Interview with Steve Delagrange, Co-Founder of Buckwah

Sarah Velsco: Can you tell us about yourself? How did you get started in this business?
Steve Delagrange: I have always been active with exercising, particularly long distance running. I run about 40 miles per week and have run 2 marathons with my 3rd marathon coming up in Big Sur in April. As I got more into distance running, I noticed that I needed to keep my body fueled for the distances I was running. I experimented a lot with different types of pre/post running snacks like oatmeal, quinoa, chia seeds, gels etc... After I while I thought these combinations I was putting together might work well in a bar form to be eaten at any time. I also felt like there is a lack of convenient but truly healthy snack options available.

Sarah Velasco: How did Buckwah get started?
Steve Delagrange: My girlfriend, Susan, and I started mixing different combinations of ingredients at home until we found what worked. We wanted to keep the calories low and use only organic ingredients. It was very important to us that the bar be gluten-free, grain free, soy-free, and dairy-free. We also wanted to keep it from being too sweet and use a low glycemic sweetener. Over the course of about 6 months, we fine-tuned our recipe in our home kitchen.

Sarah Velasco: What is the significance behind the word 'Buckwah?'
Steve Delagrange: The original combination of ingredients included buckwheat as well as quinoa, so I combined the two words into "Buckwah". Eventually, I eliminated quinoa from the recipe because it would go stale too fast and wanted something that would keep for about 6 months or more. I liked the name though, so it stuck.

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about The Blueberry Chia bar? How did that start?
Steve Delagrange: Blueberry Chia is our original recipe and only flavor at this point. Blueberry chia has a few unique ingredients that you won't often find in convenient snacks: sprouted buckwheat, chia seeds, and coconut nectar. We have some early ideas for follow up flavors, but we also want to get to know our customers and figure out what they like before we start introducing new flavors.

Sarah Velasco: What ingredients are in it?
Steve Delagrange: Our blueberry chia flavor has sprouted buckwheat, sprouted pumpkin seeds, sprouted sunflower seeds, chia seeds, blueberries, coconut nectar, vanilla extract, and sea salt. All the ingredients are from organic suppliers and are gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and grain-free.

Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about coconut nectar? Why was that chosen as the sweetener?
Steve Delagrange: The hardest part of making our bars was figuring out how to make them stick together. We played around with different sweeteners and syrups. We narrowed it down to agave nectar and coconut nectar. It was an easy decision to use coconut nectar because it is much lower on the glycemic index than agave nectar. Coconut nectar is also a unique ingredient and sets us apart from other products.

Sarah Velasco: For readers that do not know, what is sprouted buckwheat?
Steve Delagrange: Buckwheat is actually not wheat at all. It's not even a grain, it is a seed. Buckwheat is also very low on the glycemic index so it fit perfectly with our requirements. Sprouting unlocks the nutrients of the seeds and allows them to be absorbed by the body. I also don't know of any other snacks (at least not many) that include sprouted buckwheat as an ingredient, so it makes our bar unique.

Sarah Velasco: Where can we find The Blueberry Chia bar?
Steve Delagrange: Our Blueberry Chia bars are available in cases of 10 bars for $38 on our website www.buckwah.com. We are in talks with retailers about carrying Buckwah in their stores. We are focusing on smaller boutique-style retail shops that we can build a close, mutually beneficial relationship with.

Sarah Velasco: Anything else readers should know?
Steve Delagrange: Buckwah is definitely more expensive than your standard snack. It seems like most snack products are made very cheaply as companies race to be the cheapest out there. This has sucked the nutrition out of the ingredients of many of the convenient snack products out there. Just look at some of the snacks that are available in the nearest vending machine....lots of sugar, chemicals, preservatives etc.... If we don't sacrifice the ingredients, we can make a much healthier product, which obviously comes at a higher cost to produce. If there is anything we should be spending more money on as consumers, it's the food we put in our bodies.