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Market welcomes lavender fudge
What’s new at the market is a wild and expansive variety of lavender fudge. Having spoken with Christina and Charles Norman of WeDo Fudge, I learned that they now make Vanilla Lavender, Dark Chocolate Lavender, Lemonade Lavender, Espresso Lavender and Lavender Margarita fudge.
Charles and Christina started WeDo Fudge when they moved to Sequim two years ago. Christina tells me, “We were shocked to find this cute town with no candy store!” She had been working the past 10 years at a candy store in Illinois. Based on that experience, they quickly began their fudge business, renting a commercial kitchen for the first six months.
Last year, the Farmers Market was the ideal place for them to experiment with flavors and find out what people like. What they found is that, “The locals are very traditional in their fudge flavors,” Christina says. On the other hand, “Visitors like a lot of variety.”
She explained, “People don’t realize the great variety in all the vanilla-based flavors, like orange cream, raspberry lemonade and peach to name a few.”
As for what’s popular, Espresso fudge is extremely well-liked. Charles chimed in to let me know that they use Sequim’s own Rainshadow Coffee Roasting Company’s espresso in their Espresso fudge. To get the best taste, you have to use a specific amount of dark chocolate, “which draws the espresso taste out” and he added, “We like using local products.”
Hands down, their No. 1 best seller is Dark Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt. Charles says that “all the wholesalers ask for it.”
Charles added, “The market has given our business a presence in the community. What keeps us coming to the Farmers Market is the people. We love the people of Sequim, the tourists and the other vendors.”
They also told me that they recently started vending at the Port Angeles Market and have to arm wrestle to see who goes to Port Angeles. “The market there is great, but this is our home; seeing people we know brings us great joy!” Christina says.
When I asked, “What is the most common response you get from customers?” They gave me a few quotes like, “It is better than my grandma’s” and “soft and creamy” or “We love it.” Charles added, “The best comments are non-verbal, the smile that comes in anticipation and then the really big smile that comes after they have enjoyed our fudge.” They say it is “more of a bodily reaction than a verbal one.”
When I asked if there have been any surprises in the development of their business, they said they were not expecting to have a drive-thru fudge stand. As far as they know, there are no other “just fudge drive-thru’s in the country,” Christina confirmed.
One day while visiting a fellow vendor’s shop, they learned of the espresso stand that was for rent. They were looking for their own commercial kitchen and got the bonus of a drive-thru.
When they are in the kitchen you can stop by and purchase fresh fudge on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 10 a.m.-4 p.m and Saturdays, noon-3 p.m. It is located on Hooker Road, across from the PUD building in Carlsborg.
The drive-thru has been a big success. They plan to make up punch cards, like coffee shops have, where you get a free piece of fudge after you buy so many pieces. That will be coming soon they tell me.
When I asked how the business is succeeding, they joyfully shared that most businesses take 3-5 years to be self-sufficient and they already are experiencing that.
Christina shared that “after the first year, the business was paying for itself. Now we just need it to provide an income for us.”
I have to think that starting small at the Farmers Market is a great way to invest in your business and get things off the ground without sinking the ship before it leaves the shore.
As for who does what in this venture, Christina focuses on making the fudge and Charles takes care of sales. Their vision for the future is to “have a thriving fudge business that employs people here in Sequim,” Christina said. They currently have four seasonal employees, two of which are Kendra and Makayla, fellow Farmers Market vendors from the Sisters Shop.
They also are working on increasing their wholesale business and getting their fudge outside the peninsula.
One unique characteristic of their product is they include a Bible verse in each package.
“We are a spiritually based company and we want to encourage people by putting the verses in,” Charles explains. They tell me they receive lots of positive feedback about the verses and people like to collect them and get all the different ones.
Recently, local photographer Ross Hamilton gave them permission to use some of his nature photographs along with the verses.
Come visit Christina and Charles at the market every Saturday, where you always are welcome to try samples.
Also at the market ...
On July 12, Stitches from the Heart will be in the community booth. This organization focuses on creating knitted items to be donated to babies who need them. The Point Man Ministry also will be present. This is a counseling organization for veterans.
The music on July 12 will be the absolutely fantastic Young Fiddlers. This is a fun and talented ensemble of young children and young adults playing fiddle tunes. On July 19, Howly Slim and Sandy Somers will be wooing us with fine folk music. Live music is from 11 a.m.-2 p.m each Saturday.
In the Family Fun Booth on July 12 the program will be led by the Sequim Library and on July 19 by Olympic Nature Experience. From 10 a.m.-noon these organizations will offer a free hands-on activity for youngsters.
Sequim Farmers Market
July 12 and July 18-19
Open Saturdays 9 a.m.-3 p.m. through October
Downtown Sequim, Centennial Square (corner of Sequim Avenue and Washington Street
Contacts: www.sequimmarket.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; 460-2668