shade:

across the United States, like Northern California is one region in Southern California is a region Rocky mountains region, Pacific, Northwest Northeast, all different regions.

Kate Shade:

So you get into regions and then once you're in a certain amount of regions, you have the ability to pitch your product, to get into all of them at once.

Kate Shade:

which hopefully we will see.

Kate Shade:

Being all in the whole foods.

Kate Shade:

we are also in a lot of people down in Texas area would know AGB.

Stephan Abrams:

It's an amazing

Kate Shade:

store.

Kate Shade:

We are there, which is amazing for us.

Kate Shade:

Yes.

Kate Shade:

all the REI is across the country and I will say REI is one of the places that has they have, I believe six out of eight of our flavor.

Kate Shade:

we will be in Herman's again, which has done in Utah.

Kate Shade:

And they're going to also going to have six out of eight of our flavors.

Kate Shade:

Harris Teeter, Hannaford, king Soopers, some of the giant stores, there's a lot of different giant stores.

Kate Shade:

We have started to get into quite a few.

Kate Shade:

I actually know a lot of new accounts recently.

Kate Shade:

so many that I start getting confused.

Kate Shade:

So, and a lot of times, you know, we're, we'll be in the process.

Kate Shade:

So we might not be in no Harmon's until July or whatever account.

Kate Shade:

I'm just using them as an example.

Kate Shade:

So we're always in the process of pitching to new retailers, in the process of, you know, waiting until August until we're on the shelves, certain places, and it's actually become quite overwhelming.

Kate Shade:

Honestly, when I can say I can't keep track anymore, it's kind of we're at the next level,

Kate Shade:

right?

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

it's kinda crazy.

Kate Shade:

It still doesn't seem quite so real to me.

Kate Shade:

How many

Stephan Abrams:

bars do you all make now?

Stephan Abrams:

A year or a month?

Kate Shade:

I'd say, well, now we have mini bars too, which are kind of half the size.

Kate Shade:

So those are a lot, with the addition of this new account that I'll tell you about in a minute,

Kate Shade:

I would say.

Kate Shade:

I'll just say this it's.

Kate Shade:

It will be over 50 million bars this year.

Kate Shade:

I'm trying to be too specific, but thinking for too long,

Stephan Abrams:

and you have how many employees now

Kate Shade:

we have?

Kate Shade:

Well, so the organic snack company, which is our co-manufacturer has most of the employees, but they're actually not considered Kate's employees.

Kate Shade:

All they do is make our bar stuff.

Kate Shade:

I'm guessing that they're reaching, you know, close to a hundred right now.

Kate Shade:

I'd say that's part-time and full-time included at Kate's Real Food food.

Kate Shade:

We, you know, somewhere around 20 employees, little less.

Stephan Abrams:

What spectacular success.

Stephan Abrams:

I hope I hope it's successful for you.

Stephan Abrams:

It sounds like a success at this point.

Stephan Abrams:

Kate.

Kate Shade:

Have you flown anywhere recently?

Stephan Abrams:

No, I have not in a while.

Stephan Abrams:

Tell me what's the big news Kate.

Kate Shade:

They are on Delta airlines as one of their snacks that they will hand out to you while in flight.

Stephan Abrams:

No kidding.

Stephan Abrams:

That's big.

Kate Shade:

No kidding.

Kate Shade:

It's huge.

Stephan Abrams:

Which bar are they going to hand out?

Kate Shade:

They have the dark chocolate cherry almond, formerly known as the handle bar

Kate Shade:

are the mini it's a minibar.

Kate Shade:

So it's like.

Kate Shade:

It's a half size bar.

Stephan Abrams:

When does

Kate Shade:

that start?

Kate Shade:

This has started so well started really months ago.

Kate Shade:

COVID kind of kept it a little bit slower.

Kate Shade:

With them, but yeah, it's, I'd say we've fully been on board over, you know, almost a couple months on their flights.

Kate Shade:

Yeah,

Stephan Abrams:

my fly on next time I fly.

Stephan Abrams:

I'll take a picture and post it to your account.

Kate Shade:

Send it to

Stephan Abrams:

me.

Stephan Abrams:

I'll share it on the connection account to, I love it.

Stephan Abrams:

I'll specifically ask for a Kate's bar.

Kate Shade:

Do it.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

So that kind of, yeah, that'll bring us to the next level.

Kate Shade:

it's still early with them, so we'll see how it all, you know, how it affects us.

Kate Shade:

but pretty exciting.

Kate Shade:

Well,

Stephan Abrams:

I'll say this for everybody.

Stephan Abrams:

That's listening.

Stephan Abrams:

When you fly Delta asked for Kate's bars as one of your snacks, and then take a picture and put up on the connection.

Stephan Abrams:

Instagram accounts.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah, I would love it.

Stephan Abrams:

I have lots of friends that are listening and they fly.

Kate Shade:

Okay.

Kate Shade:

That's yeah, I would love it.

Kate Shade:

I want to see it.

Kate Shade:

It's already, I have a bunch of friends that somebody's me, photos and it's just crazy.

Kate Shade:

I'm so happy for you.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

Thanks.

Kate Shade:

Thanks.

Kate Shade:

Yeah, next level.

Stephan Abrams:

and they're available at Jackson hole Marketplace.

Kate Shade:

Exactly.

Kate Shade:

Go to Jackson Hole Marketplace to get your Kate's bars..

Stephan Abrams:

That's right.

Stephan Abrams:

Keep a few in the desk.

Stephan Abrams:

You never know when you snack, you get hungry and it's good that for me, I'm sensitive to a lot of foods.

Stephan Abrams:

So the ingredients that you use though, I checked for the almond, eighth almond based wins and make sure the gluten-free and then otherwise I'm going for it.

Stephan Abrams:

Oh, that's

Kate Shade:

awesome.

Kate Shade:

Yeah, peanut butter, you can't do then

Stephan Abrams:

peanuts kind of bother my stomach, so I stay away from it.

Stephan Abrams:

if I'm hungry enough, I'll eat one that matter.

Stephan Abrams:

But, If I think about it and plan properly, I'll stick with almond butter

Stephan Abrams:

based

Kate Shade:

ones.

Kate Shade:

All right, good.

Kate Shade:

Yeah, the gluten-free is a big deal.

Kate Shade:

And when I first made the bars, it really wasn't a deal like there wasn't much talked about with the gluten-free.

Kate Shade:

I just feel really fortunate that when I made the borrowers, everything that I used was gluten free.

Kate Shade:

and now, yeah, we do have, we have the official certification.

Kate Shade:

That's wonderful.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

So.

Stephan Abrams:

So Kate, what is your website and how can people connect with you if they want to?

Kate Shade:

Our website is KatesRealFood.com

Stephan Abrams:

alright, and that's K a T E S no, apostrophe,

Kate Shade:

no apostrophe, K a T E S real food.

Kate Shade:

No S at the end of food, Kate's real food.com.

Kate Shade:

Some people put foods, it would probably come up anyway, but you know, you know, yeah, we sell all of our bars online.

Kate Shade:

you can subscribe like the little SMS messaging things, get on our newsletter.

Kate Shade:

We have specials and, yeah.

Kate Shade:

And they'll come super fresh to you.

Kate Shade:

If you order online,

Stephan Abrams:

I love it.

Stephan Abrams:

And people connect can connect with you via the website.

Kate Shade:

Me personally, yeah, they can connect via the website.

Kate Shade:

Basically at the, yeah, it's the contact us.

Kate Shade:

I don't directly get those emails, but they will be sent to me if they're addressed to me.

Kate Shade:

Yup.

Kate Shade:

I love it.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

You can connect with the real person.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

There is a real person behind the company.

Kate Shade:

It's a question.

Kate Shade:

People ask all the time or a real Kate.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

Well, you are the real Kate behind Kate's.

Stephan Abrams:

And I'm so happy for you.

Stephan Abrams:

And it's an honor to get, to have the time to talk to you.

Stephan Abrams:

If somebody that's built a business from, you know, grassroots from starting in friend's kitchen to, you know, think about, I want people to think about how many years you were.

Stephan Abrams:

Working other jobs while doing this business, it wasn't until 2010 that you said I'm going to just focus on Kate's Real Food, big leap of faith for somebody starting a business when you had a business.

Stephan Abrams:

And you've been working at for many years, but, just

Kate Shade:

kind of a side job though, to make extra money.

Kate Shade:

Right.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

I had so many people back in the day say, oh my gosh, you got to start selling.

Kate Shade:

These are the best bars ever.

Kate Shade:

you gotta start making it.

Kate Shade:

You have to make a business out of it.

Kate Shade:

So yeah, I made a little side business and then after a while being in the service industry, I guess gets it is what you make of it.

Kate Shade:

But I knew I wasn't destined to wait tables the rest of my life.

Kate Shade:

and I really, you know, I want to make some sort of no difference or change or make some people happy somehow in the world.

Kate Shade:

And that's something I'm still working on with the business, but, you know, my passion.

Kate Shade:

And why my bars are organic, are from working at the Cosmic Apple Gardens.

Kate Shade:

organic I think is really huge and it's definitely bigger out west.

Kate Shade:

and you know, the whole regenerative agriculture and small farms I think is really.

Kate Shade:

Amazing and the way to go.

Kate Shade:

And it's really good to see that it's, it's getting more in the spotlight, um, and things are changing there.

Kate Shade:

And, even really big corporations are looking at regenerative farming.

Kate Shade:

but in, in how much it fuels.

Kate Shade:

You know, my outdoor passions, which to me is another really important thing, for me growing up and now being able to get outside and adventure in the mountains.

Kate Shade:

And it's just part of it like, a good, healthy way of being, in good living.

Kate Shade:

so if there's.

Kate Shade:

There's ways now that I'm really looking to be able to give back and get more people to, you know, learn or be more educated about organic foods and farming and just getting more active and adventuring outside.

Kate Shade:

So, yeah, that's where we'll be putting our energy.

Kate Shade:

Also, as we continue to grow,

Stephan Abrams:

I love your passion.

Stephan Abrams:

Thank you.

Stephan Abrams:

And your desire for people to live Healthy happy lives.

Kate Shade:

I hope so.

Kate Shade:

The world would be a happier place,

Stephan Abrams:

right?

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

It all starts with good food.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

Getting outside and doing something, whether it's raining or snowing, windy, sunny.

Stephan Abrams:

it's all about being in the moment and being in the place so true.

Stephan Abrams:

Well, Kate congratulations on what you're doing and landing that big Delta account and being in Jackson Hole Marketplace, that's really moving the needle there.

Stephan Abrams:

I so appreciate it.

Kate Shade:

Great gift baskets, I believe right.

Stephan Abrams:

Please.

Stephan Abrams:

Thank you.

Stephan Abrams:

Yes, you can make some really cool gift baskets and we can ship the gift baskets as long as they don't have alcohol in them.

Stephan Abrams:

We can ship them.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

Local Jackson hole goods.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

Perfect.

Kate Shade:

We do our best.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

I love it.

Stephan Abrams:

Well, I'll let you get back to your day.

Stephan Abrams:

Thank you, Kate.

Stephan Abrams:

Enjoy the, uh, the rain or snow or whatever brings,

Kate Shade:

embrace, embrace the weather wherever you are.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

But you know what?

Stephan Abrams:

We're back up to pretty normal water table level where we need to be.

Stephan Abrams:

But I think we need to be beyond that, but it's not looking as dim as it did as bleak back in January, February.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

It feels like, it feels like we're getting later precipitation.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Kate Shade:

And we have before.

Stephan Abrams:

I hope it keeps extending throughout the summer because we need

Kate Shade:

it.

Kate Shade:

We don't want them big.

Kate Shade:

We don't want super dry season all summer.

Kate Shade:

No.

Kate Shade:

So yeah.

Kate Shade:

Pray for rain.

Kate Shade:

Yes, indeed.

Kate Shade:

Pray for rain.

Kate Shade:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

Go enjoy your day.

Stephan Abrams:

Thank you.

Stephan Abrams:

Kate.

Kate Shade:

Thank you so much.

Kate Shade:

You're welcome.

Kate Shade:

If there's anything else you need, let me

Stephan Abrams:

know.

Stephan Abrams:

All right, I'll do that for sure.

Stephan Abrams:

All right.

Stephan Abrams:

To learn more about Kate Schade.

Stephan Abrams:

And Kate's Real Food.

Stephan Abrams:

Visit TheJacksonHoleConnection.com episode number 193.

Stephan Abrams:

Folks I appreciate all of you for tuning in today.

Stephan Abrams:

Get out there and share this podcast with people.

Stephan Abrams:

Because sharing is caring and it makes everybody have a better life.

Stephan Abrams:

thank you, everybody who helps keep this podcast going each week.

Stephan Abrams:

All of you, regular listeners, the people who are sponsoring the podcast, my wife, Laura and my boys, William and Louis.

Stephan Abrams:

And of course Michael Moeri, who sticks with me every day, every week.

Stephan Abrams:

Since the beginning, doing the marketing and editing of every podcast, take care of folks.

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