An allergic reaction while on a date in a restaurant landed Rob Dalton in the emergency room and later inspired the Boston company 88 Acres. The dinner was cross-contaminated with nuts, to which Dalton is severely allergic. His date (who is now his wife, Nicole Ledoux) was moved to create allergen-free seed bars that were safe for him to snack on when they went hiking and biking. The bars, made with pumpkin, sunflower, and flax seeds, were their first products when they launched 88 Acres four years ago. Later they added dense seed butters — Pumpkin, Vanilla Spice Sunflower, and Dark Chocolate Sunflower. The team works out of a Dorchester bakery that’s dedicated to being free of peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, and other allergens so that kids can bring the snacks into the classroom. The company now has two new lines: Seed’ Nola, like granola, but made instead with abundant clusters of seeds and gluten-free oats in flavors such as Triple Berry Blend, Ginger Apple, and Double Chocolate Sea Salt. And also lively and deeply flavored dressings that can become marinades and sauces — Garden Ranch, Green Goddess, Southwest Turmeric, Lemon Poppy, and Smoky Chipotle — with a base of sunflower oil and powered by organic sunflower, pumpkin, or watermelon seeds. “Focusing on seeds allows us to celebrate what’s in the foods and not what’s not,” says Ledoux. Available at Whole Foods Market locations and at 88acres.com.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at email@example.com.