My father-in-law and future business partner, Stan Smith, shook his head in disbelief. “You’re kidding, right?” He looked at his director of procurement, […]
Published on: 06-29-2018
My father-in-law and future business partner, Stan Smith, shook his head in disbelief. “You’re kidding, right?” He looked at his director of procurement, who had just informed him that they were buying apple puree from Chile.
Silver Hills Bakery is based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, a region prized for its apple production. Through a combination of trade agreements and affordable transportation, Chilean apple puree was cheaper, and was being used as a sweetener for a special variety of bread formulated for diabetics called Steady Eddie.
One Degree Organic Foods was christened to convey to customers that they were never more than one degree removed from the farmers who grow the organic ingredients in our products. This new start-up would document the farmers and ingredient suppliers for every single ingredient in every product, and share each story with the consumer from the front of the package.
Ready for Market
Eighteen months later we officially launched One Degree Organic Foods at the premier natural and organic food trade show called Expo West, held annually in Anaheim, California. With more than 70,000 attendees, we were excited to gauge how One Degree would be accepted. Within 15 minutes of the show floor opening, a show organizer responsible for awarding the prestigious Nexty Award, a best-in-show contest, stopped by to taste our products and experience our farm-to-table traceability via QR code scan.
While meeting each farmer via video and photo essay on her own phone for the loaf of bread she was sampling, the show organizer’s eyes widened, and she said, “I didn’t know you could do that!” Eight weeks later we won this coveted prize, which was a catalyst for rapid acceptance by the industry’s top retailers.
It’s a challenge, as a Seventh-day Adventist-owned and-operated business, to convey to customers at heavily trafficked trade shows that we value their business when our booth is closed on Sabbath. We responded with a two-tiered approach: education for our broker network on the benefits of keeping Sabbath, and a carefully crafted postcard that shared the importance of Sabbath as a day of rest.
Documenting every single ingredient in our supply chain requires careful planning, a robust travel schedule, and extensive farmer networking. While on a trip to Canada’s largest organic farm, my wife, Sondra, and I met a couple named Juergen and Faranak Borchers, who worked in the farm management and finance office. A friendship quickly developed, and soon they both applied for positions at One Degree and were hired.
We had perceived an openness to spiritual topics when we first met Juergen and Faranak, and began inviting them to our local church. Bible studies followed. In August 2015 they were both baptized at the ASI convention in Spokane, Washington.
Nothing compares to sharing the truth about the real Source of life in our business sphere. One Degree Organic Food’s highest use is as a platform to share Christ.
Danny Houghton is a founding partner and vice president of sales of One Degree Organic Foods. He and his wife, Sondra, live in Lynden, Washington, United States, with their 1-year-old son, Andrew.