WAYNE COUNTY, PA—At a beer tasting one night at Shohola restaurant The Fork at Twin Lakes, Sharon Daniel decided to make spiced peanuts as an amuse-bouche. That little snack—which eventually turned into Forkin’ Good Nuts—has been popular for 10 years.
Sharon and Peter Daniel closed the Fork at Twin Lakes in 2018 after 32 years, and focused on nuts.
“Once I saw how much my customers enjoyed the spiced nuts,” she said, “the idea grew to create a new business.”
They now have eight flavors of nuts at Forkin’ Good Nuts. The newest flavor is called “Hopanero,” and is a collaboration with Hop Barons, a craft spice-and-BBQ-rub company based in Honesdale.
The first time Sharon Daniel met the folks at Hop Barons, they started talking, and decided to work together.
Her previous flavor creation also came from an in-person meeting. While sitting with people from Tree Juice, a maple syrup company, she decided to make smoked maple-bacon peanuts.
Forty-four batches later, the couple was completely happy with the flavor.
Like all of these meetings, Forkin’ Good Nuts is local and in-person. Sharon Daniel delivers the nuts herself, since most of what she sells is packaged in glass jars. Peter Daniel helps make the flavors, but Sharon does the rest.
“After running our restaurant for 32 years, I continue to enjoy baking and creating new flavors, but also enjoy the experience of working alone in the kitchen,” she said. “I go into a Zen mode, and listen to music or podcasts while baking, jarring, labeling and packing.”
The nuts are available at Pecks Market in Livingston Manor, NY, and soon will be in the Callicoon, NY Pecks, as well as in specialty food and gift shops in the Upper Delaware Region.
“Going to local markets and collaborating and delivering to local businesses has given me an opportunity to meet and explore so many different parts of where we live, that I never had time to do before,” she said. “I meet and chat with other business owners, and everyone I meet is always eager to share new opportunities for product placements and growth opportunities.”
Sharon Daniel is also planning on creating flavors with almonds in the near future.
But her work—and mission—aren’t just about creating snacks.
She went back to school, studying mental health, and now works with a nonprofit called CHOW, which stands for “Culinary Hospitality Outreach and Wellness.”
CHOW’s goal, according to its mission statement, is to “support wellness within the hospitality industry and to improve the lives of our community through shared stories, skills, and resources.”
CHOW is currently only based in Colorado, but the plan is to spread across the country.
“Being a part of CHOW gives me a place to share my experience in the hospitality industry, and the fields of mental health and recovery,” she said, “and bring awareness to the struggles associated with the industry, as well as to help make it a safer and healthier place to work.”
If you want to meet Sharon Daniel, or try some Forkin’ Good Nuts, you can find her at the Barryville Farmers’ Market every Saturday during the season. You can also order online at forkingoodnuts.com.
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