What's your favorite meal of the day? Ours is snack time: a mini meal that can happen anytime, any place. The key to an excellent snack is the same as any meal: that the food tastes really good. Here at HubBub, we've been working to elevate our snack game so that you'll be covered if you're in need of nutritious fortification while here for your coffee. Among our new nosh-y offerings are snacks from Red Fox Gourmet. We've got their rosemary caramel popcorn, signature trail mix and seeded spiced nuts, which are all healthy and really, really tasty.
Red Fox Gourmet snacks are made right here in Philadelphia! Owner Sarah Merrick hand makes all these wondrous snacks in the commercial kitchen at the Center for Culinary Enterprises on 48th & Pine streets in West Philly. We met with her last week to watch her in action and learn more about her story.
Sarah grew up outside of Boston and studied sociology at Johns Hopkins University. Her first job out of school was with a public relations firm in New York City which specialized in food and beverage. She represented a number of small, family-owned food brands such as Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips and DelGrosso artisan tomato sauce. "The job was a total immersion into the culinary world!" she says.
Her interest in food continued to grow as she learned more about the businesses she was working with. In 2010, she enrolled in a program at the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, where she attended classes in the evenings while she continued to work full time. While she thoroughly enjoyed her experience there, she said that it was kind of intimidating at first. "The teacher went around the room, asking people in the class what their goals were. Some people were like 'I'm going to work at Gramercy Tavern,' or 'I'm going to start my own restaurant.' When they got to me I said I didn't really know what I wanted to do!" Throughout the program she began to think that something in catering or prepared foods was up her alley.
As part of the I.C.E. program, in 2011 she began to intern part time for Radish, a fine foods and catering company in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She balanced all of this while continuing her full time PR job! In 2012, she and her husband moved to Philadelphia for his work. Sarah got a job at Picnic, a cafe on the Walnut Street bridge specializing in prepared foods. In the meantime, she began baking snacks for fun at home and sending them to work with her husband to share with his co-workers. She got more and more positive feedback about the snacks, until one night she and her husband sat down over dinner and hashed out a plan for her to start her own snack company. And that was how Red Fox Gourmet got its start.
She began the business in December 2013, just in time for the holiday season. She hadn't expected the large number of gift basket orders placed by her friends and family and the process was "trial by fire," as she puts it. After that, she was off and running. She became a member at the CCE, locked down her first wholesale clients, and has been growing since then. Along the way, Sarah has never stopped learning. "I've gotten so much faster and more efficient. I can get done in one day what used to take me two or three days to finish!" she says.
Outside of work, Sarah likes to cook, run (she's a marathoner!), and hang with her husband and Roxy the dog in their neighborhood of Bella Vista.
Her plans for the future include continuing to grow the business, possibly even expanding to wholesaling on a regional scale. That means more delicious snacks for everyone!
So far, our customers have been loving Red Fox Gourmet snacks. Grab a bag the next time you're feeling piqued and lunch or dinner is still a few hours away! And thanks to Sarah for chatting with us and sharing her story!