(DOUG JESSOP’S UTAH SUCCESS STORIES – ABC4 NEWS – Salt Lake City) Holidays aren’t the same without treats. Today I’m visiting with Darren from Western Nut in downtown Salt Lake City. He told me; “We look to source our nuts from the finest nut growers around the world. What we are really well known for are our cashews.”
They are also doing more customized gift baskets this season. Darren explained; “We’ve had a lot of corporate customers coming in and saying you know what, we don’t want to have a big box of nuts where everybody comes in and grabs it so we actually have custom built for them with smaller packages in their gift baskets so everyone can come in and grab a smaller sample.”
My wife will tell you that I am definitely the shopper in our family. Darren helped me with my holiday shopping.
“Grab a big cart, because you’re going to want to load up with some of the best nuts and candies you can get in Utah. I suggest the double dipped chocolate peanuts. Let’s grab the nice Western Nut chocolate gift mix.” I wasn’t complaining. Nuts and Chocolate…my favorites. I eyed some nice-looking dried fruit trays and put them in the cart. Darren continued; “For the holidays, New Orleans mix is ridiculously good. That pecan brittle I told you about earlier everybody needs some of that. Of course this one is nicely gift wrapped. Let’s go on this side here. We are big on cashews, so let’s grab a nice size one-pound bag of cashews.” We finished by putting a nice big gift basket in the cart. I think I’m set.
I have to admit, I love to do stories that turn into a combination of “Dirty Jobs” and “How it’s Made.”
The folks at Western Nut did not disappoint me. Loren pointed towards glass doors leading into the production area and said, “Doug, we’ll work with you and show you the process of how we make our cashews taste so delicate and fine.”
Going through this door is like walking into Santa’s workshop
I got to help roast 300 pounds of cashews. What I didn’t know is that after that are roasted, that a special mix of sweetness and salt is added to make them taste just right. I felt like I was mixing one humungous salad. After my workout making roasted cashews it was time to make my favorite, Paul’s Famous Pecan Brittle.
Truth be told, I was introduced to Western Nut’s Pecan Brittle as the recipient of a kind gift box from Les Olson Company. Come to find out that they have been ordering corporate gift packages from Western Nut for many years.
It is interesting to see things made a big scale. They let me add the various ingredients and stir a copper cauldron. Nothing like a little pressure to make sure I didn’t burn the sugar concoction. After I added the pecans to the mixture things went into hyper speed to make sure everything was coated properly. We spread the deliciously gooey mixture on a pre-coated table and started to massage the pecan brittle to the right size and consistency. Here’s a little secret, the CPR chest compression pushing motion works really well to make Paul’s Famous Pecan Brittle.
At Western Nut they wrap thousands and thousands of boxes. They even have a special section of their plant for wrapping. I tried by hand at wrapping, but let’s just say there is a reason I have one of their experts, JaNae, at Western Nut wrap the gifts for me.
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